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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
All right gang it's time to complete the artwork and solve the puzzle in one exercise and that's what we are going to do right now. I have gone ahead and save my progress so far as Key letters. ai, so called because we have a number or letter in each of the key positions. That is to say the 9 represents the proper location for the first row and the first column. The green E represents the proper location for the second row and the second column and so on. So we'll be able to align to these letters for everything else inside of the puzzle.
Now let's go ahead and solve the puzzle at this point. At least put the letters and numbers into the proper rough positions. I'm going to grab this O right here and before you start by the way just because we are going to be moving a lot of stuff around, you might want to go ahead and lock down your checkers layer so that you don't disturb it because we are not going to be aligning to the checkers anymore. They are in the proper location. We don't need them. Go ahead to click to set the lock and lock down the position of each one of those objects so we can't even select them anymore. Now drag this 0 to somewhere up in this area. I'm going to roughly position things so that we can see them move very easily. Then I'll move the 2 there and the O to this location. The green T wants to be there and the S wants to be at this location and the W wants to be the first guy in the row. So you can see that part of solving the puzzle is placing the similarly colored letters in the same row.
Then the A goes into the first column, the B goes into the second one if I can manage to select it properly and the Y goes into the final column and then the L goes into the bottom left position right there. The A goes here and the N goes here. Puzzle solved people. You might have seen that coming, not sure but anyway we know have the letters in roughly to proper positions, but roughly of course is no good whatsoever. Let's get them in exactly the proper locations. Now take a deep breath because here is where it really gets nice and tedious.
Go ahead and select the first row of numbers right there and then click again on the 9 because that's going to be our Key Object and I want you to click on Horizontal Align Center. No, that's going to make a mess of things. So go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to undo that modification. I want you to see, part of the reason I made that mistake that that blows it for the Key Object. As soon you press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z, Illustrator totally forgets about the Key Object. I wish you could permanently set a Key Object attribute that would help us out so much because then we could just say once and for all, 9, E, B and E. 9EBE, those are the Key Objects. The others aren't, but you have to do it over and over again.
So I'll click again to make that the Key Object. Then I'll go to the proper option Vertical Align Center. You don't want the Distribution options by the way. That will also make a mess of things. You want Alignment. So go ahead and click Vertical Align Center for that first row. Now let's go to the second row, click on the E to make it the Key Object, click on that same option once again. Then go to the third row, click on the B to make it the Key Object, then click on this option again. Go to Lane click on the blue E right there and then click on this icon to align the letters properly.
All right now we are done with the rows, now for the columns. Go ahead and select the first column 9WAL right there. Click on the 9 to make it the Key Object because of course Illustrator has forgotten and then click on Horizontal Align Center. Then go to the second column and click on the E in order to make it the Key Object, click on this icon again, grab this third column of letters, click on the B in order to make it the Key Object and click here once again. Then select the final column of letters O, T, Y, E and then click on Horizontal Align Center.
I blew it, why did it blow it? Because I forgot to specify who in the world is the Key Object so everybody moved and now everybody is out of alignment. That's not what I want. Press Ctrl+Z or Command +Z on a Mac. Click on the E in order to make it the Key Object. Then go up to this icon Horizontal Align Center and click on it and we are done people. We have completed the puzzle, we have aligned every single checker and every single letter and the whole thing is just an amazingly beautiful work of art, don't you think? In the next chapter we'll take a look at the new and improved world of Gradients inside of Illustrator CS4.
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