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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right, I'm still working away inside Light reflection.ai, found inside the 22_transparency folder. In this exercise we're going to recreate this reflection effect. And we're going to do so, if you're working along with me by going to the layers panel and turning off the current reflection layer, because as I say we're going to remake it. And then I want you to grab the bulb & lines layer right there, and I want you to drag it onto the little Page icon at the bottom of the layers panel and release in order to create a copy of that layer. Then I'm going to move it down below bulb & lines, and I'm going to double-click on it, so that we can give it a more meaningful name like Reflection 2, because here we are recreating the darn thing.
And I'm going to change the Color to Brown, just so that we have a color that's easily recognizable onscreen. I'll click OK in order to create that new item. Now currently the Reflection 2 objects are directly behind the bulb & lines objects; we need to flip them. And we're going to do that by clicking in the upper right-hand corner on that little Black wedge, and that will select all the objects on that layer. And then I'm going to grab my Reflect tool, which I can get from the Rotate tool flyout menu of course, or you can press the O key. And then I'm going to Alt+Click not directly on that baseline, but just a couple of screen pixels down at this location in order to bring up the Reflect dialog box.
Now for you, the Axis is probably set to Vertical, if you've been working along with me, go ahead and click on Horizontal instead, so you're flipping across a horizontal axis in order to flip all the elements vertically of course. If you want to preview the effect, turn on the Preview check box. And then don't click Copy, because we're already created some copies of these objects. I just copied the entire layer; we just need to click OK, and that crazy effects that you see onscreen. Now if I want to nudge these guys a little closer together I might press the Up Arrow key a few times, because I want the reflection to be almost exactly right under the actual objects.
Just a little bit of distance between them in order to simulate, something going on, something in the nature of a slight layer of glass. All right, having done that we now need to go ahead and assign an opacity mask to this layer. But if I go up to the Transparency panel and this is how you create an opacity mask, but it is one of those things where if you apply just slightly wrong, you get a totally different effect than you think you will. So I want to see if I can help you anticipate that. If you go up to the transparency panel and click in the upper right-hand corner on that Fly-out menu icon and choose Opacity Mask, this is how you make one all the time, but if you do it in this case, then, because the individual objects inside this layer are selected, you're going to see this little bit of text right here inside of your opacity mask thumbnail, which indicates that somehow of the top item inside the layer which is the text, has been used as a mask for the other items.
And that's not what we want at all, we want to see an altogether empty opacity mass to start with. So go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+ Z on the Mac in order to undo that if you are working along. We need to target the layer, is what we need to do. So go ahead and click of the circular meatball for the Reflection 2 layer in order to make sure it's targeted and then go up to the Transparency panel. Go to its Fly-out menu and choose the Make Opacity Mask command, and then you're going to get a nice empty opacity mask. Albeit, not what we're really looking for at all, because I don't want to hide everything immediately.
And this is one of the differences between Illustrator and Photoshop. I was telling you in the previous exercise that Illustrator's opacity mask feature is analogous to Photoshop's layer mask feature, but when you create a new layer mask inside a Photoshop, it's white. So that you're seeing everything in Illustrator, it's black, so that you're not seeing anything, which I think is totally crazy. But you can reverse that behavior by turning off the Clip check box. And then you get a white opacity mask, so that you can see the contents of your layer which after all is helpful if you're trying to mask the contents of that layer.
The other check box right here by the way, just Inverts the behavior of the Mask, so that instead of black creating a hole and white creating a reveal, as you'll see. White creates a hole, and black creates a reveal, which is altogether nutty in my opinion. So I don't recommend you turn on this check box. In fact, most of the time when I'm using this feature I keep both check boxes off. There are times however where you want most things to be masked away, in which case turn clip on and then add a bunch of white objects to the mask, in order to reveal the contents of the layer.
Anyway, we're taking the opposite approach, here we go, notice that Reflection 2 now has a dashed underline, which indicates that we have an opacity mask assigned. How in the world do we get to the opacity mask? Well, you click on that opacity mask thumbnail there inside the Transparency panel in order to switch, so that you're modifying the mask and not the contents of the illustration. Immediately, you'll see this fairly disturbing item, which is that your layers panel all of a sudden goes empty. Every single one of your layers leaves, and you're left with this one layer that says Opacity Mask, but you also have this indicator that that's what happening, because the name the layers panel actually changes as well to layers with Opacity Mask in parenthesis.
So that tells you that you're modifying the opacity mask. You make your changes and we'll investigate those changes that we're going to make in the next exercise, but once you're done, you go ahead and click on the left-hand thumbnail in order to exit the opacity mask and return to your illustration. And that's the basics of what's going on with an opacity mask. It'll make more sense when we add some paths to that opacity mask in the next exercise.
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