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Real-world blending modes


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Real-world blending modes

Over the course of this chapter, we re going to be talking about the Opacity Value, Blend modes, Knockout Groups and Opacity Masks. But before I go into the specifics, I want to address what seems to be an extremely common concern for a lot of people when they're wandering into Transparency inside Illustrator and that is, is it going to print? Because the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time working on a highly complex illustration that goes nowhere, that's ultimately unprintable and then you have to sit there and delete bits and pieces and see what's causing problems and all that stuff, and believe me I've been there.
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  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
14h 53m Intermediate Nov 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Tracing a pixel-based image
  • Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
  • Creating and editing gradients
  • Creating multi-colored blends
  • Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
  • Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
  • Designing advanced type effects
  • Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
  • Making the most of symbols
  • Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
  • Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks
Deke McClelland

Real-world blending modes

Over the course of this chapter, we re going to be talking about the Opacity Value, Blend modes, Knockout Groups and Opacity Masks. But before I go into the specifics, I want to address what seems to be an extremely common concern for a lot of people when they're wandering into Transparency inside Illustrator and that is, is it going to print? Because the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time working on a highly complex illustration that goes nowhere, that's ultimately unprintable and then you have to sit there and delete bits and pieces and see what's causing problems and all that stuff, and believe me I've been there.

But thanks to the fact that you can rasterize a graphic as we discussed in the previous chapter. This question is largely moot because you can take the most complex illustration imaginable ultimately and you can convert it into a collection of colored pixels. And then you can evaluate whether it's successful or not. If it isn't, you can fix the problems. If it is, you can hand off the image to a commercial printer or an art director or a client or whomever. And be convinced that it's going to workout as you see it. So what I thought we do upfront here is go ahead and work through what I considered to be a real-world blending scenario.

Nothing too complicated, we are going to be taking this graphic right here, Blue and we are going to be converting it into this finished illustration which is called Finished And then in the next exercise, we will go ahead and rasterize the graphic. We will see what can go wrong and I'll show you a surefire solution. So I'm going to go ahead and switch to this graphic upfront. Now the objects here inside of this light bulb, the star and this little highlight, sort of crescent shape as well as the circle. They'll have a nice highly graphic quality but I want to soften the transitions a little bit so that we have a more naturalistic looking piece of artwork and I'm also going to apply a Blend mode in order to achieve a glow effect.

And that blend mode by the way is already at work inside of this illustration. If you click of a light bulb with the Black Arrow tool in order to make it active, this big light bulb path, go over to the Appearance panel and then click on Outer Glow in order to see how this Outer Glow Effect is put together. And notice that the mode which is the Blend mode just like the Blend mode here inside the Transparency panel which we will see in just a moment. That Blend mode is set to Screen and that's the default behavior for Outer Glow by the way, that's the default setting. You have a bunch of other blend modes to choose from as we'll discuss but Screen is Illustrator's suggested method for achieving a great glow effect and for good reason, it does achieve a wonderful glow and you should take that into consideration when you're creating your own glow effects that aren't dependent on the Outer glow dynamic effects.

So I am going to Cancel out of here and I am going to use Screen in order to convert these shapes to something that more closely resembles a glow. So I will click on the big star there and then I will Shift+Click on the crescent and the circle in order to select them as well. And I'm going to switch over to the Transparency panel. There's a few different ways to get that panel. One is to go up to the Window menu and go all the way to the bottom here to Transparency or you can press that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F10, Command+Shift+F10 on the Mac. You can also go up to the Control panel and click on the word Opacity and that will bring up a pop-up version of the Transparency panel.

Now you may look at this guy and think, well he is awfully tiny compared to this big panel and the reason is because this panel here is collapsed. So if you click on that little up- down arrow icon, you'll cycle through the various different ways to display the Transparency panel. Right now, we only need to see the Blend mode over here on the left-hand side. So I am going to switch it from Normal which is essentially as we'll be discussing no blend mode at all. And I'm going to switch it over to Screen and we are going to create a glowing effect, that is we are creating an interaction between the objects and the background that is ultimately lighter than either.

So we are ending up with a cumulative lightning effect. Next, I am going to deselect this circle by Shift+Clicking on it, so that I still have the crescent and the star shapes selected. And I am going to change the Opacity value here in the Transparency panel to 50%. So you can change the opacity along with blend modes to achieve all kinds of different variations. I will go ahead and press the Enter Key or the Return Key on the Mac in order to accept that modification. Now I want to soften these shapes using a dynamic effect known as Feather. So I am going to click off the shapes, click back on this crescent, go up to the Effect menu, choose Stylize and choose the Feather command right there.

And I am going the change the Feather Radius value to 2 points and turn on the Preview check box to see what happens. Looks good, click OK. Next, I am going to go ahead and soften that star shape by clicking on it, going up to the Effect menu, choosing this second command at the top of the menu or you can go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+ Alt+E, Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac. And this time I'm going to change the Feather Radius value to 4 points and these are just values I discovered through trial and error. And I click OK in order to accept that modification. And next, and get a lot of this, this is really cool actually.

I'm going to go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform and choose a command that we've already seen a couple of times now Pucker & Bloat. And notice what happens if I turn the Preview check box on, and I increase the Bloat value then I'm getting this kind of double tiered effect. So basically instead of one star point, I'm getting a pair of star points at each one of these anchor point locations. I am going to take this value all the way up to 150% and press the Tab Key and I achieve this effect here. Click OK in order to accept it.

Then we are going to completely and utterly transform this circle in the center here and notice that I want to ahead and gave this circle some extra anchor points. So I took a standard circle that had four anchor points, four smooth points. Then I went up to the Object menu and I chose Path and I chose the Add Anchor Points command, which has a keyboard shortcut if you have loaded the dekeKeys of Ctrl+Alt+BackSlash or Command+Option+BackSlash on the Mac. And what that does is it adds an extra anchor point in the middle of each one of the segments. So we go from having 4 anchor points to 8 and that gives me more Pucker and Bloat options.

For example, I will go ahead and choose that second command under the Effect menu again or mash my fist E in order to bring up this command. And right now this value is set way too high for this circle, so I'm going to take it down to about let's say 15%. But you can see here that I get a bloat at each and every segment, so that's why I needed those 8 anchor points instead of just 4, so we had more bloat action. Anyway notice that you can go to town on this effect if you want to or back it off.

I'm going to take it to 15 % and then I will click OK. And now, we need to soften that effect too, so I will go up to the Effect menu, choose Stylize and choose Feather. And I will take the Feather Radius value all the way to 32 points and click OK. And you achieved this effect which I think is quite nice. Now the final thing I want to do is I want to create kind of a gradient shadow and if you take a look at the final version of this illustration which is this one right here, Finished, the shadow down here at the bottom looks kind of like it's a gradient, a gradient that goes from opacity to transparency.

And you could work that way if you want to but then you would have to make sure that the shape of your gradient exactly matches the shape of the ellipse which is kind of a pain in the neck. Whereas, if you just soften this shape right here, I am back inside Blue, you do the work very quickly. So I will go ahead and select this shape, I'll go up to the Effect menu, I will choose that second command or Ctrl+ Shift+Alt+E, Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac and I will change the Feather Radius value to 8 points. And you can always preview this effect if you want to and then click OK to accept the results, and you end up with this effect here.

So in the end, we have a combination of some occasionally reduced opacity values, the Screen Blend mode and a couple of dynamic effects working together inside Illustrator.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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