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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.
In this exercise we are going to draw a couple of partial arcs to represent this little line, this little doohickey here under Horus's eye and then we will cut off the extra bits and then in the next exercise, we will join them together. All right, so I'm working in this document right here. If you are of a mind to open my progress so far, the name of my progress document is Arc & spiral.ai and it's found inside the 04_line_art folder. I'm going to switch over here to the Arc tool and I'm going to draw an arc thusly and it happens to be going in right direction. If it isn't for you, of course you would press the F key to switch it.
But this is looking good for me and I'm using the Spacebar to get it aligned properly and I'm just trying to make sure I'm cutting that path which appears red, that it's cutting right through the center of my template item there so that I'm matching the angle of that line. As soon as I release, it should look good. Then I'm going to draw another one this direction but, of course, it needs to be flipped so I press the F key in order to accomplish that. I'll move this guy upward and again I'm just eyeballing it folks. When I say I'm moving in upward, I'm using the Spacebar to accomplish that. So that's Spacebar trick, I tell you. I use it incessantly, always. I don't think I draw a single shape that I don't use the Spacebar at some point for positioning purposes, so that I can position or reposition the object on the fly.
Okay, so that looks pretty good. So it's a fairly shallow arc as you can see. I'm not doing anything with the arrow keys; I'm keeping it just a gentle elliptical arc. All right, so I have got these two guys crossing each other. Let's go ahead and zoom in here so that I can better see what I'm doing, because I really want to see how the paths of these two lines cut across each other. Like I could go and get the Selection tool, the Black Arrow tool, and I could Shift-click in the center of this arc so that I could see that they come together right there. That's where I want to cut them.
So I don't want the rest of the strokes sort of confusing me and making me think the path is elsewhere. So the easiest way to make sure you're seeing the paths correctly is to go up to the View menu and get rid of the falderal by choosing the Outline Mode and pressing Ctrl+Y. That way you are just seeing the paths and you can see that my paths don't line up perfectly with the template paths, but you know what, so what? What I'm really concerned about is that they line up perfectly with each other. So let's just go ahead and turn off the template for a moment. Or here's another thing you can do. This is a wicked cool technique. I'm going to press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y to reenter the Preview Mode.
You know how we've got these eyeballs, right? If I click on an eyeball, that layer disappears. If I click again, it comes back. If you press the Ctrl key, see that tip right there, if you press the Ctrl key and click or the Command key and click on the eyeball, you get a little Orphan Annie eyeball. For those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, that means the pupil goes away because little Orphan Annie did not have pupils, not the Broadway version, of course, I'm talking about the comic strip version. Now we're seeing just this layer in the Outline Mode and this layer in the Preview Mode. So you can actually juxtaposition different layers, and once again that's a Ctrl-click or a Command- click on the Mac. That will toggle you in and out of this Preview Mode. So it won't turn the layer off, it will toggle the preview.
All right, so now we can see that these guys meet right at this position. I want to insert a cut at this location, so we're busting these guys apart and I'm going to accomplish that using a very old school tool. Right here, it's available with the Eraser tool. It's this Scissors tool, which you can get by pressing the C key if you want to because it allows you to cut. I am going to get the Scissors tool and I'm going to click right there and notice who I cut apart. I cut apart this line. So this one is selected down here and this one is deselected, but it's the one that just got cut. I think, okay, that's great. Now, let's say I want to cut this guy, right? So I'm going to click again, but it's not going for it this time.
It's saying hey, you've got to use the Scissors tool on a segment or an anchor point, but not an end point of a path, meaning, it's yelling at us because right there that's now an end point for this forward line. This is the front line and it sees this area as an end point, not the middle of this segment and so it's saying, I can't cut an end point dude, it's the end after all, an end point being the last point or the first point in the path. And I say OK, because there is really nothing else I can do. I could say Don't show again. This is one of those classic dialog boxes that we will run into a few times in Illustrator and by classic I mean exceedingly annoying.
So I'll say OK, that's my only option. What do I do, how do I solve this problem? Well, what you do is you twirl open this layer and you check it out. There's that path right there, right? There is the one that got cut; it's the one that's selected. This, if I meatball it, that's this guy, okay, fine. So who is this? If I meatball it, it's this one right here and how do I know? How am I so sure that it's got to be one of these three paths? Because they're the last ones I drew, the most recent paths are on top, by default. They are on top of the stack inside the layer.
So watch, all I got to do is take this guy, dram him up to the top above the other one and then click again. Now it works. Now I have cut that path into two pieces. Now I'll go back to the Black Arrow tool, this guy is selected, just click on it again to make sure it's totally selected. Shift-click on this guy, press the Backspace or the Delete key and they are gone. Now you have these two partial ellipses that are going to be married together. But let's go ahead and check out what they look like now. I'm going to go ahead and twirl close the layer and I'm going to Ctrl-click or Command-click on the little Orphan Annie eyeball right there and you can see that they aren't really totally joined at this point. They are not completely joined together the way that they actually need to be.
It becomes even more obvious if we were to change this stroke to something different, like if I were to grab this guy and I were to give him a thicker stroke. You could see that things aren't jibing at all anymore. So what we really want to do is we really want to join this guy into a single path outline. So this segment and this segment are part of the same path. I'm going to undo that big stroke. And we are going to accomplish that beat in the very next exercise.
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