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Isolating blending and Knockout Group

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Isolating blending and Knockout Group

In this movie, I am going to show you how and why you might create a Knockout Group, which prevents objects inside of a group or layer from interacting with each other. Now that might sound just like meatballing an entire layer and applying a Blend mode to it because after all, that prevents the path outlines inside of a layer from interacting with each other, too. But it's more nuanced than that. I know, I hate nuance too, but you may run into a situation like this. Imagine that instead of the effect I just created, I want something more like this, where the strokes are nice and bright white and then I've got a bunch of gradients that are essentially multiplied into the background.

Isolating blending and Knockout Group

In this movie, I am going to show you how and why you might create a Knockout Group, which prevents objects inside of a group or layer from interacting with each other. Now that might sound just like meatballing an entire layer and applying a Blend mode to it because after all, that prevents the path outlines inside of a layer from interacting with each other, too. But it's more nuanced than that. I know, I hate nuance too, but you may run into a situation like this. Imagine that instead of the effect I just created, I want something more like this, where the strokes are nice and bright white and then I've got a bunch of gradients that are essentially multiplied into the background.

Now, if I were to apply the Multiply Blend mode to the entire layer, then those strokes would become invisible, because there's no way to get white out of a Darkening mode. So I had to apply the Multiply Blend mode to the gradient fills independently of the white strokes, which means there was no way to apply a Blend mode to the entire layer at a time, which is exactly where Knockout Groups come in. So now that I am finished with that setup, let me show you how to do it. I'll go ahead and switch over to the document I created in the previous movie and I'll turn off the top Mishipeshu layer and then I'll turn on this White Lines layer right there.

And notice that I have a bunch of shapes with a bunch of gradients interacting with each other. I'll go ahead and assign the Blend modes to the main body shape here so you can see what's up, because it's fairly indicative of what I did all the way around. Now I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, and notice that I have a series of three gradients built up on top of each other along with this 1.5-point white stroke. Right now we're seeing just the bottommost fill. I'll turn on the next one up, and notice that it darkens things very slightly. If I go ahead and grab the Gradient tool--which you can get by pressing the G key--you can see that I've got a radial gradient that extends from outside of the animal's body to just barely into his body, so that we're creating a little bit of shading down below.

In order to turn that into effective shading, I need to apply the Multiply Blend mode. So with the fill selected, I'll click on the Blend mode pop-up menu and choose Multiply and then because I loaded dekeKeys, I can just press Shift+7 to reduce the Opacity value to 70%. The next gradient fill also turned off --I'll go ahead and turn it on here--is designed to add a little highlight to this foot. And so you can see that it barely extends into this selected path outline here. Now, in order to make the highlight brighter, I need to assign the Screen mode so I could go back up here to the Transparency panel or I could just click on the word Opacity underneath this fill. That brings up the full Transparency panel and I'll change the Blend mode from Normal to Screen this time around. And then I'll press the Esc key in order to hide that sub-panel and I'll press Shift+5 to reduce the Opacity to 50%. All right! Finally, I want to change this background fill here to Multiply as well so that it's interacting with the objects behind it.

So I'll go ahead and click on that fill to select it. I'll click on the word Opacity there and I want you to see something about this version of the Transparency panel: When the whole panel is expanded--and I'll show you how that works in just a moment-- you can see a preview of the selected object, which is actually really useful sometimes. Let's say I press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H on a Mac to hide the selection edges and I switch back to my Black Arrow tool, so that I'm not seeing the gradient annotator and I am really not sure if anything is selected or not. Well if I click on Opacity, then I can see a little preview of just the selected object.

And notice, if I go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift +A or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect everything, I will see no selection up here at the top of the Appearance panel. But even better is the fact that when I click in the word Opacity, I see nothing and therefore I don't have anything selected. All right! I am going to go ahead and click on this path outline again and I can confirm that it's selected by clicking on Opacity, there it is and I'll change the Blend mode from Normal to Multiply and we end up getting this effect here, which is great except for the fact that all of these shapes are interacting with each other which I don't want them to do.

So, here is what you do next. You go ahead and switch back to the Layers panel and you either assemble all of these path outlines into a group, or in my case they are already assembled inside of a layer. So I'll just go ahead and meatball the layer. So you want to select the thing that's encompassing all of these interacting path outlines and then I'll go up here to the Transparency panel and I'll click this little Double Arrow icon a couple of times in order to expand the panel so that I am seeing the entire thing. There is the preview of all of my selected shapes, and notice that I've got a few different checkboxes down here; they are all designed to solve problems.

Now this last checkbox here is not anything you need to worry about, but these two are quite useful; Isolate Blending will go ahead and do exactly the opposite of what we want to do. So if I turn on that checkbox, you can see that the blending is isolated to the active layer. In other words the path outlines inside the layer will interact with each other, but they're not going to interact with any other layers. That's exactly what we don't want, so I'll turn that checkbox off. We've got this other one next door called Knockout Group and that's the one we want to apply. That turns this layer into a Knockout Group, so that none of the path outlines inside the layer interact with each other; they just interact with everything outside the layer.

Now, by default you may see a little bar inside this checkbox. If so, just go ahead and click on it and that will turn the checkbox on and we get the effect we're looking for. If you turn the checkbox off, then we end up with the path outlines interacting again and then for some reason if you turn on the checkbox again, you get the bar and it doesn't make any difference. So I just want you to know that you cycle through three different states often times with this checkbox and the state we're looking for if you want it on, is the checkbox and we get this effect here. All right! I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+ Shift+A on a Mac in order to deselect the artwork and incidentally--I want to share one more thing--I am going to bring back that top layer there, so we can see the version of the artwork from the previous movie.

So I'll turn off the White Lines layer and turn on this top blue layer. If ever after applying a bunch of Blend Modes, you see some ragged edges here and there inside your artwork, especially around strokes, that's generally because you're zoomed out and you're seeing the results of the screen anti-aliasing. So it's just the screen artifact. It has nothing to do with how your artwork is going to print. And if you ever want to confirm that, just go ahead and zoom way in by pressing the Ctrl and Spacebar keys or the Cmd and Spacebar keys on the Mac and dragging, and then zoom way in on your artwork and go ahead and check out those strokes in detail, and they should end up looking really great.

The only problem where this artwork is concerned--I'll go ahead and back out and zoom back in right there at this location--is these guys right there which are the result of the Color Dodge Blend mode hitting some very hot spots and exaggerating the contrast inside of these areas. However, they will still print smooth; you're just going to see these red lines right through these areas. So it's just something to bear in mind. You should always get nice sharp smooth strokes regardless of the Blend modes that you apply. All right! So that takes care of the Opacity value, all the Blend Modes and Knockout Groups.

In the next movie, we'll take a look at a few ways to combine Blend modes with dynamic effects.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14562 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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