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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Now, so far it has been solid Photoshop around here. We have not once ventured outside of that application. By popular demand, we are doing so today. We're going to take a look at Adobe Illustrator. Now, I know a lot of you have never used Illustrator in your lives, which is great because today's episode is a perfect introduction to the program. I'm going to show you how to draw a classic heart shape and we're not going to do so with the Pen tool, nothing so elaborate. We're going to do so with the Arc tool, Arc with a C, not a K, and the White Arrow tool and the Reflect tool, and that is it.
Let me show you precisely how it works. All right! Let's see how to draw a heart here inside of Illustrator. The easy way to take on this project is to use the Arc tool, which gives you an incredible amount of control. That's Arc, the Arc tool. I've got this document with a handful of guidelines set up in advance. If you're creating a new document and working along with me, then you really just need one guideline, and that is basically a central vertical guide. And you can create guides by bringing up the rulers, which you do just by pressing Ctrl+R, Command+R on the Mac, and then you drag a guideline out from the vertical ruler in this case, and just set it some place close to the center of the document.
But I have already got mine set up in advance, so I will press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac to undo that. Press Ctrl+R, Command+R to get rid of those rulers. All right! Now, I'm going to go here to the Line tool--that's the default occupant of the slot below the Type tool. Go ahead and click and hold on whatever tool that is, and then choose the Arc tool from the flyout menu. And now I'm going to go ahead and draw an arc from more or less the center, the horizontal center, of the document up, like so. Now, if you like me end up getting this concave arc instead of a convex arc, one that points outward, then you can flip the arc on the fly as you're drawing.
You still have the mouse button down. You just tap the F key in the middle of drawing. So you don't have to press and hold the key. You just tap it. So F for Flip. Then we want to press the Shift key so that we get a perfect quarter of a circle. And by the way, I'm pressing and holding the Shift key this time. Then you release the mouse, and then you release the Shift key. So you have to have the Shift key down at the end of your drag in order to get that constrained. Now, I'm going to drag from the point at which I left off down here, like so, in order to create another arc.
It's going the wrong direction. So I'll tap the F key in order to flip it, press and hold the Shift key in order to constrain my arc to a perfect quarter circle, release the mouse button, and then release the Shift key. All right! Now, this next step may fairly surprise you. I'm going to go ahead and drag down from once again the last point at which I left off, down like so, until I snap into alignment with that central guideline right there, and I'm going to go all the way down to this guideline intersection that I've set up in advance, but you don't really need this guideline in order to get this done.
You do, however, want to tap that F key in order to flip that arc and then release like so. Don't press the Shift key this time, just go ahead and release in order to create this big bulbous line there. Now, that doesn't look anything like a heart. So we need to make a minor modification to it using the White Arrow tool, which Illustrator calls the Direct Selection tool. You can get to it by pressing the A key. Then you click off the line to deselect it, and you click on it again, just click on that path outline again, in order to select the path. I'm going to get rid of my guides on screen, just hide them, by going to the View menu, choosing Guides, and then choosing Hide Guides.
You can also press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Semicolon, Command+Semicolon on the Mac, just so I can better see what I'm doing, and notice these control handles here. So for those of you who are not familiar with Illustrator or path outlines in general and Photoshop and other applications, you've got anchor points at either end of the path outline, and you have got these control handles, these little round control handles at the end of these levers. They control the curvature of the path. I'm going to go ahead and drag this guy up, like so-- I'm just free-forming it--in order to bend the path outline inward. And then I'm going to grab this little control handle, and I'm going to drag it upward while I'm pressing the Shift key.
So you want the Shift key down to constrain the angle of your drag to vertical, to exactly vertical there. Now I might take this one up just slightly more, like so. I'm just trying to get some good sort of heart curvature going here. I might have cheated this control handle up too far, so I'll go ahead and drag it back down just a little bit while pressing the Shift key once again. All right! Now, we need to take all these independent paths that we have created with the Arc tool and we need to merge them together. So I'll go up here and grab my Black Arrow tool this time, which Illustrator calls the Selection tool.
You can press the V key to get to that tool, and I'm seeing this darn bounding box. I just hate the bounding boxes inside Illustrator, so I'm going to go up to the View menu and choose Hide Bounding Box to get rid of it. Now I'm going to go ahead and marquee, partially marquee through all three of my paths. So partial marquee will do the trick. That selects all of the paths in their entirety. And then if you're using Illustrator CS5, I'm making that assumption because it's much easier inside this program, I'll go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and then choose Join. Or you can press Ctrl+J, Command+J on a Mac, and that goes ahead and fuses all those path outlines together. All right! Now, at this point now that we have a half a heart in place, let's go ahead and change the Fill and Stroke attributes.
Up here in the Control panel, I'm going to change this Line Weight which says Stroke. I'm going to change it to 10 points to achieve a thicker outline there. And then I'm going to go up to this Fill icon, this first little icon here in the Control panel, click on the down-pointing arrowhead, and switch it to Red. You should see a shade of red there some place. Go ahead and click on it, and you have got a nice red fill. Of course, if you want a green fill, you can go for it. Any color heart, I don't care. Just add some form of fill there, and next, we need to go ahead and flip this left half of the heart over onto the right-hand side, so that we have two hearts to work with.
Now, in Illustrator, the easiest way to flip is to use a tool, the Reflect tool. You get to the tool by going to the Rotate tool, which is under the Eraser tool here inside the toolbox, clicking and holding, and then choose the Reflect tool. You can also get to it by pressing the O key. After all, an O is a reflected shape. Then you move your cursor over one of these anchor points, either here at the bottom or right there at the top, so an anchor point on the far right side of this left-hand shape, and then you Alt+Click. I know it's so strange, but that's what you do.
You Alt+Click or Option+Click on the Mac to bring up the Reflect dialog box. Even though we're performing a horizontal flip, you need to set the Axis to Vertical because you are flipping around a vertical axis. So Illustrator has a habit of expressing everything in a way that you wouldn't expect, but that's what you do. Then you turn on the Preview check box if you want to, just to make sure you've got a good flip going--we do--and then you click on the Copy button. Not OK, but Copy. And that way you create a copy of that left-hand shape. You now have the right half of the heart.
Now, we go back to the Black Arrow tool, go ahead and partially marquee through these two halves of the heart, and then the final step is to go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and then choose Join. Or you can once again press Ctrl+J, Command+J on a Mac, and that my friends is how you draw a heart, a perfect classic heart here inside Illustrator.
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