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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now, as you know, the topic of this chapter is gradients, and we're going to be assigning gradients to this illustration. It's called Raw cat head.ai. So called, by the way, because it contains all of the raw elements we need, all of the path outlines we need to build the final illustration. And the final illustration is also opened, it's right here, it's called Gradient cat.ai and the only difference between these two illustrations, with the exception of the text, which is there, but just hidden in the Raw cat head file. The only other difference is a few drop shadows and a whole lot of gradients. And so those gradient fills, as you can see, make a tremendous contribution to the overall illustration. They really allow you to very quickly and easily create the appearance of depth. Now that's all pretty straightforward stuff as you'll see. Gradients aren't super complicated inside of Illustrator. There is just a whole bunch of different ways to apply them and manipulate them and so on. However, I do have some extra stuff going on inside the eyes. So there are actually multiple gradients assigned to each of the eyes that are blending together, and we'll see what that looks like shortly. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and switch over to Raw cat head here, and we're going to start things off by working on this forehead shape. Now I should say, because there are so few shapes inside of this illustration, and just to make it very easy to navigate, if you twirl open the black cat layer here inside the layers panel, you'll find that every single one of the items is labeled for you. So cheek L is the left cheek and cheek R is right cheek and so on, so that you can quickly and easily navigate your way through this illustration. Anyway, I've got the forehead selected, and notice up here in the Control panel, you can see that it's got a black fill. This actually happens to be a rich black fill, and then we've got a red stroke. Well, the only reason the stroke is there is just to help you find the path in the first place. We don't want that red stroke. So let's go ahead and get rid of it by clicking on the Stroke icon and setting it to None. Then what I'm going to do is assign a gradient. Now there are few different ways to assign gradients inside of Illustrator. I don't find the process to be all that intuitive. That's not to say it's hard, it's just not necessarily the kind of thing you're going to find very easily when you're first struggling inside the program. I'll go ahead and expand my toolbox so I can see the bottom of it. You can see down here that there are three Fill icons. One is color, and that would be a solid color, by the way, that you could apply from the Color panel. You also have, next-door, Gradient and then you have None. And notice that they also have keyboard shortcuts that are right in a row on your keyboard in the lower right-hand corner of the keyboard, that is to say, and they appear as Less Than and then Greater Than. They are really Comma, Period, and then finally Slash. So if you hit the Period key or click on this icon, you're going to assign a gradient, and it's going to be either the default gradient, if you haven't applied one so far, or it's going to be the last gradient you assigned. In our case, it's the default gradient, which goes from white to black. And that's a weak black. I'll come back to that in a second. We'll need to fix that. Anyway, that's one way to work. I'm going to Undo the application of that gradient. I'm also going to restore my toolbox to the single column display there, and I'm going to move over to the Gradient panel, which you can get, by the way, by going to the Window menu and choosing the Gradient command. You have also got a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+F9, Cmd+F9 on the Mac, and when you first bring up the panel, it will appear as just a sliver, and if you click on that sliver, why then you'll apply the gradient to the shape. Another way to work, I'll go ahead and expand the Gradient panel by clicking on this Up-Down icon a couple of times. If I press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac, you've also got this little icon right there. You can click on it in order to apply the default gradient or you can choose one of the predefined gradients from this pop-up menu, and these are the gradients that appear in a new print document inside of Illustrator, so you can apply one of those as well. Here's the problem, though, in my mind. None of these gradients have rich blacks. Every single one of them includes a weak black, if it includes black at all, and I don't want that. That's going to look weird against my rich black background, because everything else inside this illustration is filled with rich black. So what do you do if you've already got a color set up, and you want to integrate it into your new gradient? Why then, you go ahead and drag the color swatch from the Color panel and you drop it into the Gradient panel, like so. I'll go ahead and grab this Fill Swatch, and I'll drag it down here into the gradient, and if I drop it at this location, it'll become a new color-stop in the gradient. If I want to replace white, I would drag to the beginning of the gradient. If I want to replace black, which is what I do want to do, then I drop it at the end of the gradient, like so. And now we have a white-to-rich black gradient, which is a lot more satisfactory. I'm also going to change the angle of my gradient here to -90 degrees so that the gradient is going from the top downwards. Now I could just as easily set it to 90 degrees if I wanted to, because I want the white to appear on top, notice that. I could change the angle to 90 degrees and then I could click on the Reverse button in order to reverse the order of the colors, and that would work for me too. You also have the option of changing the location of your color-stops if you like. So let's say I want to nudge the black up a little bit. Since it's my first color, I'll go ahead and click on it to select it, and then I could change its Location value to 10%, 10% of the way into the path outline, that is, and now we'll go ahead and nudge black upward. You also have the option of changing a color by double-clicking on it and that will bring up this pop-up panel. You can switch between your color sliders and your swatches, so you can work either way there. You also have control over Opacity, so you can change the Opacity of the color-stop, and we'll see a lot of these options later on, by the way. Here's another thing you can do, I just want you to know this up front, you can duplicate a color-stop by pressing the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and dragging like so, and that will create an exact duplicate of that color. If you want to get rid of a color-stop, you can select it and click on the Trashcan icon, but that's kind of a waste of time, when all you have to do is grab it and drag down, and that will basically rip the color-stop off of the gradient. And that's it, that is our first look at gradients inside of Illustrator. In the next exercise, I'll introduce you to the Gradient tool.
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