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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.
I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Arabian geometrics.ai and this is the point at which I always get nervous. Is this tile pattern going to work or not? Is it going to repeat seamlessly like it's supposed to? Because if you over here to the Swatches palette, you see all of these Adobe created tile patterns that are exact squares. At least most of them are. Every once in a while you will see something that looks like a rectangle but most of them are absolute squares and then you come down to our tile patterns and they don't look right even sort of.
They don't look like they are going to work at all. And then if you take a look at the shapes that are left over here on the artboard, they wouldn't match up properly. I mean I'm not going to match up this orange shape with this orange shape. That's not going to work at all, we've got like five orange shapes, and three violet ones and four stars. What a mess! This can't possibly work. We are doomed. Well, let's see. All we can do is try it out and see if it's going to work or not. So you know what, let's go ahead and make a new layer. I'm going to go down to the Page icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, Alt-click or Option-click on it and let's call this guy, roll of the dice, because we don't know and then click OK and now I'm going to turn off the core design elements because they are not helping in either. Just making me feel bad.
Now, I'm going to zoom out a little bit from the page, and you know what, let's try a totally different shape this time around. Let's try an ellipse. We'll fill an ellipse with this tile pattern and now I'm going to go ahead and let's say Alt+Drag or Option+Drag out from the center so that we have an ellipse that's way bigger than the artboard, like so and then I'll release in order to make it. Now, in my case, I have got these Stroke set to black and the Fill set to white and let's go ahead and make the stroke nice and thick, I guess. I'm just wasting time at this point. We might as well assign the tile pattern. The Fill is active, good.
All righty then, without further ado, let's go to the Swatches palette and click on Arabian garish. It works beautifully and that's all because we gave Illustrator that background rectangle to work with because we had the rectangle in place and it was drawn properly in the first place and it was in the proper stacking order. It was at the back of the stack. That's what Illustrator looks for and then it repeats that area inside that rectangle over and over again and we have a seamless, flawless tile pattern at this point.
You can go ahead and try Arabian muted if you want to as well, or Arabian gradient which looks really, really great and it looks like these little bronze indents or something along those lines. And for a truly a cool effect in my opinion, let's go ahead and apply Arabian muted, once again for that muted sort of floor pattern there and then I'm going to go with a really thick stroke, let's try out something like 40 points thick, all right. Then let's make the stroke active by pressing the X key and scroll down inside of the Swatches palette once again and let's apply Arabian gradient as the stroke. And you can see that the Stroke and the Fill are aligned with each other. We have perfect alignment at this point inside of this illustration.
So, way to go, you have now successfully created a seamlessly repeating tile pattern here inside Illustrator. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to adjust the placement and the size and the orientation and all that jazz of the tile pattern inside the shape.
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