Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustration by Richard Downs

Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator

In this movie I'll show you how to edit the contents of a Vector-based Smart Object inside Illustrator, and then hand off the changes back to Photoshop. And this is one of the best examples of two applications interacting with each other that there is. So what I want to do is give the shield a little bit of a blur, because it's just too tactile right now to be real. And in doing so we'll achieve this effect here. So, I'm going to start things off by selecting the shield layer near the bottom of the stack.
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  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
11h 2m Advanced Dec 13, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.

Topics include:
  • Installing dekeKeys, Deke's free custom keyboard shortcuts
  • Understanding the color-managed workflow
  • Creating a multicolor blend
  • Establishing a clipping mask
  • Blending different levels of opacity
  • Combining a letterform with a path outline
  • Warping logo type around a circle
  • Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
  • Mixing and matching color harmonies
  • Recoloring artwork
  • Working with the Calligraphic, Scatter, and Art Brushes
  • Creating translucency
  • Editing attributes in the Appearance panel
  • Adjusting and updating dynamic effects
Deke McClelland

Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator

In this movie I'll show you how to edit the contents of a Vector-based Smart Object inside Illustrator, and then hand off the changes back to Photoshop. And this is one of the best examples of two applications interacting with each other that there is. So what I want to do is give the shield a little bit of a blur, because it's just too tactile right now to be real. And in doing so we'll achieve this effect here. So, I'm going to start things off by selecting the shield layer near the bottom of the stack.

Now it's a Smart Object as you would recall. And even though it's an Illustrator Smart Object, you can still apply smart filters to it by going up to the Filter menu in our case, choosing Blur, and then choosing Gaussian Blur. And then if you're working along with me, I want you to change the Radius value to 2 pixels in order to blur the image like so. And then click OK. Problem is, even though that does deliver a more credibly focused effect in a lot of ways, I've got this big white highlight over here on the blue circle and it just looks wrong.

What I need to do is get rid of those dynamic effects that I assigned inside Illustrator. And to do that you edit the Smart Object. Now given that we're seeing a little place icon in the bottom-right corner of the Smart Object thumbnail, you might think that the Smart Object layer is linked to a .ai file on disk; but that's not the case, and that's for a couple of reasons. For one thing you may recall we copy and pasted this artwork; and the Clipboard, which is the copy and paste vehicle, has no idea where this vector artwork came from. So there is no file associated with it.

But even if we created this Smart Object by going up to the File menu and choosing the Place command, we would not have created the link either; because smart objects never link, they only embed. So what we have here is a layer that contains an actual illustration. It contains all the vector-based information that Illustrator needs, and to edit it inside Illustrator all you do is double-click on the layers thumbnail. Now you probably get an alert message that just tells you how you go about saving your changes to the Smart Object, and I am going to show you that, so just click OK and that will switch you to Illustrator.

Now in my case it does so inelegantly, so I'm going to have to click on the Maximize button in order to restore the interface, and I might want to tuck up the Swatches panel as well. All right, and you can see that we don't even have some of the elements of the illustration that we had before; we've just got the shield elements, because that's all we copied and pasted. And notice that the name of this file is Vector Smart Object whatever .ai, so it's a file that Illustrator has created on the fly. I'm going to press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac in order to select all the paths associated with the shield. Then I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, click on the fly-out menu icon, and choose Reduce to Basic Appearance. You don't want to choose Clear Appearance because that'll get rid of the fills as well, but if you choose Reduce to Basic Appearance that'll get rid of all the dynamic effects.

All right, now you have one of two ways to update the Smart Object inside Photoshop. One is to go up to the File menu and choose the Save command, or you can press Ctrl+S or Command+S on the Mac. Don't you Save As. If you do that then you'll end up breaking the link between this particular artwork and the Smart Object inside Photoshop. But Save works just fine. Or if you like, you can just go ahead and close the illustration, as I'm doing here, and then click on the Yes button on the PC or the Save button on the Mac.

Now this message here is a little misleading, it asks you if you want to save changes to the Illustrator document. That's not what's going to happen. Instead, you're going to update the Smart Object inside of Photoshop; you're not actually going to save any files, you're just going to update the information. So go ahead and click Yes here on a PC or Save on the Mac, and then I'll close the file, and then you'll see whatever other file you may have open inside of Illustrator. Doesn't show you that anything has been updated yet, because we're not seeing Photoshop. And so I need to switch back over to Photoshop, and at that point you'll see the shield update.

Just so you can see it again because it happened very fast, press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to see the before version of the shield, and then you press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z again in order to see the after shield. So that's all there is to updating an illustration from Photoshop. So the idea is once you create a Vector-based Smart Object inside Photoshop, then Illustrator is waiting in the wings, serving as a kind of plug-in for your Photoshop composition. All right, now I'm going to scroll down my Layers panel a little bit and I'm going to get rid of this filter mask by right- clicking on that white thumbnail and choosing Delete Filter Mask. And now I want to add a couple of more effects including a Drop Shadow behind the shield, because we just lost the one we created in Illustrator.

So drop down to the fx icon and choose the last of the layer effects, Drop Shadow. And then, assuming default settings that is to say your Color Swatch appears black, then go ahead and reduce the Opacity value to 50 %, your Angle value for this document should be 35 degrees; and then take the Distance value up to 10 pixels, and take the Size value up to 50 pixels. And what's great about applying drop shadows inside of Photoshop instead of Illustrator is that in Illustrator drop shadows are really slow; in Photoshop drop shadows are super-fast.

They apply instantaneously. Now switch the Blend mode from the default Multiply to the darkest of the blend modes in Photoshop, Linear Burn, in order to produce this effect here. All right, now I want to trace the kind of dark line around the shield; and I'll do so using Outer Glow, which can either create a glow or a shadow, depending on the color and blend mode settings. So I am going to click on the little Color Swatch there, which is a pale yellow by default. And I am going to drag the circle inside the big color field to the lower-left corner in order to change the color to Black. Then I'll click OK.

Now I'll change the Blend mode from Screen to Multiply, and we see this tracing effect here, which is little too much to be particularly credible. So make sure your Size value is 5, the Spread value should be 0%; and then I'll click inside the Opacity value and press Shift+Down Arrow a few times until I reduce the Opacity to 35% in order to produce this effect here. Then go ahead and click OK in order to apply both the Drop Shadow and the Outer Glow.

And that, friends, is how you update a Vector- based Smart Object inside of Illustrator and then hand-off the changes back to Photoshop.

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