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Building an interlocking element

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Building an interlocking element

All right gang. Now, it's time to put together one of these three pronged hooks and actually we're going to start by building just one of the three prongs that we'll use over and over again to build the other shapes. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Six-pointed star.ai and we're working on a core design layer. We're looking at the template layer in the background. Now, none of these objects is particularly hard to draw. They are just free formed polygons, right. So we could just click, click, click with the Pen tool, if we wanted to. Problem is how do we ensure that we click at exactly the right points because after all these guys have to be exactly the same length and size and everything in order to interlock properly and if we get anything even slightly wrong, then everything goes kaflooey essentially. So we need this segment right there to be exactly the same length as this segment and this segment and this segment, and so on and each of the points has to be in exactly the right location. So how in the world are we going to do that? Well, one way to work of course would be to get the Pen tool and because we've got this template on screen here, we could go to the View menu and we could turn on Smart Guides, and then I could hover over each one of the points and click, and click, and click and so on, in order to draw this shape, right. Just like this. Look, I'm drawing it. It's exactly right. Thanks to Smart Guides and thanks to the fact that I'm tracing this tracing template.

Building an interlocking element

All right gang. Now, it's time to put together one of these three pronged hooks and actually we're going to start by building just one of the three prongs that we'll use over and over again to build the other shapes. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Six-pointed star.ai and we're working on a core design layer. We're looking at the template layer in the background. Now, none of these objects is particularly hard to draw. They are just free formed polygons, right. So we could just click, click, click with the Pen tool, if we wanted to. Problem is how do we ensure that we click at exactly the right points because after all these guys have to be exactly the same length and size and everything in order to interlock properly and if we get anything even slightly wrong, then everything goes kaflooey essentially. So we need this segment right there to be exactly the same length as this segment and this segment and this segment, and so on and each of the points has to be in exactly the right location. So how in the world are we going to do that? Well, one way to work of course would be to get the Pen tool and because we've got this template on screen here, we could go to the View menu and we could turn on Smart Guides, and then I could hover over each one of the points and click, and click, and click and so on, in order to draw this shape, right. Just like this. Look, I'm drawing it. It's exactly right. Thanks to Smart Guides and thanks to the fact that I'm tracing this tracing template.

The problem is what I'm doing folks is also known as cheating, because I've already done this in advance for you. This isn't the way you would really approach this project in real life, because you wouldn't have it all diagrammed and ready to go. If you did, you would just copy the shapes and use them. You wouldn't have to redraw them. You could be making this design up in your head, but more likely you found it on the web or you found it in a magazine, or you took a photograph of it, when you were actually in Saudi Arabia, something along those lines and now you've got to figure out how to construct it here inside of Illustrator. So let's get rid of the cheat shape right there and let's switch away from the Pen tool.

In fact, what we want is the White Arrow tool. That's the tool we're going to use and then I'm also going to go ahead and turn off Smart Guides and in fact I'm going to so turn things off, we're turning off the template layer people. We're not going to see that layer at all. We're going to do it without looking. And I'll tell you why, because we have everything we need in this six pointed star, because we were able to assemble a regular six pointed star. Every single, one of its segments is exactly the length we need it to be and we can generate those hooks and those prongs based on this object right here.

So I'm going to go ahead and zoom in like so and I'm going to click on this segment right there with my White Arrow tool and I'm going to copy it by pressing Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac and then I'm going to press Ctrl+V, or Command+V on the Mac to just go ahead and paste that guy to a different location and we'll just move over. We don't need it to be, right in the proper location yet. We'll take care of that later. But right now, we need to build the darn thing. All right, now, what am I going to do is I'm going to switch over to my Reflect tool and I'm going to Alt-click, or Option-click at this bottom point right there and I'm going to go ahead and reflect this item across the vertical axis so we are getting a horizontal reflection and I'm going to click Copy. And there's the bottom of one of those hooks and you can keep an eye on the hooks, here in the template. We're just not going to trace them. So it's as if we're viewing the design in the browser, or on a sheet of paper is something along those lines.

All right, the next thing we need to do is assemble a little tiny vertical segment right there at that location and as opposed to rotating this item, we could rotate it. Or I could just go get my White Arrow tool again, I could click on this vertical segment, copy it, by pressing Ctrl+C or Command+C, then press Ctrl+V or Command+V to paste it, and then drag it by its anchor point and snap it into position right there. Then let's go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on this guy in order to select it. That is, select the entire thing with the White Arrow tool here. I'm going to go ahead and drag it upward like so and press the Alt or Option key to clone it, and then I'm going to drag it by its anchor point and snap it into position. So we're doing pretty good here.

Now, we need this segment. I'll go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on it. Drag it, press the Alt or Option key before I drop it so that I create a clone. Drag it by its anchor point and snap it in the position right there. We are almost done. We almost have one of the prongs completed. You can see we've got this part right there done. Now, we need this long line, which is a combination of two of these guys. So go ahead and drag by the anchor point once again. Press the Alt or Option key, and drop it into position, once it snaps into alignment with this point over here, and then we'll go ahead and move this guy up, like so. Press the Alt or Option key once again, before dropping it in the place. Make sure it snaps in the position and you now have yourself one other prong.

Now, of course, the big problem here is that they're independent segments, they are not joined into a single path outlines. So let's go ahead and join them by doing this. I'm going to marquee these two points right there in order to select them, and then I'm going to press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac to join them together. Make sure it's a corner point. Click OK. Now, marquee these two coincident points, press Ctrl+J, Command+J on the Mac. Make sure you're you are setting up a corner point. Click OK. Now, if you're not seeing that dialog box, it means you didn't snap the points into alignment properly. I'm going to marquee these two points. Ctrl+J, Command+J on the Mac, click OK, marquee these two points. Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac. Click OK.

Marquee these two points. Press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on the Mac and click OK. And then finally, what I would recommend you do in this case right here is just go ahead and kind of drag that point out of the way there, then get this point and drag it up, so it snaps into alignment with that guy. So that it's in the proper location and then Alt-click or Option-click on this line and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of it. And we now have a single continuous prong.

Now, we need to go ahead and build this into one of the three pronged hooks and we're going to do that in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21475 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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