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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.
In this exercise, we are going to explore a few practical applications for the blend modes inside Illustrator. I've reverted to the saved version of Mishipizheu CS5.ai, found inside the 22_transparency folder, and I am going to start things off actually in the layers panel. I am going to turn off all of the layers except the paint layer in the background. This paint layer, by the way, if you twirl it open, it includes the linked image and this linked image is a variation on this really old acrylic version of this artwork that I painted way back when, and then in back of it, if you turn off the image, you will see this kind of frame effect, I will go ahead and zoom out for a moment, so that you can see that there is this brown fill with this larger green fill applied as well.
If I find where that path outline is, I don't even know, I'll press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, in order to switch to the outline mode, there it is. I'll click on it to select it, then I will press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y again, and if you go the Appearance panel, because notice, it's just the path, just one path, making these two different fills. So, if you go to the Appearance panel, you'll see that each one of the Fills is offset, using an Offset Path dynamic effect. So, if you click on Offset Path under the brown fill, you'll see that it's offset just slightly, just 12 points outward, I'll cancel.
For the green fill, which is below it, if you click on that Offset Path item, you'll see that it's offset 100 points in all directions, by the way, and that's just so that we have this kind of framing effect. Anyway, I am going to cancel out. Nothing regarding blend modes there; I just want you to have a sense of how things are put together. I am going to turn on this linked image layer once again and zoom into it, and this image you'll see it actually contain the creature. I had painted them into the background, but after adding them here and then I wanted to blend them with this painting, I decided to essentially clone them away.
So inside Photoshop, I use the Content Aware feature which is new to Photoshop CS5 in order to select them and fill them away from the painting, so that he got sort of automatically erased, and then I use the Healing Brush to fill in some of the details. I didn't do this move, this job of it; there is a lot of patchiness going on here. It's hardly a photorealistic effect, but I actually liked what I came up with. It works for this. So I'm going to go ahead and meatball that image in order to make it active. Then I'll go up to the Transparency panel and I am going to change the Blend mode from Normal to Luminosity and that's going to go ahead and mix once again the brightness information, the detail from this linked image to the colors inside the underlying path.
Because that fill is mostly brown, especially in this area, apparently I sized it to exactly fit the image, we see the image turn brown. So you can apply blend modes and opacity levels and other transparency effects to placed images as well as other objects inside Illustrator. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom back in and now, I'll twirl this guy close, click on the gradient layer to turn on the gradient mesh and I am going to go ahead and meatball that entire layer this time around, because it's a big huge mesh pattern that's inside of a clipping mask.
I will go up to the Blend mode pop-up menu again, and I am going to change this one to Hard Light. So we get this interaction between the colors in the contrast levels between the gradient mesh in that original acrylic painting, and that pretty much re-infuses the colors back into the acrylic, while we keep the textures as well. So, it's pretty nice effect; it's unlike anything you might otherwise do inside of Illustrator. You'd have to have an image and a gradient working together to achieve this effect, in other words. Now I am going to turn on the strange details layer, and I am going to go ahead and click on the sun in order to select it.
Notice that it's a combination of path outlines to which I've assigned a round corner effect, by the way, as well as a couple of different overlapping strokes. I am going to change the Blend mode this time to Screen, like so, and then I am going to take the Opacity down to 70%, and we end up getting this brightening effect, which is only appropriate because the sun after all should brighten everything beneath it, and then I will click on one of these sort of wavy path outlines in order to select it. I am going to change the Blend mode again to Hard Light because I want to create a kind of contrast effect as we see there and I am going to reduce the Opacity value to 50% this time if only so you can get a sense here that the Blend mode and Opacity value work together hand-in-hand.
Next, I am going to select this guy if I can find it, and the best way is to click the long one of these edges down here at the bottom of the boat, and I am going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide the edges, so that I can better see what I'm doing. Now I am going to switch the Blend mode this time to the Difference mode and the reason that I'm going with Difference is because it ends up creating this kind of burnt effect like you get with Etruscan vase art. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that, but it looks really cool, primordial primitive; the whole number that's what I'm going for.
Finally, I am going to turn that beast layer back on, and I am going to meatball that entire layer once again, and we'll apply one of the Blend modes that we saw in the previous exercise, exclusion, and that is the final effect I'm looking for. There is a ton of interaction between the various objects inside of this illustration, thanks to the application of Blend modes here inside Illustrator.
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