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Packaging is where engineering meets design. Learn about the basics of designing packages for everything from foodstuffs to fragrance, in ways that are practical for manufacturing and shipping, and make the products visually appealing. Author Claudia McCue reviews the types of containers real packaging engineers consider, and then concentrates on folding cartons, which can be created with the tools available to most designers: Adobe InDesign and Illustrator. Learn how to create dielines (the flattened view of your product) and add artwork and text. Then find out how to print and cut out a mockup version of your packaging, and prepare the job for professional printing. Claudia also takes you for a quick view of the factory floor, where products are packed into their final containers.
So, to finish up the modifications that I need to make to the little flaps and tabs that constitute this package, I need to round off the corners of several of the flaps. So, I'm going to zoom in. Trying to do this with the Pen tool will make you kind of crazy, so I'm going to show you a method that's a little bit tedious but it works well. So I know that these need to be little one eighth inch corners, so I'm going to draw a quarter inch circle. Okay, so one eighth inch radius, the diameter is a quarter.
So I'm just going to select my Rectangle tool first. There's a reason why. And I'm just going to click. And I'm going to ask to have a rectangle that's a quarter of an inch on a side so 0.25 on both dimensions and click OK. And now I need a circle. And it picks the same thing up so it saves me a little bit work. I'm going to center of these in respect to each other, so I'm going to go. I can either go to my Align panel or if I have sufficient resolution on my screen, any time I have two objects or more selected, Illustrator shows me my alignment controls right up here in the Control panel.
So I'm going to take advantage of that and just horizontally center and vertically center. I'm going to zoom way in so you can tell what I'm going to do. I'm going to use my favorite little tool, the Shape Builder tool. And you know by default the Shape Builder tool is in add mode, but I want to subtract. I want to punch this little hole out of the middle leaving just by little corners and I'm going to use them to this sort of punch off the edges to make rounded corners on my little flaps. So to punch I hold down Option or Alt and if you look really close you can see that cursor change, so when I Option or Alt click now its punched a hole in the middle.
And because they're the same dimensions, its now made any four little pieces. I know this seems tedious seems a long way around, but trust me it's easier than trying to do it manually by using the Pen tool and some other controls. So I'm going to use these almost like the little punches to clean off the corners here. So I'll show you how this works. Now because I would have multiple little corners to clean off, instead of just using this one I want to make sure that I Option or Alt drag him so that I have a copy of him in case I need it.
So I'm going to position this. Select across so that I'm talking to that little corner. And the piece that I need to change, I'm going to get my little friend the Shape Builder tool. Now if I just click in the middle, I'm going to leave that little corner a rim. So what I do is I wipe across it. So I hold down Option or Alt in order to put it in subtract mode. And then just drag across, and there you go. There's my little rounded corner. kind of cute huh? And then so I need to do the same thing to the other side here and up here, so I'm going to zoom in, get one for the right side.
And actually I could just Copy it. Zoom back out, zoom in, and Paste. Position this little guy, and smart guides will help. Select both by dragging across, get my little Shape Builder tool, pull down Option or Alt and just sort of wipe over there, and that gets rid of that. Now, that's not perfect. I'd have to do a little bit of a tune up. in fact, I might undo and reposition this guy a little better. Let's see, part of what's going on here too is that the side of the little shape I'm using to carve it off with, is straight up and down and the edge of this is not quite straight.
So, but hey, we have multiple undos here. So again, I'm going to hold down Option or Alt, carve across, there, that's much better. Now, since I copied that to the clipboard, it's still there for me so I could Paste it again. And then I'm going to just move it into position. Select across so I'm talking to both of those shapes. Get my Shape Builder tool and Option or Alt to drag and there we go. Now, that's not bad. Like I say, it's tedious but it's not as painful as trying to draw that shape from scratch using your Pen tool.
But just to sort of finish up, I'm going to recommend a set of plugins for Illustrator that are great for precision work and especially if you have to make rounded corners. It does a lot more than that, but it's great for rounded corners. There's a company called Astute Graphics, if you AstuteGraphics.com. I cheated, I have to admit, and that's how I did my little rounded corners. They have a tool called the Dynamic Corners tool. And you can just start with a little straight corner. And just basically click on it, using the parameters you set up in the tool, and it'll quickly make those little rounded corners for you.
So. But there you go. I've sort of made something out of nothing, all I had to do was take my cereal box apart, measure it, and then start building with basic shapes, and then use Illustrator's tools to modify them. And I now have a viable guideline for that cereal box.
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