Adobe Creative Cloud Design Tools All-in-One For Dummies (2013)

Book III

Illustrator CC

Chapter 9: Livening Up Illustrations with Color

In This Chapter

image Choosing a color mode

image Using the Swatches and Color panels

image Working with strokes and fills

image Changing the stroke width and type

image Saving and editing colors

image Discovering patterns

image Taking advantage of gradients and meshes

image Copying color attributes

image Using the Live Paint feature

This chapter is all about making your illustrations come alive with color. We show you how to create new colors, patterns, and gradients as well as how to edit existing colors and save custom colors. We also explain how to apply and edit color attributes to many objects at the same time.

Choosing a Document Profile

Every time you create a new file you choose a document profile, as you see in Figure 9-1. This profile determines the default settings from which you create your document. Some of the settings established here are the artboard size, units of measure, color mode, resolution, and more.

image

Figure 9-1: Use the New Document profiles to start with the right colors, resolution, measure-ment units, artboard size, and more.

Illustrator CC offers several profiles, and they fall into two basic categories: onscreen and print.

The following New Document profiles are used for onscreen display:

check Print: This profile provides preset options for size and resoluton defaults that are optimized for print graphics. The colors in the Swatches panel are in CMYK, as well as gradients and patterns.

check Web: This profile provides preset options, such as size and resolution, that are optimized for output to the web.

check Devices: This profile ensures a small file size and uses a resolution that is preset for a specific mobile device. You can choose your device from the Size menu.

check Video and Film: This profile provides several preset video- and film-specific crop area sizes. Illustrator also creates only square pixel files so that the sizes are interpreted correctly in video applications.

check Basic RGB: This profile creates a document in RGB mode with a 960-x-560 px artboard by default, and the Raster Effects Resolution is set to 72 ppi.

imageAlign New Objects to Pixel Grid, found under the Advanced section in the New Document window, is an option that you can turn on when creating a new document in Adobe Illustrator. This option nudges pixels to start aligned on a pixel grid so as to produce crisp straight lines. This feature is great for online graphics.

imageWhen using Align to Grid, you may not be able to achieve the exact stroke weight that you want due to the fact that Illustrator is trying to align the pixels of the stroke to the grid. If you need a particular stroke width, you may have to deselect the Align to Grid option.

The Print profile is used for print display. By default this profile uses a letter-size artboard, but it provides a variety of other preset print sizes to choose from. A document created with this profile is also set to a default resolution of 300 dpi. Use this profile if you plan to send your file to a commercial printer.

imageYou can change the color mode at any time without losing information by choosing File⇒Document Color Mode.

Using the Swatches Panel

Accessing color from the Control panel is probably the easiest way to make color choices: You can use the Fill and Stroke drop-down lists to quickly access the Swatches panel, shown in Figure 9-2, and at the same time ensure that the color is applied to either the fill or stroke. How many times have you mixed up colors and assigned the stroke color to the fill or vice versa?

image

Figure 9-2: Use these buttons to quickly access color options.

You can also access the Swatches panel, which you open by choosing Window⇒Swatches. Although limited in choice, its basic colors, patterns, and gradients are ready to go. You can use the buttons at the bottom of the Swatches panel (refer to Figure 9-2) to quickly open color libraries, select kinds of colors to view, access swatch options, create color groups, add new swatches, and delete selected swatches.

You may notice some odd color swatches — for example, the cross hair and the diagonal line.

image  The cross hair represents the Registration color. Use this swatch only when creating custom crop marks or printer marks. The Registration color looks black, but it’s created from 100 percent of all colors. This way, when artwork is separated, the crop mark appears on all color separations.

image  The diagonal line represents None. Use this option if you want no fill or stroke.

Applying Color to the Fill and Stroke

Illustrator objects are created from fills (the inside) and strokes (border or path). Look at the bottom of the Tools panel for the Fill and Stroke color boxes. If you’re applying color to the fill, the Fill color box must be forward in the Tools panel. If you’re applying color to the stroke, the Stroke color box must be forward.

Table 9-1 lists keyboard shortcuts that can be a tremendous help to you when applying colors to fills and strokes.

