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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Editing blended paths


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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Editing blended paths

In this exercise we're going to take that elliptical gradient that we created with a fair amount of effort as a blend, and we are going to customize it to fit the contours of this grassy knoll. And that's something that we can't do with a gradient, but we can do with a blend. I have saved my progress as Manual elliptical grad.ai and I am going to go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and I am going to hover my cursor over the various points inside of this grass in order to find out where the edges of my blended objects are. So if I move to this point right there, notice that you can see in addition to my white arrow cursor I have a black square that tells me that there is something underneath my cursor.
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  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What's old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling CS's new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
14h 53m Intermediate Nov 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Tracing a pixel-based image
  • Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
  • Creating and editing gradients
  • Creating multi-colored blends
  • Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
  • Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
  • Designing advanced type effects
  • Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
  • Making the most of symbols
  • Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
  • Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Editing blended paths

In this exercise we're going to take that elliptical gradient that we created with a fair amount of effort as a blend, and we are going to customize it to fit the contours of this grassy knoll. And that's something that we can't do with a gradient, but we can do with a blend. I have saved my progress as Manual elliptical grad.ai and I am going to go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and I am going to hover my cursor over the various points inside of this grass in order to find out where the edges of my blended objects are. So if I move to this point right there, notice that you can see in addition to my white arrow cursor I have a black square that tells me that there is something underneath my cursor.

I will click on it to select it and this looks to be the middle path and indeed it is. So this is that sort of darkish shade of green, not the ultra dark green and not the light green, but the one in between. What I would like to do is add a couple of points so that I can raise this area here in order to match the contour of this bump. I am going to do that by switching over to my Pen tool. So you can add points and delete points and do the whole number on path outlines that are parts of blends, just as you can with any path outlines inside of Illustrator.

So I will grab my Pen either by clicking on it or pressing the P key, and then you have to be pretty careful here. Scoot your cursor over the segment. Make sure that you see a plus sign next to the cursor and click. If you don't see a plus sign, if you see an X, don't click, because that will create a new point. It's very easy to do if you are not paying fairly meticulous attention. Then I am going to move my cursor over to this location. I have got a plus sign next to the cursor. I will click in order to add a new point, like so. So far so good. Now I am going to grab my Direct Selection tool, my White Arrow tool, and I will drag this point upward, like so.

Now what I have done, you may notice, I was telling you in a previous exercise, that it's important to make sure that you have the same number of anchor points in all of your blended shapes and that they're the same kinds of anchor point so that Illustrator knows how to blend the shapes together. Well, that's a good rule of thumb. You can sometimes get away with not following that rule and when you're adding points, because you've already established the order of the blend and the way that the blend is mapped out, you have a fair amount of flexibility in terms of adding points to the various shapes, but you still have to take easy.

It is possible if you add too many points to any one shape inside a blend to mess things up. So just try adding a point, moving it around making sure the blend still works out nicely. Now I have dragged this point up toward the top of this path outline right there. I just want it to be slightly inward, and then I am going to click on this anchor point there in order to select it and I will move this Bezier control handle up like so and now I will grab this guy as well. I will click on this anchor point and move its control handle up, to get this effect. Now notice I am kind of messing up the gradient.

I have this interesting wash of green that's sweeping in from the left-hand side. Now, I could end up liking that. That could end up working very nicely for me. I don't happen to like it, however. So I'm going to zoom out and I am going to take this control handle and scoot it in like so that I have less radical transitions inside of my blend. Now I will drag this guy up little bit. That is that anchor point. Click on this anchor point over here, scroll over, and move its control handle inward as well, because again we've got a very radical transition at that location.

Now let's take a swing at editing the innermost path outline inside the blend. I will scoot my cursor down until I see once again that I've got a square next to my White Arrow tool. Now this one is telling me that I am going to be clicking on an anchor point, which is just fine. So I will go and click on that anchor point to select it. That works out pretty nicely. Then I will grab my Pen tool once again and I will hover my cursor over a segment taking care to make sure that I'm seeing a plus sign next to the cursor. I will click in order to add a point at that location. Then I will move the cursor over to the left-hand side, click as soon as I see a plus sign next to it.

Press the A key in order to switch back to the White Arrow tool, scoot this guy up a little like so, maybe move this control handle, just move these guys around until I feel like I am getting the look that I am hoping for, and I will go ahead and move these down a little bit, because if I move them too far up like this, then I am going to see a flat area of green on the inside down here toward the bottom of the illustration and I don't know that I want that large of a flat area. And I'm not sure I want this kind of radioactive highlight down here on the grass either.

So I want to take it a little easy. I will scoot this anchor point down, like so. Scoot this guy this guy down as well and we should get a nice smooth transition as I'm seeing here inside of my final blend. Now in this case I am blending from a six -point shape down here at the bottom to another six-point shape in between, and then finally to a four-point shape at top, but everything seems to visually reconcile. So I'm okay. If you feel like you're not seeing reconciliation, your colors are moving in sort of aberrant directions, you could go ahead and try to find an outermost path outline, which I believe, no, that's not it.

That's the clipping path itself. I don't want that. I will go ahead and meatball this path so I can find it. It's right there. Good. I will click off of it. Then I will come back to it. Now this is a problem you may run into every once in a while, which is you can't quite get to the contents of a clipping path, and this is something that Adobe has changed over time, quite for the worse, in my opinion. If for some reason you just can't get to the contents of a clipping mask then what you have to do is press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool, click on that clipping path in order to select it, like so, then go up here to the Control panel and notice that it's telling me it's a group.

It's actually a group with a clipping mask inside of it, which is very important. Notice these two icons, one allows you to edit the clipping mask itself, which I don't want to do. The other one is to edit the contents. So I will click on Edit Contents and then I will select all of those various ellipses and now with any luck I should be able to get to that guy by clicking out with a White Arrow tool or what have you. What I want to do is I want to press the P key to switch to the Pen tool and I'll go ahead and add a point at this location right there, and I'll add another anchor point over someplace around here.

As soon as I see a plus sign next to my cursor, I will click in order to add an anchor point and that does smooth out the gradient a little bit. By virtue of the fact that I know have six anchor points associated with the outermost shape. So hopefully by now you get the idea, I will go ahead and press the V key, click off of my shapes to deselect, and the idea is this, when you're editing a blend you can make any modifications you want - you can add points, you to move points around, you can move control handles - just be cognizant of the fact that Illustrator has to somehow reconcile the blend between the various objects. And the best way to do that is to ensure that each and every path outline inside the blend has the same number of anchor points.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.


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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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