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Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustration by John Hersey

Aligning and joining points


From:

Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

with Deke McClelland

Video: Aligning and joining points

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to join paths together, because what we have going at this point in time, and by the way I'm working inside of another catch up document here. This illustration is called Join me.ai and of course it's available to you inside of the 03_Line_Art folder. Now what we want to do is we want to take this line here and this line here and joining them together. We also want to take this segment and this arcing segment and join them together. Now why in the world do we need to join them together? Just to ensure that we have a smooth transition from one segment to the other because even though it looks pretty good on screen, there's the off chance that when we go to print this illustration, especially to high resolution image setter, there's a very good chance that these two lines won't exactly align with each other properly and we'll see some sort of gap or some sort of misalignment going on.
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  1. 59m 53s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 35s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 51s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      55s
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 56s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 10s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 17s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 45s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 58s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      7m 0s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 16s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 36s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
      33s
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 6s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 39s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 14s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 58s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 16s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 35s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 15s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 16s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 30s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 25s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 50s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 32s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 56s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 4s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 31s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 42s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 28s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 8s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 8s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 21s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 39s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
9h 36m Beginner May 18, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.

Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Aligning and joining points

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to join paths together, because what we have going at this point in time, and by the way I'm working inside of another catch up document here. This illustration is called Join me.ai and of course it's available to you inside of the 03_Line_Art folder. Now what we want to do is we want to take this line here and this line here and joining them together. We also want to take this segment and this arcing segment and join them together. Now why in the world do we need to join them together? Just to ensure that we have a smooth transition from one segment to the other because even though it looks pretty good on screen, there's the off chance that when we go to print this illustration, especially to high resolution image setter, there's a very good chance that these two lines won't exactly align with each other properly and we'll see some sort of gap or some sort of misalignment going on.

If we take the time to go ahead and join each pair of lines into one continuous line apiece than we won't have that misalignment problem. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to start off by grabbing these two guys and joining them together. And when joining points you need to select the endpoints, the endpoints and the endpoints only. So in other words if I were to try to select to both of these lines with the black arrow tool, it wouldn't work because I have all of the points inside both of the lines selected. So instead what I'm getting to do is I'm going to click off the lines in order to deselect them, and I'm going to switch over here to the white arrow tool. As I say I call it the white arrow tool because it's white and it's keyboard shortcut is A for arrow, for crying out loud. It's not D for direct selection.

And then for the black arrow tool your keyboard shortcut is V and that's for move by the way. So we've got the arrow tool and the move tool, or I just prefer to call them the white arrow tool and the black arrow tool. The black arrow tool selects entire objects at a time. The white arrow tool selects individual points and partial objects. So let's go ahead and grab that white arrow tool and then I want you to marquee around these points, like so. And that goes ahead and selects the endpoints of both of these lines as well as this guide intersection because I do not have my guides locked. And if you want to get rid of the guides for a moment so that they're no longer selected, just click the eyeball in order to turn them off. Oh. Now I'm arriving at a problem and if you're working inside of the Join me.ai file, then you're going to see this problem as well, which is I accidentally put this arc on the guides layer. I did that several exercises ago, I didn't notice it at the time, but you know, this kind of stuff happens. All right let's go ahead and turn that guides layer on again and I'm going to switch to the black arrow tool by pressing the V key. I'm going to click on this arc that's located on the wrong layer, and I'm going to drag that little orange square up to the Draw here later, so it's on the right layer now. Okay good. Now I'm ready to press the A key to return to the white arrow tool. I'll drag around these points, like so.

I once again got the guides selected. I can turn off that eyeball and now turn it back on and you can see that that went ahead and got the guides out of the picture there. All right we are now ready to join these two points together and we do that by going up to the Object menu, choosing Paths and then choosing the Join command or you can press Control+J on the PC or Command+J on the Mac, in order to join those two points into one. Now Illustrator's going ask you What kind of point do you want to join these points into? You're going to have just one point at this location now. Should it be a corner point? That is there's a nice corner at this location. Or should it be a smooth point? We have a nice arcing transition here. Well obviously, it should be a smooth point, so click smooth and click OK. All right, so that's now joined together, and you may see your spiral adjust ever so slightly. That's okay.

