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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Admittedly, if you are new to Illustrator, the whole premise of using the Pen tool and editing those anchor points can be somewhat daunting. The good news is just that, when you're using Illustrator, you don't need to go there at all. In fact, there are plenty of tools that will allow you to edit and create shapes, even customize shapes with just a few steps and it's actually pretty easy to do that. So why did I take you through the steps of actually learning all those things about anchor points and working with the Pen tool and to convert anchor points tools so on and so forth. That's because these are the core concepts of understanding exactly what's happening behind the scenes when you create graphics with the help of Illustrator. Now that we even have that basic knowledge, when we start to do other things inside of Illustrator, you want to use some of the more advanced tools and some of the editing tools that we'll get used to using.
Well have a much better understanding of exactly what can and can't be done. More importantly, when we then need to make small or a minor tweaks and edits to those shapes that we create, we have a much easier time doing so. So let's get started with showing you how do you take primitive shapes that you've created such as shapes with the close primitive shape tools like rectangles and ovals and so on and so forth and see how you can create some complex shapes without a lot of effort. And what helps you do that is an entire panel inside of Illustrator called the Path Finder panel. It basically allows you to manipulate or work with paths.
To show you how easy it is to get started with that, I'm going to open up a file here called the compound_shapes. ai and you'll find it in your exercise folders for Chapter 5. I'm also going to go through the Window menu here, and I'm going to choose to open up the Path Finder panel, which comes up right over here. Let's put it right over here so it's not in our way of the graphics that we have here. And what I basically have in this document is four shapes, that's all that I have created and these are shapes that you already know how to create because we've used these tools before. I have one circle here or actually it's an oval. I have another oval here, so these two ovals basically overlap each other. And then I have two squares that I have created and I have rotated them somewhat.
And that's basically all that I have and my goal is to create the outline or the shape of a surfboard. You might think oh man, a surfboard is like some of the shapes we've created. I have to use the Pen tool, I have to use a -- we're not going to that right now. So we are basically starting off with very simple basic primitive shapes and we're going to build complex shapes using them. And that's because we could always basically use parts. Think of it as one big junkyard that's out there and you have all these big circles and ovals and rectangles in the junkyard. And now you want to be able to create something and I'm going to be like the MacGyver where you're going to go ahead and you're going to say, give me two ovals, give me two squares and we'll end up in a surfboard. That's really what it is when you start working with Illustrator and Path Finder.
So what Path Finder does? It allows you to take at the minimum two paths and perform some kind of operation to those two paths to come up with a new path. Now there are different kinds of those and we're going to deal with them in this particular video. In the Path Finder panel, there's a top part of it here called Shape modes. And we're going to deal with these four shape modes, this one is here called Unite, this one is called Subtract, this one is called Intersect and Exclude and they have different things that are able to be done with them, and let's explore just a few of them. What the first one does? Add or Unite what it does is, it basically allows you to take two shapes and combine them as if they were one shape. So let's see how that works. If I would have been here, I'll take my regular selection tool. I'm going to click and drag to marquee, select both of these circles right here and these ovals that I have created. Now if I were to go ahead now I click on this button right here called Unite or Add, it now combines those two into one big shape. Now before you might think I would need to know how to use the Pen tool to create some of the anchor points and then how to change direction -- no, no we're not even thinking about that because all we've done is created two shapes and combined them to one. Press Command +Z to Undo that or Ctrl+Z on Windows.
If I take the exact same two ovals again and I go to this one we have here, which is Subtract. If I click on that one, I see that basically it took the topmost oval, that one was on top in the stacking order of my document and it subtracted it from this shape of yours, which kind of look like some kind of a bowl. So again there are many different kind of shapes, and I'm going to press Command+Z, that's there. I'm going to skip to this one over here, which is called Exclude. If I click on that, it basically combines them except for the parts it overlaps. So if I would give it a fill color right now, there's a fill of none, but I give it a fill and you see what it did was, it created one big shape but that part over here of the shape that was kind of overlapping is actually transparent, it's hollow. It is actually nothing that's here at all. So the path is at the top and the bottom but nothing here in the middle.
Once again I'll press Undo and I'll press Undo again to go back to the original shape here. So now I have two separate circles, what I really want that was just this middle section here, which would act as the main part of my surfboard. So by selecting these two ovals right here, I'm going to choose this option here, which is called Intersect. Intersect means keep the parts of the object that overlap each other but remove everything else. And by doing that I'm now left with just a shape that looks like this. Here is the basic part of my surfboard. Now I'm going to go to these two squares that I have created. I'm going to hold down the Shift key and select both of them. Now I have both of them selected, just another way to select the objects. And in this case here I want to combine them into one shape. So what I'll do here is I'll go to the Unite option and click that and now that gets converted into one shape, that's right there.
If I now take this particular object and I choose Object, Arrange and I'm going to say, Bring to Front, right! So now that one's sitting at the top of the stacking order. By selecting both this shape and this shape, I can now choose this one called Subtract or Minus Front and now I'm left with the shape of a surfboard. So what I did was I created a more complex shape, one of a surfboard. But all I did to create that was two ovals and two squares, that's really a better way to do it. So when you work with Path Finder, you really find that you can create more complex shapes without a lot of work. Again, the key here though is your ability to be able to look at a graphic or look at something that you're trying to create and try to break it down into its basic core primitive elements.
If you have -- a basic example would be a snowman. Create three circles, have them all overlap a little bit and then unite them all together. Then you have one shape as that way. But as you create any logos, any artwork so on and so forth, see where those particular parts of the graphic might be made out of very simple primitive objects, then use Path Finder tools to make all that happen.
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