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Making a blend automatically

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Making a blend automatically

In this chapter, we are going to take a look at two of the oldest and most powerful features in all of Illustrator and to really understand what's going on with them, it's important to put them in historical context in my opinion, so you get a sense of just how old they are and why they grew up the way they did because they're fairly cantankerous features in a lot of ways but they are so good and they go by the names of blends and masks. So here is the idea. Once upon a time, there were no gradients inside of Illustrator. This is back in Illustrator 1.0. There was no way to create a fountain of colors. In fact, truth be told, there was no way to create colors.

Making a blend automatically

In this chapter, we are going to take a look at two of the oldest and most powerful features in all of Illustrator and to really understand what's going on with them, it's important to put them in historical context in my opinion, so you get a sense of just how old they are and why they grew up the way they did because they're fairly cantankerous features in a lot of ways but they are so good and they go by the names of blends and masks. So here is the idea. Once upon a time, there were no gradients inside of Illustrator. This is back in Illustrator 1.0. There was no way to create a fountain of colors. In fact, truth be told, there was no way to create colors.

It was just a black and white program. And then there is other whippersnapper of an application comes along that would ultimately be called Freehand and it not only includes color but it has the freehand drawing tool something that Illustrator didn't have, the equivalent to the Pencil tool. Then it also had a Gradient tool. Well, Adobe in its infinite wisdom decided that a gradient tool was not good enough for Illustrator. In fact, they didn't end up adding a Gradient tool to Illustrator until Version 5. So when Version 2 came along, which was known as Illustrator 88, they decided to add this thing called the Blend tool right there, which allowed you to blend between objects and I'll show you what that means in just a moment. That way, you could construct your own custom gradients and do a lot of other stuff as well.

And it was simultaneously not as good as Freehand's Gradient tool because it was weird and was harder to use and harder to understand and at the same time, it was much more powerful, which remains the case. If you were to compare the Blend tool with the Gradient tool, it is simultaneously more difficult to use and at the same time more powerful as well. All right, so I have opened up this document called Lone ghost.ai. I'd like you to open it as well and it features to return of the ghost robot but this time he is not inside the fistful of fiction magazine cover and he's got a more positive message. Instead of saying, "Boo" he is saying "2'oo" because he's come back, don't you see? I know it looks just like Zoo or 200 or something but that won't make any sense, he is saying 2-o-o.

Anyway, here's what we are going to do. I'm going to zoom out from this guy and let's take a look at this backdrop layer right there. In fact, I want to make sure we can't modify anything except the backdrop layer, so why don't you Alt-click or Option-click right there in the lock column in front of backdrop to lock everybody but that layer. And then I'm going to twirl it open and you'll see that we have got a rectangle here in the background. I am going to go ahead and meatball it to make it active and then I'll grab my Gradient tool, so that we can see that the rectangle is filled with a gradient that goes from orange to blue and finally up to this very deep purple up here.

And in front of that, I have objects that represent each one of those exact same colors and we can blend between these objects in order to construct our own custom gradient that we'll then clip inside of a mask. All right, at first it's going to seem like why would you do that that's just a bunch of busy work, later you'll understand just how terrifically powerful it can be and it will become just another tool in your arsenal, of course. All right, so to really see what's going on I'm going to go ahead and take this rectangle and fill it with some other colors, something that's completely different so that we can see the blended objects and fold before us. So I'm going to go ahead and change that fill to something completely shocking and aberrant and different like green and quite ugly in this case but that's okay.

All right, so now I'm going to go ahead and meatball those objects and they are grouped together for what it's worth, and you can work with a group if you want to, that's perfectly acceptable. The simplest way to blend objects inside of Illustrator is to go up to the Object menu. This is not the only way. We'll see another way later, but go up to the Object menu, choose the Blend command and choose Make, and that's got a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+B or Command+Option+B on the Mac and that will blend between these objects as you can see. Now it's not blending between the objects in a proper order. It's going from orange up to purple and then back down to blue. Why is it doing that? Because I have a problem with my stacking order.

So if I go ahead and twirl open objects and then twirl open this new item blend which houses of our individual objects. You can see that I went ahead and put the top object, the purple object between middle and base and that was a mistake. It really should be topped on top of middle, on top of base so that things pursue in the proper order. So did you get that? When you are blending, you are blending from the top object to the next object down to the next object down and so on, and you can't blend between multiple objects as we are doing here. All right so you'd think because this blend is a live, modifiable on the flying object, you would think you could grab this top object right there, and move it to the top of the stack, move it above the middle and that would solve our problem. Instead it just creates a different problem.

It is now blending from the deep purple object to the blue object and then to the peach colored object down here. Problem is that it went ahead and reversed the placement of the purple object in the blue objects. And actually what it did was they are both on top of each other. Now the purple object has moved down here but this path of the blend, this item right there now is going up and then back down, and that's because you get a path associated with your blend anytime that your blended objects are separated geographically from each other, as there are in our case.

The path will stay the same path, once it's created unless you modify it, it's going to remain that same path so it was messed up in the first place and it's messed up now. So this obviously is not what we want. So what do we do about this? Well I'm going to show you how to solve this and other blending problems in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21458 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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