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Creating a multicolor blend

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating a multicolor blend

Over the course of this chapter we're going to take this base graphic and we're going to transform it into this final piece of artwork. And everything that you're seeing pretty much is a blend. The background is a blend, the gradient foreground is a blend, the starburst traveling across the sky is a blend, these lines inside the sarcophagus and the wings and the eyebrows of the bat here, those are blends, and even these posts are a blend between two extreme posts. So this is a very, very powerful feature inside of Illustrator--old school but powerful.

Creating a multicolor blend

Over the course of this chapter we're going to take this base graphic and we're going to transform it into this final piece of artwork. And everything that you're seeing pretty much is a blend. The background is a blend, the gradient foreground is a blend, the starburst traveling across the sky is a blend, these lines inside the sarcophagus and the wings and the eyebrows of the bat here, those are blends, and even these posts are a blend between two extreme posts. So this is a very, very powerful feature inside of Illustrator--old school but powerful.

I'm going to switch back to my base graphic here, and currently this background art--I'll press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on the Mac--this background art is a function of a gradient. So if I click inside the gradient, I'm not going to select it because of my recommendation in the previous chapter, where I suggested, by the way, just to make sure we're all on the same page--I'll press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac, switch to Selection & Anchor Display-- I suggested you turn on Object Selection by Path Only. And that way we're going to have a lot more control over our experience inside of Illustrator here.

So I'm going to Cancel out because I want that checkbox on. I'll go ahead and click on the outside of this rectangle, and that takes me to the sky layer here inside the Layers panel. I'll go ahead and twirl it open, and that selects this path inside this sky layer. And it's currently filled with a six-color gradient, as you can see here inside the Gradient panel, which is a lot of colors, but I could gain even more control if I were to express this gradient as a blend; because that way I can create a kind of wavy pattern, instead of a linear pattern like I have now, where basically I've got a straight vertical gradient here.

And so each band of color is like a very skinny horizontally-oriented rectangle. But with a blend I can create all kinds of patterns inside the gradient. So I'm gong to start things off by changing this path to a Solid Color. So I'll press the comma key in order to switch to the Solid Color option--and notice I've gone ahead and switched back to my CMYK values here inside the Color panel, because this is a CMYK document, as I can see up here in the title tab. And I'll just go ahead and click on a shade of green here inside this CMYK spectrum bar that's available to me at the bottom of the Color panel, just so I can see the rectangle.

Now I'm going to turn on this group that's also included in the sky layer down here at the bottom of the stack, and the name of the group is bands, and I'm going to meatball that bands group in order to select it. Then I'm going to ungroup it by going up to the Object menu and choosing the Ungroup command, or I could press Ctrl+Shift+G, and that way I can go ahead and blend between these colors. All right! Now I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+ A on the Mac in order to deselect all those paths, and I'm going to zoom out a little bit too. Now, notice by the way that we have a total of six different shapes here; there is this light blue shape, this red shape, then we have a brown one, a purple one, a blue one, and a kind of rich black one here at the top of this stack, as you can see indicated by these values inside the Color panel.

And the reason I'm mentioning all these colors and these path outlines is because there are six of them, just as there were previously six colors inside my gradient. All right! There's two ways to create a blend. One is to go ahead and select a couple of paths, like so, and then you switch to the Blend tool. This is not my preferred technique; I just want you to know that it's an option. You switch to the Blend tool, which you can get by pressing the W key; it's down here near the bottom of the toolbox. This is a really strange tool, very, very old school. You click on an anchor point in one of the paths and then you click on the corresponding anchor point in the other path outline, and then Illustrator goes ahead and draws a blend between those two paths.

Now, the reason you would use this tool, I don't use it very often at all, the only real reason to use it is when things go wrong. If Illustrator ends up blending your path completely incorrectly and it blends between two opposing anchor points and you end up with a weird pattern and you want to fix things. So if that happens, you press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z to undo, and then you turn your attention to the Blend tool. What you generally do, in case you're curious, is you go ahead and grab your Black Arrow tool--this is the preferred method of creating a blend--and I'll go ahead and marquee all six of these paths.

I'm just marqueeing the left hand edge here of all six of these paths in order to select them, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are all selected now, and nothing else inside the document is selected. And then I'll go up to the Object menu, you choose Blend, and then you choose the Make command, or you've got a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+B or Command+Option+B on the Mac. And bang--just like that, even though two of the paths were already blended before, now we're blending between all six paths in one fell swoop. And we end up getting this very interesting effect.

I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift +A on the Mac, as well as Ctrl+0 or Command+0, and that deselects the paths and then centers my artwork. And notice now that we have this rippling gradient effect that we could not have achieved using a standard gradient. And check this out, I'll go ahead and switch to my White Arrow tool--which of course I can get by pressing the A key--and then I'll go ahead and hover. Notice I'm kind of moving my cursor around and searching for path edges. Whenever you see that square next to the arrow cursor, whether it's a Black Arrow or the White Arrow, that means there is a path outline right underneath the cursor.

Go ahead and click in order to select that segment in this case, so I'm selecting with precision here. And now I'll go ahead and drag up on one of the control handles on this side, then I'll click on this segment and drag up on the control handle on this side; and you can see that I'm making changes to my gradient on-the-fly, which is the amazing thing about blends is that they are just staggeringly powerful and a lot of fun as well I think. Anyway, I'm going to drag this guy up. Notice now I'm creating a very sharp transition.

If I press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide my selection for a moment, you can see that I'm creating a sharp transition at this point. So you've got that kind of control as well, right? Not only do you have control over the placement and the shape--physical shape of the colors-- but you also have control over how fast the colors blend into each other. All right! I'm going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to bring back my selection edges. Oops, dragged the wrong thing. Oh well, I'll click on this segment again in order to select it and then I'll drag this control handle down in order to soften the transition little bit at that point.

I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+ Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect my image. It looks like we still have some awfully sharp transitions actually. I'm going to click on that path again in order to select it and drag these control handles down a little bit. All right, that looks better to me. So there you have it, that's how you create a multicolor blend inside of Illustrator. In the next exercise I'll show you how to take this blend and place it inside of a clipping mask.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14367 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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