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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
I've saved my progress as Radial shadows. ai and in this exercise we're going to take those radial shadows and we're going to modify them to make them look like shadows that are actually cast by these peppers. So we get a much more realistic effect. So for starters, I am just going to marquee vaguely inside of this area and hope that I end up catching that left- hand shadow shape, and if you can't find it, you can press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y to switch to the Outline mode, then go ahead and marquee some point or other, and then switch back by pressing Ctrl+Y or Command+Y to the Preview mode.
And then what we are going to end up doing here is selecting these points that are surrounding the innermost concentric circle and we are going to modify the control handles like so, so that this shape traces around the base of the pepper. But notice as we do that, we are going to end up creating these riffs in these spokes here, so we will end up bending the spokes, which isn't necessarily what we want to do, and not only that, the spokes are actually useless to us and we are going to have better flexibility if they are not there. So press the U key in order to switch to the Mesh tool and then I want you to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on each of these spokes.
I don't want you to click on any of the concentric circles, because if you click on either the ones that you can delete, then you are going to make a mess of things. For example, if I Alt+Click or Option+ Click on this one, we end up getting rid of that big concentric circle and we end up increasing the size of the gradient and that's no good. So press Ctrl+Z. What I want you to do is Alt+ Click or Option+Click on each one of the spokes. So get rid of that one and this one and this one. Now, you can't get rid of this one because it's actually two spokes on top of each other and it really is the edge of the shape as you may recall.
So you just leave that one alone. But get rid of all the other spokes as we just did. Then you've got to add some points back into the mix. So somehow Illustrator magically maintains the form of this mesh object right here, this innermost mesh sort of blob, even though there are no anchor points associated with it anymore. If you switch over to the Add Point tool right there, which you can get by pressing the Plus key, otherwise you can select it by the way from the Pen tool flyout menu, Illustrator will show you anchor points but these are not anchor points that you have access to. They are just these fictional anchor points that are floating around and I gather that Illustrator is using them, but you can't modify them.
So they're not really of any use to you. What I need you to do is click on each one of those points that you see there. So click at that point right there. Click at this point. You shouldn't see any change on- screen. Just click on each one of those points, but now if you press the A key to switch back to your White Arrow tool, they will stay there. You'll actually see those points. Notice that the other ones along the other circles disappeared. What's that about? I have no idea. Some sort of Gradient Mesh magic. Now that we've got these anchor points, so we can actually modify them. Let's go ahead and do so.
Drag these points around anywhere you wish now. You don't have to worry about messing up your column lines. I'm just trying to trace around what is probably the base of the pepper, so that we're creating a line around the base. Now, I'm going to create another base object here that goes even farther in, and I am going to do that by pressing the U key to get the Mesh tool, and I'm going to click about there on that spoke line in order to add yet another little concentric blob.
Again, if you want to have any control over it, then you need to press the plus key to go back to your Add Anchor Point tool, and then click on those points that you see and you'll see more points than you really need. So just click on this point right there, and then click on this one and click on I think this one is the one you want. And then switch back to the White Arrow tool by pressing the A key or clicking on it and then you can modify these points as you see fit. I am going to drag this one out just a little bit so that it's really tracing tight to the bottom of that pepper.
Now I will show you why I am doing this. So each one of these anchor points that we just added controls the positioning of these blobs and shape of the blobs and so forth, but they do not contain color information. The only points that contain color and opacity information are these points along the one and only one remaining spoke. When I say one and only one, I mean two and only two, because we have two points at each one of these locations, one that's overlapping the other. So what I want you to do is go ahead and marquee as many points as you can.
It looks like I'm able to get to all of them. So marquee these points like so in order to select them, and I went ahead and accidentally selected the right-hand mesh object. So I am going to need to turn it off by twirling open the mesh shadows layer, and it's this guy right here. It's the second one, just lock it down. Click in that Lock column in order to lock it away. Now you can see that I have all of these points that are overlapping each of the selected and none of the new anchor points that I added, and I am just going to dial in a K value by clicking on black in order to get some color in there.
That looks just great. Now, I am going to switch over to HSB. I want a Hue value of 5 degrees, and I'm looking for a Saturation value of 75%, and a Brightness value of 35%. Now having done that, I'm going to go ahead and marquee these outermost points and just confirm that these guys right here are set to an Opacity of 0%. They are, that's good. Now, I am going to marquee this point, and I am going to confirm that it has an Opacity value of 100%. I don't want that. I'm going to reduce it to 75% like so, and then I'll go ahead and marquee these points and confirm that they have an Opacity value of 100% and they do.
Now, because that was so much fun and we have two peppers to deal with, let's do it again. I am going to lock down the shadow I just got done manipulating and it's still not quite exactly right, but it will be. We will come back to it in a moment. Now, I am going to unlock the other mesh, and I will meatball it just to get it selected in the first place. I will press the U key to get my Mesh tool and I am going to Alt+Click here and then here and then here. Those of you working on the Mac, you would Option+Click on each one of those spokes in order to delete them, then press the Plus key in order to get to your Add Point tool, and click on each of these fictional points along the innermost ellipse.
So click there, and there, and there, and now press the A key in order to get to White Arrow tool and now you've got access to those points. I will click in that point to select it independently and then I'll drag it up over here and I will drag this point to this location, and drag outward on the control handle and remember that this thing right here is two points on top of each other. So you've got to be careful of that location. I went ahead and undid that move. I am going to go ahead and click on this segment and drag this control handle down like so, and then Marquee both of those points and move them outward a little, and drag this point up a little like so until we get something resembling what we're seeing here.
I will press the U key in order to switch back to the Mesh tool and click right about there to add another concentric blob and its shape is pretty good but I am still going to add some anchor points here. I will press the Plus key in order to switch to the Add Point tool and I'll click here and here and here to add some points to the shape. I will press the A key to switch back to my White Arrow tool. I'll grab this point and drag it outward and change its control handles as well and drag this point upward a little bit, and drag out its control handles and this guy is probably fine where he is.
Now, I am going to marquee all of these points. These are the Mesh points that actually contain the color information, and I am going to change the color to the same color I dialed in a moment ago, which means going up to the Color panel, clicking on black or white or something that I don't want at all, and then clicking on the flyout menu, switching to HSB, dialing in 5% for the Hue value. Change the Saturation value to 75% and the Brightness value to 35% in order to get this effect here. Then I am going to go ahead and marquee these two points and I am going to change the Opacity value up here in the Control panel to 0%, and then I'm going to marquee this point, which is a couple of points on top of each other of course, and change its Opacity value to 75% and I end up getting this effect. That's fine! That's good enough. We've got all the colors mapped out.
We've got some pretty decent looking shadows. I have to say they could be better though. I am going to show you how to make them better and control the direction of those cast shadows in the next exercise.
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