Using a complex appearance as an opacity mask
Video: Using a complex appearance as an opacity maskIn 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.
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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.
- 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
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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