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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.
All right, welcome to the final exercise of this chapter in which I'll introduce you to blending and blend modes, both of which we'll explore in more detail in a later chapter. So consider this nothing but the briefest of all possible introductions. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Deep artwork.ai. So called by the way because we have all kinds of depth going on as a result of our myriad gradients and drop shadows. But we still have a little work to do. So keep your eye on the ping-pong ball and this lilac logo down here in the lower right region of the artwork.
As I switch over to the Final gradient effect.ai file, notice that I have this nice shading going on inside the ping- pong ball. Then I have quite a different effect associated with the logo. And we'll see that's a matter of applying a single option, does all of that work for us. So I'm going to switch back to Deep artwork.ai. Now, what we have, what we're wanting to create is a Custom Gradient along this lower-right rim of the ping-pong ball. Something that we can't really do just using gradients on their own or a drop shadow or anything like that for that matter.
Now, by the way, if I switch back to Final gradient effect.ai, we can create something like this using a Gradient Mesh, which we'll explore in the next chapter. However, there's an easier way to work. So I'm going to switch back again to Deep artwork.ai and I'm going to zoom in on that ping-pong ball right there. I am going to click on these two shapes. There is one shape right there, select it with the Black Arrow tool and then I'll move my cursor over until I see that little square next to the cursor. I'll Shift-click to select this larger path. These two paths define the extreme edges of the gradient that I want to assign here. So we want to create a gradient that extends from this lightish gray to white and in the pattern of these path outlines.
So that's a wonderful thing about blends is that you can define exactly how the gradients are going to transition. They take a little bit more time to create however, and we're going to be spending an entire chapter on Blends and Masks later inside of this series. So anyway, here's what you do. You select these shapes that you have prepared in advance, then you go to the Object menu, and you choose Blend, and you choose Make. You have got that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+B, Command+Option+B on the Mac and it's that simple and you get that effect right there.
Then you click off of the Paths in order to deselect them and you have this wonderful Custom Gradient. So simple, once you know how to create the shapes in the first place and that's what we're going to be exploring later. Not now, but later on in this series. So that's that, what about the logo? Well, we just saw blending, now we're going to see a Blend mode assigned to this logo effect right here. What a Blend mode allows us to do is to mix the Luminance values. In this case, the Brightness values that are associated with this logo with the underlying artwork. I'm going to achieve this effect by the way by going to the Layers palette and I'm going to collapse this Logo layer, twirl it close, and I'm going to meatball the entire layer in order to identify the layer as the mark for my Blend mode. Then I'll make sure my Transparency palette is up on screen.
That's one way to work. So you can go to the Window menu and choose Transparency if you like, or go ahead and escape out of that. You could just go to the Opacity option up here in the Control palette. So either way. If I go to Opacity and click on it, then I'm going to get sort of a little version of the Transparency palette right there. I'm going to change the Blend mode from Normal to Luminosity and what that does is it keeps the Brightness values that are associated with this current layer right here, and it mixes them with the underlying colors.
So Luminosity and Color are opposites of one another. So if I choose Luminosity, notice what happens. The Lilac goes away and it's replaced with the underlying color of the green. So I'm going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide those anchor points and so on. So that we can see our artwork. It's still selected. It's too much in the foreground there. I can see it too clearly. In other words, it's too obvious. So I'm going to change the Opacity value to 20% like so, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that modification, and that my friends is the final version of the ping-pong paddle artwork. You are now familiar with the new realm of gradients inside of Illustrator CS4. In the next chapter, we'll transition to the even more impressive world of Gradient Mesh.
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