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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.
In this and the next movie, I am going to show you how to draw some very common symbols inside Adobe Illustrator. We'll start with this house outline, which you could use, for example, for a Home button; and then in the next movie I'll show you how to draw a gear, shorthand for Preference Settings; and this Play button. Now, whether or not you find yourself creating these specific symbols, hopefully this will give you a sense for how to create your own easily recognizable, often symmetrical symbols inside the program. But if you're trying to draw a specific symbol that has you scratching your head, why then, definitely let us know.
There may be some sequels in the future. So obviously I've already drawn these symbols here on this layer called predrawn, and if we were to just sit here and trace the symbols, that would be cheating, so I am going to turn that layer off, and I am going to click on this empty symbols layer to make it active. And then I'll go ahead and grab the Rectangle tool, and I'll click with the Rectangle tool in order to bring up the Rectangle dialog box. I'll go ahead and dial in a Width value of 100 points and a Height value of 70 points. As you can see, I happen to be working in points, which are 1/72nds of an inch. If you're comfortable with some other unit of measure, that is just fine, but you want to maintain these proportions, by the way.
I find it helpful to work in increments. In other words, you can see that I am working in 10-point increments. That will help me make sure that my future shapes match up. All right! I'll go ahead and click the OK button in order to create that shape, and I'm currently drawing a shape that has a black fill and no outline. That's ultimately what I want. However, as I am drawing the shape, it's typically easier to work with a stroke shape with no fill. So I am going to press Shift+X in order to switch these attributes. But however you get there, you want no fill, as you can see, and you want a black stroke.
The next step is to create the roof. The roof, believe it or not, is the hardest thing that we'll be drawing over the course of the next two movies. It's not that hard; it just happens to be the hardest thing because we've got to get it exactly right. And we need to use the Pen tool. So press Ctrl+Shift+A, or Command+Shift+A on the Mac, to deselect the rectangle. Then switch to the Pen tool, either by clicking on it or pressing the P key. Now, notice when I hover my cursor in line with the center of the shape I am seeing the word "intersect" and a line on screen in red. Now, in your case it will appear in green.
I've gone ahead and change the color of my Smart Guides so that you can see them more easily in the video. If you are not seeing anything at all then you need to turn your Smart Guides on, by going to the View menu and choosing Smart Guides. In my case it has already got a check mark in front of it, so I am fine. Also, if you are seeing a bounding box as you work inside Illustrator, that's going to completely mess things up. If this command right here appears as Hide Bounding Box, go ahead and choose it. If it says Show Bounding Box as it does in my case, leave it alone. I am going to escape out of there. Now I'll move my cursor to the top of this deselected rectangle--very important that it's deselected--and I'll click right there at the center of the top side of the shape.
And now I'll go ahead and click at the top-left corner in order to create a horizontal segment that's half the length of the rectangle. With that latest point selected, I want to go ahead and move it 30 points to the left. So the first thing I am going to do is press Ctrl+K, or Command+K on the Mac, to bring up my Preferences and I am going to make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set to 1 point, as it is by default. Go ahead and change it if need be, and then either click OK--in my case I am going to click Cancel, because everything is good to go-- and then press Shift+Left Arrow three times in a row in order to move that anchor point 30 points to the left.
The segments become deactivated. I can tell that because the pen cursor has a little X next to it. So I'll click on the point again in order to add a segment to it, and then I'll press the Shift key and position my cursor right about there and click. Very important that the Shift key is down, by the way. Now switch to the White Arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the A key, and then I want you to drag that selected point, while pressing the Shift key, until you see this line right here that tells you that you are in alignment with the center of the rectangle. Once you've done that, go ahead and marquee this upper-right point of the rectangle and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, to get rid of it.
Then click this anchor point, the first point in the half a triangle, and I want you to drag it over to the left until it snaps into alignment with what was formerly the upper-left point in the rectangle. Then go ahead and marquee these two points like so, because there are two points directly on top of each other-- those are known as coincident points inside of Illustrator--and press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, to join them together. Then click this point right there, what was formerly the bottom-right point in the rectangle, and press Shift+Left Arrow six times in a row: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
That moves the point 60 points. If I had only moved it 50 points then it would be directly in line with that top point in the roof, but I want it slightly over to the left, so we have room for the doorway. Now let's draw the doorway using the Rectangle tool. I'll go ahead and grab the tool and click inside the artboard, and then I'll enter a Width value of 20 points and a Height value of 40 points. Then click OK in order to create that rectangle. Let's go ahead and switch back to the White Arrow tool, and I'll drag the bottom-left point like so, until it snaps into alignment with the bottom of the house.
Then I'll marquee the right side of the shape and press the Backspace key to get rid of everything but that left edge, just like so. Then marquee these two points-- there's one on top of the other once again--and press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, in order to join them together. Now let's select the entire path by switching to the Black Arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the V key, click on the path to select the whole thing. Then I need you to select the Reflect tool from the Rotate tool flyout menu. It has a keyboard shortcut of O, for what it's worth. And then press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click on that top point in the path.
Because you have the Alt or Option key down, you bring up the Reflect dialog box. Go ahead and set Axis to Vertical, because we're flipping around a vertical axis, so we're performing a horizontal flip. Turn on the Preview check box, if you want to see what you are doing, and then click on the Copy button in order to create a copy of that path. Now go back to your White Arrow tool and then marquee those two top points, one on top of the other once again. Press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, to join them together. Then I want you to marquee these two points along the top of the doorway and press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac, to join them together.
And that's all there is to it. I'll click off the shape in order to deselect it. We have now drawn a house. If you are interested in also drawing a gear and a play button then join me in the next episode of Deke's Techniques, available right now in the lynda.com Online Training Library.
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