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Creating credible cast shadows

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Creating credible cast shadows

In this exercise I am going to take those modified radial gradients and I am going to turn them into more credible cast shadows. So it looks as if there is a light source behind the peppers and the peppers are casting shadows forward. I have saved my progress as Better cast shadows.ai; better but not best, found inside the 24_gradient_mesh folder, and I am going to start things off, because it happens to be unlocked, with the right-hand gradient mesh, which I can get by meatballing the second mesh object inside of the mesh shadows layer, and I am going to get my White Arrow tool by pressing the A key. Now I am going to marquee these too far outside points.

Creating credible cast shadows

In this exercise I am going to take those modified radial gradients and I am going to turn them into more credible cast shadows. So it looks as if there is a light source behind the peppers and the peppers are casting shadows forward. I have saved my progress as Better cast shadows.ai; better but not best, found inside the 24_gradient_mesh folder, and I am going to start things off, because it happens to be unlocked, with the right-hand gradient mesh, which I can get by meatballing the second mesh object inside of the mesh shadows layer, and I am going to get my White Arrow tool by pressing the A key. Now I am going to marquee these too far outside points.

So at least it looks like two points. It's really four points with one point on top of another in both cases. So I'll get off four of those points right there by marqueeing them and then I'm going to drag the points down, like so, and notice the effect that you created. It's just immediately better. Now you don't want to drag thing so far that one of the circles interrupts the other, like so. So in other words this ellipse should not cut into any of the blobs in the background there. Because if it does, you'll have a very sharp transition around your shadow. Now that sharp transition may turn out to be exactly what you're looking for.

There are shadows that work that way, but in our case I am going to recommend that we keep the blobs outside of each other so that we have soft transitions all the way around. We just want to make sure that we're creating a directional effect. So about right there actually works pretty nicely for this pepper. Now, you might be tempted to marquee this pair of points right here by themselves and then drag them downward as well, but you are not going to see any difference, because this pair of points right there and this pair of points are both absolutely white. So we are not going to see any difference in the transition from white to white.

If you want to see such a transition as well as in larger shadow, then go ahead and marquee these two points right there and change the opacity. And the Opacity value that I came up with, that I thought looked pretty good, is 10%, and then I will press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac in order to make that change. And then finally, I just feel like the interior is a little too dark. So I am going to marquee this pair of points, the second to inside points that are associated with the mesh, and I am going to change their Opacity to 95%, and believe it or not, that does help make a little bit of a difference.

That lines up the shadow just ever so slightly underneath that pepper. Let's do something similar with the other gradient mesh. Right now, it's locked down. So let's lock down that mesh we just got done modifying, and unlock the other one. I am also going to go ahead and meatball that top mesh like so, and I am going to marquee these two points right here. This is why it's so essential that the right-hand mesh is locked, so that we don't end up selecting into it. Now I'm going to drag down into the left, like so. Now that ends up creating a sharper effect. If we touch the inner ellipse to that outer blob right there, we get a pretty sharp transition.

So you might not want to go that far with it. You might want to take it out just a hair like so, and then I'll go ahead and marquee this pair of points right there, and I'll change the Opacity value to 10%, so we are doing the same thing we did with the other pepper shadow, and then that darkens up the shadow ever so slightly. I'll go ahead marquee these outermost points. I'll take them down as well, so we end up getting this effect. Subtle modification by the way. You are not going to see huge difference. But it does help us to achieve a more naturalistic shadow. I'm also going to marquee this pair of points if I can, like so, and because everything else is locked I am able to marquee those points independently of the rest of the illustration and then I will go up to the Opacity value and change that value to 95% and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and that is it.

And we end up with these shadows right here, which I think are quite impressive. They're just that little sort of subtle hint of a shadow that absolutely makes the pepper feel like its part of a scene. All right! I am going to press Ctrl+1 or Command+1 on the Mac, just to nudge my screen image there. And I am going to twirl closed mesh shadows and then I am going to turn on my text layer, just so that we can see the final illustration. Now at this point, let's say you want to modify the color of those shadows. Well, that's really easy to do now. I am going to go up to the Object menu and I am going to choose Unlock All, just to unlock everything inside of this illustration.

So we can get to both of the shadows. And I'll press the V key in order to switch to the Black Arrow tool or press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on a Mac, in order to switch to the Outline mode, and I'll click off the shapes in order to deselect them. Because after you unlock everything, then everything that just got unlocked is selected. So you want to deselect everything, and then click on one of the shadows and Shift+Click on the other one in order to select them both. Press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y again to switch to the Preview mode and I'm also by the way going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H to hide my selection edges.

Now, I'll go up to the Color panel, switch back to HSB, and I am going to dial in some slightly different values. I am going to change the Hue value to 15 degrees, which is going to add a little bit of yellow to the shadows. If you go too much farther than that, the shadows end up looking green just by comparison to these bright red peppers. Then I'll lower the Saturation value to 50% and I'll leave that Brightness value set to approximately 35%, and we get this effect here. So more neutral, lighter shadows as well, but notice that all of that Opacity information remains intact. So it's very easy from this point on to modify the color of those shadows.

The last thing I want you to notice is even though if you were to inspect these shadows very closely, you are going to see some rough edges going on. Those edges are just an artifact of Illustrator's screen redraw. If you were to actually take this artwork into Photoshop, you can see that we have very soft organic looking shadows around these wonderfully hyper organic looking objects. Thanks to the power and flexibility of Gradient Mesh inside Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

134 video lessons · 28441 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
      58s
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
      33s
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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