Table 9-1 Color Keyboard Shortcuts

Function

Keyboard Shortcut

Switch the Fill or Stroke color box position

X

Inverse the Fill and the Stroke color boxes

Shift+X

Default (black stroke, white fill)

D

None

/

Last color used

Last gradient used

Color Picker

Double-click the Fill or Stroke color box

imageTry this trick: Drag a color from the Swatches panel to the Fill or Stroke color box. This action applies the color to the color box that you dragged to. It doesn’t matter which is forward!

To apply a fill color to an existing shape, drag the swatch directly to the shape. Select a swatch, hold down Alt+Shift+Ctrl (Windows) or Option+Shift+Command Key (Mac), and drag a color to a shape to apply that color to the stroke.

Changing the Width and Type of a Stroke

Access the Stroke panel by clicking the Stroke hyperlink in the Control panel. In the Stroke panel, shown in Figure 9-3, you can choose to change the Width height by clicking and selecting a preset width from the Width drop-down menu, or you can type in a value. You can also customize the caps (the end of a line), joins (the endpoints of a path or dash), and the miter limit (the length of a point). The Stroke panel also enables you to turn a path into a dashed line.

image

Figure 9-3: The Stroke panel options.

In the Stroke panel options, you can choose to align the stroke on the center (default) of a path, the inside of a path, and the outside of a path. Figure 9-4 shows the results.

image

Figure 9-4: The Align Stroke options affect the placement of the stroke.

This feature is especially helpful when stroking outlined text. Refer to Figure 9-4 to compare text with the traditional centered stroke, as compared with the option for aligning the stroke outside of a path.

You can’t adjust the alignment of a stroke on text unless you change the text to outlines first. Select the text with the Selection tool and choose Type⇒Create Outlines to enable the Align Stroke options.

You can also customize the following aspects of a stroke from the Stroke panel by clicking the buttons we describe:

check Cap Options: The endpoints of a path or dash

Butt Cap: Makes the ends of stroked lines square

Round Cap: Makes the ends of stroked lines semicircular

Projecting Cap: Makes the ends of stroked lines square and extends half the line width beyond the end of the line

check Join Options: How corner points appear

Miter Join: Makes stroked lines with pointed corners

Round Join: Makes stroked lines with rounded corners

Bevel Join: Makes stroked lines with squared corners

check Dashed Lines: Regularly spaced lines, based on values you set

imageTo create a dashed line, specify a dash sequence by entering the lengths of dashes and the gaps between them in the Dash Pattern text fields. (See Figure 9-5.) The numbers entered are repeated in sequence so that after you set up the pattern, you don’t need to fill in all the text fields. In other words, if you want an evenly spaced dashed stroke, just type the same number in the first and second text fields, and all dashes and spaces will be the same length (say, 12 points). Change that number to 12 in the first text field and 24 in the next to create a larger space between dashes.

imageClick the Aligns Dashes button to create improved corners for your dashed object.

check Arrowhead: Arrowheads have been surprisingly difficult for new users to locate and use in previous versions of Illustrator. In CC, you can just open the Stroke dialog box, shown in Figure 9-6, and use simple drop-down lists to set start and end times to your arrowhead as well as the scale.

image

Figure 9-5: Setting up a dashed stroke.

image

Figure 9-6: Arrowheads are easy to find and use in the Stroke dialog box.

Using the Color Panel

The Color panel (choose Window⇒Color) offers another method for choosing color. You must custom-pick a color using values on the color ramp. You see as a default only the color ramp — the large color well spanning the panel. If you don’t see all color options, choose Show Options from the Color panel’s panel menu. (Click the triangle in the upper-right corner to access the panel menu.)

imageIf you ever want to create tints of a CMYK color but aren’t quite sure how to adjust individual color sliders, just hold down the Shift key while adjusting the color slider of any color. Then watch as all colors move to a relative position at the same time!

