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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.
The last time you saw me I was telling you how while I regard the new Gradient tool as a welcome addition to the software, gradients in CS3 and earlier were none too shabby. In fact, I don't know of any other program that can keep up with Illustrator's other great fountain fill function, the gradient mesh. A gradient mesh starts out as a matrix of rows and columns that meet at points. You can color each point in any way you like. This permits you to move colors in two dimensional space directly inside a shape and blend between all neighboring colors in all directions. You can create highlights, naturally shaded edges, even rivers of color.
Points in a gradient mesh behave just like the anchor points in a path. You can move them, adjust their control handles, select and edit multiple points at a time, and even distort them with the Liquify tools. A gradient mesh represents graduated fills at their very best. So join me now as we mesh around with gradients.
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