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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 still working inside the file called Blue eyes.ai. I've since turned on the hair sublayer and selected the hair compound path. So you want to ahead and twirl open hair and then meatball this hair right there. All right then let's switch over to the Appearance palette. The only reason we can't see the selection outlines is that I pressed Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide them. Now what I want to do is create an interaction between these two different Fill attributes using Blend modes here inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to start things off by clicking on this blue item. The blue fill, which is a solid blue fill, you can see that here inside of the Color palette, just 100% Cyan, 50% Magenta nothing more.
I'm going to set it's Blend mode from Normal to Color, like so. That is going to colorize everything below. So not only the objects below, if indeed it can reach them, but also the attributes below. So what we're really doing in this case is we're using blue to colorize the underlying gradient. Well this gradient is a pretty short gradient, if I were to click on this gradient fill right here and press the G key in order to switch over to the Gradient tool. We would see this gradient annotator. And you can see that black is right at Sammy's nose and white is down here at his chin. So everything above inside of the hair black is black, jet black, and just this little sole patch has white in it and then we have this very small stretch of gray values in between.
So we don't have much to colorize with blue in other words. So we need to change the blend mode associated with this gradient fill. All right, so I'm going to press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. I've got the fill selected -- by the way you want to make sure Compound Path is your active item inside the Appearance palette not None, so that you are in fact modifying the Compound Path and not the default setting. Now what I want you to do is let's just try out Luminosity and see how that works. That will blend the brightness of the gradient with the underlying objects, which ultimately does us no good, because the gradient is black-to-white, so we were already getting a luminance interaction. So there is no reason to switch to Luminosity.
All right so that didn't help us. What if we switch to something else, like let's try out one of the contrast modes? For example we could try out Overlay, Soft Light or Hard Light. And I'm here to tell you Overlay is the one to use when in doubt, because Overlay is going to generally give you the best results. You can see that we have this massive black up here in the upper left region of the hair, and we have a nice bit of white, some highlight down here in the sole path, and then we have some lovely blues in between with some shadow detailing here and there, some sculptural shading around the head. So that's pretty cool.
Now if you think that's too much, then you can switch to Soft Light and you'll get this effect, which I think, it's a little lighter. It's not all that different actually, but we do drop out some sort of shading in between in this region here. Or, if you decide that Overlay isn't enough, you could switch over to Hard Light, in our case we're going to get almost the normal effects, so that's not good. You can go your own way, but what I'm going to recommend as we apply Overlay to this fill right there, and then we reduce the Opacity to something like let's say 60%, and then press the Return key or the Enter to accept that modification, and this is our final effect. So again what you should see assuming that both of your fills are twirled open like this inside the Appearance palette, you should see that the blue solid fill is set to an opacity of 100% color, so 100% opacity in the Color Blend mode, whereas the gradient fill is 60% Overlay. So 60% opacity combined with the Overlay blend mode.
In the next exercise we are going to apply a bright sparkling gradient to the entire illustration.
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