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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the greatest things about working with Illustrator is that you can be as creative as you would like. In fact, there are so many features available to you. We have already seen how deep the 3D feature is alone, but that's only one part of Illustrator. So what really gets me excited about thinking about Illustrator is how I can actually tie all this creative features together. So in this particular movie, am going to offer you one example of how you could take the 3D feature and begin to extend or build upon that. Particularly, I want to show you how you can animate 3D inside of Illustrator. So notice I have a file here open and its called the animation, and even though you can't really see to my artboard, if I mouse over it, you can see that I have created an outline of this badge, and I want to be able to use this.
Remember, this is a sign that we are using in all of our materials here for the Groundswell website. I actually want to go ahead and create some kind of a rotating badge that I could have displayed somewhere on my web page to kind of attract the attention, to draw it maybe towards some particular aspect of my site. So what I have here is just a regular plain shape. I have also already defined two symbols, and this symbol over here is simply this artwork here that would be put onto that particular face of that particular sign. Then if I go ahead and I exit this particular symbol and I look at this symbol, it's the exact same sign but it's the reverse. And in a minute I'll explain to you why I created these two.
Now I'm just going to exit over here. I'm going to take this regular object, its filled white, and what I'm going to do is I'm simply going to go over here to the Effect menu, I'm going to choose 3D, and we are going to apply the Extrude & Bevel setting. I will click on the Preview setting here so I could see what's happening. I have my shape here. The Extrude Depth is perfect for me, but what I want to do is I want to kind of round the edges a little bit, to kind of soften it up somewhat. So I'm going to apply the Rounded Bevel settings. I'm going to scroll down over here and let's go ahead and choose the Rounded setting. I am going to leave the Height set to 4 point. Now I have this nice smooth setting. Instead of the Plastic Shading, I'm simply going to use Diffuse Shading. I don't need to have any highlights. I just want to create this badge that kind of rotates. That looks kind of cool.
So now what I'm going to do is I'm going to go over here and I want to map some artwork to my shape. So I'm going to go to the Map Art setting right here. It brings up the Map Art dialog box. Now, one of the things to note, I now have 38 different surfaces. This is because I have applied the Bevel, and the Bevel kind of blends this into many, many different shapes. So I have a front and I have a back, and instead of just having a side over here, I actually have many, many different gradations of sides that are here as well. I don't even need to go there, because I'm simply going to map artwork to the front face of the object, which is right here. I'll choose the Front setting, and notice that now gets applied very nicely. I'll choose the Shade Artwork setting to make sure that I get the shading that I want on my artwork.
Now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to the back surface, which is the next side, over here. Notice over here it's shaded dark, which means that it's currently hidden from view. It's in the back of the shape, and I'll apply the Back one here. Now, the reason why I created a Back one that's backwards is because Illustrator, when its working with a shape in the back over here, even though its applying it to the back surface, it always applies the artwork facing towards you right here. So that would mean that the artwork, when I display it and I rotate it would appear the wrong way. So what I have done is I have kind of created a backwards piece of art that I'm going to map to the back surface, so that when I do rotate it into view, it will appear correct. So this is again something you should think about when you are creating your symbols as well.
For example, a cube. If you create a six -sided cube, the artwork that you would want to put on the back face of the cube should actually be done backwards, because that way it will appear correct when you rotate it into view. So now I'm going to choose OK; and before I click OK, I'm going to change the position so that I can view it straight from the front. I'm going to click OK, and now I'm viewing this particular symbol here, this nice 3D shape that I have created from the front. Now what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to create a duplicate of this object, because what I want is I actually want to create a blend. One of the cool things about Illustrator is that you have this feature called Blend that allows you to blend one object into another, but when you are working with 3D effects, Illustrator not only just blends the shapes to each other, it actually morphs the 3D effect, which will allow us eventually to create the steps necessary for an animation.
So what I'm going to do over here, if I look at my Layers panel here, I see I have one path that I have created. That's all that's right here. Remember it's a single path that has that symbol mapped onto its surface. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to the Edit menu, I'm going to choose Copy, and then I'm going to choose something here called Paste in Front. So now I have basically created a copy directly here in front. The keyboard shortcut to do this a little bit faster would be Command+C and Command+F for Command copy and paste in front. On the Windows machine, it will be Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+F. Important keyboard shortcuts to know because you will probably use it quite often.
