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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now comes the fun part. We are going to customize the lighting effect and we are going to actually add a couple of lights. Right now we have just one default light that's being projected onto the Apple. We are going to add two more, because we want convert this fairly drab looking surface here into this very shiny Apple that's included in the 270-degree apple.ai artwork file. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Mapped surfaces.ai, and I am going to go ahead and once again marquee that left half of the Apple. I marqueed too much, because I went ahead and grabbed that ellipse as well.
So I'll Shift+Click on it to turn off. Then I will switch over to the Appearance panel, click on 3D Revolve Mapped and in order to see your lighting options, notice down here at the bottom you have this thing that says surface Plastic Shading and you can switch between a variety of different options here. You can view a simple Wireframe of your object. I will go ahead and choose that option and then turn on the Preview check box, so we can see what that looks like. You'll get a wireframe, which you might find to be useful. Or you might opt for No Shading whatsoever, in case you want a 3D form, but you don't want any lighting associated with it.
As you can see that still takes a moment for Illustrator to figure out. Now I don't like this effect at all. So I want some form of shading. Diffuse Shading will give you very diffused lighting. So if you don't want that hot plastic lighting that I was showing you a moment ago, you can try Diffuse Shading instead. However, it ends up looking pretty darn drab to my way of thinking. Notice that we have these very soft forms going on. I would rather have these highlights really pop off the surface. So I am going to stick with Plastic Shading, but notice that I'm not seeing any lighting controls whatsoever.
Well, that's because I need to click on the More Options button in order to increase the height of the dialog box, and we are now seeing all the way to the bottom here. Notice when you select a few shading, you have just three controls, Light Intensity, Ambient Light, and Blend Steps. I'll explain what they are in just a moment. When you switch to Plastic Shading you're going to see two additional controls down here, as soon of course as Illustrator has done rendering the preview. Those are Highlighted Intensity and Highlight Size. So let me explain what's going on. Light Intensity, notice there is one light on this surface right here.
So that little sort of diamond object right there, that's your light source, and this is a classic example of Adobe giving us the smallest little interface possible for our lights, but that's the way it works. Anyway, Light Intensity determines the intensity of this little guy right there, and all the other ones, if you decide to add some more lights, as we will in a moment. Ambient Light is how much additional light is coming in from the outside world. So if you want more dramatic shadows, you want to take that Ambient Light value down as we will in just a moment.
Highlight Intensity determines how reflective the surface of the object is. Highlight Size determines the size of the highlights. That's pretty straightforward. Then Blend Steps is the number of steps that Illustrator is using to render out its blends. Now you're getting better results out of more Blend Steps, but it's going to be way slower as well. So the first thing I'm going to do is turn off the Preview check box. Otherwise, we are not going to be able to get any work done. I am going to go ahead and drag this light over to the upper right corner if you will, of this sphere.
You will get a sense of how things are mapping out. Notice that the light is pretending to hover in space in it's casting its highlight right about there. So it's actually casting its highlight in on the surface a little bit. You can choose to move a light behind the object if you want to, and you do that just by clicking on this little control, in which case you'll get this fringe lighting like so, and the color of your diamond will switch from black to white. So any black diamonds indicate lights that are in back of the object. I want all of my lights in front however, so I am going to click that guy again.
Here is how you create a new light. You click on the little page icon and then appears wherever it's got appear just sort of dead center in the object. I am going to drag this one up into the left, because I want a nice bright highlight in this region of the Apple. Then I want more light, so I will go ahead and click. You might imagine that I figured this out with the Preview check box on, which is true. So I sat there and waited for one preview after another, as I played around with these lights, and that's the way you're probably going to work as well. It's just for video purposes here.
As I say, we are not going to get any work done if we go that route. So I will go ahead and move this guy down to about there, looks pretty good. Now light intensity of 100% is just fine. I am going to crank down my Ambient Light value to 5% and that way we will get dramatic shadows, because we are basically dimming down the lights in the room, so just these spotlights are showing up. As soon as I press the Tab key, watch the sphere. When I press the Tab key, notice that; that sphere grows much darker. So the sphere is trying to represent what's going on. It's just that if it was a little bit larger it might be more helpful.
I am going to crank up that Highlight Intensity value to 100%, so we have very hot highlights. That's going to make for a very plastic like Apple, but again, we are going to take it into Photoshop to mitigate that. Then the Highlight Size is currently 90%. I am going to take it up to 95%. I just found 100% was too much, but 90% wasn't quite enough. Then Blend Steps, well, it's not going to do us any good to have 25. You know what; let's turn on Preview for a moment so you can see what that looks like. It is going to take a few moments to render out the effect now, because we've got these three different lighting sources going on.
But once it's done, it looks something like this, and notice the banding that's occurring on the Apple. Now were we to rasterize the effect that banding might not actually be quite this bad, but it's going to be there. It's going to be evident. The only way to get rid of the banding is to increase the number of Blend Steps. So I am going to take that Blend Steps value up to 100, so that we have a hundred steps between the highlights and the shadows. Once Illustrator gets done rendering the effect, you can see that we have some much smoother transitions. Now they're not ultimately smooth, that is, we can see some edges, but that is a function of this Plastic Shading.
If you didn't want that, you would go ahead and switch to Diffuse Shading instead. However, I am going to leave that setting alone and I am going to click OK in order to accept those modifications. All right gang! This is the final version of the apple here inside of Illustrator. The next step is to take it into Photoshop.
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