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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, as you may recall, I'm working inside the graphic called Ping-pong paddle.ai and the question I posed to you at the end of the previous exercise is, how do we take a color that we've already assigned to a path and use that as the foundation for a new gradient, that we would then turn around and of course assign to the selected objects? So what you want to do is you want to go ahead and select this red paddle cushion here, and then you want to make sure your Gradient palette is open. That's very important. We don't need to have a big thick gradient like that. We can make it thinner, because I don't want it taking up too much room here.
This gradient bar is just ready and waiting for color. We haven't assigned the gradient to the selected objects so far, so it's currently inert, if you will. But it is ready and waiting for colors should you choose to apply them. You can bring colors into that gradient and apply the gradient at the same time by dragging a color swatch that you see on screen. Now, you can't drag and drop all color swatches, but you can drag and drop a lot of them. For example, with the Color palette visible on screen, I could grab that Fill swatch right there, which represents the color that I've assigned so far, and I could drag it and drop it into the gradient bar.
Now, if you drop it over here on the left hand side, you'll replace white in this case. If you drag it and drop it over on to the right hand side, you will replace black. If you drop it someplace in the middle, you will create a new color at that location, so it will fade from white to red and then from red to black. So I'm just demonstrating, I could have gone ahead and dragged that swatch and dropped it into the gradient bar, but I want to show you other swatches you can drag and drop. If you go to the Color Guide palette, you can't drag this guy and you can't drag this guy, but you can drag this guy right there. So if you drag that swatch, you can drop it into the gradient as well.
Also, if you've taken the time to save off that color as a swatch, I haven't, but if you had, then you would just go ahead and grab that color swatch, for example purple here, and drag and drop it into the gradient, so that works as well. Then there are other ones that you just wouldn't expect. For example, you can't drag this swatch right there. That's not an option, but if you Shift-click in order to bring up the Color palette, then you can grab this swatch and drag it over there. Just weird. Then you can even drag the fill color inside of the toolbox. That's what I'm going to do, just because I think it's the strangest solution ever. I'm going to grab this color swatch right there and drag it all the way over to the gradient bar and then drop it into place like so, and we have now not only assigned a gradient to the paddle that's not exactly the gradient we want, but we have managed to keep this color that I spent so much time on.
So I'll switch back to the Color palette so we can see it, and it is indeed that exact same color, 5, 100, and 70, so I have retained the color that I wanted to apply in the first place. Now I can build a gradient on top of that color, and that's exactly what we're going to do, starting in the next exercise.
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