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This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.
In this movie, I'm going to introduce you to the Opacity value, which is a pretty simple option. But I just want you to know everything you can do with it, because it's extremely powerful. We are working inside of this graphic that's based on a traditional Ojibway creature, which is Mishipeshu--also known as the underwater panther--for what it's worth. Now let's say I want to make the creature's body translucent. Why then I would go ahead and select the body using my Black Arrow tool. And you can get to the Opacity value from a couple of locations: one is the Transparency panel--which I have up on screen--and if you want to get to that you go to the Window menu and choose the Transparency command; or when you have an entire path outline or other object selected, you'll see the Opacity value up here in the Control panel.
So let's say I change this value to 50%, then what we have is a 50-50 blend of the selected object and everything behind it. So any objects that are in front of this path outline will not be affected; they will remain opaque. And that's how it goes for all the blending functions by the way. You're always controlling the interaction between the selection and everything behind the selection. If you select a different value, such as I'll switch to 30%, then we have 30% of the active object mixed with 100 minus 30%, which is 70% of everything behind it.
If you want to flip that equation, then you switch the opacity to 70%. So now we have 70% of the selected object mixed with 30% of everything in back of it. And you can dial in a custom value as well. For example, I'll enter 44%--you cannot enter decimal values by the way--and now I have 44% of the active object mixed with 100 minus 44, which is 56% of everything in back of it. And I hate to keep belaboring this little mathematical equation here, but it is interesting in that you are mixing a kind of concoction as you move through your illustration.
So we've got 44% X plus 56% Y, and that's the way it is for all the blending options. So when we get to Blend modes, which start with Normal--Normal is the Blend mode turned off--along with all the other ones here, which I'll describe in detail in future movies. They all create translucent interactions and they do so using very simple equations. Now I'm not going to go into what those equations are, because most of you probably aren't interested in that information, however that's what's going on.
You're always mixing the opacity of the active path with everything behind it. Now let's say that you want to modify the translucency of the entire creature. So the first thing I'll do is go ahead and reset the opacity of the selection to 100%, and then I'll click in this little corner wedge of the Mishipeshu layer, or I'll just Alt+Click or Option+Click on that layer there in the Layers panel in order to select the entire creature. And just so we can better see what we're doing, I'll press Ctrl+H--or Cmd+H on the Mac-- in order to hide those selection outlines.
And now let's say I change the opacity to something basic like 50%. And we're going to create all these interactions between the selected path outlines, which is not what we want, because obviously we don't want to see through the creature's head to this bit of neck that he has, and we don't want to see this bit of leg back there, and so forth. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, or Cmd+Z on the Mac, to undo that change. Instead, what you do is go ahead in this case and target the entire layer by clicking on the meatball for that top layer in the stack, and you can likewise target groups and so forth.
And now if I were to change the opacity value to 50%, I change the opacity of the entire creature as a whole. Now one last thing I'll share with you. If you've loaded my dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts back in Chapter 22 of this very course, then I've given you keyboard shortcuts for a few opacity settings. So for example, if you press Shift+0 you'll reset the opacity value to 100%. If you press Shift+1 then you'll change the opacity to 10%, Shift+2 changes it to 20%, Shift+3 to 30% and so on and so on, all the way up to Shift+0 once again, so you can work in 10% increments all the way up to 100%, which once again is Shift+0.
And that's how you work with the opacity value here inside Illustrator. In the next movie, we'll begin to investigate the Blend modes.
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