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This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.
In this movie I'll show you how to fix a problem blend, that is to say a blend that's going in totally the wrong direction, using the Blend tool. So I'm going to switch over here to the folds inside of the right-hand batwing, and we're going to create another blend between these two extreme path outlines. So I'll click on one and I'll Shift+Click on the other using the Black Arrow tool in order to select both of them, and then I'll go up to the Object menu, choose the Blend command, and choose Make. And that will go ahead and create this.
And it's like, what in the world are you doing? Things were working out so beautifully for the other wing and now things go tragically wrong. Well, let me show you. I'll double-click on the Blend tool icon in order to bring up the Blend Options dialog box. This is Illustrator's idea of Smooth Color, which is not what we want. So I'll select Specified Steps and I'll press Shift+Up Arrow in order to take that value up to 10, and then I'll turn on the Preview checkbox. And now you can better see what's going on. Illustrator is blending from the left-hand point in the top path outline, to the top point in the path outline below.
And then it's blending from this right-hand point in the top path outline, to this bottom point in the path below. So it's got the whole equation backwards. And the problem is that the paths were drawn in different directions in the first place, and that can frequently throw you. So I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to accept that change for the moment, because I want to show you that things can get weirder still. I'll press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool. I'll go ahead and click off the paths to deselect them. Then I'll click on this anchor point in order to select it independently, and I'll go ahead and move the anchor point over to the right.
Things are still a problem. But if I move it farther down, then everything gets better. And that's because Illustrator is now able to better sense the direction in which the blend should be going. So there's a lot of computational stuff going on under the hood that can either fix problems, as in this case, or create problems, as we saw before. I want these path outlines to be in exactly the same place they are right now, but I want to get a good blend out of things. So I'll press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool, and I'll click on this path outline to select the entire blend, as you can see. Then I'll go up to the Object menu, choose Blend, and choose Release in order to get rid of the existing blend and break the original path outlines apart.
What you do is switch to the Blend tool. So I was telling you the Blend tool is really designed to create blends in the first place, it's just that it's usually easier to take advantage of that Make Blend command instead. However, when things don't turn out right, that's when the Blend tool comes in handy. You use the tool by clicking on one anchor point and then clicking on the analogous anchor point in the other path outline. Now, of course I could use the tool on these right-hand points over here, but they're right on top of each other, so I'm not going to get very far. Instead, I'll click on this bottom anchor point, and then I'll click on the far left anchor point in order to create my blend.
The problem is Illustrator has seen fit to blend this point on the edge of the sarcophagus, which is on a totally different layer and wasn't selected in the first place. So that kind of thing can happen too. In which case the solution is to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac in order to undo that tragic blend, and then lock down the offending layer, which in our case is this purple layer called shield & rims. So I'll go ahead and lock it down like so. And then I'll go ahead and click on those same two anchor points again; I'll click on this guy down here, and then I'll click this one on the left, and I end up getting the exact blend I'm looking for--with the exception of the fact that it doesn't contain enough steps. So I'll now double- click on the Blend tool icon.
I'll switch my Spacing from Smooth Color to Specified Steps, I'll turn on the Preview checkbox, and I'll increase that Steps value to 3, like so. And then I'll click OK. And that's how you rectify a problem blend using the Blend tool. And again, you use the tool by clicking on similar anchor points in two or more path outlines.
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