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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.
In this exercise, we are going to take a look at the first of the many blend modes that are available to us inside of Illustrator and that's the Multiply mode. Great for burning one object into another as you are about to see. I am still working inside this document called The head revealed.ai. I'm going to zoom out and click here, so that I can see more of the illustration. And then I'm going to scroll down to this bench sublayer, expand it, so I can see what's going on, and I'll select the bench object right there, this guy, this second Path inside of the bench sublayer. Well notice that it's fully opaque as you can see here inside the Transparency palette.
What if I wanted to create an Overlapping effect? Basically, I want the ink from the bench to appear as if they were overprinted on to the other inks inside of the illustration, so that one ink darkens the others, just as they do in the world of CMYK. Why then I would go to the Transparency palette, or I could go up here to the Opacity Option in the Control palette, click on it to access the blend modes as well. So either way, but anyway, I'd go over to this Normal option here inside the Transparency palette, click on it and then I would choose Multiply.
Now I should say all of the blend modes here use various mathematical operations in order to create an interaction between the selected object and all of the objects below. Now these aren't super sophisticated mathematical operations. For example, Multiply is doing exactly what it says. It's multiplying luminance levels inside the composition. However if it was to show you the underlying math, I'm not sure it would really do you any good, even if you are comfortable with math, so rather they assigned these various naming conventions to the blend modes, and they are consistent between the other Adobe applications which is nice, but that doesn't mean that you inherently understand how they work.
So Multiply will go ahead and overprint one ink on to another, and if you want another analogy, it's kind of like a Magic Marker effect. A highlighter is a great example. So if you had a blue highlighter, and you painted that highlighter over the other colors inside of this image, you would darken those colors with blue, and that's the same thing that happens with the Multiply mode, as soon as I go ahead and choose the darn thing, will get this effect right here. So it's an interaction between the blue, and the other colors inside of the illustration, specifically the colors below. Now the reason we're also getting in interaction with the colors inside of the jacket layer is because those jacket objects are translucent.
Anyway, notice though that we are seeing thorough from the bench to the leg of the bench, and we don't want that to happen. Also I'm not sure that I want this Highlight effect to show up as white. So if we want to affect all objects in the layer at the same time, then we need to meatball the layer. So I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac to undo the modification to that bench object right there, and instead I'll go ahead and meatball the entire bench sublayer, like so, so now all the objects of course are selected, because it's the layer that's currently targeted. Now I'll change its blend mode to Multiply, and notice what happens there. I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide those selection outlines.
Notice that we are completely losing white. Because if you had a white highlighter, it would essentially be clear when you painted over the other colors inside of the illustration. So overprinting white isn't going to do you any good, unless you are working with the equivalent of white out or something along those lines which would be a different analogy entirely, and not one that goes along with Multiply. So when you're multiplying black is going to turn jet black, and white is going to turn invisible, and all the other colors are going to darken incrementally.
Just to give you another sense of how you might work with it, I'm going to turn on the piano layer right there, and this time, I'm going to click on I guess this blue wood around the keyboard, in order to select it. Now I can't see the selection because I've pressed Ctrl+H or so I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H again in order to bring back to selection outline, just so that you can see indeed it is this path that's selected. All right let's go ahead and change its blend mode from Normal to Multiply as well. All three of these modes, Darken Multiply and Color Burn, they all use the selected object to darken the objects below. These guys Lighten, Screen and Dodge they all use the selected object to lighten the objects below.
These next guys Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light, they are going to increase the contrast. So the light portions of this selected object are going to lighten, and the dark portions of the selected object are going to darken. These guys are going to invert things, so white will create an inversion effect subject to these modes, and black tends to do nothing. And then Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity are going to breakup your illustration, or the components of the colors inside of the selected object into what's known as the HSL Color Model, I know I'm going very fast here, but we'll see various demonstrations of these coming right up.
But that allows you to peel away the color and the brightness of this selected object, and integrate them into other objects inside the illustration. As I say, future exercise I'll be covering these guys. But for now, you can't experiment with the different darkening modes if you want to, just to get a sense of how they work. So here is what happens if you choose Darken, and you're going to basically keep the colors that are darker in the selected objects, and reveal the colors that are lighter in the objects below. And then it happens on an ink by ink basis, so it tends to create some sort of complex interactions at times.
If you are getting abrupt transitions using Darkening, you want to go ahead and switch to Multiply, which tends to be the overall better Darkening mode, just as so as you know. If in doubt choose Multiply, if you want to darken and then if that's not dark enough for you, and you want some enhance contrast, then try a Color Burn instead. However, the thing with Color Burn especially inside of Illustrator as you're going to get some jagged transitions at various points, and some erratic colors as well. So it's just something to bear in mind. Anyway we are going to stick with Multiply.
Now the problem with this beautiful interaction of colors here, generally speaking I think it looks great, but one problem with this point is that we're seeing through the keyboard to the incomplete Sammy in the background. We are going to address that by adding the keyboard to the existing jacket opacity mask in the very next exercise.
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