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Adjusting pair kerning

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Adjusting pair kerning

In this exercise, we are going to discuss kerning, which is an obscure sounding but very important text formatting feature inside of Illustrator. And to get a sense of what's going on with kerning, we need to go ahead and zoom in on our type. So I'm going to press Shift+Tab in order to hide those right-side palettes and then I'm going to press Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus on the Mac in order to zoom in here, and this way we can see the entire width of our title and our byline, both of which are formatted, thanks to the previous exercise. I am still working inside of that document, that same document I opened in the previous exercise which is called Formatted title.ai, found inside the 08_type folder.

Adjusting pair kerning

In this exercise, we are going to discuss kerning, which is an obscure sounding but very important text formatting feature inside of Illustrator. And to get a sense of what's going on with kerning, we need to go ahead and zoom in on our type. So I'm going to press Shift+Tab in order to hide those right-side palettes and then I'm going to press Ctrl+Plus or Command+Plus on the Mac in order to zoom in here, and this way we can see the entire width of our title and our byline, both of which are formatted, thanks to the previous exercise. I am still working inside of that document, that same document I opened in the previous exercise which is called Formatted title.ai, found inside the 08_type folder.

If you look closely at the textures, especially at the title, THAT SOCK, you're going to notice that the space between individual characters does not appear to be consistent. Now I'm going to tell you it is actually consistent. We have no kerning applied at this point in time, which means that we have consistent spacing between characters, but it doesn't look that way. So notice that the T and the H look like they are relatively spread apart from each other, then the H and the A look closer together, the A and the T could maybe stand to be closer together, who knows. The S and the O are fairly far apart. The O and the C look good, but then the C and the K are a little spread as well, and this is a function of what's known as side bearing. So some really obscure weird stuff, but every single character of type has a left bearing and a right bearing that spreads it apart from the other characters.

So for example, here between the C and the K we have the C's right bearing, it's invisible, and then we have the K's left bearing meeting up with each other. Now those right and left bearings are designed to match with each other to give you good looking text most of the time, but there are all sorts of pairs of characters that may come into contact with each other that don't look right where the automatic right bearing and left bearing are concerned, and these are known as kerning pairs as we will see. Now as I say the kerning of our text here inside the document is all set to 0 and that's because we brought the text in for Microsoft Word which is not a kerning savvy application by default, there are ways to make it little smarter, but we have no kerning whatsoever applied to our text, and that is a bad thing.

So let's see how to fix that. I am going to go ahead and click on my type to select it with the Black Arrow tool. We can modify all of the selection at a time. We don't have to select the title independently of the byline. Then go ahead and press Ctrl+T, or Command+T on the Mac to bring up the Character palette. Now notice that all of the options inside the Character palette right now for me. That's because I'm not seeing quite all of the options. All of them are blank except for the Kerning value right here, and that's because we have already modified all the other values independently for the title and the by line, so they don't match each other. So that's why they are blank. You could set them to something else to make them match if you want to. We are not going to do that.

We are going to notice here that the Kerning value is set to 0 as I set it was. And I'm going to click the down pointing arrowhead, and notice that inside Illustrator CS4, we now have three options available to us. One is Auto, which is the same as Metrics for Standard Western fonts. For Japanese and Chinese fonts it's different, and I'll explain that in just a moment. And then we have Optical, which puts Illustrator in charge. So Auto will go ahead and apply the special kerning information that's built into the font, and if you are working with an Adobe font as we are. We are working with Adobe Caslon and Trajan Pro.

Those fonts have great metrics built into them. You can stick with the metrics and everything is going to be fine. But if you start working with fonts from other vendors and there are all kinds of other vendors out there, you may find that the Metric kerning doesn't look all that great and that's when you would switch over to Optical and put Illustrator in charge. Now what's the difference between Auto and Metrics-Roman Only? Well, if you are working with a Japanese, or a Chinese font, or any non-western font, then Metrics is going to apply the metrics only to the Roman characters which are often built into those fonts, and then leave the Japanese and the Chinese characters and all those guys alone, or they are going to apply different kerning values to those characters.

So a little obscure, if you are working with western fonts, you don't need to worry about it. You just ignore this option and switch over to Auto. But as I say Optical is another option, so you can either trust the font metrics, or you can put Illustrator in charge and tell it to look at all the characters and do a thing. Optical also takes a little more processing time, but we are going to do it just so we can see what the text looks like. So this is Auto, just to give you a sense here, we will go ahead and switch to Auto and you can see that the characters come closer to each other in most cases, and they start to look a lot better as well. So the distance between the S and the O, and the O and the C, and the C and the K, look more uniform, and just for the heck of it, let's try optical, and that shifts things around just a little differently. And actually, Adobe always argues to the contrary, but I think in this case, Optical looks better. They are always saying their metrics are so great, don't mess with them. But you know what? Do what you want to do; whatever you think is looking better on that page.

Now if you still think, some thing is not quite looking right, you can adjust the pair kerning manually, and you do that, by the way, by double-clicking inside the text to set the blinking insertion marker. So you just want that blinking insertion marker going, you don't need to have any text selected, just the blinking insertion marker between the two characters that you want to adjust. Oh, by the way, let's check out what the Kerning value is by pressing Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, and notice that automatically the Kerning value is set to negative ten thousandths of an em. So Illustrator has just slightly moved those characters together. If you want to move them further together, you would press Alt and Left arrow or Option+Left arrow on the Mac, and notice this value is changing incrementally by 5, just as we saw for the Tracking value, and in fact this is the exact same keyboard shortcut that we applied for Tracking.

So the only difference between our shortcuts where kerning and tracking are concerned is that tracking occurs when you have characters selected, multiple characters selected, and kerning is modified when you just have the blinking insertion marker there. So I'll press Alt and Left arrow a few times, Option+Left arrow on the Mac. If you wanted to go farther, you can press Ctrl+Alt+Left arrow or Command+Option+Left arrow on the Mac. I don't want to go that far, so I'll spread the characters out a little bit by pressing Ctrl+Alt or Command+Option+Right arrow, like so, a couple of times and this looks pretty good to me.

So a Kerning value of -40, where this particular pair is concerned, and then you can take a look at the other pairs as well as much as you want. Now typically what you do is you just turn on Auto or Optical Kerning and that's going to change all of the text inside of your document, make it look very, very good, and then you go to your title text, you typically don't do this with your smaller text. But your title text, you might look at it, and say oh, I just want to tweak this pair of letters here, and maybe this pair of letters over here, and that kind of thing, and then you are done. So you don't want to do too much hand kerning, but again, it's to taste. You can spend all day if you want to.

All right, I'll press the Escape key in order to switch back to the Arrow tool and I'll press Ctrl+T or Command+T in order to hide that Character palette. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to take the formatting attributes that are assigned to the byline and use them to automatically format the text inside the poem.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

182 video lessons · 37871 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 42m 7s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 2s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
      56s
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      35s
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 14s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 39s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
      55s
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 43s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
      54s
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 38s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 28s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
      55s
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 48s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 30s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
      44s
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 55s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 32s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
      51s
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 1s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 26s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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