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Blending between translucent shapes

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Blending between translucent shapes

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to blend between translucent objects and even though Illustrator CS4 now enables you to add transparency to gradients, the power of translucent blending is still a more powerful feature. So we are talking about a function folks that is more than 20-years-old and it's still better in many ways than anything we have seen so far in this series. And so I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Cropped universe.ai and I'm going to lock down the Back drop layer and unlock the Shoot star layer right there. And I'm going to twirl it open as well. You can see that we have got a number of items, there is burst 1 and there is burst 2 and those are these circles right here in the middle of the star burst and then we have the stars themselves which are the spiky star shapes. And then we have got a couple of circles. So there are four circles in all actually. The items that are labeled circles are circle in the center of the star burst and another one that's over here on the right side of the illustration.

Blending between translucent shapes

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to blend between translucent objects and even though Illustrator CS4 now enables you to add transparency to gradients, the power of translucent blending is still a more powerful feature. So we are talking about a function folks that is more than 20-years-old and it's still better in many ways than anything we have seen so far in this series. And so I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Cropped universe.ai and I'm going to lock down the Back drop layer and unlock the Shoot star layer right there. And I'm going to twirl it open as well. You can see that we have got a number of items, there is burst 1 and there is burst 2 and those are these circles right here in the middle of the star burst and then we have the stars themselves which are the spiky star shapes. And then we have got a couple of circles. So there are four circles in all actually. The items that are labeled circles are circle in the center of the star burst and another one that's over here on the right side of the illustration.

All right, so let's start with burst 1 and burst 2. So I'm going to meatball one and Shift meatball the other and I'm going to zoom in on this object right there, so that we can see it up close and personal. And well we have got, burst 1 is an opaque small circle and it's filled with white and then burst 2 is another white circle except its Opacity is 0%. So that it is completely translucent and it's much larger as well. Just to show you, you might as well see this one by itself. I'll go ahead and Shift-click on the smaller circle to deselect it for a moment. You can see that its Opacity is set to 0% but it is filled with white and this is very important. You don't want to fill it with none because that's not going to work for you. It needs to be filled with the same color as the shape that you are blending from, if you want a same color blend. If you want the colors to shift, then you will try a different color and then an Opacity value of what have you, but in our case if we want transparency it's got to be 0%.

All right, so now I'm going to Shift- click on this circle and we'll go ahead and blend between the two shapes by pressing Ctrl+Alt+B or Command+Option+B on the Mac in order to invoke that Make Blend command under the Object menu. Now, notice that we only get a couple of steps and that's because once again Illustrator is sitting here scratching its head going, you are blending between two shapes with exactly the same color. What do you want from me? Here is a couple of steps in between beyond your way. Anyway, that's not enough obviously. It's just counting the fact that there is transparency. So we need to modify the number of steps and as opposed to change the color, which works. That would give us more steps as well. We are going to manually request more steps and we are going to do that by either there is two ways to work. One is to go up to the Object menu and choose Blend and then choose this command right there Blend Options which notice does not have a keyboard shortcut but it does have a shortcut. I'll show you that what the shortcut is. You go over to the Blend tool and you double-click on it and that brings up the Blend Option Dialog box. It's got a Preview. Make sure it's turned on. Switch from Smooth Color to Specified Steps and I'm going to enter a value of 30 and press the Tab key and notice we now get a smooth transition.

Then I'll click OK. Now, at this point you might think, well all right you know that's cool but what's so great about it Deke. I mean honestly, all of this is a Radial Gradient and it goes from white in the center to transparent at the outside and you can do that inside of Illustrator CS4. So why would you resort to a blend? Well I'll show you. Let's go ahead and get the White Arrow tool. I'll click off the shape for a moment and then once I figure out where that outer circle is I'll Alt-click or Option-click on it to select the entire thing. And now I'm going up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform and then I'll choose Pucker & Bloat. I'll make sure that the Preview checkbox is turned on so I can see what I'm doing and I'm going to reduce this Pucker value down here. Notice what's happening on screen as I do that. We are puckering the shape creating a kind of a four-pointed star. And I'm going to take this value down to -60 actually and then I'll click OK.

What we are creating is a shape blend and you can't do that otherwise inside of Illustrator. You don't have the option to make shape blends inside the program, you have got Linear Gradients and you have got Radial Gradients that can be circular or elliptical and that's all she wrote. That's all there is to it. Let's go ahead and zoom out to click here, just to show you how much more fantastic it can be, I'm going to switch over to the Scale tool and I'm going to drag outward like so in order to make that star burst even bigger and then check this out, this is just playing wacky. I'm going to go ahead and grab the Rotate tool and I'm going to drag from here. Do what I'm doing if you are working along with me. Drag from here and then drag down like this and press the Shift key.

So just drag down- what would that be? That's one-and-a-half hours down the clock right there. So 1:30 down and from the position of 9 o'clock to 7:30 here and make sure the Shift key is down, then release and check that out. It turned into an eight-pointed star just because of the nature of how Illustrator is trying to blend between the two circles and you end up getting an effect like that. Try to get that using your fancy Illustrator CS4 Gradient tool and yet a function as old as 1988. That's how old this feature is. It's capable of handling it. Of course we didn't have transparency back in 1988, but still we had this.

In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to blend between translucent objects that are on different sides of the illustration, join me.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21602 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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