Chapter 12. Using Path Blends, Compound Paths, and Masks


  • Creating path blends

  • Using Blend options

  • Making a color blend

  • Creating shape blends

  • Using stroke blends

  • Creating compound paths

  • Figuring out path directions

  • Creating clipping masks

Three of the more difficult areas of Illustrator to master are path blends, compound paths, and masks. Of course, these are also three of the more powerful functions in Illustrator. A blend is a bunch of paths created from two original paths. Compound paths consist of two or more separate paths that Illustrator treats as a single path. You use a mask to hide portions of an image or mask them out. This chapter shows you how to get to know these three functions so that you can use them in your documents.

Understanding the Difference between Blends and Gradients

In Illustrator, a blend is a series of paths that Illustrator creates based on two other paths. A series of paths transforms from the first path into the second path, changing fill and stroke attributes as it moves. A gradient is a smooth blend of colors between two or more colors. The big difference is that the gradient appears as a box rather than a series of paths, as in a blend. With a gradient, you use a panel to signify where the colors start and stop.

At first glance, blends and gradients seem to do the same things but in different ways — so why have both? The Blend tool, moreover, seems to be much harder to use than the Gradient Vector tool. On the surface, it seems that you can ...

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