So now I have two symbols, and they are both kind of stacked on top of each other. If I move one away here, you can actually see that I have this one here. Then press Undo. I'm going to select both of them. I now have two regular plain paths, which have a 3D effect applied to them, and Artwork Mapping as well, and I'm now going to take those two shapes and blend them together. I am going to go to the Object menu. I'm going to choose Blend, and then I'll choose to make a blend. Now, Illustrator is going to go ahead and take those two symbols and blend them into each other. Now, what I'm going to do is basically go ahead here and highlight just this top object. I'm just going to select the top object right now on this particular path and I'm going to edit its 3D effect. Because right now both these objects, we are looking at it straight from the front. What I'm going to do is I'm going to say I want to look at this particular one from the back.
I'm going to click OK. Now, the blend will update itself. I can actually go ahead here and close this particular layer here, so that I just see the blend itself. What Illustrator is doing basically now is its actually creating a blend from the front to the back. I haven't changed the position of this, so it's basically staying in place, but I now have a blend that has the artwork as it appears in the front and then any of the steps basically that needs to get to the back. How many steps? Well, I can actually define that when I actually work with the Blend. Again, I'll just select right now this artwork. I'll go to the Object menu, and I'll choose Blend, Blend Options. Now, you could see I have 12 steps in my blend, which is perfect for here. If I wanted to have a smoother animation, I would add more steps to my blend, but that again would also increase the file size.
So I'm going to leave it set to 12, I'm going to click OK, and now I'm ready to create my animation. Now, Illustrator itself does not have any animation capabilities. A program like Flash, for example, does, but Illustrator itself doesn't. In fact, the program Flash creates animation with a timeline, and you have these frames in a timeline. Illustrator doesn't have any timeline, doesn't have any frames, but Illustrator does have layers. So Illustrator does offer the option basically, when you save your file, to make believe that all of your layers are actually going to be turned into frames, and in doing so, Illustrator can create a Flash animation directly out of Illustrator. So let's take a look at how we do that.
I am going to go to my Layers panel. I'm actually going to deselect my artwork. What I'm about to do right now is a function of the layers; it's not a function of the artwork itself. I'm simply going to go out and highlight the blend in my Layers panel. From the Layers panel menu, I'm going to choose an option here called Release to Layers; again, because I have now highlighted the blend in my Layers panel, I could choose to basically take every step of that blend and put them onto its own layer, and now that I'll have my own layers, I'll be able to turn those into frames for an animation. So I'm going to choose to Release to Layers as a Sequence. A Build will basically add each one in the frame. Sequence would make it appear as if it's actually moving. So we are going to go ahead and choose the Sequence option.
Notice that now every step that was my blend now got turned into its own little layer. So now I'm ready to go ahead and actually export my animation. I'm going to go to the File menu, I'm going to choose Save for Web & Devices, and from their Preset Settings right over here, instead of choosing the GIF option, I'm going to choose to export my file in the SWF or Flash file format. In doing so, you could choose to have your entire Illustrator file exported as a single Flash file, or as we were discussing before, I could tell Illustrator to basically turn all of my layers into individual Flash frames. That would now generate an animation.
I can loop that animation. I'll leave the Frame Rate set to 12 frames per second, and now I'll simply go click on this button over here, which is called Preview in Browser; that's actually going to launch my web browser and show me what this animation would look like. I can now see that I have created this animation. Again, I had to actually take the artwork that I mapped onto the back surface and reverse that, as I showed you, because otherwise I would see one side that's completely backwards. Now I basically have this badge that rotates. That looks really cool here. But again, this is just a simple way and one idea of how you can take the 3D effect and build upon it inside of Illustrator. Think about how you can work with transparency, think about enveloping effects, distortion effects. There is all kinds of things that you can do inside of Illustrator with 3D, but this is one really great and cool example that you can do, by animating a 3D object for putting on your website.
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