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Painting with the new Blob brush


Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Painting with the new Blob brush

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Blob Brush, which allows you to paint filled paths that glom together with each other to create essentially as few paths as possible inside your illustration. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Beautiful and we have got this beautiful rendition of Eunice going now and Bob is in worse shape than ever, as you will see. It's looking just terrible, so is this prairie dog, and the problem is we change that brush on him and he just suffered immensely for it.
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  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
12h 54m Intermediate Jul 09, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Working with compound shapes in the Pathfinder palette
  • Ghosting shapes with Fill Opacity
  • Understanding gradients and the gradient tools
  • Cloning and coloring a blended path
  • Saving tile patterns and applying them to a shape
  • Importing and linking images from other applications
Deke McClelland

Painting with the new Blob brush

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Blob Brush, which allows you to paint filled paths that glom together with each other to create essentially as few paths as possible inside your illustration. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Beautiful and we have got this beautiful rendition of Eunice going now and Bob is in worse shape than ever, as you will see. It's looking just terrible, so is this prairie dog, and the problem is we change that brush on him and he just suffered immensely for it.

So we could fix him a little bit by pressing Ctrl+A to select all of the visible objects here, and that's Command+A on the Mac of course, and then I'd switch over to the Brushes palette and click on this new brush, 9 pt Bob, which will solve our problems. It actually returns Bob to his former, still not very good state. I just don't see things working out between Eunice and Bob quite frankly. Right now, she loves him to tears, but what's she going to think of him in the future, especially after he crushes that startled prairie dog there.

Well, I'd say we draw somebody new for Eunice. So I'm going to turn-off Bob, I'm going to switch to the Eunice layer, I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click on little page icon down here at the bottom of the Layers palette and I'm going to change the name of this layer to Edwardo. And that way, his name even begins with the same letter as Eunice. That's so important, and then go to Color and change it from Blue to Gold, like so, and click OK, because Gold is the color of Edwardo. All right, I'm going to go ahead and grab my Blob Brush tool. You can get to it by pressing Shift+B as opposed to be for the Paintbrush. We got Shift+B for the Blob Brush and then notice that it's already set to work with the last brush I selected, which is 9 pt Bob. And this is a pressure-sensitive brush, so I can just go ahead and paint with my pressure -sensitive Stylus in order to get some interesting wacky results at this stage in a game. So I'm just going to paint a few brush strokes in a place, like so. Notice all the while what's happening here is that Illustrator is connecting these paths together and if I press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool and click on the outline of one of these paths, you will see that they are joined together.

Now the reason this guy is not part of the other group is because they are not quite connected, see that. We have got two different paths in the making right now and if I were to twirl open Edwardo, you can see one's a compound path because it's got a little hole in it and the other is just a standard path outline, but they are both filled with black as opposed to stroked path outlines. I am going to go ahead and press Ctrl+ A, Command+A on a Mac, delete those, because I want to change some settings around and I'm going to change those settings from the Blob Brush tool options.

So double-click in the Blob Brush tool here and then what I want you to do is if you are working with a pressure- sensitive tablet, which you may or may not be and because I am, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to switch Size from Fixed to Pressure and I'm going to increase the Variations value to 10 pt. So I have as much variation as possible. I'm not going to worry about the Angle or the Roundness here. I'm done painting calligraphic brush strokes. I just want pressure sensitivity and I'll click OK. Notice now, you have a round 10 pt brush and there is no brush selected inside the Brushes palette any longer.

So let's begin to draw Edwardo, but you know what, I want a rich black and I didn't bother to save the swatch, so I'm just going to enter it manually, which is going to be 50% for Cyan, Magenta and Yellow and 100% for Black, because I think the rich black suits Edwardo. So he needs to look pretty good. Boy, he has got big ears. I didn't expect him to have such big ears. But notice as I paint, that I do have pressure-sensitivity and I'm going ahead and creating some awfully long hair for Edwardo. He is just such an amazing creature here. I'll go ahead and paint this nice, wonderful, luxurious tail, because he is tail-proud of course and he has got some ripped glute muscles I would think, don't you? All right, those look pretty nice there and then we'll go ahead and give him some nice haunches to work with here because he is just geesh, what a ladies killer, if you are a horse that is.

Now what the Brush tool has a habit of doing. This is true for both the Paintbrush and the Blob Brush, so both of them do this. They go ahead and smooth out your brush strokes. So even if you paint some pretty lousy stuff, once you get down releasing the brush, or that is releasing the stylus or the mouse or whatever you are working with, then Illustrator will go ahead and smooth out your brush strokes for you, and that's a function of one of those options I'll show it to you in a minute inside of the Blob Tool Options dialog box. All right, he wants a big huge jaw of course and a nice chin and he is not a smiler.

He is too cool for that, and then we'll give him some sort of cool eyes. I think ultimately he has got to have some bling because he is just exuding machismo, so we'll just give him some chains to work with there. This is looking pretty nice. Well obviously, he is a sailor, so we'll go ahead and give him this anchor tattoo. That's looking pretty good. So we have got ourselves an Edwardo and the interesting thing I think about him, besides he is just so stunning, is that if I click on him with the Black Arrow tool, that much of him is one big huge path outline as you can see right here, and then some of the other stuff is separated and that's plenty okay, and if we painted over him some more, I bet we could paint him into a single path.

But let's look here. We have got one big compound path, we have got this path down here for his face, and then we have got just a handful of additional paths where things are not connected. So you know what, just for larfs, so I'm going to click off him for a moment to deselect him, press Shift+B to switch back to the Blob Brush and I'm going to see if I can connect some of these brush strokes together. Now, I'm not having-- well, let's see, was that some of the stuff that was disconnected before? Let me check out. Oh no, that just connected the head and the larger path outline. We have got the glute paths right there and then we have the tip of that anchor.

All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift +A to deselect things, paint that just a little bit, so that goes in and joins on too. Now all we got left, the only thing that's separated from the major compound path there, are the glute paths. They want to be separated; they look good. All right, so there you have it. That's the basics of how the Blob Brush works. It's just sitting there painting filled paths and connecting those paths together as they overlap. In the next exercise, I'll show you some other ways to use to the Blob Brush here inside Illustrator CS4.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: In the lesson on pressure sensitivity, exactly what kind of Wacom tablet is the instructor using?
A: The instructor is using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet
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