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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.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to manually clone and then automatically duplicate objects inside of Illustrator. I'm working inside of a document called Starting point.ai and if you are working along with me, I suggest you open this document as well. And it's basically a cleaned-up version of our illustration thus far. I have gone ahead and grouped some of the folders in the larger folders. For example, this Steps folder here contains the stroke, scaled to fit, outlines and stretch folders that we saw formerly, they have now been demoted to sub-folders which is fine and in case you are curious how to such a thing yourself. For example, how do we take my blobs and blobs and place them into a larger folder so that we only see one item at this location? You would make sure your Layers palette is open. You would click on one layer, Shift-click on the other to select both of them. Then you would go to the Layers palette flyout menu and you would choose Collect in New Layer and you now have a new layer right there. That's one way to work.
Another way to work just so as you know is to undo that modification, then you Alt-click or Option-click on the little Page icon down here at the bottom of the Layers palette in order to bring up your Layer Options and I'll call this one Blob & erase and I'll change the Color to Gold once again and I'll click OK in order to create this new layer. Then I'll click on my blobs and I'll Shift-click on blobs and I'll drag them both up until I see triangles, big black triangles on either side of Blob & erase and I'll release. So another way to work.
Anyway, I'm going to twirl this close, I'm going to turn it off. Turn on big unite, just to remind you of the geometric version of the hand that we are trying to create here and we are starting from this Elements layer, just those two parameters, one drawn with the Line tool and one drawn with the Arc tool, both stroked with 24 point line weights. Let's go ahead and take a look at them. I am going to turn off big unite, turn on elements and I'm going to select the line, just by dragging across it. That's just one way to work. I could have just clicked on the darn thing too and I want to convert this line to a filled shape. The reason being that way I'm going to have more control over the alignment of this thumb with the other fingers that we need to make. So that's what we are going to be doing in this exercise.
We are going to be taking the thumb and turning it into five evenly spaced fingers including the thumb of course. And the best way to do that is to start not with a stroked line but with a filled object. So to convert a stroked line to a filled object, you go on to the Object menu, you choose Path and you choose this command right there, which is wicked good. Actually, I have to say it's a really great function. So go ahead and choose Outline Stroke and you will create an outlined version of that path, just like so. So it looks just the same as it did before. This is before and this is after but it functions differently as we are about to see.
Okay, now I want each one of these fingers to be spaced apart from each other, one finger's width. So in other words, we will have a finger, then we will have a finger gap and then we will have a finger and then another finger gap and so on. So using my Black Arrow tool which I have selected, I'm going to drag the shape by its point like so and notice I'm just sort of moving it over to the right here. If I move the point into alignment with the point on the right hand side like this, you will get a little snapping cursor. So this implies and it's true that you can snap an object to the previous location of that exact same object which you can, this is a wonderful thing inside of Illustrator. So it's great to be able to drag point on point to get perfect alignment just as we have and I'm going to demonstrate that again. Just because it's so important.
I will press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, I'm going to begin my drag on that anchor point right there, then move my cursor to this location here until I get a snap and I'll see a white cursor like you see on screen. Do not yet release though, I want you to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, press and hold that key and you will see a double white cursor, then release and you have now successfully cloned that shape into exact alignment with the previous one. Now this guy represents the gap and just so that we can easily grab these gaps and get rid of them at the end of this exercise, I want you to fill the gap with this red swatch right there. So I'm going to apply hand outline to that gap like so. All right, now I want you to grab both of these Popsicle sticks here and I'm going to do that by marqueeing with my Black Arrow tool and including parts of both the black and red shapes and then I'm going to drag from that exact same point until it snaps into alignment with the right hand point on the red shape. Press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release. And now we have alternating picket fences, if you will, going black, red, black, red.
Now I want to duplicate that exact transformation. A transformation in Illustrator is anything that modifies the orientation or position of the artwork without changing its fundamental appearance. So scaling the artwork, rotating the artwork, moving the artwork and so on and in this case, we have done a movement and at any time we can replay the last transformation we applied by going up to the Object menu, choosing Transform and choosing Transform Again and notice that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac.
What is that D for? Duplicate. So even though it's called the Transform Again command, it is Ctrl+D for duplicate and this goes way back to the old days, there used to be a Duplicate command in MacDraw, this old drawing program and because the Illustrator was more powerful they call theirs Transform Again but they used MacDraw's keyboard shortcut, if you care. Anyway, go ahead and choose the command in order to duplicate that last transformation, then press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to repeat one more time and Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to repeat a third time and we now have by virtue of the fact that we started with two, we clone them and then we duplicated, duplicated, duplicated, we now have a series of ten pickets here, Popsicle sticks, whatever you want to call them, fingers.
All right, now I'm going to click off in order to deselect my paths. I need to get rid of the red ones and to keep just the black ones. So I'll click on the outline belonging to one of the red ones and then I'll go up to my Control palette and I'll click this down- pointing arrowhead. Right now for me it is set to All. That's just perfect. So I could have just clicked on this icon. It would go ahead and use whatever default setting is set there. Now all is fine. What we really want is Fill Color, right because we want to select all the red shapes, but fill is all these shapes have. They don't have strokes anyway. So All is fine. So either of these is going to work is what I'm saying. I'll go ahead and click on All and then I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them and we now have five evenly spaced fingers. Amazing.
In the next exercise, remember that Outline Stroke command, it's so useful. We are going to assign a keyboard shortcut to it.
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