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In this exercise I am going to show you how to modify two blends at the same time and then we are going to take them and place them inside of a mask, and then we are going to take that mask and put it inside yet another mask. I have saved my progress as Menacing eyebrow.ai, and I am going to zoom out here so that we can take in the face of the sarcophagus right here. Notice that I've got these extreme paths at the top and the bottom on both sides of the sarcophagus and I want to blend between them in order to create a kind of ribbing effect. Now I would like to go and select these objects, but for me they're on a locked layer.
So I am going to unlock this shield & ribs layer by clicking on the lock icon to turn it off and then I will click on this top path here and the bottom path. And this time around, because we have done it so many times, so I am just going to press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+B or Cmd+Option+B on a Mac. Because those two paths sport identical strokes and no fills, Illustrator gives us a single step in between. All right, that's fine, we'll come back to it. I will click on this path outline and this one in order to select both of them. Press Ctrl+Alt+B or Cmd+Option+B again in order to blend between those two paths.
Now I want to modify the steps associated with these two blends at the same time. So with this one selected I will Shift+ Click on this guy to select it as well, and because I have the Black Arrow tool active I go ahead and select the entire blend, because it's part of a single blend object. So I have both blends selected. Now I will go over to the Blend tool and double-click on it to bring up the Blend Options dialog box. I will switch Spacing from Smooth Color to Specified Steps. I'll see that I have a single step and nothing more.
I want that steps value, just based on experience here, I want it to be 15. And then I will press the Tab key and I fill in the ribs, like so. They need to be clipped, as well, inside of this sort of a accordion shape right there. So I will go ahead and click OK to accept my changes and I want to grab this shape. However, I got to Switch tools. So I will press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool. I will click on this path outline to select it. It needs to be in front of the blends in order to mask him. So I will press Ctrl+X or Cmd+X on a Mac to cut that shape.
Then I'll select both of the blends. It's important that you select both of them, so that you can don't end up pasting between the two. So click on one, Shift+Click on the other, and press Ctrl+F or Cmd+F on the Mac in order to paste that shape into place. Now the reason we can see through it, is because it contains a translucent gradient. Now here is the thing. This is, I don't know if it is the most complex gradient on earth. I will go ahead and bring up my Gradient panel so I can see. Apparently, I'm blending from a shade of brown right here to that exact same shade of brown, I believe.
Well, actually it does change a little bit here inside the Color panel. So the color stops are a little bit different from each other, but one is 100% opaque, the first one is. You will see the Opacity value there is 100%, and if I click on that second color stop, its Opacity value is 0%. So I have a translucent gradient, in other words, and that's why I can see through this shape. However, here's the deal. Any time you convert a shape to a clipping mask, you lose its Fill and Stroke attributes. You can reinstate them, but initially you lose them. This has been the way it is since Illustrator '88.
It's a shame a shame that Illustrator hasn't fixed this problem by now. You should be able to retain those Fill and Stroke attributes. However, what you do upfront if you know you are going to lose them and you want to be able to reinstate them more easily than having to write down all these settings and reapply them manually. Go ahead and select the shape as I have done so that you are telling Illustrator here is the Fill and Stroke attributes I want to work with and then just grab something like the Rectangle tool, any tool will do, and just go ahead and draw a shape.
So I will draw it out here in this sort of empty area in the background. Just in order to save those Fill and Stroke attributes for later. Now I don't have any stroke attributes, but I do go ahead and save my Gradient Fill. Now having done that I will switch back to Black Arrow tool by pressing the V key, and I'll click on the path outline to select it, and then I will Shift+Click on each of the two blends in order to select them as well. Now anytime you're creating a clipping mask, the top path outline is going to clip everything else. So now I will go up to the Object menu and I'll choose Clipping Mask and I will choose Make or press Ctrl+7, Cmd+7 on a Mac.
Sure enough, I go ahead and mask those blends. Sure enough, I also loose my Fill and Stroke attributes, that are assigned to the clipping mask at any rate. Now I will press the I key to get my eyedropper and I'll click anywhere inside of this little rectangle I created. So I will click like so and that goes ahead and assigns that fill to the blends, which is not what I want at all. So the blend must be selected in addition to the clipping mask, what do I do? Well, of course you press Ctrl+Z, Cmd +Z on a Mac, because this is a mistake.
I will go ahead and twirl open shields & ribs and then I will scroll down and try to find the selected group. There it is! I will twirl it open, and there is the clipping mask. So I could select this path outline independently of the others using White Arrow tool. That's one way to work, because I want to select into a group. Another ways is to find it here inside the layers panel. That's the way I prefer to work. Then meatball that clipping path, the item that's called clipping path, which is the mask, independently of everything else. I still have my Eyedropper selected. So I will click inside of that gradient in order reassign that Fill to the clipping mask.
So that's one clipping mask, what about the other one? Well, I want to go ahead and place this larger sort of accordion shape inside of the face of the sarcophagus. So I'll switch to my Black Arrow tool by pressing the V key. I will click on this outer sort of rectangular shape right there in order to select it, that is this prospective rectangle. I will press Ctrl+X, Cmd+X on the Mac in order to cut it, because I've got to place it in front once again so that it's at the front of the stack. Then I'll click on this object to select the whole group, mind you, not just the clipping path even though only the clipping mask is showing up onscreen, everything is selected.
Then I will press Ctrl+F or Cmd+F on the Mac in order to paste it in front. Now it's obscuring everything behind it. So I have got to dig into the layers panel again. Luckily, I am scrolled to the right location here inside of the panel. Let's go ahead and hide that Gradient panel. Actually, this reminds me I need to make sure to back up that gradient. This is an even more complex gradient, because it contains three different color stops. I am not even going to bother to check out exactly what those color stops are. Instead, I am going to press the M key to switch to my Rectangle tool.
Again, it doesn't matter what shape you draw, just any shape will do. With this larger path outline selected go ahead and draw a rectangle that will automatically fill with that same gradient, because it's active, and then, here inside the Layers panel you need to click on the path outline. That's it right there, that's below this sort of shield group right there. Go ahead and click on it, that is meatball it, in order to select it and then Shift+Meatball the group underneath which represents the clipping mask and its content. Now we are going to mask them together by going up to the Object menu, choosing Clipping Mask once again, and choosing Make.
So you can place a clipping mask inside of another clipping mask as deep as you want to go. So you can nest as many clipping masks as you like, and I am going to do that by choosing the command or pressing Ctrl+7, Cmd+7 on a Mac. It goes ahead and clips just like I wanted to, however, of course we lose the Fill and Stroke attributes. I don't want to assign this fill here to everything that's selected. So I need to twirl open that group right there. It gets a little complicated, but you've just got to be systematic in terms of your approach. Go head and twirl open that group. Meatball that top clipping path, because that's the one that we want to refill and then I will press the I key in order to my Eyedropper and I'll click inside of that rectangle. That goes ahead and reassigns the gradient.
You can even see it here inside the thumbnail in the Layers panel. That reinstates that gradient fill to that clipping mask, and, by the way, it also reassigns the stroke. There was a stroke associated with that path originally, and we get this effect here. Now I'll switch to the Black Arrow tool by pressing the V key. Then I will go ahead and click on one of these path outlines, these rectangles that I no longer need. I will click on one, Shift+Click on the other so that they are both selected. I will press Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of them and this is the effect that we ultimately achieve.
Two blends inside of one clipping mask that we then place inside of another clipping mask, without losing our Fill or Stroke attributes, contrary to the way that Illustrator normally works, thanks to the fact that we took a systematic approach to the entire process.
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