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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.
Now first thing I should mention is that I have saved an alternate version of this graphic. It's called Final sans frame.ai and it's found inside the 21_transparency folder and the idea is this. I have gone ahead and changed the size of the artboard. I have enlarged the artboard actually, made it taller and a little bit wider to incorporate this entire black rectangle. The reason I did that was I wanted to get this text tha's above graphic here into the artboard so it will print and it will render and so on. I also got rid of that wacky Border effect around the graphic and you can even see that I've replaced the wacky stuff layer with a normal stuff layer that just includes the black rectangle and nothing more, and the reason I got rid of that wacky frame stuff is it interferes with my ability to show you the Flattener Preview palette which I intend to do in the very next exercise. The problem there is the Flattener Preview palette keeps wanting to zoom out to show all of my graphic, even the stuff on the pasteboard and that makes for a lot of excess zooming. Very tedious actually.
But I assure you it's just a slightly more streamlined version of what is ultimately an intense graphic where Illustrator is concerned and therein lies the rub. Every time I show off transparency in Illustrator to a group of artists, there is always folks that are overjoyed and astounded, there is crying in the aisles and so on. However, there is invariably one skeptical dude that raises his hand and he says yeah, but will it print? And that's a great question because if it won't print it's of no use to you and believe me I know, I have been there more times than I care to tell you. I have created scads of artwork that refuse to print and then you are faced with the proposition of selecting objects and deleting them and trying to figure out who is the culprit and you try to print the artwork again and it still doesn't print and you tear your hair out. It's absolutely crazy making and worse yet, it's an extraordinary waste of your valuable time and effort.
So, I'm here to assure you something. First of all it's not uncommon for Illustrator to still have printing problems depending on your output device or what have you or your RIP engine, that kind of thing. You may have parts of the artwork drop out. Under the worst situation you may have a piece of the artwork that refuses to print, but more likely, it just won't print the way you expected it to. But what I'm going to warranty you here based on my experience is that there is always a way to get the artwork to print exactly the way you want it to. So, you don't have to sacrifice anything inside the artwork. You can make a print, and I'm going to explain exactly what approaches to take over the course of the next three exercises.
So we'll start by taking a look at the Flattener Preview palette and then we'll take a look at rasterizing the artwork in Photoshop and then we'll take a look at exporting the artwork as a raster image from Illustrator. And it's where does that sound that were going to raster will, which means pixels, (ph) and we are going to sacrifice our vectors. It's actually a great way to go. It delivers exceedingly awesome results and I'm going to show you exactly what I mean starting in the very next exercise.
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