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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
In this exercise I'm going to give you a sense for how you can customize artwork in Illustrator. One of the huge advantages of the fact that Illustrator relies on these independent objects, these independent lines and shapes and paths, is that you can modify the artwork forever and ever and ever and I mean forever. Nothing is ever set in stone in this program. It's amazing. So I'm still working inside the Playful violin.ai file that's found inside the 01_hello_illustrator folder, but I want you to do something that I don't normally ask you to do. I just want you to sit back and relax, because if you're new to Illustrator I'm going to be moving too fast for you, what I'm about to show you and besides, we're just trying to get a sense for what's going on, so it's better that you watch what I'm up to, I think.
All right, so what I'm going to do here. Let's say, I decide that I like this violin, in fact, I love this violin, but it's a little bit to fussy for my purposes. For example, this Highlights layer, I really don't want it, so I'm just going to go ahead and turn off the Highlights layer, so I can just, I can kind of strip things down to the more essential ingredients which include this big color that's going on in the background for the violin, for the body of the violin and then these lines in the foreground. I'm also going to turn off a few of the lines for now, the Orange lines layer and the Dark lines layer as well so that I'm just looking at the red lines and nothing else.
And I'm noticing as I'm seeing these red lines and how they interact with the body, I'm noticing that we've got a problem in the neck of the violin and I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on it here. And I'm using some keyboard shortcuts that allow me to access the Zoom and Hand tools on the fly, things that I'm going to show you in detail in the next chapter. So see how we've got a break in the neck and the artist left that break there, because the highlights cover it up but if we don't have the highlights there we need to take care of that break.
So I'm going to go ahead and turn off the red lines layer for a moment. And I'm going to switch over to my white arrow tool, also known as the Direct Selection tool, that's what Adobe calls it. I called the white arrow tool because what color is it? It's white. And it allows me to select individual points inside of the path. Now just to make sure that I don't goof anything up, I'm going to lock down this Backdrop layer, and I'm going to lock it down by clicking in the next column, the column next to the eyeball and that's the lock column. You can see if I click there, I lock that layer down so I can't accidentally modify it.
And now I'm going to go ahead and click on this point right there. And that goes ahead and selects that point, that little corner right there at the edge of the broken neck of the violin and then I'm going to press the backspace key in order to get rid of it. And that opens that path up, it creates a break at this location. That's actually a good thing. Now I'm going to go ahead and click at this point at the top of the neck and it's already open, this area's already open. Then I'm going to Shift click on this point and Shift clicking allows me to add to the selection.
But of course I'm going to teach you all about that in future chapters. And now I'm going to join these two points together here by going up to this strip, which is called the Control palette, and I'm going to click on this Connect selected and points icon in order to connect those two guys together. Then I'm going to click and Shift click on these two remaining points, the points that are still open, and I'll click on that icon again in order to join those two points together. And we've now closed off the path and we fixed the neck. We've taken this broken neck, poor violin, and we've fixed it.
Groovy. Now let's say that I really don't want this beige color. I want it to be white instead. So I'll go over to this palette right. That's called the Swatches palette. I could also go over to the Window menu and choose the Swatches command in order to hide the Layers palette and bring up the Swatches palette in this case, because I have all of my palettes reduced to this column of icons and then I'll click right there on white in order to fill the shape with white and this assumes that my fill icon is active, which it is. Groovy, that's totally awesome. Now I'm going to go ahead and zoom out from my artwork so that I can take in more of it at a time. I just had to be zoomed in there in order to check out the neck problem and I'll move things over so that I can still see the violin as I bring up my Layers palette.
And I'm going to try turning on some of my lines. There's my Red lines, looks good, and there's my Orange lines, they look good too, and there's my dark lines. Actually they all add to things quite nicely. I think this ends up making for a nice effect and I'll go ahead and zoom out to take in my poster. This is the modified version. I didn't do a lot of work, but I did some very meaningful work to this poster. I turned off a layer that I didn't want, restored a problem that I encountered. That's the kind of stuff that you can do in Illustrator.
Now take what I did and multiply it times approximately 100 million and you get a sense of what Illustrator is really capable of pulling off. It's an amazingly powerful, wonderful, enriching and thoroughly satisfying program. You are absolutely going to love it.
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