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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So now you understand the core concept of what the Pen tool is, it allows you to plot these points and it connects them with these particular paths. Now until now, we have defined corner anchor points, which are connected by straight lines, now let's talk about using the Pen tool to create smooth anchor points and curve lines. So I'm going to use the same file, if you have the exercise files, it's called Pen tool and you will find that in Chapter 04. Once again, we are going to switch to the Pen tool that's right here, I'm also going to use the space bar to simply move over here to the next part of a particular file. So this becomes a little more complex but again the concept here is understanding that we are plotting anchor points; we are not drawing the paths and the paths would be drawn automatically by Illustrator. So let's see how this works.
Now I have basically the same number of anchor points that I would have in a rectangle what I'm going to do now is draw a circle and let's see how that works. Now before we would just click and releasing the mouse, clicking and releasing the mouse, clicking releasing the mouse. Those actions created straight lines or just when you click and release with the mouse with a Pen tool, it creates corner anchor point. But if you click and you drag with the Pen tool, which is what I'm going to do right now, you drag out these control handles from that anchor point and then when I release the mouse, and then I click, that creates the curved path. And remember how we discussed before how the control handle helps to find what that curve follows.
So let's just delete that for now and let's see how that works here with these simple instructions and then we will begin to see how this all comes to play and then we will go through the several examples that we can build up some confidence with using the Pen tool. I'm going to start up with Step One, where it says, Press Here. I'm not going to let go the mouse. I'm going to click, hold down the mouse button, drag in this direction and I could use the Shift key by the way, as I do this, just to make sure that it's straight and I'm going to release the mouse when I get to this point, right here, so my control handle is basically going to come out to here and now I'm going to release the mouse.
So what I have done is I have defined an anchor point but remember this is not a corner anchor point, this is a smooth anchor point, which means that when I define now another anchor point instead of a straight line I'm going to get a curved line and that curved line is defined by that control handle that I created. Don't worry about where it's going to go so on and so forth, we are not up to a point now where we can anticipate that but as you start to draw a graphic you begin to anticipate where the curves are going to go. So I'm not going to move my cursor down over here and I have no mouse button down as I do this. I'm now going to hold down the mouse button and I'll click and then drag, I'm using the Shift key down again to drag once again to this point right here. So now look what happened. By dragging out that control handle on either end of here -- by the way, it's a symmetrical thing when you draw a control handle form an anchor point. By default, it's going to do that evenly on both sides of the anchor point.
So what I now get is a curved line that connects these two anchor points. Let's go ahead and continue this, I'm going to go down over here, click, hold down the Shift key and drag out here to this point. One more time, move my cursor up over here, click, drag, release. Started from the beginning over here, where I was, notice now I get that little O that means I'm about to close my path, click, drag, release. So now what I have done is I have created the circle. If I move this over here, for example, to see what we are dealing with over here, remember how we do that circle way back and we saw where the anchor points and where the handles were.
Well now if use my direct selection tool, my white arrow and I click on just one of these points, I see exactly where those handles are and by dragging out those handles I can adjust how that particular path looks. Let's take a look at some other examples and again we will get more familiar with what's happening here inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to go ahead and use the Pen tool once again, and let's file these directions. Click here, drag the mouse what have we done here and then release the mouse once again. Come up over here, I'm just going to click once and then release the mouse. So you see how that created kind of like a little scarlet that appears right over here.
What I'm now going to do is click directly on that anchor point by the way see, when I move my cursor away this is Illustrator letting me know that the Pen tool with no other additional parts next to it, just tell me I'm currently in the middle of the drawing right now of path and remember if I move kind of over here and let me close the path, if I had the 04:07 of drawing a new path. Well right now what I'm going to do is I'm going to move my cursor right over that existing anchor point I just created. You see that little inverted V that appears as right there. That allows me to actually manually pull out a control handle, from a particular shape. So what I'm going to do right now is I'm going to click and drag, you can hold the Shift key down as I do this, to drag out here and now I didn't do anything to the path, what I did was I manually pulled out a control handle and remember before when I just clicked and dragged, the control handle is appearing on both end of the anchor point that I created.
Well now I only pulled out one control handle on one side of this. So this is what I call a combination point. Before we created anchor points, the corner anchor points that we created actually have the straight lines connecting them, there are no control handles. A smooth anchor point basically, the path goes right through that anchor point and the control handles are actually kind of a tangent to that particular path and they are even on both sides. A combination point is an anchor point that has the corner anchor point and has the smooth anchor point. It does have the control handle but only one of that, which means that the path actually changes directions as it goes through the point. Some of the people do call it a change direction point. What I'm going to do now is move my cursor over here and click once again.
