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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
I've saved my progress as Modified 8-by- 9 mesh, so called by the way because we now have a total of 8 rows and 9 columns inside of our foremost pepper shape. Now, you may notice that I introduced a few colors at those points at which I clicked. So Illustrator just goes ahead and takes that last used color and throws it in at the new location. So you're going to have to sort of watch what you're doing in the final phase. When you're refining your gradient mesh, you want to be careful that you're not introducing colors without noticing it, because you'll probably want to switch out those colors.
But right now it's not that big a deal, because none of the colors are particularly accurate where the original pepper is concerned. So let's get a sense of how we make them accurate. I'm going to switch over to the layers panel, just so that we can see that I've got the mesh peppers layer on, and the original photograph layer down here at the bottom, it's on as well. I'm going to press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch to the Outline mode, so that we can see through to the background pepper. I'm going to grab my White Arrow tool. One of the easier ways to work upfront, although it's not going to seem easy, it's going to seem fairly labor-intensive, but you can make pretty quick work of some initial colors here, is to go ahead and click on a few points. Like I'm going to click on some of these side points here and Shift+Click on a few others to select them as well, because all these points look like they want to be more or less the same color.
And then I'll grab my Eyedropper tool, either by clicking on it here in the toolbox or pressing the I key and the next thing you want to do, to lift a color from the background image, you want to press the Shift key and click on that color. Now, this isn't going to work for me, this did not produce a proper effect, because if I look up here in the Color panel, my Stroke is active, and that means I just made the stroke red, which is meaningless when you're working inside of a gradient fill. That does nothing. In fact, watch this, if I go ahead and click on that little question mark Fill item right there, the Stroke disappears.
Illustrator is basically saying, "I was just joking, there is no stroke, you were just wasting your time a moment ago." And now you would Shift+Click inside of that pepper to change the fill color that's associated with that anchor point, because that's the only way to change the color of that anchor point. I'll show you, if I press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y in a Mac, that I have now changed the color of those various points. Subtle, but you can see that they're darker than they used to be. Now, another thing to bear in mind, those of you who've been using Illustrator for a long period of time, back in the old days Illustrator, when you were working from a tracing template and it was set to 50% Opacity or something, which is what mine is set to, then Illustrator had a propensity of lifting a 50% Opaque color. It would actually change the tint of the color, which completely ruined the effect.
Illustrator has now taken care of the problem, for the last couple of versions. All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on a Mac to switch back to the Outline mode, and I'm going to Ctrl+ Click or Command+Click, because pressing Ctrl or Command gets me that White Arrow tool on the fly, and I'm going to Ctrl+Shift+Click, Command+Shift+Click on a couple of other points to select them as well. And then I will Shift+Click inside the pepper template in order to lift the color. And you can see, by the way, that our Fill is active and you may be wondering, well, why was the stroke active earlier? That's because we'd added that stroke. Remember we lost the stroke to the larger shape and then we added it back in and that told Illustrator that we were working on the stroke now.
So every time we go through that process of adding the stroke back in, the stroke is going to be activated again and we're going to have to keep an eye out for that and make sure that we switch back to the fill, if we want to assign new colors to the points inside of our mesh. All right, so I'm Ctrl+Shift+Clicking, Command+Shift+Clicking on a Mac, on a few points right there in order to make them active. Then I will Shift+Click inside of one of these light colors inside the peppers. So you can see that the mesh points don't necessarily exactly overlap with the areas of highlights and shadows and the peppers.
Again, I want you to take as much creative latitude as you like. You don't have to get exactly the same results as me. I doubt I'm going to get the same results I got the last time around in my final example I showed you a couple of exercises ago. It's a work of art in process. That's fine. I'm going to go ahead and press the Ctrl key and click on some of these points, I'm Shift+Clicking as well, so I've got the Shift key down along with Ctrl or Command on a Mac. And then I will Shift+Click there in order to lift a highlight color. I'll go ahead and grab some of these points right there. It's a little trickier up in this region.
I might have to zoom in actually in order to make sure that I'm selecting the proper points, like so. You want to avoid selecting the wrong lines in the background. That can be an issue that will really snag you up. And if you find you're having problems with that, then you can lock down a few of those objects that you're not working on right now. And then I'll Shift+Click, once again with the Eyedropper, in order to lift that color. I'm going to go ahead and Ctrl+Click on a few of these points, like so. I'm not sure I'm going to do everything in front of you, because this does get to be the same thing over and over again here.
Then I'll go ahead and lift a color there and just keep working through it. That's what I recommend to you. Tell you what, let's see what we've got so far. I'll press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y in a Mac, to switch back to the Preview mode. I've managed to lift a few very interesting colors, but bear in mind, if I've got 8 rows and 9 columns and I've got points at the bottom and the far left side of the rows and columns respectively, then I've got more than 72 points. I've got in the neighborhood of 80 points that I have to deal with here.
So it does take a while to lay down all those colors. My recommendation is to have fun with it. Keep switching back and forth between the Preview and the Outline mode, so that you can lift colors in the Outline mode and see what you've done inside the Preview mode and see if you want to make some tweaks and that kind of thing. Then once you're done, go ahead and join me in the next exercise.
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