Now let's go over here and select these two points. We're not going to run into the guide problem this time. Select these two points, go up to the Object menu, choose paths and choose Join again or press Control+J, Command+J on a Mac. No dialog box this time. Why is that? Because my points are not coincident. You know what I mean by that? My points aren't exactly on top of each other, and to see what I mean I'm going to press Control and spacebar or Command and spacebar on the Mac in order to temporarily access my Zoom Tool, and I'm going to drag in a little tight drag around these points like so, and I'm going to zoom in even farther until I've zoomed into the maximum zoom level, which is 6400%, so 64 times normal.

And you can see there are my prior end points right there with a straight segment between them. I'm going to press Control+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo the join of those two points and you can see that I've got a tiny gap between those two points. The gap is so tiny. It's just a few microns. We're really way zoomed in here. It's about the size of a large bacterium, and when I say that I'm not joking. That is for real. It's bigger than a virus but it's smaller than your large bacterium. It's small, it's microscopic in other words. And I mention this because Illustrator's that sensitive, bless its heart. It's so, this is so, ahh, this is the way Illustrator's been for eons now. It's been this kind of really supersensitive program. So this goes back to the way old days.

And if the points are exactly on top of each other than it asks you what kind of new point you would like. If they're not exactly an top of each other, it goes ahead and joins the two points in a straight segment. So here's what I recommend you do. Go ahead and undo the joining of those two points. You're going to have to marquee around them once again to make sure that they're both selected independently of any other points inside of the illustration and it's important by the way, that you have that Object selection by path only preference inside the Preferences dialog box turned on, so that you can do this kind of drag inside of the stroke in order to select just those two endpoints.

So here's what you do. You can either do this in a couple of steps. You can go up here to the Control palette, and you can go ahead and align these points together by clicking on Horizontal Align Center and then Vertical Align Center, up here in the Control palette and that functionality, the ability to align individual points, that's new to Illustrator CS3. We didn't use to be able to do that. So that's one way to work. I'll go ahead and backstep a couple of steps there in order to return to my original placement of the points.

Another way to go is to go to the Object menu, choose Path and choose Average or press Control+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac, in order to display this little Average dialog box right here. Turn on Both and click OK to average both the vertical and horizontal locations of those two points, and then press Control+J and notice you get this Join dialog box or yet another way to work. I'll undo that averaging motion that we just did a moment ago. I'll reselect my points once again. And I'll press Control+Shift+Alt+J, or Command+Shift+Option+J on the Mac. All of those keys together and that will go ahead and join those points automatically. It'll fuse those two points. It'll move them and it'll average their locations and fuse those two points into a single corner point as it's done here. And just to confirm that that's the case I'll click off the point, click on them again and drag them and you can see I'm only moving one point at this location. So that's a function of pressing Control+Shift+Alt+J on the PC or Command+Shift+Option+J on a Mac. So just a ton of options that are available to you for joining points inside of Illustrator. However you decide to do it, it's important that you do it, so that you ensure that what looks like one line on screen, is indeed a single line and prints as a single line as well.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials.


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Q: When trying to synchronize color settings between all Creative Suite programs in Bridge, the Creative Suite Color Settings command either does not appear in the Edit menu or does not work. What is causing this?
A: If the Color Setting command is not available or does not function, it's because Bridge thinks that a single application (such as Photoshop or Illustrator), is installed and not one of the many versions of the Creative Suite.
If only Photoshop or Illustrator is installed, skip the exercise and move on.
If the entire Creative Suite is installed, then, unfortunately, there is no easy fix. Either contact Adobe or completely reinstall the Creative Suite.
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