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Lesson 11. Creating Airbrush Effects > Applying transparency to a mesh

Applying transparency to a mesh

Mesh objects can be transparent or opaque, just like nonmesh objects. Now you'll scroll down to the dragonfly in your lesson art. You'll create an iridescent mesh in the dragonfly's wing and then you'll adjust its transparency to make it appear translucent.

1.
In the Layers palette, click to the left of both the Dragonfly and Leaves layers to display the artwork on those layers. If necessary, resize the Layers palette to view all the contents.

2.
Press the spacebar to get the hand tool (), and drag the image up until the dragonfly is visible in the center of the window.

3.
Select the direct-selection tool () in the toolbox, and click in the center of the lower left wing of the dragonfly.

4.
Apply a mesh to the dragonfly wing:

  • Choose Object > Create Gradient Mesh.

  • In the Create Gradient Mesh dialog box, enter 3 in the Rows text box, press Tab and enter 2 in the Columns text box, and make sure that the Preview option is selected.

  • For Appearance, choose To Center to highlight the center of the object. Enter a highlight of 80%. Click OK.

    Select lower wing.

    Create gradient mesh with highlight.

    Result

5.
In the Layers palette, click the triangle () to the left of the Dragonfly layer to view its contents.

6.
Now click the triangle to the left of the Lower Wings sublayer to expand its view. This sublayer has two paths, named <Path> and <Mesh>. The solid square selection indicator () and the shaded target indicator () show that the <Mesh> path is selected.

7.
Click the selection indicator area for the <Path> sublayer to select the lower right wing.

Using the selection indicators in the Layers palette is a quick and easy way to select objects that are in different groups or on different layers.

A. Selection indicator B. Target indicator

8.
Repeat step 4 for the lower right wing. Notice that the sublayer's name changes to <Mesh> from <Path>.

9.
In the Layers palette, click the triangle to the left of the Lower Wings sublayer to collapse it.

Now you'll repeat these steps to apply a mesh to the upper wings.

10.
Click the triangle to the left of the Upper Wings sublayer to expand its view. This sublayer also has two paths.

11.
Now apply a mesh to each of the upper right wings:

  • To select the upper right wing, click the selection indicator area for the first <Path> sublayer. Repeat step 4.

  • To select the upper left wing, click the target indicator for the second <Path> sublayer. Repeat step 4.

Now you'll select the wings using the Layers palette and adjust their transparency.

12.
In the Layers palette, click the selection indicator area to the far right of the Upper Wings sublayer. Shift-click the selection indicator for the Lower Wings sublayer to add the wings to the selection. All four dragonfly wings are now selected.

Shift-click target indicators to select multiple sublayers.

13.
Choose Window > Transparency or click the Transparency palette tab to display the Transparency palette.

14.
Use the Opacity slider to decrease the opacity of the dragonfly wings. (We used 29%.)

Select four wings.

Change opacity.

Result

For a color illustration of the opacity change, see figure 11-3 in the color section.

Now you're ready to view the finished artwork. You'll clear the guides and selection lines.

15.
Double-click the zoom tool () to zoom out to 100%.

16.
Choose View > Smart Guides, and then choose Select > Deselect.

17.
Choose File > Save to save the artwork. Choose File > Close to close your file.

This completes the lesson. You're ready to create your own watercolor or airbrush effects. To learn other ways to blend colors in objects, see Lesson 8, “Blending Shapes and Colors.”


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