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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 I'm going to show you how to work with one Clipping Mask nested inside of another and this is a real mind bender, my friends, which is why I have gone ahead and saved my updated document as Mind blender.ai. And I'm going to go ahead and twirl close the Feet as I so often do and lock them down and unlock the Body, my friends. And let's go ahead and twirl it open and the body, let's go ahead and zoom in on the body, why don't we? The body includes the smock of course, which I'm calling Smock and it includes grill lines and the nifty thing about the grill lines, if I were to click on them, you can see that it is another arch and a slightly rotated version of that same arc and then I'm blending between the two using a Blend of course.
So, we really have two paths that are being blended together and that's it. Now, we also have the cape right there and what I want to do is I want to take the grill and mask it inside the cape and I don't have to do any of that stuff we did with Pathfinder operations where we convert the various lines into filled objects and go that route, not necessary at all. This what we do instead. With cape in front, so everything is good to go where that is concerned. I'll go ahead and Shift meatball the cape because the grill is already selected. So, we have got both of these guys selected right ready to go.
And then I'll go onto the Object menu, I'll choose Clipping Mask and I'll choose Make or press Ctrl+7, Command+7 on the Mac and I go ahead and Mask these lines which are a blend inside of the cape. Now, I just lost the Stroke attributes that were formally associated with that cape. So, I'm going to twirl open the group and by the way the group is a mask, so we might as well just go ahead and name it that. We have got the cape right there. We have got the grill. Let's go ahead and meatball the cape by itself. I'll get my Eyedropper tool by pressing the I key and I'll just go ahead and click on this line right there in order to lift the Fill and Strokes attributes and for some darn reason, I just got a Gradient Fill. That's not one that is expected at all.
Is this guy filled with a gradient? What in the world? I'm getting some very different results, when I'm clicking on objects that are inside the mask, very different then what expected. So, I'm going to undo that modification. Let's try this object that is outside of the mask right there and that worked out just fine. Interesting. Anyway notice that we now have this open path that has got a stroke on it and Illustrator is completely unfazed by that. It is like, "Sure, yeah, I'll use that as a mask, no problem whatsoever." And so, I could go ahead and get my White Arrow tool and then I could click off the shapes in order to deselect them, click on this anchor point right there, move it to a different location and everything updates dynamically, completely amazing. Of course I was very happy with where it was. So, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z a couple of times in a row to reinstate the original position. All right, then now the cape here has to go inside of the smock, does it not? Yes, it does.
So, we are going to take advantage of a nested Clipping Mask at this point, one Clipping Mask inside of another. So, we already have one of them right ready to go. Let's grab the other one. That would be the smock right here, the larger shape, and the interesting thing about the smock is that it includes not only the outside body shape, but also this heart that is cutting a hole and that heart that's cutting a hole by virtue of the fact that all we are seeing is a single path that's not twirlable. We can't expand it. It must be a compound path and we can confirm that by going up to the Object menu, choosing Compound Path and notice Release is available to us. If I were to choose a release command, sure enough we get the heart as a separate object. So, we have heart and smock as two separate paths. Now, of course we don't want that. We want the heart to cut a hole in his chest because that's part of his sadness that he has a hole where its heart should be.
So, we can reinstate it either just by choosing the Undo command of course or by choosing Compound Path, Make in order to turn that guy into a hole. All right, so we have got a Compound Path we can see it right there. I'm going to rename it smock and then, what I'm going to do? Now, just because, remember before you ever make a Clipping Mask that you are going to lose your Fill and Stroke attributes right. And if your Fill and Stroke attributes are sufficiently complicated. In our case, we have a Gradient that we might not want to have to completely redo because then we have got to figure out what the angle the Gradient is and everything and if get my Gradient tool, I can see that it is not terribly complicated, but I would have to remember that it starts inside the heart and then goes down to this third line right there and that seems more effort than it is worth frankly.
So, why not just copy the smock, paste it in front of the Mask and then allow the Fill and Stroke attributes to go their merry way. Let me show you what I'm talking about. I'll switch back to the Black Arrow tool so that I'm not seeing the Gradient line there. Then I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Copy command or press Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac. Then I'm going to meatball the Mask item right there, so that I have the cape selected and I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose Paste in Front or press Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac to paste a copy of that smock in front. Now, let's Shift meatball the Mask because the smock is already selected right there and then I'll just press Ctrl+7 because we have seen that keyboard shortcut so many times, Command+7 on the Mac and we get this effect.
Now, I did indeed by the way lose my -- where the heck is it? I lost my Fill and Stroke attributes where this smock is concerned, but that doesn't matter because this smock down here is filling in. So, we still have the Fill and Stroke attributes for it. So, we can still see it just fine. All right, so this is it folks. I'm going to double click on that guy and call him like ubermask or something along those lines so that we know it is the mask that contains the mask and click OK.
In the next exercise we are going to take this Smock and the various elements in his torso here and we are going to make him translucent just like his head and that will finish off our illustration.
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