Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustration by John Hersey

Combining simple shapes into complex ones


Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Combining simple shapes into complex ones

All right we still have a few face details to draw here, but the poor little god's face is getting awfully covered up with rectangles and what not. So I'm going to go ahead and bring this face forward and fill it with the white so it covers up the rectangles and gives us something of a blank slate to draw on. So I'm going to do that. I'm going to click on the circle to select it and by the way, I'm working in another catch up document, bless me. It's called Face and it's included once again inside of the 04_Geometric_Shapes folder, so you can open up that document as well if you want.
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  1. 59m 51s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 34s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 50s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 55s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 9s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 16s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 44s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 57s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 0s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      6m 59s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 15s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 35s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 5s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 38s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 13s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 57s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 15s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 34s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 14s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 15s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 29s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 24s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 49s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 31s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 55s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 3s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 30s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 41s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 27s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 7s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 7s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 20s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 38s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
9h 36m Beginner May 18, 2007

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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.

Deke McClelland

Combining simple shapes into complex ones

All right we still have a few face details to draw here, but the poor little god's face is getting awfully covered up with rectangles and what not. So I'm going to go ahead and bring this face forward and fill it with the white so it covers up the rectangles and gives us something of a blank slate to draw on. So I'm going to do that. I'm going to click on the circle to select it and by the way, I'm working in another catch up document, bless me. It's called Face and it's included once again inside of the 04_Geometric_Shapes folder, so you can open up that document as well if you want.

Go ahead and select that inner circle here cause we're pretty zoomed in to the calendar, and I'm going to fill it with white by going up to this first option up here in the Control palette, clicking the down pointing arrowhead, clicking white in order to make that the fill color. Next I'm going to go ahead and bring this shape to front and you could do it by choosing this command once again, but I'm not going to do that, commands shemmands man. I'm going to press Control+Shift+Right Bracket or Command+Shift+Right Bracket on the Mac to take advantage of that very, very useful keyboard shortcut.

All right, so here's the face in front of the objects. Now, I've kind of covered up the tracing template at this point, I can't really see what I'm doing. So I'm going to go ahead and Control-click on that eyeball right there or Command-click on that eyeball in order to change it to a little Orphan Annie eyeball at the top of the Layers palette so that we can see through my drawing to the template below. And now I'm going to go zoom in even farther into this face so that we can see what's going on here. Now notice that mostly everything that makes up this face is some sort of variation on a circle. We've got circular eyes.

We've got circular cheeks and a bunch of circular items down here at the bottom. I drew one circle and then I rotated the others into place. That's getting ahead of things a little bit. We'll examine those sorts of transformations and duplications series in a later chapter, but just to give you sense of what I did. I also went ahead and made these feelers up here at the top of the god's head with circles. These feelers, because after all, the Aztecs were visited by aliens, everyone knows that.

So that's where those come from. Now what about some of the more complicated objects, like this nose for example? It is a combination of three ellipses glommed together and this lozenge-shaped mouth right here, the shape that makes up the mouth and the tongue and so on. How do we go about drawing more complicated shapes like that? Well you start with your simple shapes and you build up. For example let's go ahead and make the nose. Grab yourself the Ellipse Tool by pressing the L key or selecting the tool. And then we'll drag outward, actually I'm going to drag outward from the intersection of the two guidelines and press and hold the Shift and Alt keys as I drag, and once I've created an ellipse that matches here, I'll go ahead and release and then I'm going to draw another one from this point right here, from the outer point along the edge of the ellipse, and I'll press Shift and Alt, once again, Shift and Option on the Mac, and then release, and then in order to make a symmetrical circle over here on the other nostril, I'll grab the black arrow tool and I'll go ahead and drag the point by its center point. I'll drag the point over here to the right hand side so that it snaps into alignment and then I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac to ensure that I'll create a clone and then I'll release. Now I could have pressed the Shift key in order to constrain my movement to exactly horizontal, but that's hardly necessary given that I have a point to snap to and a guideline to snap to. So I'm pretty well covered in that territory, but it is essential that I press and hold the Alt key with the Option key in order to create that clone.

Now I'm going to select all three of these shapes like so. Now if I marquee around them, I may also end up selecting the guideline. It appears that I didn't, so I seem to be okay in that regard. But if you end up selecting the guideline, you may need to Shift-click on it in order to deselect it. Actually you know what? I'm just not getting an effective preview, cause if I look down here in the guides palette, I do have a little green square that shows me that the guide is selected, so I'm going to go ahead and Shift-click on it to deselect it. That did deselect it, good. And that might be a function of the fact that I'm working in this partial outline mode right here.

Whatever, I need to make sure that just the three circles are selected. Then I'm going to go to a special place here folks. I'm going to go over to the Pathfinder palette. Now my Pathfinder palette is located right there. Yours may be elsewhere on the screen. Where ever it is you can get to it by going to the Window menu and choosing the Pathfinder command or pressing Control+Shift+F9, Command +Shift+F9 on the Mac in order to bring that palette up. All right, but I've already got my palette up on screen. So I'm going to click on this first guy right here. Now Pathfinder's are wicked cool. They allow you to take simple shapes and combine them into more complicated shapes using all kinds of different equations basically. They are so wicked cool that we're going to devote an entire chapter to Pathfinders later in the series.

And we are going to have an awesome, rocking time with these Pathfinder options, I tell you what. But for now we'll have a pretty rocking time, just a slight party here, by clicking on this guy right here, which unites the shapes together. So if I click on it, I just united all three shapes together, we can't see the effect of the uniting, because we're working in the outline mode. So go ahead and hide your Pathfinder palette or whatever. You can leave it on screen if you want to, but I'm hiding it so that it's not in our way, cause I've got a tiny screen. I'm going to go back up to my drawing layer here, and I'll Control-click on the eyeball again and you'll see now that these three shapes are united into a single shape that has a single stroke and a single fill going on between it, and if that shape seems like it's got a little too thick of a stroke than you can go ahead and take that stroke down a little bit. I'll take it down to one point so that we can see what's going on a little better here on screen.

So that's how you create the nose. How do we go about creating the mouth, that lozenge-shaped mouth that we saw just a moment ago? I'll go ahead and Control-click the eyeball again. Command-click on the eyeball again in order to send this layer here to the outline mode. How do we create this lozenge-shaped mouth right here? Well, I will show you in the very next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials .

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Q: When trying to synchronize color settings between all Creative Suite programs in Bridge, the Creative Suite Color Settings command either does not appear in the Edit menu or does not work. What is causing this?
A: If the Color Setting command is not available or does not function, it's because Bridge thinks that a single application (such as Photoshop or Illustrator), is installed and not one of the many versions of the Creative Suite.
If only Photoshop or Illustrator is installed, skip the exercise and move on.
If the entire Creative Suite is installed, then, unfortunately, there is no easy fix. Either contact Adobe or completely reinstall the Creative Suite.
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