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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.
In these next two exercises, we're going to be taking this light green to dark green gradient, that's at work inside of this forward grass path down here at the bottom of the illustration, and we'll replace it with a blend, inside of a Clipping Mask of course. Now if that all sounds like more of the same thing, rest assured I'll be passing along some new techniques. I've saved my progress as Clipped sky blend.ai, and using my Black arrow tool, I'll click on the outline of this path in order to select it. Well that didn't work, and that's because the layer that contains the path is currently locked.
So if you are working along with me, scroll to the top of the Layers panel, notice that the grass layer is indeed locked. Go ahead and click on that lock icon to unlock it and as you can see here grass is way up at the top of the stack. Then I'm going to scroll down the list and lock my sky layer just to protect it from any accidental modifications. All right, now I'll go ahead and click on this path outline to select it, and I am going to scroll down a little bit so that I can analyze this path in a little more detail. Now, I can see that it's a Radial Gradient. If I expand the Gradient panel, Type is set to Radial.
However, does it comprise a series of concentric circles or concentric ellipses? Well, to answer that question I need to switch to the Gradient tool, which I can get by clicking on it or pressing the G key, and then I can see my gradient annotator. I will go ahead and scroll over just a little bit there and hover over the gradient annotator and I can see that it is indeed an ellipse. So we have a series of concentric ellipses. There are three colors stops in all, notice them right here. It might be a little easier to evaluate them from the Gradient panel. So I'll click on the first one, my gradient starts off as a light green, actually it's more of a chartreuse, heavier on yellow than it is on cyan.
Then I'll click on that central color stop and we've got something of a medium dark green going on. And then finally, we end with this ultra-dark green way toward the outside. So the middle green, by the way, is weighted at 35%. That is, the location is set to 35%, so it's closer to the interior than to the exterior of the shape. Then finally we've got this dark green, which is made up of 65% Cyan, 30% Magenta, 85% Yellow and 80% Black. And I mention those specific values for two reasons. First of all, we're going to have to come back to them later, when we end up creating empty areas inside of our Clipping Mask.
I'll show you what's going on there. Then finally, I just want you to note that the values add up to less than 270%. In fact if you do the math, they add up to 260%. So again, I don't mean to harp the point too much, but it's very important, you have got to keep your colors at 270% or lower in order to avoid your ink smearing on the page. All right, so having gotten a sense of what's going on here, let's replace that Radial Gradient with a blend. So I'll go ahead and switch back to my Selection tool, and I am going to replace this gradient right here with a flat color by clicking on the gradient swatch in the upper left-hand corner of the gradient panel, and then let's say I click on an orange, here in the CMYK spectrum bar at the bottom of the Color panel.
That will just help us compare our new colors more easily. Then I will twirl open my grass layer and I am actually going to collapse my Gradient panel as well so I have more room to work. Notice inside of this grass layer that I have this group of paths up here at the top and those are those cartoon lines at the top of the grassy knoll and then way down here at the bottom we have this orange path, what was formerly filled with a gradient. Then in between we have a bunch of ellipses that are turned off. So I will go ahead and turn them all back on so we can see them and the result is three ellipses, of varying sizes of course.
Each filled with those same exact shades of green we saw just a moment ago. So if I marquee the 3 paths with my Black Arrow tool, and then I go up to the Object menu and I choose Blend, and then I choose Make or press Ctrl+Alt+B, Cmd+Option+B on a Mac, I create a kind of manual elliptical gradient and that may leave you wondering, why in the world would you do such a thing? You just had an automatic elliptical gradient a moment ago, why replace it with a manual one? Because it gives us more flexibility and we can modify it, as we will shortly.
But in the meantime I need to mask these various ellipses inside of the grass shape. And this time I'm not doing it strictly for the sake of keeping things tidy, the way I did with that rectangle, this time I really need to do it because we've got all these little blades of grass that are going to show up badly otherwise. If I click off the path outline for example, I am covering up that grass shape in the background. So obviously that's a bad thing. First step of course is to grab the thing that you're going to clip with. So the item that's going to serve as the Clipping Mask needs to be in front. So I will go ahead and grab what's known orange path and I'll drag it in front of the blend, like so.
