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Creating and placing a transparent image

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating and placing a transparent image

In this exercise we are going to take a collection of path outlines from Illustrator. We are going to copy them and paste them into Photoshop. We are going to make some pixel level modifications and save our work as a layer PSD file. Then we are going to place that PSD file with all of its transparency intact here in the Illustrator. I'm working inside a file called Unlikely dinosaur story.ai, found inside the 21_photoshop folder. And I don't know if you've read this text or not, but it's a story about how dinosaurs are going to wage this battle with teens from the future and these are them right there, flying through the sky.

Creating and placing a transparent image

In this exercise we are going to take a collection of path outlines from Illustrator. We are going to copy them and paste them into Photoshop. We are going to make some pixel level modifications and save our work as a layer PSD file. Then we are going to place that PSD file with all of its transparency intact here in the Illustrator. I'm working inside a file called Unlikely dinosaur story.ai, found inside the 21_photoshop folder. And I don't know if you've read this text or not, but it's a story about how dinosaurs are going to wage this battle with teens from the future and these are them right there, flying through the sky.

Now they're not terribly realistically rendered which is fine, but I would like them to be a little soft and a little bit glowly as well. That's something I can do in Illustrator, but it's not handled as efficiently or as elegantly as it is inside of Photoshop. So I prefer to take the objects over to Photoshop, make my changes there since Photoshop does a brilliant job of handling blur and other pixel level of effects, and place the results back here in Illustrator. So I'm going to click on the path outline of one of these guys with a Black Arrow tool to select it and I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Copy command or I could press Ctrl+C, Command +C on the Mac and then I will go up to the Object menu and I'll choose Hide and I'll choose Selection.

You can also pres Ctrl+3 or Command+3 if you want to. You could also turn off the objects inside the layers panel if you prefer. I just want to get them out of there. I don't want to delete them. I just want to hide them, so that we can replace them in just a moment. Now I am going to switchover to Photoshop and inside Photoshop I would like you to start things off by going to the Window menu and choosing the Info command. Inside the Info panel you will see there is this little X, Y item. Click on it and switch to Pixels. It's important that you're working in pixels almost all the time when you're working inside of Photoshop, because that gives you the most accurate feedback.

Anyway, assuming that you're working in pixels, go to the File menu and choose the New command or press Ctrl+N, Command +N on the Mac and you should see Preset set to Clipboard automatically, meaning that Photoshop is sensitive to the contents of the clipboard and is automatically creating a document big enough to accommodate that clipboard. Now it's possibly a Resolution value is set to 72 pixels per inch, in which case bump it up to 300 and you're also going to have to raise your Width and Height value and the values you see there onscreen are the ones I want you to use. So Width should be a 1052 pixels, Height should be 1413 pixels, Resolution 300 pixels per inch, Color mode RGB is just fine, after all these teens are just white at this point.

They are just kind of these white objects. So it doesn't matter what color mode we are in. Then in Background Contents you should set that to Transparent. That is important. We need transparency in the background if we are going to convey that transparency to Illustrator. The rest of the stuff doesn't matter that much. I am going to go ahead and call my file Future teens just so that I'm prepared when I go to save it. I will click OK and I end up with this checkerboard pattern right here. Now my checkerboard pattern may look a little different than yours. Don't worry about that. The next thing you're going to do is go to the Edit menu and choose the Paste command or press Ctrl+V, Command+V on a Mac.

You'll get this familiar dialog box, leave it set to Smart Object, click OK. And we now have the Smart Object layer as soon as you press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept the placement of the file. Now I want you to hide that Info panel by double-clicking to the right of the Info tab. We need to get rid of this layer 1 thing that's left over from creating the final in the first place. Just click on it, press the Backspace key or the Delete key of a Mac to get rid of it. Now go up to the Image menu, choose the Canvas Size command.

Here inside the Canvas Size dialog box what canvas size allows you to do though, is to essentially either crop or uncrop the image. In our case we are going to uncrop. We need some additional room up top and at the sides and so on. So we are going to add some empty room to the file by turning on the Relative check box. That's very important. Then I want you to enter a Width value of 100 pixels and a Height value of a 100 pixels as well. This center chiclet right there should be selected so that you're going to expand in all different directions.

That would be 50 pixels up, 50 pixels down, 50 pixels to left, 50 pixels to the right. Why 50 pixels? Because half of a hundred in each direction. Click OK and you get this effect here. Next I want to blur these guys just a little bit. We can zoom in on them if you want to so that you can see this amazing artistry that I applied to these guys. Go up to the Filter menu with this layer selected. So the Vector Smart Object layer needs to be active here in the layers panel. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Gaussian Blur.

Now that is an effect that's available inside of Illustrator. It doesn't even come with the preview. You can't even see what you're doing whereas here inside Photoshop, brilliant preview. You can see exactly what you're doing out here inside the Image window. You can also click on one of these guys in order to see him inside of the dialog box. A Radius of 2 pixels is what I want for this blur value. Click OK. Now let's give these guys a mysterious futuristic glow by going down here to the fx icon, clicking on it, choosing the Outer Glow command.

I've got my glow set up so that it's white and that's what I suggest for this effect too. So click on your little swatch icon there and go ahead and drag this little circle to the upper left hand corner. Now your field might be yellow, that's fine, it doesn't matter so long as you drag the circle up to the far upper left corner then you're going to white. Click OK. I want you to take the Opacity value down to 70% and then I am going to take the Size value up to 30 pixels like so, so that we have just this outstanding amount of blur and then I want you to go up to the File menu and choose the Save As command or you can choose Save if you like, either one is going to work and go ahead and point to the 21_photoshop folder as I've done and let's call this file Future teens.psd, the layers check box should be turned on.

You want the format to be the native PSD file format. Make sure that the ICC Profile check box is turned on as well and click the Save button. Now then because we have a transparent background as you can see here that transparency is going to be conveyed to Illustrator. Let's go back to Illustrator now and I'm once again working away inside this Unlikely dinosaur story file, the work in progress, with the teens turned off. I'm going to go up to the File menu and choose the Place command. There is Future teens.psd.

Click on the Place button, make sure by the way, Link is turned on, Template should be turned off. Click Place and there is your Teens right there with all transparency. Look at that! We can see right through them to the dinosaur. We need to move them over, like so. So I will drag one of the edges of this image to this location here, so that these sort of spectral figures are sort of floating in the sky and I don't know who's more terrified, them or the dinosaurs. Definitely, an epic battle. Thanks to the power of Illustrator and Photoshop working hand in hand.

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This video is part of

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

153 video lessons · 28017 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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