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Combining a letterform with a path outline

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Combining a letterform with a path outline

In this movie, I will show you how to combine a letter form with a predefined symbol to create a custom character of type. Now notice that I still have my path outlines layer set to the Outline mode and my other two layers are set to the Preview mode. And if you were to open this illustration, you would see exactly the same thing because Illustrator goes ahead and saves the preview settings along with the document. Now in our case, what we want to do is keep the interior of the O and merge it with the outside of this Grime symbol. So that means we need to get rid of the outside of the O.

Combining a letterform with a path outline

In this movie, I will show you how to combine a letter form with a predefined symbol to create a custom character of type. Now notice that I still have my path outlines layer set to the Outline mode and my other two layers are set to the Preview mode. And if you were to open this illustration, you would see exactly the same thing because Illustrator goes ahead and saves the preview settings along with the document. Now in our case, what we want to do is keep the interior of the O and merge it with the outside of this Grime symbol. So that means we need to get rid of the outside of the O.

And I am going to do that by zooming in just so I have a closer view. And then I will press the A key to switch to my White Arrow tool and I will click on this anchor point right there and Shift+click on this one here in order to select a representative anchor point along the top of both the left side of the O and the right side of the O. And then I will press Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of those points. That divides the outside and the inside of the O into two separate path outlines. So now you can press the Shift and Alt keys or the Shift and Option keys on a Mac, and click on the inside of O to deselect it; and then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of that outside path. All right! Now I am going to zoom in even tighter here.

And we need to move a few anchor points around. So I will marquee these anchor points right there and Shift+marquee these ones and then Shift+click on these final three; but notice as soon as I try to Shift+click on that endpoint, I end up selecting this curve segment above it instead, which means if I start dragging the anchor points around, I am going to stretch the selected segment. I don't want that, so I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that maneuver. Now I will press the Shift key and marquee right around that anchor point like so, in order to both select the anchor point and deselect the segment.

Now I can move these anchor points into the desired positions. And I'm just matching the location of the points on my tracing template in the background. Each time I get an anchor point in position, I Shift+click on it to deselect it and then drag the other ones in the position like so, then I'll Shift+click this guy to deselect him, drag these two anchor points into position, Shift+click on each of them to deselect them, and then drag this guy right there. Now I am going to leave this anchor point hanging off, we will come back to it in just a moment.

Now we have got to create a hole in the path outline that was formerly that Grime symbol in order to create this channel right here through the O that appears in dark blue. So I will go ahead and marquee these anchor points there and then Shift+click on this second point to select it as well. And I will press Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of those points. And now I will marquee these anchor points in order to select them, Make sure just those anchors points are selected, you don't want to select part of this guy. And then drag this endpoint so that it snaps into alignment with this one.

Now, what we want to do, and it seems like it should be simple, we just want to go ahead and join these two endpoints together so that we are combining the inside edge of the O with the outside Grime path outline. So I will go ahead and marquee those two coincident endpoint--that is, one is directly on top of the other--and then I will go up to the Object menu, I will choose Path and I will choose Join or you can press Ctrl+J or Command+J on a Mac. Now the Join command was dramatically enhanced in Illustrator CS5, but it still is not perfect.

You are going to run into times where illustrator gripes at you. And this is a classic example. As soon as I choose Join, I get this alert message that starts off, To join, you must select two open endpoints. Which is not only not entirely true, but is not accurate to our situation at all because that's exactly what we've selected is two open endpoints. To get a sense of what's gone wrong in our case, you have to read the very end of last sentence where it says, if both of them are grouped, they must be in the same group. Our problem is that one of our endpoints is inside of a group and the other one is inside of a compound path; and as a result, Illustrator refuses to join them together.

You should not turn on the Don't show again checkbox, because if you do, and you run into this problem in the future--which you will-- then instead of getting an alert message, Illustrator will just ignore you, which I can tell you is extremely confusing. So just go ahead and click OK. And now here's how to solve the problem. Press the V key in order to switch to the Black Arrow tool and then click off the path outlines to deselect them. Now click on the outside edge right there in order to select it. What we want to see is the word Path over here on the far left side of the Control panel; instead, we see Compound Path, which is going to create a problem when we try to join one path to another.

Our only option is to release the Compound Path by going up to the Object menu, choosing Compound Path and choosing Release. Now you want to make sure by the way that you are not releasing any holes or creating any problems. In our case, we are fine. So go ahead and choose the Release command. Now we hope to see the word Path on the far left side of the Control panel and instead we see Mixed Objects, which means anything; we could have some paths selected, we could have a group selected, don't know. So click off the path outline to deselect it, click on it again to select it and now I see Group.

So I release the Compound Path only to be confronted by a group, which means I now have to go the Object menu and choose the Ungroup command or press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on a Mac; and now I've got a path. Excellent! Now what you want to do is click on the inside path outline. And you can see that it is a group over here on the far-left side of the Control panel. So go back to the Object menu and choose the Ungroup command. And now notice we have got a Compound Path. Now here's the thing, you don't want to just release the Compound Path; because if I zoom out, which I did by pressing Ctrl+0 or Command +0 on the Mac, notice we've got holes in the Es and they are currently selected.

So if you were to release those Es as compound paths, then we would release the holes inside the Es as well. Don't want that, so click off the path outlines to deselect them, then click on the inside edge of the O, so just it is selected. It is still a Compound Path, but we can release it with impunity. So go up to the Object menu, choose Compound Path and choose Release. Now for the drum roll please, let's go ahead and zoom in here at this location and I will press the A key in order to switch to my White Arrow tool.

You can see that now we just have a path outline selected, which is just about all that the Join command can accommodate. So I will marquee these two coincident endpoints. We will go up to the Object menu, choose Path, and choose Join, and sure enough that goes ahead and works. And if I click off the anchor point, click on it and drag it, you can see where we formerly had two independent endpoints, we now have a single interior point. All right! I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+ Z on a Mac to undo that move. Now we have just two endpoints left and that's these guys right here.

So I will go ahead and drag this anchor point until it snaps into alignment with the other one, then I will marquee the two anchor points to select them both and I will press Ctrl+J or Command+J on a Mac, in order to join them together. The deed is now done. Let's go ahead and take a look at our work. You can switch back to the Preview mode by pressing the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on that hollow eye in front of the path outlines layer; or you can just go up to the View menu and choose the Preview command to switch the entire illustration back to the Preview mode. Now I will press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+ A on the Mac, in order to deselect my artwork.

And I will press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 on a Mac, in order to center my zoom. And that folks is how you combine a letterform along with a predefined symbol to create a custom character of type.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14361 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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