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This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.
In this movie we'll take that green three ellipse gradient that we created with a fair amount of effort as a blend, and we'll customize it to fit the contours of this grassy knoll in order to create this effect here, which is something that we can't do using the Gradient tool. So I'll go ahead and switch back to my image at hand here. And then I'll zoom into the bottom portion of the illustration and I'll press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool. Now, here is something to bear in mind when you're trying to hunt around for paths inside of a blend.
You can press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch to the Outline mode, and then you are going to see the outlines of all three of your ellipses right there, but when you're in the thick of it, as when I'm looking at the center of the illustration, it's impossible to make heads nor tails of what's going on. So I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac in order to switch to the Preview mode, and what I want to do is I want to find the center ellipse. And certainly I could twirl things open inside the Layers panel and go ahead and find that shape, or I can just hunt around here.
Notice, if you have an approximate sense of where an anchor point is, then you can hover over it with the White Arrow tool, and you'll see a little hollow square with a dot inside of it next to the cursor, and that indicates that there is an anchor point underneath that cursor. To select it, just go ahead and click, like so. Now I want to add a couple of points to this path, and you might want to confirm that this is the medium green ellipse by noting its values up here in the Color panel, that is CMYK, are 65, 15, 100, and 50 respectively.
I'm going to add a couple of anchor points by pressing the P key in order to switch to my Pen tool, and then I'll hover over about this location there. You should see a Plus sign next to your Pen tool cursor, if so, click in order to set a point at that location. And then I'll go ahead and scroll over to the left a little bit, and I'll click right about there to set another anchor point. Then I'll press the A key in order to switch back to my White Arrow tool and I'll go ahead and drag this guy upward while pressing the Shift key in order to bend the ellipse up as you see it there.
Now I'm going to move these anchor points too. So I'll go ahead and click on one, Shift+Click on the other, and drag either one while pressing the Shift key upward, just in order to constrain the angle of my drag. All right! Now I want to see the control handle associated with this point. So I'll go ahead and Shift+Click on this anchor point to turn it off, and now the control handle comes back into view and I'll go ahead and drag it up like so in order to move it upward. Then I'll click on this segment to make it active, and I'll drag upward on this control handle to move it up as well.
So we've got some pretty nice contouring going here, as you can see; but we also have, if you look very closely here, you can see that the medium green starts encroaching on the bright green to about this location here and sort of wraps around like this and comes back and then goes this direction. Which might end up being the effect you're looking for, but in my case it's not. So I'm going to hover around again with my White Arrow cursor to about this location there--there is my anchor point--and then I'll click on it to select it. And that is the top anchor point in the bright green ellipse, which has a Cyan value of 50% and a Yellow value of 100%.
And I need to add a couple of anchor points on either side, so I'll press the P key once again to get my Pen tool, drop down to about this location, right about there actually and click, and then click to set another point at this location. In each case you should see a Plus sign next to your cursor. Then press the A key to switch back to the White Arrow tool. I'll go ahead and drag this guy upward, like so, in order to create a little region of brightness there, and I'll go ahead and modify the neighboring control handles. And I might drag each of these anchor points up as well, so I'll click on one, Shift+Click on the other, drag them up a little bit.
That is actually taking these points too high, because what this will do, if I were to leave the blend like this, I'd create a flat area of green inside this region of the illustration. That's more flat green than I want, and it's also too much brightness, so I'll Shift+Click on the center anchor point, so I've got one, two, three selected. Then I'll go ahead and drag down until the bottom two anchor points are outside of the artboard. This black line right there, the black horizontal line represents the bottom of the artboard. And I'll press Shift+Down- Arrow a few times in order to nudge those anchor points down as well.
And then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+ Shift+A on the Mac, in order to deselect my artwork; and I'll press Ctrl+0 or Command+ 0 on the Mac in order to zoom out. And that friends, is how you go about editing individual blended paths inside of Illustrator in order to add a custom contour to at least what appears to be a gradient fill.
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