As shown in Figure 9-7, the panel menu offers many other choices. Even though you may be in RGB or CMYK color mode, you can still choose to build colors in Grayscale, RGB, HSB (Hue, Saturation, Brightness), CMYK, or Web Safe RGB. Choosing Invert or Complement from the panel menu reverses the color of the selected object or changes it to a complementary color, respectively. You can also choose the Fill and Stroke color boxes in the upper-left corner of the Color panel.

image

Figure 9-7: Different color models are available in the Color panel.

You see the infamous cube-and-exclamation-point in the Color panels in most Adobe software. The cube warns you that the color you’ve selected isn’t one of the 216 nondithering, web-safe colors, and the exclamation point warns you that your color isn’t within the CMYK print gamut. In other words, if you see the exclamation point in the Color panel, don’t expect the cool electric blue you see onscreen to print correctly — it may print as dark purple!

imageClick the cube or exclamation point symbols when you see them to select the closet color in the web-safe or CMYK color gamut.

Saving Colors

Saving your colors not only keeps you consistent, but also makes future edits easier. Any time you build a color, drag it from the Color panel (or the Tools panel) to the Swatches panel to save it as a color swatch for future use. You can also select an object that uses the color and click the New Swatch button at the bottom of the Swatches panel. (Refer to Figure 9-2 to see this button.) To save a color and name it at the same time, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) the New Swatch icon. The New Swatch dialog box opens, allowing you to name and edit the color, if you want. By double-clicking a swatch in the Swatches panel, you can access the options at any time.

A color in the Swatches panel is available only in the document in which it was created. Read the next section on custom libraries to see how to import swatches from saved documents.

Building and using custom libraries

When you save a color in the Swatches panel, you’re essentially saving it to your own custom library. You import the Swatches panel from one document into another by using the Libraries feature.

Retrieve colors saved in a document’s Swatches panel by clicking the Swatch Libraries menu button at the bottom of the Swatches panel and selecting Other Library. You can also access swatch libraries, including those in other documents, by choosing Window⇒Swatch Libraries⇒Other Library. Locate the saved document and click Open. A panel appears with the document name, as shown in Figure 9-8. You can’t edit the colors in this panel, but you can use the colors in this panel by double-clicking a swatch (which adds it to the Swatches panel) or dragging it to the current document’s Swatches panel where it can be edited.

image

Figure 9-8: An imported custom swatch library.

imageYou can also click the Swatch Libraries button to access color libraries for Pantone colors, web colors, and some neat creative colors, such as jewel tones and metals.

Using the Color Guide and color groups

Perhaps you failed at color selection in art class or just don’t feel that you pick colors that work well together. Fortunately, you can use the Color Guide to find colors and save them to organized color groups in your Swatches panel. You can create color schemes based on 23 classic color-harmony rules, such as the Complementary, Analogous, Monochromatic, and Triad options, or you can create custom harmony rules.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Fortunately, all you have to do is choose a base color and then see which variations you come up with according to rules you choose. Give it a try:

1. Choose WindowColor Guide. Click on the tab and drag the Color Guide panel away from the docking area so that it does not go away when you select another panel.

The Color Guide appears, as shown in Figure 9-9.

image

Figure 9-9: The Color Guide panel identifies related colors.

2. Select a color from the Swatches panel. If it isn’t visible, choose WindowSwatches.

Immediately, the Color Guide panel kicks in to provide you with colors related to your original swatch.

3. Change the harmony rules by clicking the Edit or Apply Colors button at the bottom of the Color Guide panel.

The Recolor Artwork dialog box appears.

4. Change the Harmony Rules by clicking the Harmony Rules arrow to the right of the color bar.

A drop-down list appears with many choices for selecting colors, as shown in Figure 9-10.

5. Select a color harmony to see your artwork recolored.

6. Save your color selection as a color group by clicking the New Color Group icon, located at the top-right of the dialog box.

If you like, you can rename the color group by double-clicking the group name in the Color Group text field in the Recolor Artwork dialog box.

7. Click OK.

The color group is added to the Swatches panel.

image

Figure 9-10: Make a selection from the Harmony Rule drop-down list.

imageYou don’t have to use the Recolor Artwork dialog box to save a group of colors. You can Ctrl-click (Windows) or Command Key-click (Mac) to select multiple colors and then click the New Color Group button at the bottom of the Swatches panel.

