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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.
In Illustrator, to sometimes make it more easy to organize your documents, you can create documents that contain multiple Artboards. Let's take a moment to see how we can define a document that uses multiple Artboards, and we'll also see how to modify Artboards once we're already inside of our document. I'll start by creating a New Print Document here. You'll see, if I choose, for example, a New Document Profile of Print, it says here Number of Artboards is currently set to 1. Well, let's say I want to create maybe 4 Artboards.
I'm going to go ahead and click on the Up button here 4 times and now have it set to 4. I can choose to specify how Illustrator goes ahead and aligns those Artboards inside of my document. I'm going to choose this one right here called Arrange by Row. The Spacing refers to the amount of space that's going to appear between each Artboard. I'm going to choose 18 points, which happens to be a quarter of an inch. I'm going to leave my Page Size right now set to Letter Size and in a vertical or portrait format. If I know that I'm going to have artwork that prints all the way up to the edge of my document, I may specify Bleed settings to help me know exactly where the color needs to go to for the printer.
However, for now I'm going to leave that value set to 0. Now I'm going to click OK to create the document. So what I have now are four Artboards in my document. A quick glance at these Artboards, however, indicate that one of these Artboards, the one right now on the far left, appears with a darker, or a black border, while the borders around the other three Artboards appear grayed out. That's because, in Illustrator, we have this concept of something being called the Active Artboard.
When I create a new document inside of Illustrator, I can create up to 99 Artboards in a single document. However, at any one time only one Artboard is the Active Artboard. This comes into play in many areas inside of Illustrator. For example, if you go to the Select menu, there's an option that says Select All items on Active Artboard. Obviously, the Artboard that's active comes into play with this feature. In addition, if I go to the View menu and I choose something like Fit Artboard in Window, that refers to the active Artboard.
Also, when I choose things like Save for Web, for example, if I want to export Web graphics out of Illustrator, the Active Artboard is the one that gets loaded up into that feature. However, you don't really have to think about this because as you work inside of Illustrator, Illustrator will automatically make the Artboard that you're working on into the Active Artboard. You see as you click on each Artboard, that Artboard becomes the active one. So if I have some artwork, I'll just create a few shapes over here in different locations.
As I click on a piece of artwork here, Illustrator automatically now makes this the Active Artboard. Of course, as I'm working on a document, I may decide I want to add a few Artboards or maybe adjust some of these Artboards. I'm going to zoom out just a bit over here. I'm going to select this tool in my Tools panel called the Artboard tool. The keyboard shortcut is Shift+O, and if I click on it, Illustrator takes me, or puts me, into something called Artboard Edit mode. While I'm in this mode, I can now make changes to the Artboards itself.
For example, if I want to now to create a new Artboard, I can simply position my cursor anywhere on side of my canvas, and click and drag to create an Artboard. And by the way, this is one of the most powerful features of Illustrator, the ability to create different-sized Artboards inside of a single document. Now in this case, I just eyeballed it. I kind of dragged out a rectangle, which now becomes an Artboard. However, if I have a specific size in mind, I can use this Reference Point over here to choose where I'm measuring out this Artboard from.
Right now, it's from the center. I can choose a specific Width(W) and Height(H) value. So, for example, if I want this to be 1000 points x 400 points exactly, I could type in that value right here. It modifies the Artboard right inside of my canvas. I can also click on other Artboards. I can reposition them around on my screen. Now before I do so, I want to point out this icon right here at the top center of the screen, which says Move/ Copy Artwork with the Artboard.
With that option checked on, as I move this Artboard, any art that is associated with that Artboard, meaning any artwork that currently touches that Artboard will move along with the Artboard. However, if I uncheck that option, when I move the Artboard, the artwork stays behind. If I want to delete an Artboard, I can click on this little X box right over here on the upper right- hand corner of the Artboard. But you'll note that I can only have one Artboard selected at any one time. There's no way to Marquee select or select more than one Artboard at any one time.
And it's also possible, inside of Illustrator, to have overlapping Artboards. There could be a time when I want to have one Artboard completely inside of another Artboard. To create a new Artboard that's within the boundaries of an existing Artboard, I'm going to hold down the Shift key, and then click and drag, and that allows me now to define another Artboard within that boundary. Note, by the way, that Smart Guides, if they're turned on, does work here inside of this Artboard Edit mode. So it does make it easy for you to position Artboards and have them snap or align to other artboards.
Instead of manually adjusting the different sizes of Artboards, you will notice that there's a pop-up all the way on the upper-left over here that lets you choose between different preset sizes of Artboards. Finally, when you're inside of Artboard Edit mode, you can also apply specific names for each of your Artboards. This can be very important and helpful when you're trying to organize your document, and it can also help other people who use your file also better understand how the art is used in your document. For example, I'm going to click on Artboard 1 over here.
Maybe if I'm creating 4 different iterations of a design, I can name this one over here, Idea 1. I can click on this Artboard here and call this one Idea 2, so on and so forth. If this were like an envelope shape, I could name this one Envelope. Maybe this one here is a Poster. I'm going to go ahead now, and tap the Escape key to exit Artboard Edit mode. But in reality, you can also exit this mode by just choosing any other tool inside of Illustrator.
But by tapping Escape, I can do the same thing. I can quickly see all the Artboards in my document by going down here at the bottom of my window and clicking on this little pop-up. Here I can see that I currently have six Artboards in my file. You can see that the names that I've applied to these Artboards are also here. The numbers that appear on the left side are important when I'm printing my document. For example, I can say Print Pages 1 and 2, which will print the Artboards for Idea 1 and Idea 2.
There is one other way to define new Artboards inside of an Illustrator document. You can do that by first starting off by creating some artwork. For example, if I now take a Rectangle, and I draw a rectangle right here, I can select that rectangle with my regular Selection tool, go to the Object menu, and at the bottom here where it says Artboards, I can choose Convert to Artboards. When I do so, Illustrator will take that rectangle and turn it into an Artboard. This is a great feature if you want to use regular Illustrator drawing tools to first design and layout all of your Artboards, and then convert them into Artboards in this fashion.
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