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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.
I've saved my progress as Big sloppy blend.ai, and I'm calling it Big sloppy blend because even though the blend is meticulous and it looks great, it exceeds the boundaries of our rectangle. And let's say I want the blend to exist only inside the rectangle, why then I need to fill the rectangle with a blend by establishing the rectangle as a clipping mask, and here's how that works. Inside the sky layer, inside of this document, I've got both the blend, that we created in the previous exercise, and this item called path, which is the larger rectangle.
In Illustrator, the mask has to exist on top of the stuff that it's masking. So in other words, this path has to be on top of the blend. So I am going to go ahead and grab the path and move it on top of the blend, like so. So that it's in front. Then I will go ahead and meatball the path and Shift+Meatball the blend in order to select both objects. This is a pretty simple operation once you understand the mechanics. You go up to the Object menu, you choose Clipping Mask and you choose this command right there, Make, which has a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+7 or Cmd+7.
The whole reason that it has that keyboard shortcut is because it's one before Compound Path, which appears immediately after it. So I was explaining in the fundamental portion of the series that Ctrl+8 or Cmd+8 will establish a Compound Path, and you can remember that of course because 8 is itself a Compound Path, a larger shape with two holes cut out of it. If you remember that the Clipping Mask comes right before it then you can remember it's keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+7, Cmd+7 on a Mac, and that goes ahead and creates this Clipping Mask right there, that is, the blend is clipped inside of the rectangle.
Notice over here in the layers panel what happens. I will go ahead and collapse the Gradient panel for a moment, by double-clicking to the right of the word Transparency, and then down here inside the layers panel, I will twirl open this group, so Illustrator automatically takes the Clipping Mask and the stuff that it's clipping and puts it inside of a group, so just kind of a safe container. If you go ahead and twirl the group open, you'll see that you now have this item and I will go ahead and expand the panel, so we can see the full name. We've got this item called Clipping Path, where the thumbnail is concerned everything inside the white portion of the clipping path is inside the mask, everything in the gray area is outside of the mask and therefore clipped away, and then anything below is clipped.
So in our case, we've got the blend item that's clipped inside the clipping path. We might as well, as long as we're here, take a look at how the blend is put together. You can twirl that open as well and you'll see the various items that are inside of the dynamic blend. So as long as these items continue to exist inside of the blend, then they will blend together. You can actually move these items out of the blend if you want eliminate them from that blended object or you can move other objects into the blend if you so desire. Anyway we've got this first path right here, which is this vertical line, more or less, and if I meatball it, you can see what it looks like.
That's the path of the blend, and we'll be taking a look more at what that means in future exercises. But the basic idea is this determines the order and the direction in which these paths blend together and then we have the individual paths that are blended, starting at the top here with this very dark path at the top of the illustration and working our way down. So I just wanted you to have a sense of how those various objects work on an anatomical level here inside the layers panel. In the next exercise, we'll try our hands at something slightly more complicated.
We'll replace this Radial Gradient that's at work inside of the grass with a custom blend, and we'll clip it as well.
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