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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.
In the previous movie we were exploring the different settings for layers and there was a setting there called template. Let's take a look at what that means here inside of Illustrator. I'm using a file from the example files from Chapter09 called the template_layers, and I'm go ahead to the Layers panel and just choose to open that up here, so you can take a look at it. On this particular layer, you will notice that I have an image. This image is embedded, and I have boarded now into Illustrator, and I might want to use this as a base for me to create a design. I don't want to trace it using the Live Trace feature inside of Illustrator; we will talk about later on this particular title. However, for now, I might want to use my Pen tool or some of the Drawing tools, to kind of draw my own shapes, but base it somewhat on this, to map it more towards a more traditional way of drawing. You know, there is some designers who would take a piece of artwork, and put a piece of tracing paper on top of it, or maybe put that over a light box and they can use that as a base for their drawings. Well, I won't to be able to actually turn this into that same kind of metaphor where I want to be able to use this as a base for particular design, but I want to just draw completely on top of it.
So what can I do is, I can create what's called the template layer. I'm going to take layer one right here, which is where that image resides on. I'm going to double click on layer once to bring up the Layer Options dialog box. I'll click on this option here, I'll call Template. When I do so, it automatically locks the layer, it sets it to be a non-printing layer, and it says to Dim Images to 50% right here. I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and you will see that right now the image itself is dim. It's locked. In fact, that entire layer is locked, and what I'll do now, is I'll create a brand new layer to use for drawing. I can now use the Pencil tool, for example, to maybe trace over certain parts of this if I wanted to create something like that, as I kind of work. Again, it's up to me to decide how I want to use this template layer, but in this way I'm basically locking down the image, and setting it to a lighter opacities that I can now draw on top of it without that image getting in the way.
I in fact, sometimes find that that 50% opacity setting is some times too strong, so I'll go to that particular template layer, double-click on it and set the Dim Images to around 30%. In that way I have an easy way of drawing on top of that.
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