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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 we know how to create text. Let's talk about styling the text to make it look the way that we want it to look. As you know when you click on a particular text object, the Control panel updates to show you the settings for that text. But since we are going to get deep into the actual settings for the characters here, I'm going to go the Window menu, choose Type and open up the Character panel. This way we can focus on all the settings right here. It's important to know that when you have the Character panel open, if you click on the flyout menu here, there is something called Show Options and that gives us a whole lot more settings here. So let's take a look at what we have available to us for styling characters.
Now I'm also going to share with you a couple of tips and tricks as well as we start working with text just to make it a little bit easier to do so. So first of all what I'm going to do is I'm going to take my Type tool here. Just switch to my regular Type tool and highlight my text here. By the way the text that you have highlighted is what gets changed. So here if I were to make a change, now let's say to the point size for example, let's go a little bit smaller, it only happens to that word that's selected. I'm going to press Undo. I'm going to select everything here. By the way you don't need to select your text with a Type tool. You could, of course, use the Arrow tool, but I'm doing this because I'm going to show you that, well it applies certain settings just to certain characters on its own.
First of all the basic settings. If I go into the Character panel, I have basically the font family. When I go ahead and I scroll down the list, here you can see that the fonts actually appear in the typeface, so that you get a better idea of what they look like. It doesn't really work out that well for typefaces that are actually more on the graphical side than they are on the typographical side. For example, we've got Zapf Dingbats and things like that. You will see that there is a whole bunch little icons here. So unfortunately that would be a little bit more difficult to see. But there are ways to turn that off. Now most important thing I think of all these is that if you look to the far left, you will see that there are different icons here. There are TT and an O. In some cases you have a red a, that just identifies the different types of fonts that are being used. For example red A's are PostScript Type 1 fonts. The green O's are OpenType fonts and the TT's are TrueType fonts.
Let me get into more detail from this video title where we talk about Advanced Text Options. We will learn about the differences between those, but that helps to identify them as well. I'm just going to leave it set to where it is right now. Once you set a family you can then choose, which face specifically, different typefaces and fonts will have different options that are listed here. We could choose the point size, then you can also choose here kerning. So by default Kerning is set to Auto. If you are not familiar with typography and you don't know what Kerning is. Kerning is basically the amount of space that you can either add or remove between the actual characters that appear inside of a text string.
Now I'm not talking about adding spaces and so on and so forth, because you don't want to have spaces. Space identifies new word. So when spell-check kicks in you don't want it to have a new word that way. But if you feel for example that -- let me go back over here where you see maybe the S and because of the way the A is shaped where it kind of slants upwards and away from the S, it might appear if there is too much space between the S and the A, you can't come here basically and choose to have a negative value for example -5 and see how the A kind of scooches closer towards the S just to show you I'm going to do -50 to make it a little bit more apparent to what's happening. You can see how now there is less space between the S and the A.
So that's what Kerning does. The keyboard shortcut for Kerning is hold down the Option key on your keyboard or if you are on a Windows machine, hold down the Alt key and then use the left and right arrows in the keyboard and that basically goes ahead and adjust the amount of Kerning, 20 settings at a time and you can go ahead and you do that. We can change it whole back here to 0 as well. One thing I just want to point out is if you choose your text over here, there is an option here other than Auto. Something called Optical. Optical is actually a really cool setting. It is a technology that exists inside of Illustrator. It actually came from InDesign. This is very powerful text engine. The Optical setting basically looks at the letterforms and the shapes of the letters based on every font, and automatically adjusts to even out the space between each of the characters. So it's actually really cool setting, I use it often. I think of it as a powerful automatic Kerning that does a really good job on that.
What's great about Optical Kerning is that as you change a typeface, the Kerning values will update as necessary. By the way just pointing out, if I put my cursor now between the S and the A, I see the value -36 that appears in parenthesis. So if the value is in parenthesis that means that's a setting that Illustrator defined not me as a user. So when I did basically choose the Optical Kerning Adobe Illustrator decided that based on the way that the characters were set and the font that was used that will be best if we do -36 for Kerning at that particular point. So again let me switch this through. You can of course overwrite it by simply now by typing a new value if you wanted to, but that's a setting that's there.
This setting over here is leading. Leading is the amount of space that appears between one line to the next. So the amount of space, the distance between the baselines of each line of text. Now in this case here we only have only one line of text, so the Leading setting won't mean much, but if you have let's say paragraph text like I have over here by adjusting, let's say I select this entire paragraph here. I just triple- clicked in the paragraph to select it. If I increase the Leading, you can see that the amount of spacing between those lines has increased as well. So that's one thing. It is also by the way in Auto Setting, which automatically figures out what the leading or the amount of space between those lines should be. You have the ability to use the Scaling options; you can either horizontally or vertically scale your text if you wanted to do that. I don't suggest it unless you really need to squash text for a certain way. By the way to do that we just simply to stretch it this way if you want it to. Not much of a difference in how that works.
Baseline Shift is useful for many different things. You basically have the ability to select any character and then adjust the Baseline Shift either above the Baseline or beneath the Baseline. That could be helpful when you have any superscripts or subscripts so on and so forth. Many different types of type treatments that you could use. There is also a cool little feature inside of Illustrator and it allows you to rotate a single character within a text string. It's useful sometimes when you want to have something sideways. I can't imagine something just being arbitrarily rotated, but one thing that's readily apparent when you use this setting is that you need to really think about the Kerning of how the other letters play into that when that happens.
Illustrator also has an underlying feature as well. A really cool feature here, which I'll point, before we close out on working with the Character Settings is the Language Settings. So I could actually specify that this particular text is a certain language. Illustrator's Spell check feature is actually multi-lingual. So what I could do is I could run a single spell check and if I told Illustrator, hey, this text is Spanish, it will actually spell check this word in Spanish. So that's really great though, because you can actually select an individual word in a paragraph, and say to Illustrator, that word is a different language. If you are doing let's say a children's book and Casa means house, you can actually hide the word Casa and change that to Spanish and then when you run a spell check, you don't get a spell check error on the word Casa, because it's spell checking the word Casa in Spanish, but everything else in English.
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