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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are a variety of uses for blends inside of Illustrator and in these examples here for this movie specifically, I want to show you three possible ways that you can actually use blends and also we'll learn how to actually apply blends in the process. Now in this document here called blends. ai I have three specific elements that I want to work with. I have here two strokes in this document. One over here on the left, which is a one point blue stroke, then on the far right over here I have the exact same stroke but this one set to 10 points. Then over here I have two circles at two different shades of green. A smaller one and a larger one and then I have two symbols that I have created. These can actually be found here in the Symbols panel and this symbol over here called Highway symbol. Let me close for that now. Let's take a look at the top tow shapes right over here at these two paths that I have created. I'm going to select both of them. I'm going to go to the Object menu here I'm going to choose, Blend then I'm going to choose Make to create a blend between these two objects.
Now what Illustrator does is it takes the two objects that I have selected and it morphs the two into each other. They basically have taken out one stroke over here that was a very narrow or had a thin weight and then this stroke over here had a much thicker weight or heavier weight, and now you can see that Illustrator has kind of varied the weight of all the objects in between. Now the important think to realize about a blend inside of Illustrator, you can't really select the objects in the center. It's what refers to as a live blend. I can still use my Direct Selection tool to click on these outer edges or basically what we call the key objects in the blend. I have a start object and have an end object.
The Illustrator creates all the steps in between and we have no way to access those. Illustrator just generates them automatically when working on it. As we'll soon see when we learn more about blends. I have ways to control exactly how those shapes in between are created. But at a very basic level all I need do is simply take two objects and then tell Illustrator to make a blend between them. There are of course many ways to use blends but this is one example of where blends might come in handy instead of having me actually manual create all those shapes on my own, a blend creates them automatically. Now another way that you might use blends is to create realistic shading techniques, for example, let's take a look at these two circles down over here.
I have created one large green circle then I have created smaller green circle and I have positioned that a little bit up into the right over here. So if I wanted this now to become some kind of highlight for that particular circular to give it more of an appearance of a 3D object, what I can do is I could use my Regular Selection tool to select both objects. Then again go to the Object menu choose Blend and then Make blend out of those objects and you will see that Illustrator now automatically blends the two together. Now you may already be familiar with the concept of an Illustrator called Gradients and specifically a radial gradient. This is really not that much different than a radial gradient at least what I have done here with the blend.
However, remember that blends can be made up of any shape at all. So if I wanted to actually have that shape be more of a half-moon shape, for example, to get more of a realistic shadow, I can easily do that. So just to give you an example, I'm going to press Undo for example here. I'm going to take this circle. I'm going to Option drag, or Alt drag it if you are on Windows, to kind of bring it down like this. I am going to select both these shapes right here and then from my Window menu, I'm going to choose to open up the Pathfinder panel and I'll choose the Subtract option here. Notice now if I select both these shapes and I choose Object > Blend and then Make, I get a different type of an effect, maybe some of that's more highlighted towards the outside over here. And as we'll soon there are many ways to control exactly the appearance of a blend to get it to look exactly the way that you wanted to, but again you have more control over the highlights and the shading then you would normally have with the gradient for example. And again you could use shapes that are not necessarily an oval we doing it in a person's face, for example, and you want to show cheek bones or things like that you might be able to use blends to get a more sophisticated air brush effect.
Now another way that you might blend also is to generate what we call tweens or steps that are in between two other shapes that might be necessary to create different frames for an animation. So, for example, I have two symbols here; it's actually two instances of the same symbol and if I select both of them, I have the ability to blend between two symbols as well. So if I go to the Object menu and I choose Blend > Make, I can now see that I have generated steps in between these two shapes. Now again, one of most important things about a blend is the fact that a blend itself is what we refer to as a live blend. So yes of course we might even know that I can't really touch or edit these pieces in the middle, but what I can do is use my Direct Selection tool to continue to edit or work with these objects individually, for example, I can take one of the key objects in this case the end one here and move out it out over here. Notice now that the step that make up tweens of the blend itself automatically update.
I will click on the Start object here, for example, and I can go over here and click on Opacity and change the Opacity of that shape to zero. And notice now that the Opacity blends as well. Well, let's take a look this object in the top. I'm going to use Direct Selection tool to click on just the outside edge or the key object of this particular blend this one stroke that is currently set right now to 10 points, but it's also set to a blue color. Well what I can do is I could change that color because my blend is live. As I change it, my blend will automatically update. So, for example, I'm going to go ahead and open it up our Color panel. I go ahead I'll bring the focus to my stroke itself and I'll change that to maybe to a yellow color and I can see that right now the actual blend itself blends from the blue stroke all the way to this color stroke that I have added right here and the colors, of course, blend as well.
So a blend doesn't just blend the overall shape themselves; it also blends all the attributes of those paths or those objects in the case of symbols. Let me close the Color panel here. I just want to review one important element about working with blends. Blends are made up of several different elements and it's important to understand the terminology so when we refer to working with blends, we know what we referring to. So notice over here I have this entire blend selected. Over here I can see that my blend is targeted. I have a key object over here and a key object over here where we also like to refer to as I start and our end object and by the way, what is the start object and what is an end object is determined by the stacking order. So the object at the bottom of the stacking order is going to be the start object; the object that's at the top of the stacking it will be end object.
You will also notice that right now there is a line that connects the center of these two key objects so we refer to that the spine of my blend. As I move my key objects around, what we refer to at the steps of our blend, we'll always follow along that particular spine of that blend. Now as we are going to learn about blends further on in this particular chapter, we are going to see that there are ways to modify that spine, there are ways to modify the number of steps that are occur on your blend and we could also choose exactly how those steps are defined in the blend itself and now that we understand how to both to create a blend and also the elements that make up a blend, we can learn how to control those elements as well.
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