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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the most important aspects of a Live Paint group is not the word Live or Paint but the word Group. In reality a Live Paint group is simply a regular group inside of Illustrator but that is treated somewhat differently. It's a special type of group that allows you to apply attributes to regions that look like they're closed or as we've seen with Gap Detection, to regions that appear as if they're almost closed. So let's take a moment here to see how important this aspect of a group actually is. I am going to start by just drawing a regular shape here inside of Illustrator, maybe an ellipse, for example. Then I'll simply take a couple of paths and kind of draw them here inside the shape. Now I know that I can quickly turn this into a Live Paint group by simply going ahead and selecting all the objects that are here and then using the Live Paint Bucket tool to just click anywhere in that area.
Now I could mass over these regions and I can paint those regions with color. I'll go ahead and I'll choose some colors here just something random over here just so we can get something inside of it. Maybe I'll actually apply little Radial Gradient in there and we'll do another color, let's say, right over here. Now I know that I can take my regular Direct Selection tool and I could actually move these paths around to just how those filled areas act. But let's say now I realize that I want to add some other regions, maybe I want to go ahead and add some color to an area over here. Well, if I take my regular Line tool, for example, and I draw a line over here, and then I switch back to my Live Paint Bucket tool using the K key on my keyboard, notice that I can't treat these two regions differently, even though it looks like there are two different regions.
The reason why, because this path that I've created right here is not part of the group. Only objects that live inside of the group can determine the boundaries for a paintable region. But objects that don't belong to this group have no effect whatsoever on the areas that I can paint with Live Paint. So what I really need to do is I need to take this path and I need to make sure that this path somehow gets inside of a group. Now there are several ways of doing this inside of Illustrator. One way is drop into the Layers panel. I could simply take this path that I've created and drag it into the Live Paint group. Now that it's part of that group, I can't paint these regions as separate regions. Now I'm going to press Undo for a moment to bring that path back out of the group, because in reality, when you're working with very complex designs, trying to drag a specific path into a specific group amongst all little objects that exist in the Layers panel can be somewhat difficult.
So what I can do is use a Merge feature. I'm going to go ahead and use my regular Selection tool and I'll select my Live Paint group and also the path that I've created. You'll notice that there is now a button that appears inside my control panel called Merge Live Paint. With one click of a button, I now have taken my Live Paint group and I have added that path into that Live Paint group. Notice the path no longer exists outside the group, we've now added into the group itself. So now with my Paint Bucket tool, I can actually go ahead and modify those separate regions. Let me show you one other technique as well. I'm simply going to go ahead and take that path right there and delete it for a second here. Let's think we've had never happened at all.
If I know that I want to draw a path into this particular group, I have a way to do so using Illustrator's Isolation Mode feature. I can use my regular Selection tool to double-click on any group. In this case here, I'm inside of a Live Paint group, so notice that I've now isolated the Live Paint group. A gray bar appears across top of my screen letting me know that I'm now inside of Isolation Mode. When I've isolated a group, I'm now inside the group, so any new shape or any new path that I draw on my artboard automatically gets added into that group. So I'll use my Line tool here to simply draw a new path and then I can either click on little arrow over here or I could use my regular Selection tool to just double-click on any space outside of the group. I'm no longer inside of Isolation Mode, but you can see now if I use my Live Paint Bucket tool, I can paint these two regions separately.
So again, the important aspect here is that all the paths that live inside of the Live Paint group help determine which areas or regions are paintable. But those paths, all need to be encompassed within a single group and we've explored three possibilities of how to bring paths into a Live Paint group.
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