Adding Pantone colors

If you’re looking for the typical swatches numbered in the Pantone Matching System (PMS), follow these steps:

1. Click the Swatch Libraries menu button at the bottom of the Swatches panel.

2. From the drop-down list, select Color Books and then Pantone Solid Coated or whatever Pantone library you want to access. The Pantone colors appear in a separate panel.

Colors in the Pantone numbering system are often referred to as PMS 485 or PMS 201 or whatever number the color has been designated. You can locate the numbered swatch by typing the number into the Find text field of the Pantone panel, as shown in Figure 9-11. When that number’s corresponding color is highlighted in the panel, click it to add it to your Swatches panel. Many users find it easier to see colored swatches by using List view. Choose Small List View or Large List View from the panel menu.

image

Figure 9-11: Use the Find text box to locate Pantone colors.

Editing Colors

Edit colors in the Swatches panel by using the Swatch Options dialog box (shown in Figure 9-12), which you access by double-clicking the color or choosing Swatch Options from the Swatches panel menu.

image

Figure 9-12: Edit a color swatch in the Swatch Options dialog box.

Use the Swatch Options dialog box to:

check Change color values: Change the values in a color by using the sliders or typing values in the color text fields. Being able to enter exact color values is especially helpful if you’re given a color build to match. Select the Preview check box to see results as you make the changes.

check Use global colors: If you plan to use a color frequently, select the Global check box. If it’s selected and you use the swatch throughout the artwork, you have to change the swatch options only one time, and then all instances of that color are updated.

One important option to note in the Swatch Options dialog box is the Color Type drop-down list. You have two choices: spot color and process color. What’s the difference?

check Spot color: A color that isn’t broken down into the CMYK values. Spot colors are used for one- or two-color print runs or when precise color matching is important.

Suppose that you’re printing 20,000 catalogs and decide to run only two colors: red and black. If you pick spot colors, the catalogs have to be run through the press that contains two ink applications: one for black and one for red. If red were a process color, however, it would be created from a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks, and the catalogs would need to be run through a press with four or more ink applications in order to build that color. Plus, if you went to a print service and asked for red, what color would you get — fire engine red, maroon, or a light and delicate pinkish red? But if the red you pick is PMS 485, your printer in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, can then print the same color of red on your brochure as the printer making your business cards in Woburn, Massachusetts.

check Process color: A color that’s built from four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black); used for multicolor jobs.

For example, you would use process colors to send an ad to a four-color magazine. Its printers certainly want to use the same inks they’re already running, and using a spot color would require another ink application s in addition to the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black plates. In this case, you convert to process colors any spot colors created in corporate logos or similar projects.

imageDon’t forget that you can save combinations of colors that you like, as well as explore other color combinations by using the Kuler panel. Read more about the new Kuler panel in the Chapter 1 of this minibook.

Building and Editing Patterns

Using patterns can be as simple or as complicated as you want. If you become familiar with the basic concepts, you can take off in all sorts of creative directions. To build a simple pattern, start by creating the artwork you want to use as a pattern on your artboard — polka dots, smiley faces, wavy lines, or whatever. Then select all components of the pattern and drag them to the Swatches panel. That’s it — you made a pattern! Use the pattern by selecting it as the fill or stroke of an object.

imageYou can’t use patterns in artwork that will then be saved as a pattern. If you have a pattern in your artwork and try to drag it into the Swatches panel, Illustrator kicks it back out with no error message. On a good note, you can drag text directly into the Swatches panel to become a pattern.

You can update patterns you created or patterns that already reside in the Swatches panel. To edit an existing pattern, follow these steps:

1. Click the pattern swatch in the Swatches panel and drag it to the ­artboard.

2. Deselect the pattern and use the Direct Selection make changes to the pattern.

Keep making changes until you’re happy with the result.

3. To update the pattern with your new edited version, use the Selection tool to select all pattern elements and Alt+drag (Windows) or Option+drag (Mac) the new pattern over the existing pattern swatch in the Swatches panel.

