Designs dekeConstructed: Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion
Illustration by John Hersey

Designs dekeConstructed: Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion

with Deke McClelland

Video: Expanding blends into our first continuous trail

In this movie, I'll expand the four blends that represent the various paths of

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Watch the Online Video Course Designs dekeConstructed: Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion
1h 26m Intermediate Aug 14, 2014

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Learn what it takes to design your own mind-bending illusion, in this installment of Designs dekeConstructed—the series that breaks down popular graphic designs and show you how to re-create them on your own. Deke starts out by drawing an "impossible" Penrose triangle and a golden ball in Adobe Illustrator. Next, he plots a path for the ball to follow around the triangle. Last, he moves to Photoshop, where he shows you how to animate the ball with a combination of layer masks and the timeline.

Want more dekeConstructed design techniques? Check out the other courses in the series here.

Topics include:
  • Creating an "impossible" triangle with hexagons and gradients
  • Drawing and filling the golden ball
  • Drawing the path of the ball
  • Creating frames as layers
  • Animating your artwork in Photoshop
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Expanding blends into our first continuous trail

In this movie, I'll expand the four blends that represent the various paths of the ball, and I'll expand them to create our first continuous trail. So the first thing I want to do is rename this layer by double clicking on its existing name, and I'll go ahead and call it four blends, and that way, I'll remember what it is. And now, because I don't want to wipe out those blends for good, I'll go ahead and duplicate this layer by clicking on the flyout menu in the upper right corner of the Layers panel and choosing Duplicate four blends.

And now, I'll turn off the original layer, and then, I'll double click on an empty portion of the new one, and I'll go ahead and rename it Trail One and I'll change the color to, let's say, magenta this time around, and then I'll click okay. Now we want to select all of the blends on this layer, and you do that by clicking on this icon in the upper-right corner of the layer here inside the Layers panel or you can just Alt + click or Option + click on that layer. And notice, that selects all the blends, at which point you want to go up to the Object menu and choose the Expand command.

This time, in response to the dialog box, we don't want to expand the fills. And we probably won't even if we leave the Fill check box turned on. But it's always a good idea when you have gradients and you don't want to expand them to turn Fill off and just leave Object turned on, at which point, go ahead and click okay. And you now convert each and every one of the blends to groups. Now, we need to ungroup these shapes. But we need to do so carefully, because we've got duplicates. At every corner in the trail, at every position where we had a ball at the beginning of this chapter.

And, the best way to pull things off here is to go ahead and twirl open trail one, grab that guide that we no longer need, and go ahead and drag it to the trash, in order to get rid of it, and then go ahead and turn off, the top three groups so that you're seeing just the bottom-most group. It should still be selected. In which case, go up to the Object menu and choose the Group command. In the future, I'll be using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl + Shift + G or Cmd + Shift + G on the Mac. Then, click off the shapes to deselect them, and click on this guy right here.

That is the ball at position two, and you may recall when we first created the blends at the outset of this chapter, I had you duplicate the balls at positions two, three, and four. Those are the ones that we need to get rid of as well as the one at position five, because it will eventually be duplicated by the very first ball we created. So go ahead and select this front shape there, and press the backspace key, or the delete key on the Mac, to get rid of it, then turn on the next group up, like so. Go ahead and click on its circular target right there, the so-called meatball, in order to select it, press Ctrl + Shift + G or Cmd + Shift + G on the Mac.

In order to ungroup the shapes, click off the shapes to deselect them, click on this guy the ball at position three which has a duplicate, or the delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. Turn on the next group, go ahead and meatball it, press Ctrl + Shift G or Cmd + Shift + G on the Mac in order to ungroup it. Click off the shapes to deselect them. Click on that ball at position four, the ball at the top of the stack in other words, and then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac to get rid of it, and then turn on the very top group.

Go ahead and meatball it, press Ctrl + Shift + G, or Cmd + Shift + G on a Mac, to ungroup it. Click off the pass to deselect them, and select that final path, right there, that final shape, and press the backspace key or the delete key on the Mac, to get rid of it. And that way, because we ungrouped the paths and deleted the overlaps very carefully there, we have just those shapes we need to express the first continuous trail around our impossible triangle.

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