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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
We're going to start things off inside of this file, which is not coincidentally called Start here.ai. You can see that I've gone ahead and assembled quite a few objects. In fact, I've already gone ahead and drawn in all the final objects in the illustration. Our job now is to apply the transparency effects. So we're currently looking at everything from the Backdrop layer below. The Backdrop layer contains the curtains and the drapes and the floor and all this other stuff and Sammy's head is cut out of both the mustard colored curtains and the tanned floor in the background. So both of those objects are compound paths with Sammy's head serving as the donut hole.
All right. So now what I'm going to do is turn on the Vectors layer, and there is a few sublayers and other objects inside this layer. To check them out, go ahead and twirl the layer open, and I want you to scroll downwards so that you can see the jacket, head, and bench layers right there in a row. What we're going to do right now is we're going to modify this forward flap of the jacket. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on that jacket. You can see that all the other jacket elements are to some extent or other translucent, just this forward portion of the jacket. That would be his right half of the jacket is opaque.
So if you go ahead and click on it with a Black Arrow tool, you'll select way too much stuff. So let's go ahead and twirl open the jacket layer, and inside of this sublayer, because its actually part of the Vectors layer, you'll see a group. You can tell it's a group because you see the word group over here in the left side of the Control palette. Twirl open the suit group so we can see inside of it, and there is our guy. It's just called Path. Go ahead and meatball it to make it active, and there it is. Now, let's say I want to change the Opacity of this jacket to 50%, so its 50% opaque and 50% transparent, so an even mix of everything inside the illustration so far. Go up to the Opacity value and just change it to 50%, and notice what happens. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide the selection elements, and zoom in yet again. Notice that not only have I made the fill of the object translucent, which is highly desirable at this point. That's exactly what I want, but the stroke is also translucent, so we've lost this nice rich black that we had before, and that's no good whatsoever.
So go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+ Z on the Mac to undo that modification. Make sure the Path object is still meatballed, then switch over to the Appearance palette here, which you can also get to by going to the Window menu and choosing the Appearance Command, or press Shift+F6 if you like. Then what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and twirl open this fill object there and I'm going to click on its Opacity option in order to bring up this little miniature Transparency palette, and I'm going to change this setting right there, the Opacity setting, to 50%. Notice this time, after I press the Enter or Return key to hide the palette, notice this time that I change the Opacity of the fill, and I leave the stroke absolutely opaque. So if you were to twirl open the stroke item, you would see that its Opacity is 100%.
So you do have independent control over the Opacity or if you prefer translucency of both fill and stroke attributes that are applied to an object, and that goes for multiple fill and stroke attributes as well. So you can heap on all kinds of attributes and integrate them together. Now, at this point you may say well, that's interesting. However why are we seeing through one path to another path in the background? So we can tell once again that we just have all these incomplete paths inside of this artwork.
I'll show you precisely how to rectify that problem in the next exercise.
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