4. When a black border appears around the existing pattern, release the mouse button.

All instances of the pattern in your illustration are updated.

imageTo add some space between tiles, as shown in Figure 9-13, create a bounding box by drawing a rectangle shape with no fill or stroke (representing the repeat you want to create). Send the rectangle behind the other objects in the pattern and drag all objects, including the bounding box, to the Swatches panel.

image

Figure 9-13: A pattern with a transparent bounding box.

image  Transformations are covered in detail in Chapter 10 of this minibook, but some specific transform features apply to patterns. To scale a pattern, but not the object it’s filling, double-click the Scale tool, shown in the margin. In the Scale dialog box that appears, type the value that you want to scale and deselect all options except Transform Patterns, as shown in Figure 9-14. This method works for the Rotate tool as well.

image

Figure 9-14: Choose to scale or rotate only the pattern, not the object.

Advanced Pattern Editing

In Illustrator CC, you have more control over patterns than ever before. The preceding section tells you how to start your pattern, but what if you want to create the perfect repeat? Or what if you want to align your repeated tile in a different offset — like stacking bricks — instead of just tiling one pattern right next to the other? With Illustrator CC, you can!

These steps show you how to take advantage of the powerful Pattern editor. To do so, first create your pattern art by following the steps outlined in the preceding section. If you don't have a pattern available, you can use one of the default patterns or locate a sample pattern file atwww.agitraining.com/dummies. Follow these steps:

1. After you add the pattern to the Swatches panel, double-click the swatch. The Pattern Options panel appears, and the artboard switches to Pattern Editor Preview mode, as shown in Figure 9-15.

2. Click Save a Copy in the upper-left corner of the screen.

3. When the New Pattern dialog box appears, type a name to keep a copy of your original Pattern swatch. Click OK.

Keep in mind that the Save a Copy feature allows you to keep a copy of your original pattern swatch, but you’ll still be editing your original pattern. (See Figure 9-15.)

When you click OK, a dialog box appears, indicating that you’ve just created a copy of your original pattern swatch.

4. Press OK again.

5. Locate the Pattern Options panel and change the name of your pattern, if you want.

In this example, we changed the pattern name to Fish_Brick, to save a copy before the tile is going to be changed.

6. Click the Tile Type drop-down menu and select Brick by Row, as shown in Figure 9-16.

The artboard displays the change in the pattern repeat.

image

Figure 9-15: Pattern options allow you to edit pattern art, change the offset, and more.

image

Figure 9-16: Change the Tile Type using the Pattern Options panel.

7. If you want, change the default Brick Offset by opening that drop-down list and selecting another option.

8. You can also edit the size of the repeat by manually entering a size in the Width and Height text boxes, as show in Figure 9-17.

imageKeep in mind that you can return to the original size by selecting the Size Tile to Art check box below at any time.

9. Change the type of overlap — that is, which item is on top of the stacking order — by using the Overlap section in the Pattern Options panel, as shown in Figure 9-18.

10. (Optional) Make further adjustments to the pattern and edit the artwork if needed.

In the lower section of the Pattern Options panel, you can control the visual look of the pattern preview you’re seeing, from the amount of copies that you see, to how dimmed the non-original pattern tiles appear.

You can edit your artwork using the drawing and editing tools, just like you would if you weren’t in the Pattern Editor Preview mode. You can see that a pen path is being created in Figure 9-19, and the change is reflected in all the pattern tiles instantaneously.

image

Figure 9-17: Change the size of the repeat tile using the Width and Height text boxes.

image

Figure 9-18: Use the Overlap controls to change which part of the pattern is on the top of the stacking order.

image

Figure 9-19: Add and edit artwork right in the pattern editing preview mode.

11. When you’re finished making changes to your pattern, click Done, located to the right of Save a Copy at the top of the editing window.

Working with Gradients

Create gradients for smooth metallic effects or just to add dimension to illustrations. If you’re not sure which swatches are considered gradients, choose Gradient from the Show Swatch Kinds button at the bottom of the Swatches panel. (Refer to Figure 9-2.)

