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Using a complex appearance as an opacity mask

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Seeing Through Transparency

Video: Using a complex appearance as an opacity mask

In illustrator we have the ability to create these complex appearances. For example, we can take a single object but apply multiple fills and multiple effects to it to change its appearance. However, the underlying vector path doesn't change at all. Now if we think about it, when we create a regular clipping mask inside of Illustrator, that underlying vector path, that structure of the artwork, acts as the mask. However, when we actually use an opacity mask inside of Illustrator, we don't care about the structure we care about the presentation of that path.

Using a complex appearance as an opacity mask

In illustrator we have the ability to create these complex appearances. For example, we can take a single object but apply multiple fills and multiple effects to it to change its appearance. However, the underlying vector path doesn't change at all. Now if we think about it, when we create a regular clipping mask inside of Illustrator, that underlying vector path, that structure of the artwork, acts as the mask. However, when we actually use an opacity mask inside of Illustrator, we don't care about the structure we care about the presentation of that path.

So for example, if we do add multiple fills or multiple effects we can use that as our mask when using an opacity mask. Let's see an example of that by applying some interesting effects inside of illustrator, specifically the Scribble effect to create some interesting texture. So I want to actually create some nice kind of masks for this and I'm going to work on the file right here. It's called texture.ai. It has the morning glories image here in the background, which is embedded inside of my document, and I have just a regular plain white circle on top of it. Let's apply some effects to this circle right here.

I'm going to go to my appearance panel and I'm going to click on the fill to target it. That's because I want to apply an effect specifically to this one fill. I'm going to go over here to my Effect menu and I'll choose Stylize and then I'll choose Scribble. It's a really cool effect. It actually turns your fill of your object into one long stroke that kind of zigzags back and forth across the object. But I want to change some of the settings here, because I want to use this to generate a really interesting kind of crosshatch filter. So first of all where it says path overlap, I don't really want the path overlap on any of the actual settings itself, so I'm going to leave it set to 0 point.

But I do want there to be a variation, which means that sometimes the path extends beyond the edge and sometimes it doesn't. And the variation right now is set to 5.7. I'm going to increase that to 10 points. Next, I am going to come down to where it says Stroke Width. Right now my Stroke Width or the actual stroke that goes back and forth is set to 3 points. I'm going to change that to 1 and then go down to where it says Curviness. Now right now Curviness simply means that as it goes along the path it kind of loops and then comes back again. But I really don't want it curve at all.

I want it to be a straight zigzag, so I'm going to set my Curviness to 0 and I'll also make sure that the Variation is also set to 0. Now when it comes to spacing, I want the spacings to be much tighter. So I'll do spacing about a half a point and I'll set the variations to also be about half a point. Now let's go actually to 1 point. That way we get a little bit more variation there on the endings over here. So now I have created a very interesting type of an effect and I'll click OK. If we click on the dill over here, the little twirl-down, I can see that the scribble has now been applied just to that white fill.

Now here's the thing. Right now my scribble goes in one direction. But what I can do is I can take this entire fill right now and drag it over here to this icon to duplicate it. So now my object has two fills and they're identical. They both have a scribble assigned to them. If I click on the triangles here, I can see that each fill has its own scribble. But I want to modify just one of them. It really doesn't make a difference which one, but I'm going to choose the top one here. I'm going to click on the word scribble. I'm simply going to change the angle from 30 degrees to 130, kind of in the S direction. Click OK.

Now you can see what I've done over here. If I kind of zoom in here on the edges, I get a very interesting type of crosshatch effect. I want to be able to use this crosshatch effect as an opacity mask for the image inside of this document. So I'm going to press Command+0 to zoom out, Ctrl+0 if you are on Windows. I'm going to select both elements, and remember right now the structure of that path is really just the circle itself. It doesn't take in to account that nice little crosshatch pattern so I can't use a regular clipping mask. However, if I go to my Transparency panel, I can choose to use that as an opacity mask.

Now of I take a look at the image, the image has masked beautifully into that nice texture that I created and again I was able to do that only through the use of an opacity mask here. If I want to make changes to that somehow, I want to make more adjustments to the scribble itself, I would now first click on the mask itself, come down to my opacity mask here and make sure that my path is selected, and go ahead now and change the Scribble settings. When I'm done, I'll click back on the artwork and that's how we create this kind of an effect using the opacity mask.

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This video is part of

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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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