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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
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Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading


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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

with Mordy Golding

Video: Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading

Because of the natural contours that a Gradient Mesh seems to make, I like to use it for shading especially when I want to create something little bit more complex than just regular plain shading. In this example here I'm working with a document called shading.ai and what I want to do is I want to create some kind of a reflection or a highlight in this particular area of the object and I want it to match the contour of the shape itself. I want it to look somewhat more realistic and on top of that, I also want to go ahead and apply it as an opacity mask to really allow it to do what I want it to do. I'll explain it to you guys as we kind of go along. So I mean this a mesh to work with the shape right here. I don't have a group to work because I just want to access parts of the paths that are here. I'm going to start off by just clicking on this outer edge right here. So this is my shape here, which I'm going to be using as my overall shape my mesh is going to be as well.
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
9h 42m Intermediate Apr 03, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Tracing artwork both automatically and manually
  • Mapping artwork to complex 3D surfaces
  • Using pressure-sensitive distortion tools
  • Recoloring artwork across a document
  • Using Excel data to create charts and graphs
  • Understanding how transparency really works
  • Creating high-quality, press-ready PDFs
  • Building efficient files with graphic styles
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading

Because of the natural contours that a Gradient Mesh seems to make, I like to use it for shading especially when I want to create something little bit more complex than just regular plain shading. In this example here I'm working with a document called shading.ai and what I want to do is I want to create some kind of a reflection or a highlight in this particular area of the object and I want it to match the contour of the shape itself. I want it to look somewhat more realistic and on top of that, I also want to go ahead and apply it as an opacity mask to really allow it to do what I want it to do. I'll explain it to you guys as we kind of go along. So I mean this a mesh to work with the shape right here. I don't have a group to work because I just want to access parts of the paths that are here. I'm going to start off by just clicking on this outer edge right here. So this is my shape here, which I'm going to be using as my overall shape my mesh is going to be as well.

So I'm going to copy this then I'm going to select everything basically all my artwork right here. I'm going to go to the Object menu. I'm going to choose Lock and I want to lock my selection. Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on windows would be the keyboard shortcuts for that. So right now, I have nothing selected at all and I'm now going to choose Command+F or Ctrl+F, which is the shortcut for Paste in Front. So again, if you go to the Edit menu, you will see there is an option here called Paste in Front. So right now what I have done is I basically locked the artwork behind and I have now added a new shape in front that I'm working with. If I move this to the side, you will see that that shape is just behind it. I basically lock the art work underneath it because as we'll soon see, I want to be able to work with the mesh points without having the other pieces of artwork get in the way.

So I have this path here. My first step now is going to be to actually convert this into a mesh object. Now instead of using the Mesh tool here, I want to start off by using the Create Gradient Mesh Object command because that will allow me to quickly get the kind of contours and the shapes that I need. So I'm going to start by going over here with the object selected over here to the Object menu. I'm going to choose Create Gradient Mesh and over here, I can specify the number of rows or columns, I'm actually happy with right now 5 rows and 5 columns. I think it's going to add just the right amount of detail that I need for this area and you will see that automatically all the lines that are created here, the paths basically with the actual mesh points match the contour of my shape, which is perfect. This is wonderful I don't need to have any appearance here, as I'm doing this on my own, I'm going to click OK.

So now I have all my mesh points here. There were actually different ways to select mesh points. For example, you could use your regular Direct Selection tool to click on them or it's your actually click and drag, what the problem of the actual Direct Selection tool is not only a tool that selects objects, it also moves them. So, if I wanted to click and drag to marquee selects, there were points I'm actually moving that entire part of the mesh which I don't want to do, Undo and I'm actually going to switch to a different tool which only selects but does not actually move anything which is the Lasso tool. The Lasso tool is great when you are working with mesh because it allows you to select mesh points that may not be in a straight line. For example, if I wanted to just simply go around and so like these particular mesh points where I can do so very easily with the Lasso tool.

So I actually find that I use the lasso tool a lot when I'm working with Gradient Meshes. So I'm not going to simply just click and drag, I want to highlight just the mesh points in this part of the object right here. So I now have these mesh points right now highlighted and I want to change their fills. I'm actually going to go over here to my Swatches panel and I'll choose, let's say, a lighter gray. Let's do actually about like 30% black over here. So I get this kind of a light shade of gray. Now again, because I have the contour already set, because my Gradient Mesh is created, I automatically now have beautiful shading that applies in this area. So now what I'm going to do is I basically want my shadings to be non- existent on this side but then slowly kind of ramp up as it gets to over this side over here. So what now I'm going to do is I'm going to use my Lasso tool to go ahead and just highlight these mesh points and now I'm going to go use a darker shade of gray. Let's do something of maybe around 70 K.

So now you can see what I have basically created here. I have created a shape, a mesh here in this particular case and I have nothing going on in this side, it's all white here but then as the actual object kind of goes towards the right over here, it's starting to turn darker shades of gray and it is not just a regular plain linear gradient because you can see there is actually curve in this way matching the shape itself. In fact, I'm really happy with the way that it fits right now. I want to now be able to use this as some way to create that kind of highlight on my object. The problem though is that it does not really match all the colors and everything but it doesn't need to because I'm going to use a feature inside of Illustrator called an Opacity Mask. Now, we know that an opacity mask simply takes the actual values that I have. It finds my colors and uses that as a mask. We know that, for example, in Photoshop we have something called an Alpha Channel.

Well, I can use these particular values over here of whites and grays and blacks for that matter to automatically create some kind of a mask for any artwork beneath it. So in the case of working with the mask inside of Illustrator, I can create that any white areas are completely see through but anything that is completely black is completely hidden and then on top of that, any area that is transition inside of the gray areas becomes somewhat see through. So I'm actually going to do that right now. I'm going to go ahead and right now go ahead and choose my Regular Selection tool. Now I have to first go ahead and choose to select that artwork that appears beneath this. Now remember, I locked that artwork before. So I'm going to go back over here to the Object menu, I'm going to choose Unlock All. So now I have everything unlocked and I'm now going to go ahead and just hit Command+A or Ctrl+A to select everything. I now have the topmost object, which is my Gradient Mesh, which is now going to become the mask for all the other artwork inside of my document. Now I'll go to my Transparency panel. I'll go to the Fly-out menu here, the panel menu for the Transparency panel and choose Make Opacity Mask.

So now we can see exactly what happened here. I have my artwork which appear underneath may Gradient Mesh over here and then I have the Gradient Mesh which was the topmost object which now became an opacity mask for everything underneath it. The opacity mask simply is using the gray values that I have inside of my mesh. Remember we actually started off with no color at all and then it went to lighter shades of gray to darker shades of gray and that now becomes a highlight for this particular object in this piece of artwork that we have here. So this is just one example of how I can use the power of Gradient Mesh inside of Illustrator to get just the right kind of shading and highlights that I want to create inside of Illustrator without jumping through hoops and working with different types of gradients. Then I work also with very basic Gradient Mesh here. I don't have to worry about turning red and blue all on to these different shades of white for highlights and so forth. I could simply use that as an opacity mask. I get exactly what I need very quickly, very easy to edit because we know that with opacity mask, I can easily edit them and for more information on opacity mask, you can refer back to the chapter on masking itself where we go into great detail about how the opacity mask work.

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