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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So you've already gone through several chapters about learning how to use Illustrator. Let's stop for a moment now and actually apply some of the knowledge that we've learned. Let's create a very basic project from scratch, say maybe creating a logo mark for a company. Now until now we've been using examples from this fictional company called Hansel and Petal, a flower shop. So let's go ahead now and create a logo for this flower shop. Let's begin by choosing Print Document here from the Welcome screen, and where it says New Document Profile, I'm going to choose Print and click OK.
Now for this logo, I'd like to create some kind of an abstract flower shape. Rather than struggle with the Pen tool and drawing this flower from scratch, I'm going to use some very basic shapes, in this case just a whole bunch of circles. I'll use those circles to build my final shape using the Shape Builder tool. So to get started, I'll need to create some circles. In the Tools panel, I'm going to choose now the Ellipse tool. Of course, I could simply click and drag and also hold down the Shift key to create perfect circles, but I know the exact size that I want to create my circle at.
So instead of wasting time trying to eyeball it and get it perfect on the screen, I'm going to press Undo now. To do that, instead of clicking and dragging, I'll simply click and release the mouse to bring up the Ellipse dialog box. Since I want to create a perfect circle, I'll enter a value of 100 points for the Width. Hit the Tab key and 100 points for the Height. Now I'll click OK to create that perfect circle here on my screen. I want to zoom in a little bit closer here so I could see better what I'm doing. So I'm going to press and hold the Command and Spacebar or Ctrl+Spacebar to just temporarily toggle to the Zoom tool.
I'm not going to click and drag to draw a marquee around this circle. Then release the mouse and then release the keyboard keys. So now I've created one circle, but I need to create a few more. Rather than draw additional circles, I could simply make copies of my existing one. So I'm going to go now and choose to select my regular Selection tool. I'll position my cursor just about anywhere inside of the boundary of the circle here. I'm going to click and drag and drag it towards the right. As I do so, I'm going to hold down the Shift key on my keyboard. That will constrain movement to be just exactly to the right here, not allowing me to go up or down.
At the same time, I'm also going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows. You can see now that my cursor changes to a double arrow, which means that I'm now not dragging the original. Instead, I'm now dragging a copy of that circle. I'm going to drag it all the way to the right and because I have my Smart Guides turned on, the intersect indicator allows me to know that right now both circles intersect each other at that particular point. So I'm going to go ahead now and first release the mouse. Then I'll release the keyboard keys that I was holding down.
By the way, if your Smart Guides do not show up, they may not be on. Press Command+U on your keyboard or Ctrl+U to activate Smart Guides. So I now have two circles that touch each other just at this one point right here. I want to create two other additional circles. So what I'm going to do is click and then drag to marquee select these two, so now both circles are selected. Now I need to create two more circles, but again instead of drawing them, I'm simply going to take the ones that I have right now and copy them. However, the two new circles that I want to create have to be rotated to a different orientation.
So to do that, I'm going to use the Rotate tool. Inside of the Tools panel here is this tool called the Rotate tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is the R key. While we're going to spend some time learning how to use this tool in depth later on in our title, for now I want to do very simple action. I'm just going to go ahead now and double-click on the Rotate tool itself. Doing so brings up the Rotate dialog box, which allows me to rotate my selected elements numerically. I want to change the angle here from 45 degrees to 90 degrees.
Instead of clicking OK, which would rotate both of these circles right now 90 degrees, I'm going to click on the Copy button, which would now rotate copies of these two circles. So at this point right now, I have four different circles in my document. It may not look like much right now, but we're going to use this as a basis to create our abstract flower for the logo design. The circles that we've created are using attributes of white fills and black strokes. We'll talk more about fills and strokes later on in our title. But for now, it's going to be easier to work with this if I set the fills for these circles to be none instead of white.
So once again, I'm going to switch back to my Selection tool. I'll click and drag to marquee select all four circles. Then up in the top left over here in the Control panel, I'm going to click on this pop-up right here, which is the fill indicator. I'm going to choose the None option, which is in the upper left of that dialog box. So now you can see how these four circles actually overlap each other. In reality, I've created these four different circles because I simply want to you to get to these overlapping areas. As you can see, these four sections right over here are going to act as the basis for our flower.
If I wanted to now go ahead and use a Pen tool to draw them from scratch, it'll be much more difficult to do so. However, by using the Shape Builder tool, I can very quickly get at the shapes I'm trying to create. All these shapes are currently selected, so I'm going to move over here now to the actual Shape Builder tool and select it. I'll move my cursor now over these existing shapes. You can see that right now, the Shape Builder tool is ready to start working with them. In this case, I don't want to use the Shape Builder tool to add objects together.