After the Gradient (shown in Figure 9-20) is applied, you can access the Gradient panel for further options by choosing Window⇒Gradient. If the Gradient options aren’t visible, choose Show Options from the Gradient panel menu to see more options.

image

Figure 9-20: The Gradient panel.

On the Gradient panel, use the Type drop-down list to select a Radial gradient (one that radiates from the center point) or a Linear gradient (one that follows a linear path).

Use the Gradient tool to change the direction and distance of a gradient blend:

1. Select an object and apply any existing gradient from the Swatches panel to its fill.

2. Choose the Gradient tool (press G) and drag in the direction you want the gradient to go.

Drag a long path for a smooth, long gradient. Drag a short path for a short, more defined gradient.

imageBefore following the next steps, it would be a good idea to undock your Color panel. Click the Color tab on the Color panel and drag it out to the artboard, essentially separating it from the rest of the panel group.

To create a new gradient, follow these steps:

1. Click the White/Black Linear Gradient swatch in the Swatches panel, as shown in Figure 9-21, to reach a good base point.

image

Figure 9-21: Select the Linear Gradient swatch from the Swatches panel.

2. Notice the Gradient Slider that appears at the bottom of the Gradient panel. On the left and right side of the slider, you see color stops. Click the left color stop on the Gradient Slider to see that this white color stop is set to 100% opacity, as shown in Figure 9-22.

image

Figure 9-22: Click a color stop to activate it.

3. Click the right black color stop to see that it is also set to 100% opacity.

When a color stop is active, the triangle on top turns solid.

4. If necessary, choose WindowColor to access the Color panel. If the ramp on the Color panel is displaying a black-to-white ramp, click the triangle in the upper-right corner to open the panel menu and choose RGB or CMYK colors.

This step provides you with additional colors.

5. Click the color ramp (across the bottom) in the Color panel to pick a random color (or enter values in the text fields to select a specific color) for the active color stop in the Gradient panel.

6. In the Gradient panel, click the right color stop and change the Opacity to 50%, as shown in Figure 9-23.

image

Figure 9-23: Change the opacity of the right color stop to 50%.

7. With the right color stop still selected, click another color in the color ramp in the Colors panel.

To add color stops, click beneath the gradient ramp and then choose a color from the Color panel. You can also drag a swatch from the Swatches panel to add a new color to the gradient. To remove a color stop, drag it off the Gradient panel.

imageYou can click the gradient ramp to add colors and also to change the opacity of that location of the ramp by entering values in the Opacity text box. This technique is a helpful way to create stripes and other reflective gradients.

Using the Gradient tool

image  Take advantage of the Gradient tool to adjust the length and direction of the gradient that you apply to objects. To use the Gradient tool, simply select the object that has the gradient applied to it and then click and drag. A color ramp appears, indicating the length and direction of your gradient, as shown in Figure 9-24.

image

Figure 9-24: Use the Gradient tool to change the direction and length of your gradient.

You can also use the Gradient tool to apply and change colors on the color ramp. To use the Gradient tool, follow these steps:

1. Apply a gradient to an object.

2. Select the Gradient tool (or press G) and click and drag to define the length and direction of the gradient.

Drag a long path for a smooth, long gradient. Drag a short path for a short, more defined gradient.

3. Hover over the gradient ramp (on top of the object) as shown in Figure 9-25.

The color ramp appears with the color stops visible.

4. Double-click the color stop to open the color panel.

image

Figure 9-25: Use the Gradient tool to change the color stops.

5. Select another color and then click outside the Color panel when you’re finished editing the gradient ramp.

Apply a gradient to a stroke

You can also apply a gradient to a stroke. To apply a gradient to a stroke, follow these steps:

1. Make sure that you have the stroke of an object selected. You may want to increase the stroke to a larger point size so that you can see the gradient that you will apply a little better.

You can do this by bringing forward the stroke at the bottom of the toolbar, or you can click Stroke in the Control panel and then select a gradient from the Swatches menu that appears.

