Derek Lea explains how to add transparency to your objects and vary their Blending Modes withinIllustrator to achieve rich, multi-layered, vector-based art that surpasses simple sections of solid, ﬂat colour
Blending Modes and layer transparency are features most commonly associated with Photoshopand its Layers palette; it’s the mission control centre when it comes to blending layers in Photoshop. You can achieve the same result in Illustrator, but rather than blending pixels, you’re blendingshapes. And here, rather than controlling it all from one palette, you must learn to use three different palettes together. The Appearance palette, the Transparency palette, and the Layers palette allwork together when it comes to blending shapes, groups, and layers within Illustrator. With the Layers palette you can specify your target – it can be a single object, a group of objects, or an entirelayer. The Transparency palette is the place where you can alter the Blending Mode and opacity of your object. The Appearance palette enables you to target the stroke or ﬁll of a shape independently,altering either the stroke or ﬁll while leaving the other untouched. Once you get into the routine of using the three palettes, the ﬂexibility of using them becomes quite evident. And it won’t be longuntil it feels intuitive.
Tutorial by Derek Lea www.dereklea.com
Derek Lea is an awardwinning illustrator and acclaimed author. His body of work is very diverse, but he tries to incorporatetentacles into his illustrations whenever he can. View more of his work at www.dereklea.com.
Changing the transparency of an object, or even placed artwork, is as simple as selecting the object onthe artboard or targeting it in the Layers palette. Next, drag the slider in the Transparency palette to adjust the opacity of the selected object.