Notice how the path starts here. It goes through over here, if this where a smooth anchor point, the path would run right through the smooth anchor point up this way but instead the path changes direction and comes back down this way and that happen because I pulled the control handle out of that point, only one of them on this particular direction. Let's do that again, I'll move my cursor over here, I see the inverted V, the inverted V is letting me know about to pull out a control handle, click, drag downwards to here and now release the mouse. Move my cursor over to this part here, click once again. And now again I have created that changed direction point to that combination point.
So now I'm able to do this, now it's important to realize by the way, remember as I said before Illustrator will continue drawing paths until you decide otherwise. So if I click, let's say, somewhere else over here right now, it's going to continue drawing that path. If I don't want that to happen, what I'll do is I'll use the keyboard shortcut, the most common keyboard shortcut in Illustrator is going to be the Command key or the Ctrl key, which takes me back to the last used selection tool. Now if I press the Command key and I just click on any blank area on my screen, I have now deselected that shape. So now when I go back to the Pen tool, I get the little x, which means I'm now able to draw a new path and that's going to start drawing a new path that way as well. First, move on to some of the other shapes that I have here in this particular example. Again, the more that you start to use the Pen tool, the more that you begin to learn what it does.
So I'm going to start over here, take my Pen tool right here, I'm going to click once right over here, drag to here, click once over here, drag to here. What I end up getting right now is a curved path like this and this a really great example to see exactly, I'm going to go ahead and go to my Layers panel here, let's hide the instructions for a second here. Let's understand what is happening here when I create these paths, when I clicked and dragged, remember I dragged out this particular control handle to right here and then when I created this anchor point, and I clicked and dragged it also created a control handle on to here.
Notice how the path, that's over here, is drawn upwards because the control handle is here. But this part of the path is drawn downwards because this control handle is here as well. Again think of the control handle and this is like a magnet, and as I move the control handle that path is drawn to wherever that magnet goes. Let's turn this Instructions layer back on again. Let's focus on this particular part here of this art work. We'll again use the Pen tool, let's start up over here, click over here and hold them down the mouse button and dragging all the way to here and I release. That's step two, now let's go to step three over here and click, drag all the way down here, release.
Position over here, click, drag upwards over here, release the mouse, move my cursor here to the final point, click, drag and then release. I have created this shape that's right over here. Now again it's important as you start to work with Illustrators Pen tool. To start to anticipate, where is the next anchor point going to go. I mean here it's little bit easy because you have this template in the background, which is telling you where to click. However, when you start creating free form paths on your own, the more experience you get the Pen tool, like for example a friend of mine, Bert Monroy. Fantastic Illustrator user, great Photoshop user, and what he does inside Photoshop is just unreal. He creates his wonderful shapes and he just basically picks up the Pen tool and starts drawing with it.
I'm not even on that level he understands where the anchor points need to go to make the paths go there. It's reverse psychology. Don't think about the paths, think about where the anchor points need to go and Illustrator goes ahead and does that. Just do one final example here, again I'm going to hold down the Command key and I method simply going to click, so now they are the path is deselected. Now the Pen tool has little x, and x means that I'm ready to start with the new path. I'm going to click, here drag down here, release. Click here, drag down here, release. Click here, drag down here, release. Click here, drag down here, release and again a lovely wave pattern, which is great because the whole theme of our title throughout today is groundswell, which is the surfing company. So, great to have some waves in here.
But again the more that you start working with Illustrator, this is actually some really good exercises, I was suggested maybe you take this file, and just try to anticipate maybe try to create that exact same wave without using the template in a new file. See if you can now anticipate where those anchor points are, again the more and more that you start using the Pen tool the more and more you get used to it, the more easily you start creating shapes inside of Illustrator. However I want to emphasize one thing before we kind of work with the Pen tool here. There are plenty for the drawing tolls inside of Illustrator and if you don't get the Pen tool right away, that's perfectly fine, you don't need to use the Pen tool in fact, there are many other features inside of Illustrator besides the primitive drawing tools that we have already defined, we are talking about a paint brush tool and a pencil tool and there is even some features called Live Paint in Illustrator that really make it easy for you to get started with drawing graphics.
The pen tool that I have at the very, very core is probably the tool that allows you to just go crazy and have the most control over the vectors because remember the pen tool is that quintessential tool. It allows you to edit and work with anchor points, which is the base of all vector graphics. Speaking about this tool such as the Pen tool, in the next movie we will take a look at how you can use the open tool to create graphics as well, which is somewhat more intuitive but you loose the control that you have with the Pen tool.
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