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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.
All right. So the gradient that I've applied to my ping-pong paddle cushion so far is all very well and good, by which I mean nasty and gastly awful, and so why don't we replace it with a good gradient, something that might produce an actual desirable effect, like this one here? This is the final Gradient effect.ai illustration. You can see that we've got a nice bright red up here in the upper left region of the cushion, and this is that original red that I had applied as a Flat Fill to the cushion in the first place.
Then down in the lower right region we have a darker version of that same red, and its nicely saturated, and its warm, and its rich, and its vibrant and blah, blah, blah, so that's what we want. I'm going to return to my document, Ping-pong paddle.ai, and let's just go ahead and reset this entire experience at this point. Now, I want to let's say switch back to my original red fill, but if I clicked this little color icon down here at the bottom of the toolbox, or if I try out its keyboard shortcut of the comma key, then I'm going to fill my cushion with white, which is not what I want. So I've lost my original color. How did that happen? Well, that white happens to be the last color I touched on, and for you it might be some other color entirely.
So to restore the red, here is what you do, you press Ctrl+Z Command+Z on the Mac to get back your gradient. You just click on one of these color stops, and notice by virtue of the fact you clicked on the red color stop, very important that you click on one of your original reds, then you are going to assign red to the color inside the Color palette, and you are also going to assign it down here to this tiny little color icon down here at the bottom of the toolbox. Now if you press comma, you're going to fill the paddle with red. Now I want to make that red part of a new gradient. Well, I've kind of goofed up my default gradient here inside the Gradient palette. So what I'm going to have to do is click off the paddle for a moment in order to deselect it. Then I'll switch over to that Black White Gradient right there. Now I'll go ahead and click on the paddle cushion again to select it, and working inside the Color palette, this is the easiest way to go.
You want to make sure your fill is active right there. I'll go ahead and drag that fill color and I'll drop it on the far left side of this gradient bar right here, in order to make it the first color in the gradient. So I replaced white with that red. Now, I still have black over on the other side, what I do about that? Well, I'm going to take advantage of the Color Guide palette. We talked a little bit about the Color Guide palette back in the Fundamentals portion of the series. We're going to discuss the palette in even greater detail when we discuss Live Color in the Final Mastery portion of this series.
But in the meantime, you can see that what we're seeing inside the Color Guide palette is not only the active color, which is this red, but also some various complementary colors. Colors that go along with that color I should say. You can switch your Harmony Rule to something else if you want to. I've got it right now set to Triad 2, you might see some other cluster of colors going on up there. But what I really want for this effect, for creating a gradient, this tends to work really nicely, what I want is Shades. So go ahead and switch to the Shades option right there, and then you're going to see a series of shades represented here inside the Color Guide palette.
Then I could say, you know what, this guy right there, this darker shade, that's also nicely saturated, really a rich color, would make a great end color for my gradient. So I'm going to grab it and I'm going to drag it and drop it onto the black color swatch, like to, in order to replace that final color with that red. Now, with this final color stop selected, which it is, it's active. And you can tell its active because see how there are little houses. If the house has a tiny little black roof, it's active. If the house has a tiny little white roof, it's not active. How's that for intuitive? Actually, I think it makes a fair amount of sense, I do have to admit, but that's how it works. So the little tiny roof tells you who is selected and who is not.
Go back to the Color palette and let's go ahead and dial in a slightly different version of this color, just tidy up the values. I'm going to change the Cyan value to 25, 100 for Magenta is fine. For Yellow I think I'll back it off to 70%, and then for Black, I'm going to raise that value to 50%, like so, so we have something darker to work with. Then finally, I'm going to go ahead and change this Angle value right here. I could change it to 45 degrees. I want it to be diagonal and I'll press Tab, and you'll see that that's not really what I want, because that means that the gradient is going to go up into the right, which is a 45 degree angle, starting at the light red and going to the dark red. I really want it to go down into the right, so I'm going to change that value from +45 to -45, just like that, and then press the Tab key and there we have it. That is exactly the gradient that I want to apply to this paddle cushion.
Now, there is a little more going on where this cushion is concerned. It has nothing to do with gradients. It has everything to do with tile patterns, which is the topic of a chapter coming up a couple of chapters from now, and you can see that tile pattern right there, these little sort of doohickeys that are appearing inside of the paddle cushion, we'll apply those little guys, that little bit of texture there, in the very next exercise.
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