2. Choose a gradient from the Swatches panel.

The gradient is applied.

imageYou can’t change the direction or distance of a gradient applied to a stroke with the Gradient tool. To make these changes, choose Window⇒Gradient and use the angle (for the direction) and the Gradient slider to change the span of the color stops, as you see in Figure 9-26.

image

Figure 9-26: To edit a gradient on a stroke, you must use the Gradient panel.

Using transparency in gradient meshes

The Gradient Mesh tool helps you to create incredible photo-realistic illustrations using meshes you build on vector objects. If you’ve already discovered the Gradient Mesh tool, you know how useful this tool is. If you add in the transparency feature, the number of ways you can use it skyrockets.

Follow these simple steps to try the new transparency feature:

1. Choose a solid color for your fill and no stroke.

2. Create a shape.

In this example, we created a circle.

3. Choose ObjectCreate Gradient Mesh and leave the default of 4 Rows and 4 Columns, Appearance, Flat, as shown in Figure 9-27. Click OK.

image

Figure 9-27: Choose how many rows and columns you want to start your mesh with.

A gradient mesh appears in your shape with multiple mesh nodes.

4. Using the Direct Selection tool, click an individual node.

5. Either choose another color to create a blending effect from one color to another or choose WindowTransparency and decrease the value of the transparency drop-down list.

The individual node becomes transparent based on the value you select.

Copying Color Attributes

image  Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had tools that could record the fill and stroke attributes and apply them to other shapes? You’re in luck — the Eyedropper tool can do just that. Copy the fill and stroke of an object and apply it to another object by using the Eyedropper tool:

1. Create several shapes with different fill and stroke attributes or open an existing file that contains several different objects.

2. Select the Eyedropper tool and click a shape that has attributes you want to copy.

3. Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) another object to apply those attributes.

Not only is this technique simple, but you can also change which attributes the Eyedropper applies. Do so by double-clicking the Eyedropper tool; in the dialog box that appears, select only the attributes you want to copy.

Painting Made Easy: The Live Paint Feature

image  Don’t worry about filling closed shapes or letting fills escape from objects with gaps into unwanted areas. Using the Live Paint feature, you can create the image you want and fill in regions with color. The Live Paint bucket automatically detects regions composed of independent intersecting paths and fills them accordingly. The paint within a given region remains live and flows automatically if any paths are moved.

If you want to give it a try, follow these steps to put together an example to experiment with:

1. Use the Ellipse tool to create a circle on your page.

Make the circle large enough to accommodate two or three inner circles.

2. Press D (and nothing else).

As long as you aren’t using the Type tool, you revert to the default colors of a black stroke and a white fill.

3. Double-click the Scale tool and enter 75% in the Uniform Scale text box.

4. Press the Copy button and then click OK.

You see a smaller circle inside the original.

5. Press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command Key+D (Mac) to duplicate the transformation and create another circle inside the last one.

6. Choose SelectAll or press Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command Key+A (Mac) to activate the circles you just created.

7. Make sure that the Fill swatch is forward.

The Fill swatch is at the bottom of the Tools panel.

8. Use the Swatches or Color panel and choose any fill color.

9. Using the Selection tool, select all the circles. Next, click on the Live Paint Bucket tool, which is hidden under the Shape Builder tool, and click the selection.

This turns the selected objects into a Live Paint Group. Now when you move the Live Paint Bucket tool over them again, the different regions become highlighted, indicating they are ready to paint.

See how the different regions become highlighted?

10. Click when the region you want to fill is activated.

Now try it with other fill colors in different regions, as shown in Figure 9-28.

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Figure 9-28: Painting objects with the Live Paint feature.

A companion feature to the Live Paint Bucket is support for gap detection. With this feature in its arsenal, Illustrator automatically and dynamically detects and closes small to large gaps that may be part of the artwork. You can determine whether you want paint to flow across region gap boundaries by using the Gap Options dialog box, accessible by choosing Object⇒Live Paint⇒Gap Options.

imageBefore you save a file for an older version of Illustrator that uses the Live Paint feature, first select the occurrences of Live Paint and choose Object⇒Expand. When the Expand dialog box appears, leave the options at their defaults and click OK. This setting breaks down the Live Paint objects to individual shapes, which older versions of Illustrator can understand.