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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
The Flare tool in Illustrator is incredibly sophisticated. Through the creation of many objects and the use of several blend modes, it actually creates realistic looking lens flares above both vector object and photographic content as well. For example, if I want to add just a little bit extra something to this particular image, and by the way I created this simply by working with an original photograph here, which you can see in this layer, and I simply drew these objects on top of it. Let me go ahead and turn off that Trace Image layer right here. What I want to do is I just want to add a little bit extra something here and maybe create some kind of lens flare in one of these windows. To create a lens flare in Illustrator, we are going to use the Flare tool. We are going to go over here to the Rectangle tool and beneath it will find the Flare tool here.
Now, before we apply a Flare, I want to go over to some of the elements that make up a flare inside of Illustrator. We can see that by double-clicking on the Flare tool, it brings up the Flare tool Options dialog box, and here I can see there is a whole lot of settings that are going to create in a flare. Don't worry about exactly what each of these settings mean because as we see, when we create these flares visually, we can really focus on what it looks like and not really the settings that you have here. You can't apply a flare in this particular way, I'm just showing you where the settings are, as we'll see, we are going to come back to these settings later on if you want to make tweaks or changes to our flare after we have already applied it.
But basically there are four parts of a flare. There is the Center which we'll first define when we create our flare, then there is a Halo which is basically the area around the center of the flare, and then you will also have Rays and Rings which really give the flare it's well flare. I am going to go ahead here and click on Cancel. Now let's go ahead and first create our flare. Using the Flare tool, I have it selected right here. Let's say I want to add the flare, say right about over here, it like, it looks like this sun is glinting off of this window. So what I'm going to first do is I'm going to define where the center of my flare is going to be. I'm going to click-and-drag my mouse, and as I drag outward, I'm not going to release the mouse button, the further I drag my mouse outwards, the larger that Halo area is going to be.
I could also hold down the Command key on my keyboard, and you can see how the space between the inner circle and the outer circle is growing. That basically defines how smooth the transition is from those particular areas as well. But I'm going to leave it small for now. I'm actually going to change the size of my flare to be a little bit smaller here. I want to keep it within the boundaries of my artwork. We'll see in a minute why that could be important. And again, I'm not going to release the mouse button yet, I can use the Up and Down arrows on my keyboard to add rays or remove rays from my flare. So if I want a flare with just a few rays, I could simply go ahead and just tab the Bottom arrow or the Down arrow several times, and then only get a few rays. As I tab the Up arrow, I can see that I'm now adding rays to my flare as well.
So I'm happy with what I have right there. I'm now going to release the mouse. What I have just done is I have defined the first half of my flare. We defined the Center, the Halo area and also the Rays. Now I need to basically define where the Rings of this particular flare are going to be. So, now I'm going to position my mouse cursor somewhere about over here. Now I'm going to click-and-drag once again. And now I'm defining where these Rings are for my flare as well. Again, I could use the Up arrow and the Down arrow on my keyboard to add rings or to remove rings. Now I'm going to release the mouse and I have created my flare. I'll de-select it right here, and I could see I have got this really cool photographic effect, all done with vectors, all using transparency blend modes to create this really, really cool effect.
One of the great things about working with these flares here inside of Illustrator is that they are live, meaning I can make changes or adjustments, I don't have to worry about pixels here, everything is vector and editable, and we'll see how to actually modify this flare, in the next movie.
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