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Working with Complex Designs in Illustrator

by | Mar 29, 2017 | Articles, Illustrator, Tutorials | 0 comments

Complex Designs in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is my go to tool for vector graphics. I create logos and most of my PNG graphics for the web with illustrator. If you are a master at creating layers and being organized, this really isn’t a problem for you. However, most of the time I just start throwing shapes together, and before I know it I have a really complex design. I ended up having a lot of shapes overlapping each other. Sometimes I group elements together, or I create clipping paths. This ends up nesting objects inside of each other, which makes it a hassle because you have to double-click to get to some objects. Also because of the stacking order, things tend to get in the way.

If this sounds like you, then you run into the same problems I do. You end up spending half the your time trying to get to the object that you want to do something with. Instead, you can use Adobe Illustrator’s sub layers and subgroups in the layers panel. You can go through and find the exact object that you want to do something with, such as change a color or edit a specific shape. This keeps you from having to double-click to get into clipping paths. It also keeps you from having to move things around to get stuck behind it. I know about the feature where you can select the next object below. The only problem with this, is that you never know the exact stacking order of objects. Breaking down a layer into its sub layers enables you to click through and find the object you’re looking for and work with it specifically.

Bonus Tip!

The other added bonus to this video tutorial is where I show you how to create an opacity gradient. The way you used to have to create shines for glass and reflective objects was complicated and troublesome. You used to have to create a white to black gradient. Then you would have to place it over a gray background. Then you would have to change the blend mode of the layer to something like overlay. The problem is, when you wanted a transparent background, you didn’t have that capability.

Complex Designs in Illustrator

Now, you can create a gradient that starts with white and ends with white. Then, you select the part of the gradient that is on the outside of the object that you’re working with. Once that part of the gradient is selected, in the gradient panel you can turn the capacity for that color down to 0%. This creates a flight to transparent gradient. No gray background is needed, which means you can create vector graphics that you can save as PNG’s and use for the web with no background. You don’t have to bring anything and Photoshop, or do anything complicated to make this work. You simply save your Adobe Illustrator file is a PNG, and you are done!

Opacity gradients

If you like my video, or it helped you in any way, can you share it with your friends? That will really help me out. Also, if you have anymore questions about Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or InDesign, post your questions in the comments section and I’ll make a video to answer them.

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