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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 review the commands in the second half of the Blend mode menu. I'm still working away inside Mishipizheu CS5.ai found inside the 22_transparency folder. All I've done is to meatball the beast layer here inside the layers panel. Hide my edges by pressing Ctrl+H or Command+H and then switch between the various blend modes. Right now we are looking at Color Dodge. We are now going to switch up to the first of the contrast modes, Overlay, and Overlay is Soft Light and Hard Light. I'll do variations on a common theme; basically the idea is you are multiplying the darkest details and screening the lightest details by which I mean you're applying the Multiply mode in order to convert the darkest details inside the selected object to shadows, and then you're applying the Screen mode to the lightest details inside the selected object to convert them to highlights or glows.
So this is the effect of Overlay right there and theoretically, you should get a kind of heightened contrast effect. In this case, we are removing a lot of contrast from the beast, but we are up in the contrast of the gradient mesh in the background. Now, it's somewhat analogous to mapping one object onto another. In this case, we are mapping the beast onto the background, and that's why the background gets the emphasis. If we wanted to flip the equation and map the background onto the beast, so the beast ends up getting emphasized then you would switch from Overlay to Hard Light and they are very similar blend modes incidentally.
In a way, they are kind of opposites, because again Hard Light will emphasize the active layer; Overlay is going to access the background. Anyway, this is the effect of choosing Hard Light, and it ends up producing what appears to be a very jagged result. This is just an artifact of the screen preview. I'll show you what the effect looks like in greater detail, rasterized in Photoshop in just a moment, but first, I want you to see that if Overlay is too much as opposed to too little, then you can switch to Soft Light and you will end up getting a very subtle effect indeed.
Now, I am going to switch to Photoshop to show you what each of these effects looks like when rasterize. I have gone open a document called Contrast modes.psd; it's found inside the 22_ transparency folder once again. If you look in the layers panel, you'll see three layers; overlay, soft light, and hard light, and those are our three modes. I'm zoomed into 100% inside Photoshop, meaning that one screen pixels devoted to every image pixels so we are seeing the exact results of those effects. This is what Overlay looks like. With the sort of heightened color values and many of the colors are being drawn from the background into the beast, and then we have these alternately bright and then darker strokes, wrapping around the various contours.
If I wanted to reduce the effect, then I could switch to Soft Light, and this is different, by the way. This is a unique effect as opposed to just reduced opacity version of Overlay. We don't need that after all. You can already reduce the opacity of the Overlay effect, just by changing the Opacity value. So this is something entirely different, albeit related. And then finally, if you wanted to heighten the contrast and emphasize the selected object, then you would switch to Hard Light and you can see that the strokes are by no means jagged. They're very nice and smooth, and even and so on; so all the contrast modes produce nice, uniform effects.
Now, I will switch back to Illustrator and with the beast layer still selected as it is, I am going to switch down to the Difference mode which uses the active object to invert the colors in the objects below. In this case, we are using the beasts, the colors inside the beast, in order to invert the colors in the Gradient mesh in the background. The brightest colors are going to invert the most, the darkest colors are going to invert the least, and this happens again on an ink by ink basis. So, that's why the C, M, and Y inks are pretty much inverting and we are getting these strange colors inside the strokes, whereas black is not getting modified at all.
And then inside the beast, we are inverting like crazy especially inside the black plate which is why the creature is turning so dark. The other inversion mode that's available to you is Exclusion. So the idea is when two identical colors overlap each other, then where the Difference mode is concerned they turn black; where the Exclusion mode is concerned they turn gray. So you end up getting this kind of greyer effect out of exclusion. Also you are not going to go supersaturated with your ink values. So you're going to avoid overwhelming the total ink limit.
All right, now I am going to switch from Exclusion to these guys right there and I am going to start at the bottom actually with Luminosity, because it is easiest to understand that way. Luminosity is going to keep the luminance information that is the darks and the bright, the shadows and the highlights from the active object and mix it with the color from the underlying object. So, we completely lose the color of the beast this time, all the browns that were inside this creature, and we replace them with the colorful streams from the Gradient mesh background. If you wanted to do exactly the opposite, keep the colors from the beast and keep the luminance information from the background you would switch to color, which is going to give us a pretty drab effect in our case, because it's the beast that contains all the brightest information and all the detail.
But again it's a way of achieving an opposite effect, and then you have got two above here, that are lot less useful. What they do is Hue and Saturation, they break up color into two pieces. So, Hue as we reviewed in the past, the Hue is the core color of a color, and then Saturation is how vivid or drab that color might be. So, if I switch to Hue, we are going to mix the Hue that is the core colors of the beast layer with the Saturation and the Luminosity of the Gradient mesh in the background.
If I switch to Saturation then I will keep the saturation of the beast layer and it makes me laugh, because he has very little saturation. It makes everything pretty drab inside of the beast there because we are mixing the Saturation of the beast with the Hue and Luminance information of the Gradient mesh background. Those are the various blend modes that are available to you inside of Illustrator to get a sense of how they work and how you might apply them. Stay tuned for the next exercise.
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