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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right gang, let's talk about creating a new document, a process that is dramatically improved inside Illustrator CS4. If you have the Welcome Screen up, you can go ahead and click on Print Document under Create New. That just loads the preset, the Print Document preset. All the presets are available inside of the New Document dialog box as you will see. So it really doesn't matter which of these guys you click upfront, in order just to get the process started. Or you can go up to the File menu and choose New command or you can press Ctrl+N, Command+N on the Mac in order to bring up this dialog box.
Regardless of have you get to the New Document dialog box this is what you are going to see. You are going to see, first of all, that you can name the document in advance. So if I know I want to make a piece of Corporate artwork, for example. This name is a little bit generic, but if you know what it is you are doing you can go ahead and assign the file a name right upfront. Don't worry about this too much, it doesn't really matter if you assign a name, when you are juggling multiple documents on screen it's nice to give it something of a name. So you see that in the Title bar. But when you actually save the document, that's when you assign a real name to the document, when you choose the Save command and of course you can always rename documents later on, if you want to.
Now, notice here in the New Document Profile, this is what I was telling you, we clicked on Print Document, that's what I instructed you to click on anyway. But even though you clicked on Print Document you can still change it. You can choose one of these other document profiles, Web, Mobile and Devices, Video and Film, Basic CMYK and so on right there. You can save your own, as we'll see in a moment. You have the option now of entering multiple artboards. This is something we haven't been able to do in Illustrator CS3 and earlier; you were limited to a single artboard. The idea behind an artboard -- you can think of it if you want to as a page. So you are saying, well like if you know you want a six-page document you could enter 6 pages for the Number of Artboards there.
Artboards are just more Flexible than pages. So pages are printer-specific. There is an actual piece of paper that's associated with a page. Whereas an artboard can be any size you want it to be, because you might be placing this illustration into say QuarkXPress, probably not, but you might or better Adobe InDesign or some other program that's actually going to be your print program. So your artboard can be just large enough to accommodate the artwork that you are going to put into it. You can always worry about how it's going to print later. That's where the term artboard comes from. It's just printer-independent is the idea.
Then we have these little items that determine what order the pages are going to occur inside of the document. So for example, you can grid things by row, so you are going to see the pages go across and then down to another row and across and so on or you can grid them by column or you can grid them just in a big row or big column whatever you want. You can change their order. If you like a Right-to-Left Layout, you can do that too. So you have those kinds of controls. You can also specify how many rows. So if I leave it set to 2 rows, which is what I'm going to do, then I would have two rows of three artboards each, which is great.
This guy determines the spacing between the artboards. So I can raise it or lower it, whatever I want it to be. Now, notice that I'm working in points. If you don't like points, which are 170 seconds of an inch, they are old school layout units of measurements, from the world of traditional layout. If you don't like that, if you prefer to work in inches or millimeters you can certainly work that way. So I could go ahead and select inches, for example, and I could just change this guy to 0.5 inches, just to make sure that we have 0.5 inch between everybody.
Then you can specify how big your artboards are. So you can select from standardized paper sizes, if you know that you are going to be printing from Illustrator. I'll leave that set to Letter for now. Or you can just enter your own artboard size, I could say you know what? I want every one of these pages to be 6 inches wide and 8 inches tall. Let's see, that's what I'm going to go with there. Then you have got your Orientation for tall or wide. Then finally, Bleed, we'll be talking more about Bleed when we talk about printing from Illustrator, but this is when you are going to a commercial printer, how much room beyond the physical page boundary you have in case you are going to be printing all the way off the page, something tight to the edge of the page, which is known in the parlance as Bleed.
So you would say something like, well, about 0.25 inch is typically more than enough bleed, and you would want to talk your printer about that. Because I have this link turned on I get a Bleed all the way around and then I would just go ahead and click on OK in order to generate this document. Notice, by the way, as soon as I click OK, not only is the document going to be created and the New Document dialog box, it's going to go away, but the Welcome Screen is going to go away in the background as well. So I'll click OK and there we go. Those red outlines, by the way, are my bleeds and the other outlines with the little drop shadows are my pages. It basically a six-page document, Adobe hates to call them that, they like you to think in terms of artboards, it's a six- artboard document, if you prefer.
Here inside the big canvas, I could zoom out a little bit so that we can take in that big canvas, that we've now created a six-page document inside of Illustrator.
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