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Illustrator Insider Training: Seeing Through Transparency
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Isolate Blending setting


From:

Illustrator Insider Training: Seeing Through Transparency

with Mordy Golding

Video: Using the Isolate Blending setting

In this movie we're going to focus on the bottom part here of the Transparency panel, specifically the Isolate Blending setting. Of the three options here that exist at the bottom of the Transparency panel, the Isolate Blending is the least technical and it probably is also the most useful. So let's learn exactly what it does and maybe also provide an example for when you might want to use it. Now let's take a look at this piece of artwork over here. It's a nice flowerpot. We've got some flowers and some leaves flying around here. This file is called flowerpot2.ai, and I want to actually now go ahead and create now an additional kind of motif using some of these leaves that I might be able to use throughout my design.
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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. The history of vector transparency
      4m 2s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      26s
  2. 6m 21s
    1. Transparency living in a world of PostScript
      2m 56s
    2. Transparency...it's everywhere
      2m 13s
    3. Transparency across Adobe applications
      1m 12s
  3. 42m 20s
    1. Deconstructing the Transparency panel
      7m 48s
    2. Adding transparency to gradients
      4m 59s
    3. Using the Isolate Blending setting
      5m 20s
    4. Understanding how overprints and knockouts work
      6m 26s
    5. Using the Knockout Group setting
      6m 47s
    6. Using the Knockout Group setting without a group
      6m 2s
    7. Understanding the Opacity & Mask Define Knockout Shape setting
      4m 58s
  4. 36m 26s
    1. What is an opacity mask?
      3m 37s
    2. Learning from channels in Photoshop
      7m 20s
    3. Creating an opacity mask
      6m 44s
    4. Editing an opacity mask
      5m 31s
    5. Using a gradient as an opacity mask
      4m 44s
    6. Using image pixels as an opacity mask
      4m 4s
    7. Using a complex appearance as an opacity mask
      4m 26s
  5. 53m 30s
    1. Understanding transparency flattening
      5m 58s
    2. Learning the two rules of flattening
      8m 1s
    3. Understanding the concept of complex regions
      7m 47s
    4. Exploring the Transparency Flattener options
      11m 44s
    5. The relationship between flattening and stacking order
      8m 22s
    6. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      8m 3s
    7. Creating and sharing flattener presets
      3m 35s
  6. 24m 37s
    1. Working with PostScript (EPS) files
      7m 22s
    2. Placing Illustrator files into InDesign layouts
      3m 59s
    3. Copying graphics from Illustrator
      2m 41s
    4. Saving PDF files
      4m 41s
    5. Using the PDF/X standards
      4m 36s
    6. Printing files from Illustrator
      1m 18s
  7. 34s
    1. Next steps
      34s

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Illustrator Insider Training: Seeing Through Transparency
2h 50m Intermediate May 10, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of Illustrator Insider Training, Mordy Golding shows experienced Illustrator users how to create transparency effects and ensure reliable printing results. This course reviews the history of vector transparency and covers features such as knockout groups, opacity masks, and transparency flattening. Mordy also shows how to establish a safe workflow when placing Illustrator graphics containing transparency in PostScript, PDF, and InDesign files. A free worksheet is included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how transparency works across the Adobe applications
  • Deconstructing the Transparency panel
  • Adding transparency to gradients
  • Understanding how overprints and knockouts work
  • Using a gradient or complex appearance as an opacity mask
  • The rules of transparency flattening
  • Working with complex regions
  • Understanding the relationship between flattening and stacking order
  • Creating and sharing flattener presets
  • Saving PDF files and using the PDF/X standards
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Using the Isolate Blending setting

In this movie we're going to focus on the bottom part here of the Transparency panel, specifically the Isolate Blending setting. Of the three options here that exist at the bottom of the Transparency panel, the Isolate Blending is the least technical and it probably is also the most useful. So let's learn exactly what it does and maybe also provide an example for when you might want to use it. Now let's take a look at this piece of artwork over here. It's a nice flowerpot. We've got some flowers and some leaves flying around here. This file is called flowerpot2.ai, and I want to actually now go ahead and create now an additional kind of motif using some of these leaves that I might be able to use throughout my design.

