Awards & Engraving

August '17

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A&E AUGUST 2017 • 61 Graphic Design me a post card when you've finished. It's a pretty remarkable tool. The blend can easily be undone, broken apart, and all of the Blend default settings can be changed in the Properties bar. Let's take a look at some of these options in the Properties bar. (fig 1) NUMBER OF STEPS The Steps/Fixed Space Options box that appears in the Properties bar when the Interactive Blend tool is selected and a blend has been applied makes it possible to control the number of steps by typing in the desired number of steps (1-999). Instantly, the effect is visible within the blend, making it possible to easily revise until the desired effect has been achieved. (fig 2) OFFSET SPACING Another approach is to indicate exactly how much space between step components you prefer. For instance, if your starting object was a ½-inch square and your ending object was a ½ inch by 1 ½-inch tall rectangle located 5 inches to the right of the first object, then indicating a fixed dis- tance of ¾ of an inch in the Offset Spacing box would not only give you eight rectan- gles spaced exactly ¾ of an inch apart (the Move Transformation tool can manage that much), but the rectangles would incremen- tally increase in height from ½ inch at the start to 1 ½ inches at the end. That is the math behind the Blend tool hard at work. (fig 3) OBJECT/COLOR ACCELERATION Normally in a blend, the blend compo- nents are evenly spaced, whether as indi- cated in the Offset Spacing Box or as a calculation based on the Number of Steps approach. This is true not only for dis- tance between objects in the blend, but for shifts in the blending of colors. Accelera- tion replaces even spacing or blending with dynamic spacing or blending. This means that each blend component moves, and each color change shifts by ever increasing or decreasing amounts depending on the position of the Spacing or Color sliders in the Properties bar that function indepen- dent of one another. The combined effect of all of the above tools on the appearance of the blend is quite powerful. (fig 4) BLEND PATHS "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line" generally applies to the Blend tool. Since we are mostly creating blends between two objects, the blend path is normally a straight line, even if the two components are at odd angles to each other. However, a blend can be made to follow an open or closed path as another option. Create a path that you want your blend to conform to, then select your blend using the Interactive Blend tool. In the Properties bar, click on the Path Properties button and on New Path from the dropdown menu. A large arrow icon will appear. Aim it at the path you created and click on it. The blend will immediately abandon its straight-line configuration and conform to the new path. The path needs fig 1 fig 2 10 Steps 100 Steps

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