Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Employing an opposing gradient mask


Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Employing an opposing gradient mask

I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Faded, so called because the keyboard is fading out of view as it comes forward. Now the problem with this effect is that it's impact is mitigated by the fact that we are not revealing anything truly interesting below the keyboard, all we are revealing is this plain tan floor with a little bit of curtain action and some Drop Shadow. But what we need is something like, some background stuff going on. Now we can't reveal Sammy's legs because they don't exist, but we can reveal the bench and that's what we are going to do. So in this exercise, we are going to bring the bench back out of this jacket sublayer here, and we are also going to assign it a separate but equal gradient opacity mask.
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  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
12h 54m Intermediate Jul 09, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.

Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Working with compound shapes in the Pathfinder palette
  • Ghosting shapes with Fill Opacity
  • Understanding gradients and the gradient tools
  • Cloning and coloring a blended path
  • Saving tile patterns and applying them to a shape
  • Importing and linking images from other applications
Deke McClelland

Employing an opposing gradient mask

I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Faded, so called because the keyboard is fading out of view as it comes forward. Now the problem with this effect is that it's impact is mitigated by the fact that we are not revealing anything truly interesting below the keyboard, all we are revealing is this plain tan floor with a little bit of curtain action and some Drop Shadow. But what we need is something like, some background stuff going on. Now we can't reveal Sammy's legs because they don't exist, but we can reveal the bench and that's what we are going to do. So in this exercise, we are going to bring the bench back out of this jacket sublayer here, and we are also going to assign it a separate but equal gradient opacity mask.

All right, so here is what I want you to do. A little bit of sort of architectural nonsense inside of Illustrator, I just want you to get a sense of what's going on. This is a little bit mind-numbing but here we go. Make sure to twirl open your jacket sublayer as I have and then I want you to get this bench object right there, which is a layer itself, so it's yet another nested sublayer. And I want you to move it outside the jacket layer but now notice, if you take it and you drag it downward like so, if you just drag it ever so slightly downward, you will eventually get this horizontal bar that takes up the entire width of the Layers palette. And that tells you that you are going to move the bench out of not only the jacket sublayer, but out of the larger Vectors layer as well.

So if I scroll up and I twirl close Vectors, see how the bench is no longer inside Vectors? That's a problem because I'll go ahead and twirl Vectors back open. We have got this boundary object right there. We are not using it right now, but eventually it's going to turn into a clipping mask for the entire Vectors layer, which will cut through the bench as well if the bench is inside of that Vectors layer. So we need to keep the bench inside the layer. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+ Z on the Mac to undo that modification and put the bench back where it was before, which is where? It kind of seems to have disappeared here. So let's twirl jacket close and let's cross our fingers and twirl jacket back open, oh, look at that. It just magically reappears.

All right, so that's interesting little buggy boo there. I'm going to go ahead and grab that bench layer once again and notice-- I just want you to see this because this can be a point of confusion as you are working inside the program. If you drag down once again, you will see the bar has the entire width of the Layers palette. That moves it outside the Vectors layer. We already saw that. But if you move the cursor up just slightly, you will see that there is an indent now, which would maybe imply that oh hey, that's cool because now I have dragged the bench sublayer out of the jacket sublayer. And that's exactly what I want but if you release, it's still inside the jacket sublayer. And so that indent was too much of an indent is what it comes down to.

So try dragging the bench down and then just slightly up, like just a couple of pixels up. And you will see there's no in between. Either you are moving it outside the entire layer structure when it's at the bottom of the stack like this or you are keeping it inside of the sublayer. So, you are going to have to change the stacking order for a moment. Go ahead and move things up, so move the bench layer up the stack so it's just below that circle that I was using to explain how opacity masks work in a former exercise. Go ahead and drag it up to this location, you will see a little bit of an indent over here in the left- hand side that shows you, you are still inside of the Vector layer. I know my brain hurts too, but we are not inside the jacket sublayer anymore. Release, good.

