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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.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to use a couple of blend modes to create complex interactions inside of what amounts to a single path outline. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Blue eyes.ai because after all, baby has got blue eyes. Go ahead and twirl close your eyes sublayer just to keep things manageable here and turn on the hair layer, which contains all of these wacky paths but there are really just a few paths as you will see. If you twirl open hair, you will see that you have got a group of lines, all of which are stroked with opaque blue outlines and then you have got this hair thing right here.
What is that hair thing? Even though if you go ahead and meatball it, you will see-- I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on a Mac so I can see my selection outlines. You will see that we have several subpaths. However, they show up here inside of the Layers palette as a single path outline. Therefore, they must be one big Compound Path that I created using the Compound Path > Make command right here and sure enough, that's what they are because after all you can release them if you want to. However, I don't want you to do that because we wan to have a single uniform Fill effect going across all of these subpaths and to check out what that Fill effect is, go ahead and switch over to the Appearance palette and you will see that we have a 1 point blue stroke, Opacity: Default meaning that it's 100% Opaque, there are no blend modes. And then we have got this blue fill with a Scribble effect assigned to it and we have got this gradient fill going from black on top to white on bottom, I'll just tell you that that's how it's working, also with the Scribble effect applied.
Now we'll take a look at the Scribble effect, which is a Dynamic effect. We'll take a look at it when we discuss Dynamic effects in a later chapter, but if you want to get a sense of what's going on, all you have to do is click on the word Scribble here and you will bring up the Scribble Options dialog box and you can play around inside of this dialog box with the Preview checkbox On. That's going to make it little more predictable if you are feeling ambitious and adventurous and so on. All right, I'm just going to cancel out because I'm not feeling that way where Scribbling is concerned, I'm feeling that way where blend modes are concerned. So let's go ahead and click the Compound Path. I want to show you a couple of blend modes that we haven't seen so far.
I will go ahead and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac, so we can focus in on the illustration itself. All right, I'm going to go up to the Blend Mode pop-up menu here in the Transparency palette and I'm going to switch things over to Overlay. I'm just going to show you handful of different blend modes that are useful to you. Overlay is going to go ahead and Multiply in the darkest colors inside of this group of hair subpath and then it's going to screen all of the liners colors in order to create a high contrast effect. Now, if you are getting too much contrast out of Overlay, you can switch to Soft Light, which is going to give you a reduced effect. It's not merely a reduced opacity version of Overlay. However, it's a unique effect, something you can investigate more if you like. And then if Overlay isn't enough, then you can try out Hard Light, which is going to give you an increased contrast effect, which in many cases is only slightly different than Normal.
Let's see what's going on with Normal where the hair is concerned. You are going to get darker blacks with the Normal mode and you are going to get a little bit of reduced opacity in those black areas with Hard Light. You are going to see some of those Shadows disappear. You are also going to get a Heightened Saturation effect where the blue scribbles are concerned, thanks to Hard Light. All right, in all these blend modes, of course work with reduced opacity values if you are so inclined. Now, just to get a sense of what else is going on, let's see Difference. That's going to give us kind of an inversion effect as we are seeing right here. If you want some of the medium colors to go to gray, you can try it out Exclusion instead, so we are going to get some gray effects around this area for example and then not saying necessarily, those modes are all that useful inside of Illustrator, but you can explore them if you like.
I am now going to switch down here just because Hue and Saturation are pretty rarefied modes. I'm going to switch down to these guys, Color and Luminosity. First, let's take a look at Luminosity. What it's going to do as it's going to take the Highlights and Shadows that are associated with the selected Compound Path and mix them in with the underlying colors. So we are dropping out the blues, we are getting rid of the blue color and we are keeping the Highlights and Shadows as you can see and now, let's compare that to Color right there, which keeps all that blue, but drops out the Highlights and the Shadows.
So we are seeing the brightness values that are associated with the underlying Sammy head right here and of course, his vector based background. And then if you want to break color into its components, you can try out Hue and Saturation, which together make up Color, but as I'm saying, you are not going to see all that much. It's not really going to illuminate things to try those blend modes out on the hair, but you can try them out if you want to. There is Hue, so we are just subscribing to the saturation of the background objects there and then if we want to apply the saturation of the hair, we are going to see very little here. But if we want to apply the Saturation of the hair to the underlying Color and Brightness values of the objects below, then we were trying out the Saturation mode.
Okay, so those were the modes that we haven't seen so far. I'm going to switch things back to Normal for now. I'm going to show you how to go about mixing and matching blend modes along with various Fill attributes here inside of this Compound Path in the very next exercise.
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