Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
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Defining an opacity mask


Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Defining an opacity mask

I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Translucent This time around what we are going to bee doing is we're going to be using this silhouette of Sammy's head in order to cut through multiple objects inside of the jacket sublayer right here. So I'm going to start things off by twirling the jacket sublayer closed for a moment and you can see that below that layer is an object, just a plain old everyday path called head. I extracted this path from the Backdrop layer. You may recall if I turn that head layer off for just a moment, then I expose Sammy's real head instead of the silhouette thereof.
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  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
12h 54m Intermediate Jul 09, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Working with compound shapes in the Pathfinder palette
  • Ghosting shapes with Fill Opacity
  • Understanding gradients and the gradient tools
  • Cloning and coloring a blended path
  • Saving tile patterns and applying them to a shape
  • Importing and linking images from other applications
Deke McClelland

Defining an opacity mask

I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Translucent This time around what we are going to bee doing is we're going to be using this silhouette of Sammy's head in order to cut through multiple objects inside of the jacket sublayer right here. So I'm going to start things off by twirling the jacket sublayer closed for a moment and you can see that below that layer is an object, just a plain old everyday path called head. I extracted this path from the Backdrop layer. You may recall if I turn that head layer off for just a moment, then I expose Sammy's real head instead of the silhouette thereof.

And I'll twirl open Backdrop and scroll down a little bit here. Let's go ahead and unlock Backdrop for just a moment. I'll meatball this Compound Path and I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac so that we can see the selection outline right there. That is the center of that donut hole. So this subpath around Sammy's head is cutting a hole in the larger subpath along the bottom of the curtains. So essentially what I did was I copied this whole path and then I pasted it to a different layer, and if you want to see how that works, why then go ahead and get the White Arrow tool, click off the path the path for a moment to deselect it Alt- click or Option-click on the outline around Sammy's head in order to select it.

So that's an Alt-click on a PC and an Option click on a Mac. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command. Then once you've don't that go ahead and twirl close the Backdrop layer lock it back down. Target the jacket layer let's say in the Layers palette. Go to the fly-out menu right there, and make sure that Paste Remember Layers is turned off, so that when you paste the head it comes into this new layer instead of remembering the Backdrop layer. All right so make sure that's off there should be no checkbox. Go ahead and choose the command if there is and then press Ctrl +F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste the object right there in the front.

Then I just I filled it with Black. It's basically what happed. I'd go to the Fill attribute here inside the Color palette and then click on this little Black swatch in order to make it a weak black. Notice that 100% K is good enough. All right that's all I did. Anyway I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of that. Now before we apply this head as an opacity mask, what I need to tell you about opacity masks is that first that they can cut through multiple objects at a time. So remember the Ringo being a hole in the submarine and all that jazz, when we were talking about pathfinder operations in the previous chapter. Well in that case we were just cutting though one path or collection of paths at a time because we had multiple paths inside of a Compound Shape. In this case were cutting through whole layers of paths at a time using an opacity mask. The other thing you need to know is that Black results in a hole that's why I've set Sammy's head to black here, and then white represents opacity inside of the layer.

I want you to see exactly what's going on before we charge your head with Sammy's head here. I want you see what going with opacity mask in general because they are very weird objects inside of Illustrator so do this for me, would you? Go ahead and meatball the jacket layer to make it active, then I want you to choose the Ellipse tool here from the toolbox or you can press the L key of course. I'm going to draw a big giant circle like so, and that circle will probably come in filled with black because that was the state of the last object. Here's what I want you to do. Go ahead and press the D key to get the default colors inside of Illustrator, which would be a white filled and a black stroke. We're going to increase the thickness of that stoke to something like 10 points for now. Just by way of demonstration.

Now this new circle has appeared inside of the jacket layer. We are going to twirl open jacket to see that it's at the top of that sublayer. Go ahead and drag it out of the sublayer, between the piano and jacket sublayers there, so that it exists independently of the jacket layer very important. Then twirl close the jacket layer again. Now you don't have to keep twirling closing, opening, close and open. The reason I'm doing that is just for the sake of tidiness, because I don't have I don't have a lot of room to work. Now, both the path and the jacket should be selected so meatball this new path right there in the circle, and Shift meatball the jacket like so. Then what you do to go ahead and turn the forward object into an opacity mask and remember it's always the front object that's masking the stuff below it. This is a theme through out Illustrator.

Then go to the Transparency palette, bring up it's fly-out menu and choose this command right there, Make Opacity Mask. And see what happens. You can see that the area that was formally inside the circle is now opaque or as opaque as it ever was. It's still visible. The area outside of the circle is transparent. How does that work? Well let me sow you what's going on with these two checkboxes that's what I need you to understand before we actually use Sammy's head here, you need to understand how these two weird checkboxes work. I'm going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac just to get rid off that selection folder all there in the illustration Window.

We've got Clip, notice that guy right there and what that does is that makes everything outside of the initial object that circle. It makes it all black. So that the area outside the circle, so including the stroke as the stroke is black and then the area outside the circle, as well all that area is transparency. And if you don't want that if you want the background to appear white then you turn off Clip and notice now the stroke cut a hole because after all it black and the white which exists inside the circle and outside the circle permits the shapes to show through so that we can still see them.

You also have the option of inverting the mask so everything that's white becomes black everything that's black becomes white in which case we are going to use this circle, in order to cut a hole. Now we can see everything outside the circle. So I would expect having just inverted things that I would see a difference between the stroke and a background. But the reason we're not, the reason we're just seeing a hole where the circle was the fill of the circle is because the fill is now calculated to be black and the stoke is now calculated to be white so it is visible, and the area outside of the circle is also calculated to be white.

So it's also visible. If you don't want that if you want to set the background to black once again as by default, then you turn the Clip checkbox on. Now thanks to having both checkboxes on be area inside of the white becomes transparent, the area defined by the black stroke becomes opaque, or as opaque as it ever was, and then the area in background becomes transparent again. Now I don't expect you to remember how these checkboxes work. Even I to this day after having just explained it to you could turn around and get throughly confused by them. So what I'm going to tell you is this when you apply an opacity mask and it looks exactly the way you wanted to, great, good job! If it doesn't quite look the way you wanted to, then try turning on and off the Clip and Invert Mask checkboxes and see if things get better. And that's exactly what we're going to do, in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: In the lesson on pressure sensitivity, exactly what kind of Wacom tablet is the instructor using?
A: The instructor is using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet
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