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Editing the path of the blend

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Editing the path of the blend

I have saved my progress as Happy little star.ai. In this exercise, I am going to show you how to blend between objects that are far apart from each other and then how to modify the path of the blend in between. So I am going to start things off by zooming out. I am going to select this interior circle. Can't really see it but you can see the Exterior circle right there which is the beginning of that blend between the circle on the star shape. If you move your cursor in a little bit, you'll see that there is another shape just on the inside of the larger circle.

Editing the path of the blend

I have saved my progress as Happy little star.ai. In this exercise, I am going to show you how to blend between objects that are far apart from each other and then how to modify the path of the blend in between. So I am going to start things off by zooming out. I am going to select this interior circle. Can't really see it but you can see the Exterior circle right there which is the beginning of that blend between the circle on the star shape. If you move your cursor in a little bit, you'll see that there is another shape just on the inside of the larger circle.

Click on it and you'll select a smaller circle that has an Opacity value of 50% and 25% Yellow, that's all. Just like the outer circle actually but it's a different opacity level. But I want you to note that the color is 25% yellow, nothing else is going on. Now I am going to zoom out so that I can take in more of my graphic at a time and there is another circle over here some place. So I will press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on the Mac to switch to the outline mode, and there it is, I will click on it to select it. It has that exact same color.

So just 25% yellow, nothing more, and an Opacity level of 0%. And I was telling you in a previous exercise, Illustrator is smart enough to smooth out the transition between different fill or stroke colors. It is not smart enough to smooth out the transition between different levels of opacity and we will see that right now. So I've got one of the circle selected over here on the left-hand side, I will Shift+Click on that inner-most circle in the upper-right corner, or near the upper-right corner, anyway, of the Illustration. Then I will press Ctrl+Y, Cmd+Y on the Mac to switch back to the Preview mode, and even though these Path outlines are way on opposite sides of the Illustration, you can still blend between them.

So I will go to the Object menu, I will choose Blend and I will choose Make, Ctrl+Alt+B, Cmd+Option+B on the Mac in order to blend between these two shapes. Now what would happen if they were right on top of each other is we just get that one standard step in between. Because they are so far apart from each other Illustrator is saying, well, I guess you want me to sort of fill in the gaps, so I will do my best here and here is a bunch of circles in between, whatever. All right, so it's up to you now to modify the number of steps of course, so you double-click on the Blend tool inside the toolbox. That brings up the Blend Options dialog box.

Let's see how many steps Illustrator created for us by changing Spacing from Smooth Color to Specified Steps, and apparently it's 34 steps. Well what we need to do is increase the number of steps until we get an absolutely smooth transition. Now at about a hundred steps, if I enter that value, make sure Preview is turned on, press the Tab key in order to invoke the Preview. We have a very smooth transition from this 50% opaque shape to a 0% opaque shape and that is to say, we have a nice smooth Gradient transition in terms of the level of translucency.

However we have a bunch of bumps on the outside of the shape that's being created in the meantime. And that sort of creates this kind of wormy effect, and that's because we're still seeing the individual little circles that Illustrator is drawing in between these virtual circles, that is to say. At some place around 150 those are going to die away. So I am going to change the value to 150, press the Tab key, sure enough we get a pretty darn smooth transition now in between. However, if I click OK in order to accept that modification, we have got a straight line in between one blended object and the other.

What if I want this line to sort of wave back and forth? Why, I can adjust the path of the blend. So notice what we've got here. You can see right there onscreen. You can also see it here in the Layers panel if you like. If I twirl open the star layer and then twirl-open the Blend, that is that top blend right there, the one that's selected, you can see that I've got two path outlines and this other path on top, which is a straight line, and that top path is the path of the blend that we are seeing in between. So we have got a circle on the left, a circle on the right, and a path of the blend in between the two.

And that path of the blend shows up automatically when two objects span a great distance. It doesn't always show up inside of a blend but it is created when there is a lot of distance associated with the blend, as there was, you may recall way back when, where the Background Blend and the sky was concerned. We had a path of the blend there too. But we will see that sometimes the path of the blend doesn't get created and you have to create it manually. Anyway, how do we go about modifying it? Well, if you want to add some curvature here is how, go to the Pen tool, click and hold on it, and choose the Convert Anchor Point tool from the flyout menu.

And then I am going to drag from this anchor point right there, even though it's at the middle of the circle, because the path of the blend is on top, we should get it. So I'll go ahead and drag like so and no, it's unhappy with me. It should work, actually, I've done this before and usually it works out just fine. It did this time. But if you end up having a problem, like I did the first I tried it, I will go ahead and undo that modification. What you can do is select the path of the blend automatically, which I've actually done for myself here, or you can lock down the two other paths, like so.

I could just go ahead and give them some locks here inside the layers panel. So you'd want to leave that path of the blend, the straight-line, unlocked and then that way nothing is going to get in your way and you could drag like so in order to create a Control Handle, so I'm dragging a Control Handle out of the Anchor Point, converting it from a corner point, which it was before, to a smooth point and I'm creating a curved segment as a result. Now then, what about this guy? Well the tempting thing to do is to grab this anchor point and drag down, but that's the wrong thing.

You want to drag in the opposite direction because you need to keep dragging in the same direction as you're modifying your path outlines, so I already established the equivalent of a clockwise direction for my path, I need to stay clockwise, like so, that is in my case dragging to the left, and it could be up or down. But I am going to drag up and to the left, and I end up achieving this effect here. All right, let's go ahead and center the view onscreen, and I will press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect everything, I'll switch back to the Black Arrow tool.

I will go ahead and unlock these two paths that are inside the Blend. And this is the result of blending between two objects with the exact same Fill Color but different levels of opacity that are geographically very far apart from each other, and then modifying the curvature of the path of the blend.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28092 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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 was 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 the 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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