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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, I'm back in Photoshop and I have opened an image called Layer comps.psd. And if you are new to Photoshop you have probably never heard of layer comps, whereas if you have been using Photoshop for years and years, you have probably never heard of layer comps. They are just a really obscure feature but they are also really super useful. They allow to save different states inside of a single layered composition, so you can save which layers are turned on or off, you can save opacity settings, and blend modes, and layer effects, and the physical position of a layer inside of a composition if you so desire.
So, here is what we are going to do. I want you to go to the Window menu, and I want you to choose Layer Comps to bring up the Layer Comps palette. And you can see that I already have four layer comps ready and waiting for us. And these little arrowheads indicate that each of the Comps has a comment associated with it. And Illustrator can see layer comps and comments. You don't have to have them in order to dissect a layered file inside of Illustrator, but it is one way to work and it is actually a really powerful way. Now, you switch between layer comps by clicking on the icon in front of the name of the layer comp. So, in this case we are seeing this unfortunately sharpened version of the image. The bad news is that layer comps are not savvy to Smart Filters. So, either they are on or off for all layer comps, so I have gone ahead and left them on. Even though the image in its current state makes you want to go out and corner the market in Visine. Anyway you can also use these little arrowheads to switch from one layer comp to the next. So, I'm going to click on the Next button.
This is the masked version of the women. This is the, much better, Sepia toned version of the women and this is the highly graphical version right there at the end. Now, the one layer we are missing is this Graphic layer up top right there. And so I'm going to switch back to Last Document State by clicking in front of it, which for some reason is coming up with the image with the mask turned off. So, I'll go ahead and Shift- click in order to turn the mask back on or I could just press the F12 key in order to revert the image because that is the keyboard shortcut for reverting inside of Photoshop as well.
All right, and now we have some live editable text, which is theoretically editable inside of Illustrator as well. So, let's give it a try, but first let's go ahead and save our own layer comp. So, I want you to go down to the bottom of the Layer Comps palette. Click on the little page icon. Let's call this guy Text. And let's add a comment. By the way, Visibility and Appearance, leave those two turned on. Position should be off for this demonstration because we are not moving layers around inside of the image window. And the comment I'm going to add is something to the extent of live editable text ready and waiting. That should be good. And then an exclamation point of course and click OK.
All right, now let's go up to the File menu and choose the Save As command so that we don't save over the original, and I'm going to call this one With editable text, like so. And make sure everybody is turned on and then click on the Save button. And this images does contain the same alpha channels that we saw earlier. Now, the interesting thing about it is it is an RGB image. So, if you switch over to the Channels palette, notice it is RGB, Red, Green, and Blue not Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. But we also have a few alpha channels at our disposal here.
Okay, so switch over now to Illustrator, why don't you? And I have gone ahead and restored the original Wrap text.ai file and I would like to work on the text layer just because that way the Photoshop image will appear in front of the text. Actually you know what I'm going to do, I'm going to hide the text for now by twirling open the text layer and just turning off all three of the text layers right there, which are these top three, which are Your Health, Or so they, and Before creating. All right, then I'll twirl that close once again, go up to the File menu, choose the Place command. Scroll down the list to With editable text right there. Turn off the Link check box. You have to do that if you want to have access to the various layers inside of a layered composition. Click on the Place button, and you will see a preview of each one of your Comps. Not only will you see a list of the layer comps by the way, all the ones that we already saw, Sharpened, Masked, Sepiatone, Graphical, and Text, but you will also see the comments that go along with them, right here in this Comments area. And if you turn on Show Preview, you will see a little preview of the image.
All right, I want you to switch to Text and then go ahead and turn on Convert Layers to Objects. And we don't need to Import Hidden Layers at this minute because we don't have any hidden layers, but we do want to see if we can make text editable where possible. Then notice it says this file's color mode does not match that of the AI document, meaning that this is an RGB image. This is the CMYK illustration. Any transparency effects between layers will yield different results. They don't really mean that, they mean blend modes. Blend modes might trick you up a little bit, but anyway we are not too worried about that, go ahead and click OK in order to import that photo illustration right there with text.
All right, here it is on the text layer. Let's twirl open the text layer. There is the object itself. Let's twirl it open. It is kind of Group I believe. Yes it is. It is a Group we can see that up here in the Control palette. And it is a group that contains single item, smart objects, so the text is not editable. All right, let's switch back to Photoshop, the culprit my friends, and the reason by the way that we are only seeing smart object and nothing more is because Adjustment layers get merged, the Smart Objects and Smart Filters get merged. Illustrator doesn't understand any of those things. But it does understand live editable text if we get rid of the Drop Shadow. So, go ahead and drag that Drop Shadow on the Trash, go over to the Layer Comps palette, go ahead and update that text item right there by clicking on the little Update icon. And just to make sure everything is copasetic, click on Sharpened. All right, no layer effect right there, no Drop Shadow, click on Mask, click on Sepiatone, click on Graphical. I'm racing through them a little bit here just because I'm trying to check them out. Click on Text, nobody has got a Drop Shadow.
Let's try the Last Document State. Darn it, Last Document State. That can ruin it. We need to go ahead and get rid of that too. Hopefully, that will do it. Let's just leave it that way with Last Document State set to whatever it is. And let's click on Text and then click on Last Document State. Good. It is clean. We don't want that Drop Shadow associated with the text. It has got a totally go away in my experience. Go up to the File menu and choose Save in order to update the file. Now Alt+Tab or Command+Tab over to Illustrator.
And of course Illustrator will ask us whether or not we would like to update the photograph, please Illustrator, what's the problem? Well, the problem is we had to turn the Link check box off, so this is no longer a linked graphic and you can tell because the Embed button is in bed. It is sleeping, dormant, and also dimmed. And so that tells us that we have embedded the graphic and it is not linked to the file on disk, so we have got to re-import it. So, press Backspace or Delete to get rid of the one we just imported, go back to the File menu, choose the Place command. And then scroll down, find With editable text, make sure Link is turned off, click on the Place button. And there is Last Document State, if you want that or Text. If you want that.
I'm going to go ahead and switch to Text. Convert Layers to Objects, you betcha. Let's see if that works. Click OK. Hold breath, twirl open this object, and there is the Graphic, which is text actually. Isn't that an interesting sort of ironical statement? The Graphic item right there is in fact text because it is the word Graphic. Now, what you can do is you can get your Type tool if you want to and you can select that text and you can say No, I'm Text, if you want to or something along those lines. And then click off the text. And then you could add a Drop Shadow here inside of Illustrator if you wanted to.
Now, what I'm going to tell you is even though that's kind of cool, it is a nifty trick that Illustrator supports Photoshop like that. It is adorable. But I don't find it to be particularly useful because you have got to do an embed, and so I don't know. It is up to you. But I just want you to know it is there. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go up to the File menu and I'm going choose the Revert command to get rid of that junk. And then with my original graphic back intact, I'm going to turn on that trim layer, I'm going to go the View menu and select Hide Guides in order to hide those Guides right there.
I'm going to Shift+Tab away my palettes and then I'm going go to the View menu and choose Fit Artboard in Window. And there it is folks, our final image illustration. Thanks to Illustrator's ability to introduce and integrate photographic pixel based imagery into your artwork.
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