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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.
I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Translucent jacket.ai. 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.
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