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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we know that inside of Illustrator you need to apply an attribute to a specific path. You can't just apply an attribute to any arbitrary area. Well, that's exactly where this feature called Live Paint comes in inside of Illustrator. Let's take a look at what I mean. I am going to start by drawing two rectangles that overlap each other on my artboard. I'll use my Selection tool to select both of them and I'll set the fill attributes to both these rectangles to None. So now I have two rectangles, they overlap each other, but what appears, to the eye at least, is that I have three rectangles. I have one area here, another area here and a third area here.
What Live Paint allows me to do is to paint objects not by how the objects themselves are built but rather by the visual boundaries that they form. So where a program like Photoshop, for example, might see this as three distinct areas, Live Paint will allow me to do that exact same thing, but here inside of Illustrator. In fact, it's almost the exact same thing as me having to go to the Pathfinder panel and splitting these into three distinct objects and then applying the colors to them, but I don't have to apply the Pathfinder. Let me show you what I mean. I'm going to select both these objects right here. I'm going to over here down to my toolbar. I'm going to select a tool here called the Live Paint Bucket tool. Now I'm going to move my mouse over here and as soon as I come near the regions of these particular objects, they are going to highlight in red and a little popup is going to say Click to make a Live Paint group.
So I'm going to go ahead and click, and you will notice that now as I move my cursor around these regions, they get highlighted in red. The red outline is indicating that that area is visually a separate object which I can paint using the Live Paint Bucket tool. For example, I'll come over here and expand the docks so that I can see all my Swatches here. Let's move the Pathfinder panel away here. I'll choose the yellow swatch here and I'll move my Paint Bucket tool to this region and click once to apply the yellow fill. Next I'll choose is Gradient and I'll apply the Gradient here to the middle, and I'll even take a pattern and apply a pattern here to this other region here. Now it's important to realize what's happening here.
I still have two distinct paths in my document. I have two rectangles. But I have three paintable regions. To illustrate that, I'm simply going to come over here and use my regular Direct Selection tool and I'll select one of these rectangles right here and see that I could actually move it around. In doing so the overlapping area simply updates itself. In fact this is why Illustrator refers this feature as Live Paint and it allows me to move the object and then it updates those filled areas as I do so. So the main takeaway here is that this Live Paint function, at least in this particular example, with the Live Paint Bucket tool, I can actually paint objects inside of Illustrator not by how they are built; rather I can paint and apply attributes based on how those objects appear on my artboard.
Now again this is a departure from the vector-based way of thinking because if you think about it, this area or this region right now that has the Gradient fill applied to it, there is no object there. There is just a Gradient fill that was applied to an area that looks like there is an object there. So with this example we'll begin to see what Live Paint brings to Illustrator. But as we are soon to find out, this is only the beginning.
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