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In Illustrator, blends are live and that allows you to move key objects around and have the blend steps automatically update. However, there may be times when you want to create a blend, but then you want to be able to access the individual steps in that blend. To do so, you have to expand the blend. Likewise, you may want to go back to the original state of your objects, your key objects that is, without having the steps at all. In that case you can perform what we call releasing a blend. Let's take a look at both of those options here inside of Illustrator. I will start up with this file called replace_spine. I'm actually going to click on this particular part of the file right here, this blend, and I'm going to go to the Object menu here. I'm actually going to change from the Blend Options just so we can get a better idea what's happening here. So I'm going to choose Blend > Blend Options. I'm going to change this to Specified Steps and maybe change it to around 12 steps. Just so we can really see the actual elements here of the blend.
Now if I want to click and select these and maybe find out their values for example of the blend. So notice you may want to create a blend just to be able to see how the colors actually transition themselves, or you may want to make small modifications to the shapes themselves. You can do that by expanding your blend. So I have my artwork here. Remember I can't actually select these objects until I do so. I'm now with my blend selected, I'm going to go the Object menu, I'm going to go ahead and choose Blend and then I'll choose Expand. In doing so, now all my artwork is no longer a live blend, meaning I can take the shape, which was a key object before and move it, and of course nothing else changes.
It's no longer a blend anymore, but you can see that I have access now to click on any of these shapes that are all inside of the blend. I am going to press Undo a few times to go back to my live blend. I also want to show you have another option called releasing a blend, which just simply gets rid of the steps and returns the objects to regular plain objects. To do so, go to the Object menu. With your blend selected, choose Blend and then choose Release. Doing so, I'm back to the original shapes that I used to define my blend in the first place.
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