One other little note I want to make along the way here, I am going to twirl open my blend so that we can see there are the three ellipses there. That's the way you want to start things off. In other words, you want to start with 3 paths or more, as many paths as you want. We blended six paths a couple of exercises ago. But each one of those paths is similar in terms of its makeup. So in other words, they contain the same number of anchor points and the composition of those anchor points is the same too. So we have quarter points in some locations and equivalent smooth points in other locations.
In the case of these three ellipses, we've got four smooth points per path and that way Illustrator has no confusion about how it should perform the blend. Anyway, I am going to go ahead and meatball this top half and then I will Shift+Meatball the entire blend right there so that both are selected. The top path is going to serve as the Clipping Mask, as soon as I go up to the Object menu, choose Clipping Mask, and then choose the Make command, or press Ctrl+7, Cmd+7 on a Mac. Now here's something I want you to note. I am going to go ahead and click off the shape for a moment, and I am going to zoom in, and notice how we've lost some information here, couple of different things that we've lost.
We've lost the stroke that was formerly associated with that path outline, and I will go ahead and twirl open the group so we can see the Clipping Mask now has no fill and no stroke. So by virtue of the fact that we lost the stroke, we lost the stroke. The stroke is gone and by virtue of the fact that we lost the fill, the top most tips of the blades of grass here are cut off because that's the point at which this biggest path outline cuts off as well. So if I go ahead and meatball this large ellipse that's inside of the blend, you'll see that it clips along the tops of the blades of grass. So what do I do? Well of course I could make that shape bigger if I wanted to.
I could scale this path outline and you can scale and otherwise transform the path outlines as much as you want when they're selected inside of the blend and you can select those shapes either using the White Arrow tool out here in the illustration window, or by meatballing the individual items here inside the layers panel. However, I don't want to do that, because that's going to change the nature of the blend itself. What I'd rather do is reinstate the fill and the stroke that were formerly associated with this path outline that's now a clipping path. And I'll have to do that manually. So I'll show you a slightly more automated technique, a way of just sort of protecting yourself before you create a clipping mask.
I will show you that technique later inside this chapter. But for now we'll just manually reinstate things by meatballing that Clipping Path. And Clipping Path here inside the Layers panel means the same thing as Clipping Mask by the way. Illustrator has two terms for this feature. Now notice up here in the Color panel that we have neither fill nor stroke. I am going to go ahead and reinstate those stroke values manually. Now you could go ahead and grab the eyedropper tool if you want to and with this shape selected you could try to eyedrop that outermost edge of that greenness right there in order to restore the green inside of the clipping path.
But notice that these are not the same values we had before. So if you look closely here you may notice that all of a sudden the green shifts ever so slightly at the tips of the blades of grass and it might show up even more in print. So you really want those values to match. So I already know what they are, I read them to you earlier. But I wrote them down as well. It's 65%, Cyan which survived. I will go ahead and enter 30% for Magenta, I'll take down in my case, the Yellow value to 85%. Then I'll take up the Black value to 80%, like so.
So I just want to reinstate those exact values there and then we have a very smooth transition from that shade of green to be identical shade of green inside of the clipping path. Now I will go up to my strokes swatch here in the Control panel, click on it, and then I'll click on t his fourth swatch in, I'll go ahead and click on it in order to assign that rich black to the stroke and then I'll bring up my Stroke panel by clicking on the word stroke up here in Control panel. I will set both my cap and my corner options there to Round. So I've got a round cap and a round join, and then I'm done, and I've gone ahead and created this elliptical blend inside of this grass shape, inside of this Clipping Mask.
Now the question still is, why in the world did I do that, why'd I go to all that effort just to create the manual equivalent of a Radial Gradient. And the reason is, now I can modify the gradient to any extent I like, as I'll demonstrate in the next exercise.
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