Now, go ahead and twirl close jacket. Oh! By the way, notice now you can see the bench below the keyboard, so that's more interesting, and now move jacket above bench. Finally, things are in the right layering order now because before if I hadn't put jacket above bench, we would get this effect here and that's bad because the jacket is in front of Sammy and he can't sit on a bench that's in front of himself. So anyway, I'll go ahead and move the jacket back up in front of the bench like so, everybody is inside of the larger Vectors layer now. That's a good thing as well, okey dokey. I still don't like this effect, and the reason is what I want to see happen is I want the bench to fade in to view as the keyboard is fading out of view. So we need an opposite gradient going on.

So, my friends, this opacity mask that we are about to create needs to be a gradient that's based on the blue keyboard outline because the area outside of the keyboard should not fade at all. It should remain opaque. So what I want you to do is go ahead and click on the outline of the blue keyboard using the Black Arrow tool, press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac to copy it to the clipboard. Now, meatball the bench layer like so and press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste it in front. That is to say paste the copy of the blue keyboard outline in front of the bench sublayer.

Now then, what I would like you to do is fill this keyboard with a gradient. So we could do the work after we apply this Path right here as an opacity mask or we can do it before. And just for the sake of variety, we are going to do it before. All right, so currently my Fill is active. I'm going to press the X key to make my Stroke active, and then I'm going to press the slash key to change the Stroke to none as we are seeing right there. Press the X key to make the Fill active now. At the bottom of the Gradient palette, you will see this tiny miniature little icon, you can click on it or you can just press the period key, full stop key to fill the keyboard with a black-to-white gradient. And to see what the direction of that gradient is, press the G key and you will see that the gradient is going from white, over here on the left-hand side, to black over here on the right-hand side.

We want white, which is Opacity to be at the bottom and we want black, which is Transparency to be at the top because we want things to go in the opposite way that they are going for the keyboard. You follow? If not, just do what I'm telling you to do and here is what you do. You go ahead and drag from this bottom location, right about there to up to about this location. This is pretty good right here next to Sammy's elbow, let's say. And then press the Shift key in order to constrain the angle of that drag to exactly vertical and release, and you will get a keyboard shape gradient that looks like this right here.

Now, I'll press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, just so I'm not seeing that Gradient Annotator anymore, and I'll Shift meatball the bench sublayer here inside the Layers palette. So you should see Path and bench, both meatballed. Go to your Transparency palette, go to the palette's Fly-out menu icon, click on it and choose Make Opacity Mask. And you should get this effect right here. Now you are probably looking at it going -- no, that's not right. We hid the entire bench except for the portion that's under the keyboard, which is now fading in to view. That's the good news. It is fading in to view. So what's the problem, puzzle this out with me.

If you are not getting the effect you want, even after doing all this meticulous labor and you think it through, it's just like you did everything right, right? You made the keyboard shape, you went ahead and selected it, you filled it with a gradient. It's going from black at the top to white at the bottom, so the bench should fade in to view. So why are we losing the bench on the outside? Anytime that starts running through your mind, think check boxes, check boxes, check boxes. Over here in the Transparency palette, you have got these check boxes, very rarely are you going to want to turn on or off Invert Mask, usually it's going to be Clip. That's your culprit. And sure enough it is, because you are setting the background outside the gradient to black and as a result everything outside the keyboard is turning transparent on you. That's not what you want. So you want to turn Clip off, and that magically solves the problem because it makes the background white.

All right, so I'm going to click off the bench in order to deselect it. So now we are seeing through the keyboard, to the bench and it is fading in to view as the keyboard fades out of view. That makes a lot of sense in the strange world of this strange graphic. In the next exercise, we are going to move away from opacity mask, and we are going to focus in on blend modes. Join me, won't you?

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: In the lesson on pressure sensitivity, exactly what kind of Wacom tablet is the instructor using?
A: The instructor is using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet
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