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Join Illustrator master Deke McClelland for the fourth and final installment of his signature One-on-One series on the vector drawing powerhouse, Adobe Illustrator. In this course, Deke shares step-by-step tutorials and expert-level insights on the most robust features, helping you achieve Illustrator mastery for yourself.
In this movie, I'll show you how to mask the contents of an entire layer, which a lot of folks don't know you can do and it's really actually very easy to pull off. And then we'll re-purpose that mask to create an opacity mask for the horse. So, first thing I want you to do is go ahead and zoom out, a couple of clicks here. And grab the Rectangle tool, and the idea is that even though I've got a bleed and I've got stuff extending out into the bleed, I want to get a sense of what my artwork looks like when it prints. And this is just a temporary thing so I can see what's going on, so in other words I want to mask away the bleed and all the extra starbursts and stuff like that.
And so I'm going to create a rectangle that's exactly the size of the art board. Well, if I press Shift+0 in order to switch to the Art board tool, I can see that both the width and the height of this art board are 720 points. So, I'll just go ahead and press the Esc key to escape out, and I'll click any old place inside the document window, and notice that I already have a rectangle set up to be 720 points wide and 720 points tall. So I'll go ahead and click OK in order to create that square. And then I'll click on the Align icon up here in the Control panel, and change it to Align to Art board if it isn't already set that way.
And then go ahead and click on Horizontal Align Center in order to center the square in the art board, and click on Vertical Align Center as well. Now we've got the thing exactly where we want it. Now because we're going to re-purpose this rectangle, go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command in order to create a copy of it, or of course you can just press Ctrl+C or Cmd+C on the mac. Now notice that my squares come in at the top of the Evening layer. That's exactly what I want because that's where all the stuff extending out of the layer is located. So with that path at that top of the stack, doesn't matter what color is assigned to it.
It looks to me (LAUGH) like I've got some sort of very light gray. Interesting. I don't know where that's coming from. But anyway, that doesn't matter. Just go ahead and make sure it's selected and drop down to the bottom of the Layers panel, and click on this icon right there, Make Release Clipping Mask. And that will go ahead and clip everything that's outside of that layer, just like so. Oh, and as an aside, notice next door to the clipping icon is a little search icon. And what that allows you to do, I'll go ahead and unlock for example, the Horse layer.
I'll press the V key to switch to my Black arrow tool, and I'll click on the horse to select it. If you then click on that little magnifying glass, Illustrator will automatically find that selected object inside the Layers panel, which can be extremely handy indeed. So I just want to make sure that you know about that one. Anyway, I'm going to twirl close the Evening layer and I want to modify this guy a little bit, this liquified horse. So, first thing I'm going to do, cause I just want to create some interaction between him and the background. I'm going to send him back to a weak black, by Shift+clicking on this first swatch up here on the Control panel and I'll just dial back the CM and Y values to zero a piece.
In order to get this very dark shade of gray. And then I'll go to my Transparency panel and I'll go ahead and expand it so that I can see the opacity mask options and I'll also change the blend mode from normal to multiply. So, we end up with this effect here. Alright, now click on Make Mask in order to create an opacity mask as you can see here. Clip should be turned off. And then you want to click on the second thumbnail in order to activate the opacity mask and press Ctrl+F or Cmd+F on the Mac in order to paste in that (LAUGH) very light gray square.
Now make sure that your stroke is set to None, which it is in my case. And then you want to tap the period key in order to switch the fill, which is active for me. It's very important that it is active by the way, for you as well. To switch the fill to a gradient. And by default it should be white to black, and hopefully it is for you as well, otherwise you'll have to modify your color stops. Then go ahead and expand the Gradient panel like so. And I'm going to press the G key to switch to my Gradient tool and I'm going to drag from the T down at the bottom of the illustration up until I'm.
About even with the bottom of that wing right there, and I'm pressing the Shift key as I drag, so I'm constraining the angle of migrating it to exactly vertical. That turns out to be exactly the opposite of what I want, so I'll go ahead and click in the reverse gradient icon, here inside the Gradient panel to produce this effect here. Now that's too much frankly, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in by the way, so I can better see what I'm doing. But in other words I'm masking away too much of the feet so I'll switch over to the Transparency panel and I'll switch the opacity value to 50% in order to reduce not the opacity of the horse but rather the density of the mask.
And now I'll click on the thumbnail of the horse in the Transparency panel in order to switch back to my layered document and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect everything. And that how you mask the entire contents of a layer, as well as re-purposing that mask as a low density gradient opacity mask here inside Illustrator.
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