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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right, so to recap in the last exercise, we joined this arc to this spiral and if I switch to the Black Arrow tool and click on this guy, they are now joined into a single continuous open path. It's still an open path, but it's just one open path instead of two and the thing that affords us, if I go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac in order to undo that movement and I Ctrl-click on this eyeball right here, that's a Command-click on the Mac, you can see that we now have a smooth continuous stroke along the path. So we don't have any weird little hitches and if it looks like we have a hitch, just zoom in and check it out. There is no hitch. It's nice and smooth, very good looking path there.
All right, so I'm still working, by the way, inside the Join me.ai file that I started with in the previous exercise. This time we are going to grab these two partial arcs and we are going to join them together and I'm going to use that same trick, I'm going to grab that White Arrow tool, as I call it, I'm going to marquee around these two more or less coincident points, they are very close to each other at any rate and I could click on Connect selected end points or I could go up to the Object menu and I could choose Path and I could choose Join.
Either way, I don't get any kind of dialog box, I didn't get anything telling me, gosh, you want to join them as a corner point, you want to join them as a smooth point, what you want to do. In fact, it's kind of like, did that work? Is that one of those things where Illustrator just decided to ignore me because I did something wrong? So let's see. Let's go ahead and Ctrl+Spacebar+drag really tight around there. That's a Command+Spacebar+drag around there on the Mac and it looks-- let's see how far we can zoom in. At 6400%, everything looks pretty good.
Let's go ahead and grab the White Arrow tool and I'll click off the Path in order to de-select it and then I'll move my cursor over where I think it was. Remember how you can get this little thing that's going to show you this little block next to the cursor. That's going to show you, you get a path outline under there and you can click and you can say oh there it is. I'll click it off a second, it even gets better when you find an anchor point, it actually highlights and you can see when I move up and down, there is just a tiny little bit of difference. I'll go ahead and grab one of these guys and I'll move it away from the other guy. They worked quite coincident, this is so amazing in a bad way and I'm zoomed in to 64x at this point, at there so much as the pixel, at that zoom level between those two anchor points, Illustrator goes and just join them with the straight segment.
And so it's like, okay honestly that is bacteria. Bacteria would fit there, it's just such a tiny, little -- I'm dying of driving. Anyway, all right, so it's an issue but if you try to join two end points that are not coincident then Illustrator doesn't ask any questions, it just goes ahead and joins those two points with the straight segment. So that's what's happening. If you think it's ignoring you, so long as you didn't do that, don't show again the thing with the dialog box. It's not really ignoring you; it's connecting them with the straight segment. All right, so we don't want that, so we are going to back up, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z; Command+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, in order to make sure that we have gotten rid of the join and if you want to test that, you can go up to the Edit menu and you can make sure, oh yeah, Redo Join. So if I were to redo, what I just undid, it was join, so that's the thing that just got undone. You got me? Anyway, all right. So instead what we need to do is we need to, of course, marquee the points, just to make sure they are both selected, then we need to average their locations and then we join them and that's a two-step process and I'll show you the one-step way around it as well. So you go up to the Object menu, you choose Path and you choose this guy right there, Average. Notice its keyboard shortcut, because that's going to come into play in a second. It's Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J on the Mac and you'll get this dialog box right here and it asks you, you are going to average the location of these two anchor points, do you want to average their horizontal positioning, their vertical positioning or both? Well, if you want them to be absolutely coincident, the answer is Both. So you click OK and notice, they shift it just a little bit, I don't know if you could perceive that, but they did shift. Now, they are totally coincident. Now we can go up to the Object menu > Path and choose Join or I can more easily just go to that, Control palette icon right there, click on it and then we get -- oh, there you are, you don't want Smooth this time, because it's going to do this number.
It's going to actually move the control handles so that you get a smooth transition, so you don't get a corner. We don't want that. Undo, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac and click here once again and say Corner, click OK. That's what we want. We have now joined them into a single corner point. Now I mentioned that there was a single-step way to pull this thing off. All right, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z, let's make sure I undid the joining, I did. Oh! I also undid the averaging. That's good. That's what I wanted. That's the Command+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, of course.
Now, I showed you anyway how Path > Average is Ctrl+Alt+J or Command+Option+J. Throw Shift in the mix and you not only average, you also join. You do Join and Average in one step, but you can only do it from the keyboard. So here is what you do. Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J, Command+Shift +Option+J on the Mac and we have gone ahead and averaged and joined the two points together in one operation, just with that one keyboard shortcut. Now just to check, what we have done, this is a really great way to see if you have done, what you think you have done. Go up to the Edit menu and check out what it is you can undo and it's telling you, you are going to undo a Join and it's like okay, well I didn't get a dialog box. So escape out of there and let's check to make sure it's done what we hoped it would do. I'll go ahead and click on that point and I'll drag it and its just one point; there aren't two points there.
So it didn't join two points with a straight segment this time, it made the decision with one keyboard shortcut. Once again, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J, Command+Shift+Option+J on the Mac. It averaged the points at the same location and to join them and it join them as a corner point without asking you any questions. So all that stuff rolled into that one operation and we are done. We have now affectively joined our paths together, so we have just three open paths below the eye now. I'll go and zoom out, so we can see them, all three in their entirety and if I get the Black Arrow tool, I can confirm. There is one, there is two and there is three. So we have three open paths below the eye. In the next exercise, we are going to take a look at this tool right here, actually, the Polar Grid tool and we are going to use it to draw the concentric circles inside a Horus' iris.
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