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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.
When Adobe first released Illustrator, they designed the program in part to demonstrate the power of the PostScript printing language. The Pen tool is an expression of the three point model. That is anchor point plus two control handles that is at the heart of PostScript. For years Illustrator remained in lockstep with PostScript, rendering each and every graphic as a collection of routines that a PostScript imagesetter could render in a matter of seconds. But those days? They're long gone. Take transparency, for example. There is no provision for a translucent object in PostScript.
When you blend a translucent path with the path below it , Illustrator either has to rasterize that section of the artwork, that is convert it to pixels, or break it into subpaths with opaque fills. Illustrator doesn't modify your artwork. The flattening as it's called happens on the fly during the print process, but it does increase the complexity of the job, which is why I divided this chapter into two parts. In the first 18 movies we play with all the cool stuff, independent attribute control, knockout groups, opacity masks, blend modes, gradient fades, and whole layer masks.
Then in the last five movies, I'll explain how to make absolutely sure your translucent artwork prints. It starts out all techie in the Flattener Preview palette and name gets very simple in Photoshop. Here, let's take opaque.
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