Now, this is all one group right now, if I click on it to select it. So I'm going to use my regular Selection tool to double-click on the group to isolate it. So now I'm inside the group and I'm going to select just let's say this leaf right over here and I'm going to copy it to my clipboard and now I'm just going to simply double-click on any blank area. So now I'm out of Isolation mode. And if I paste, Command+V or Ctrl+V, now this element appears right here. I'm just going to drag it up to the top of the screen. In fact, let's zoom in just a little bit closer here at the top of the screen to focus on just this leaf right over here. Now what I want to do is I want to actually create multiple leaves here and have them overlap and create some nice graphic over here.

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to press the R key on my keyboard, R for Rotate, this now changes this to Rotate tool, and I want to change the origin point now of my rotation not to be on the center of my selection, which it is right here. I'm actually going to click once with the mouse and then release the mouse to redefine the origin point at this part right here. So now if I move my cursor let's say over to here and I start to click-and-drag, I'm now rotating around that new origin point. I'm also going to, as I'm dragging, hold down the Option key on my keyboard and that's going to create a copy now as I do this.

So I'm no longer just rotating the actual leaf itself; I'm now rotating a copy of it. I move it to about here and I release the mouse, great! So now I have this lovely shape that's right here. I want to actually repeat that exact action a few times. So I'm going to press Command+D on my keyboard or Ctrl+D if you're on Windows, and that's going to create a few duplicates. Just something like that. I have a nice little rainbow effect I guess you can say of these different leaves that are here. So now I'm going to switch to my Selection tool and I'm going to select all these because I want to apply a transparent effect. I'm actually going to with all these selected go to my Transparency panel and change the blend mode to Multiply.

So this is going to create a nice effect wherever these leaves actually overlap each other. So where there's just two leaves overlapping each other I get kind of like a darker green over here, but I get even a darker shade over here. So I'm getting a really nice effect now of just simply applying Multiply to these leaves. Now here's the thing. I'm going to zoom out just a little bit here. I'm going to take these elements right now and group them together. Command+D or Ctrl+G, and that's now going to turn this into a group so it's easy to move around. And I want to start positioning this somewhere else inside of my artwork. So for example I might take this design and maybe I want to kind of move it right about over here.

But take a look what happens. Remember that each of the leaves right now are set to Multiply, which gives me the really nice effect when these elements appear on their own. However, the objects now are also multiplying not only with themselves, but also with other elements that exist beneath that artwork. See, that's the thing about working with blend modes. These blend modes actually don't really stop. They keep blending over any artwork that they appear on top of. So just to give you an example here, I have two groups. I have one group that is sitting on top of another group, but all the elements in that upper group, since they all have Multiply applied to them, are not only multiplying with the objects within its own group. They're also multiplying with objects in the group that appears beneath it.

So I get this kind of effect here that I'm really not happy with at all. Now this can be quite common. For example maybe you're creating some kind of a logo and there are these blend modes or transparency effects that exist inside of the logo itself. But now when you put that logo on a background, maybe an image background or maybe a gradient background or some other artwork, you don't want the actual logo itself to also interact and blend with those background elements. You only want them to interact with the elements inside of its own group.

So that's where this Isolate Blending setting comes into the play, because with this group currently selected right now I can go over to where it says Isolate Blending and turn that option on, and when I do so you can see what happened here. The actual leaves themselves, they do interact with each other but they no longer interact with the objects that appear beneath that group. So the first thing to realize is that Isolate Blending only works on groups. Obviously, if I apply Multiply to a single object, it will interact with elements beneath it.

However, if I want elements to only blend with each other that are inside of the same group, I would apply this Isolate Blending setting to that group and that means that all elements inside the group blend with each other, but those elements don't blend with anything outside of that group. So again by unchecking this option my elements inside the group, which are currently set to Multiply, multiply with anything that appears beneath it. But by turning this setting on, Isolate Blending, I'm telling the group to only multiply with itself but that nothing inside of that group should multiply with elements that appear outside of that group.

It's a pretty straightforward setting and remember, this Isolate Blending setting only makes sense when you apply it to a group.

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