I'd actually like to remove everything except for these four petals for my flower. So remember, to subtract areas when using the Shape Builder tool, I'm going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key on my keyboard. Notice now my cursor changes to a minus sign. If I click and drag right now into this area, that area becomes removed. While still holding down that Option key, I'm simply going to click in these other areas here to remove them, leaving me just with the four petals that I need. So as you can see right now, I started out by drawing a very simple circle.
I made a few copies of it, but now I've ended up with something far more complex. But wait, we're not done just yet. I want to make this even a little bit more complex. These shapes are still selected. So I'm going to go back to the Rotate tool and once again double click on it to bring up the Rotate dialog box. But this time, I'm going to change the angle to 45 degrees. Once again, click on the Copy button. So what I've now done is I've taken those four petals and I've rotated a copy of those four petals.
Now, my result is eight petals and I have a far more complex looking flower. What's more? Because of the shape of these petals, some of those actually overlap in certain areas as you can see in here. I actually like those overlapping areas. I'm going to take advantage of using them to make a far more interesting logo mark. So at this point, I've created basic shapes that I needed. Now I want to add some color and really bring all of this together. So I'm going to do a few things here. First, I'm going to come all the way up over here to this dock and expand it.
That will allow me to see all the swatches that I have here, all the colors that exist in this document. Where do these colors come from? Well, they're here by default inside of the Print profile, which we used when we first created this document. Next, I'm going to come over here to the Tools panel. I'm going to double-click on the Shape Builder tool. This brings up the Shape Builder Tool Options dialog box. And since I now want to use the Shape Builder tool not only to actually combine and build shapes, I also want the tool to be able to color my objects as well.
So where it says Pick Color From in the Options section right here, I'm going to choose to check this option here called Cursor Swatch Preview. When I click OK, you can now see that as I move my cursor around, a little box appears or actually three boxes appear right above my icon. Now I'm going to come over to my Swatches panel. I'm going to click on the yellow option right here. You notice that right now above my cursor, a large yellow square appeared. Immediately to the left of that yellow square is a red square.
Immediately to the right of it is a green square. In fact, if you look at my Swatches panel, you could see the same exists right here. To the left, I have a red swatch. To the right, I have a green swatch. So right now, these three boxes are showing me a small snapshot if you will of my Swatches panel. I have the ability to actually navigate between different colors by using the arrow keys on my keyboard. So if I hit the Right Arrow, if you look at my Swatches panel, each of the colors moves towards the right.
If I hit the Left Arrow key on my keyboard, I move towards the left. I toggle between the different swatches that way. In this case, I want to start by coloring in the outer leaves using a very light or bright green color. So I'm going to hit the Right Arrow key until I navigate to this green color right here. It's about a 20% cyan and 100% yellow. Now remember, in order to use the Shape Builder tool on objects, I need to have all those objects selected. Right now, only four of my petals are selected, but I would need to actually select all eight of them.
Now because, I have nothing else at all inside of my document, the fastest way to select everything here is to actually press Command+A or Ctrl+A on Windows to Select All. Notice that right now, all the objects or shapes are selected in my document. I can now get started coloring my artwork and building it using the Shape Builder tool. So I'm going to start by bringing my cursor over to the top petal right here. I'm going to go to click. That's now going to go ahead now and fill that with my selected color, which is this nice bright green color.
I'm now going to continue to do that with the other outer petals as well. Again, each time that I click here, the Shape Builder tool is automatically figuring out that I only want to fill in this one region right here, not all the overlapping areas, and it's filling it with the color that I've selected. So now, I have all the outer petals colored. I now want to fill all the inner petals with a little bit of a darker green color. So I'm going to hit the Right Arrow on my keyboard just once to move over to a little bit of a darker shade or brighter shade of green.
I'm not going to do the same for the inner petals right here. I'm just simply clicking, moving my cursor over, so that I now have all of these smaller petals now filled with the green color that I want to use. At this point, I've actually successfully built my object and I've colored it as well, but I really don't want to see all these black outlines or strokes applied to these shapes. So in the Tools panel, I'm going to switch to my regular Selection tool. From the Control panel up over here, I'm going to click on the stroke indicator and set the stroke to None.
Now I'll simply come to my artboard and click on a blank area to deselect everything. At this point, I've successfully created this flower icon that we're going to be using for the logo. In our next step, we're going to add some text to complete our logo. But at this point, you should really have a good idea on how to draw and create graphics inside of Illustrator.
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