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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
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Blending between levels of opacity


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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Blending between levels of opacity

I have saved my progress as Blended bat wings.ai, and in this exercise I am going to demonstrate how you can blend not only between different colors of fills or strokes inside of Illustrator, but also between different levels of opacity. So I am going to scroll over here until I find this region. So notice that I have got a few things going on actually here and let me make sure that this layer is unlocked, it is locked. It's the star layer that contains the objects that we are seeing onscreen.
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  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What's old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling CS's new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
14h 53m Intermediate Nov 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Tracing a pixel-based image
  • Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
  • Creating and editing gradients
  • Creating multi-colored blends
  • Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
  • Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
  • Designing advanced type effects
  • Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
  • Making the most of symbols
  • Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
  • Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Blending between levels of opacity

I have saved my progress as Blended bat wings.ai, and in this exercise I am going to demonstrate how you can blend not only between different colors of fills or strokes inside of Illustrator, but also between different levels of opacity. So I am going to scroll over here until I find this region. So notice that I have got a few things going on actually here and let me make sure that this layer is unlocked, it is locked. It's the star layer that contains the objects that we are seeing onscreen.

So I need to unlock that layer so I can gain access to the items it contains. Then I'm going to click in the upper right-hand corner of that star layer in order to select everything contained inside the layer and there are a total of four objects that we are seeing right now. There is actually a fifth object that's offscreen. I will go ahead and zoom out so that we can take in everything. So the fifth object is over here. It's this little completely transparent guy, a little circle whose Opacity value is set to 0%. Over here, if I zoom in, we've got a transparent star shape toward the outside.

We also have this translucent star shape on the interior that's also blurred a little bit and then we have two variations of the circle with different levels of opacity once again. So I am going to click off these path outlines for a moment. I want to show you what's going on with this blurry star shape just so you have a sense of what we're working with here. This is not one of the shapes that we are going to blend, actually. In fact, this is the only shape on the layer that we are not go blend. If I switch over to the Appearance panel while that shape is selected, you can see that it has a fill and the Opacity is set to 25% and you can change that Opacity value by clicking on the word Opacity.

That brings up the Transparency panel. You change the Opacity value. Raise it to make the shape more opaque, lower it to make it more translucent/transparent. Anyway, I am going to escape out of there. This is what I want you to see, this Gaussian Blur option. If you click on it that brings up this dynamic effect inside of Illustrator and it's called Gaussian Blur. It's borrowed from Photoshop, and what it does is it goes ahead and blurs the shape. It's a pixel level effect. So it does go ahead and convert this vector to pixels on the fly, and in this case I have set the Radius value to 6 pixels, which is a fair amount of blur, not nearly as much of a blur as you would get if you applied 6 pixels worth of blur inside of Photoshop, but quite a bit of blur here inside of Illustrator.

Anyway, I just want you to see that. I am going to cancel out. So you get a sense of how I created that blur. And if you were trying to blur an object in such a way, then you would select it, go up to the Effect menu, and this is how you apply the blur in the first place. Choose blur, and then choose Gaussian blur from this region of Photoshop Effects right there. Anyway, we will be talking about those more, these dynamic effects, when we look at dynamic effects, an entire chapter devoted to the topic inside the Mastery portion of this series. However, in the mean time, here is what I want to do. I am going to click off that star to deselect it and I am going to grab this star right here. And you might say, what star are you talking about, Deke? Well, I can see that there is something here, I know there is a star out here, it happens to be transparent.

But I can see a little black square next to my cursor. So I will click in order to select that big old star. Sure enough, it is there. Notice that it has a Fill Color of 50% Cyan. Everybody else zeroed out. So where is that Fill Color? Well, by virtue of the fact that I have set the Opacity value - either up here in the Control panel or down here in the Appearance panel, anywhere where you can find it - to 0%, it is absolutely transparent. Now I am going to go ahead and click on this interior circle right there. It's actually the outermost of the two circles that are right on top of each other and this guy has a Fill Color of 25% Yellow.

Everybody else is zeroed out, and its Opacity is 100%. So I just want to see what we are working with here. Click on one, Shift+Click, if you can find it, on the other one. If you can't find it, by the way, if you just can't locate the shape, you can press Ctrl+Y, Cmd+Y on a Mac to switch to the Outline mode, then you'll see the bigger star's the one we want to select. Go ahead and Shift+Click on it to select it as well. Then press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y to switch back to the Preview mode, and now go up to the Object menu, choose the Blend command and choose Make, or press Ctrl+Atl+B, Cmd+Option+B on a Mac in order to create a blend between those two path outlines.

Now by virtue of the fact that the two paths had different Fill Colors, because the interior shape has a color of 25% yellow and the exterior shape has a color of 50% cyan, why then Illustrator goes ahead and creates a bunch of steps in between. If they were the same color, but different Opacity levels, then Illustrator would do that one step thing once again. Or it might create a few more steps depending on the distance between the path outlines. But it's not smart enough to tell the different levels of transparency apart from each other. You would then have to specify the number of steps manually.

I might go ahead and do that anyway. With the Blend selected I will double -click on the Blend tool here inside the toolbox in order bring up the Blend Options dialog box and then I can switch from Spacing. Remember, if you ever want to know the number of steps that Illustrator has assigned, you switch from Smooth Color to Specified Steps and then you'll see, my gosh! 127 steps. I don't think I need this many. Now you want to assign as few steps as you can get away with, by the way. If you're really trying to control the process, because otherwise, too many steps, you're just throwing more complexity at the project.

It's going to take longer to print, it's going to take longer to rasterize inside of Photoshop, the whole number. So if you reduce the number of steps to, let's say, 35, I think worked out pretty nicely, and press the Tab key, I didn't see anything change onscreen. And I reduced the number of steps to about a quarter of what they were before and everything looks just absolutely copacetic, and that means that, as I say, it's going to print faster, it's going to rasterize faster, it's going to view faster. We are going to preview the effect faster onscreen as well. So I am going to click OK in order to accept that modification.

Now the great thing, I am going to zoom in on this effect, because I just love it. Notice if I click off, now, by selecting the Black Arrow key and then clicking off the shape, if I deselect the shape, because I am so far zoomed in, I can see the bands of color in between, bear in mind however that you really are zoomed in. In my case, I am zoomed into 300%. These different bands aren't going to reconcile in print. They are not going to reconcile when I rasterize the graphic either. However, now that I am zoomed in, I can see that I have got this wonderful interaction between the various star shapes and I have got this very sculptural star effect going on as well.

Now this brings up an important point if you've been paying close attention you might ask me, well, wait a sec, Deke. Just a few exercises ago you were telling us how important it is to make sure your path outlines contain the same number of anchor points and equivalent anchor points and they should be the same kind and all that garbage, and yet you have got a circle that has four smooth points and then you have got this bazillion point star. I think it's 11 point star, which would mean 22 corner points. How different could these shapes be? Well, the great thing is that the two shapes are oriented properly with respect to each other, so things are working out quite nicely. And also, Illustrator is very good about blending between a circle and just about anything.

So it goes ahead and smooths out these areas in etween the different shapes and reconciles the effect quite nicely. Anyway, you can achieve some really awesome effects by blending between paths with various levels of opacity. In the next exercise I am going to show you how to blend between two paths that are far apart from each other and edit the path of the blend.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.


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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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