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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.
I have done a little work between the exercises. I've gone ahead and finished off many of the paths associated with this creature. Now, if you're persistently working along with me, I am not for a second suggesting that you abandon your work and come join me inside of this document. You can if you wish, but if you want to finish your Mischipizheu, then finish that Mischipizheu, and then come back and join me here inside of this exercise, All right? Okay we'll wait. ::Whistles:: Oh, you're back. All right, awesome. So here we are inside of a document called Mishi paths.ai and it's included inside of the 07_pen_tool folder and notice that altogether I've got a total of five paths that are tracing around said Mischipizheu.
And if I go ahead and click on the paths with the black arrow tool we can see them here. There's one big path that traces around the creature's head and the scales along it's back, and the bottom of the body and the rear front leg right here. And that's a closed path by the way. The other four paths are all open paths. We have three open paths devoted to each of the creature's other legs, and then we have this open path that traces up the back of the body and around the snout. Now I'd like to pass along a few tricks related to cutting paths apart, that is cutting one path in twain, separating paths from each other and closing paths inside of Illustrator.
Let's say for example, there's this path that goes along the back of the creature and around its snout. Let's say I want those really to be two separate paths. I want one path to go along the back and then discontinue at a certain point. And then I want a separate path for the muzzle right here. Why then, I would go ahead and grab my Scissors Tool and then I would click at the location where I want to cut the paths. And let's say I want to cut it about right there, so I'll click with my Scissors Tool to cut it at that location and now I can see that the endpoint associated with the muzzle path is selected. So I just press the Backspace key and I've separated those two paths from each other.
But let's say the opposite occurs. I'll go ahead and undo that modification there. For some reason, let's say. I'll go ahead and grab my white arrow tool for a moment and I'll marquee these points. Let's say you look at the point and you figure out that it's this point over here that's selected, and so if you were to press the Backspace key you'd end up getting rid of this point and leaving this point, which is not what you want. Understand what I'm saying? This is what you do in that case, you would go ahead and marquee the two endpoints, what are now two independent endpoints.
You would marquee them with the white arrow tool and then you would press and hold the Shift and the Alt keys at the same time, or Shift and Option on the Mac and you would click, click, in order to select and then deselect that back path there. So the first Shift+Alt-click or Shift+Option-click on a Mac, would select the entire path. The second Shift+Alt-click or Shift+Option-click would deselect the entire path. And now we know just this point, just this endpoint is selected, then you can press the Backspace key.
So I just want to arm you with as many techniques as possible. Now notice that I've got multiple points selected inside of this muzzle and I can see the control handles. That option and that allowed me to see those control handles that I selected in a former exercise, that is a persistent setting. So if you don't want to see control handles at this point anymore for multiple selected items that you've selected here with the white arrow tool, then just go ahead and drag around one of the points, so that you can see that option again here inside the Control palette, and then switch from the first Handles icon to the second one, to hide the handles for multiple selected anchor points.
See what I'm saying? So I went and switched to the hidden one there just to keep things tidy on screen. Now I'm going to grab my Pen Tool and let's say I want to trace along these eye paths right there and I get to this location, and I think, Gosh I could just trace around the nose like so, and then go up the eyes, but that looks dorky. That makes him look like he's got real droopy, fleshy front of the nose and I don't want that, so I'll go ahead and undo that last point there. But my Pen Tool is showing me that it's ready and willing to continue this path. What do I want to do? If I want to abandon this path, not abandon it, but finish it off and then start a new one, why then I would press Control+Shift+A, or Command+ Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect that path, and if you prefer, you could go up to the Select menu and you could choose the Deselect command.
Then notice now that my Pen Tool shows an X next to it. So now I can start a new path. So by deselecting a path, you also deactivate it. Something to bear in mind as you're working along with the Pen Tool here. And then finally, what if you want to close a path? Like let's imagine that we want to take this rear hind leg, and we want to close it, because otherwise Illustrator's just going to close up the path. If we fill it, Illustrator's going to close off the path with a straight segment.
It's not going to actually stroke that segment, but it's going to fill it inside of that segment, and we run the risk, if we end up modifying the curvature of this path down here, we run the risk of exposing an edge in the background and I want to make sure that we don't expose any background. So I'm going to go ahead and add a humping sort of segment right here, in order to bring that segment well into the body of the animal. I'll show you what I mean. I'm going to go ahead and drag from this location and that apparently was a really bad thing to do. This is something that's worth pointing out too. Do you see what happened? My path up here was still active. I didn't take the time to deactivate it.
So that got me in a world of pain down here, because Illustrator went ahead and thoughtfully connected, just because it knew that's what I wanted to do, because I hadn't told it otherwise, it went ahead and connected that upstairs path to this downstairs path, and I don't think there's any rationale for connecting the creature's eyes to his hind rear leg. So let's not do that. What do you say? So I'll go ahead and press Control+Z or Command+Z on the Mac Let's just press Control+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A so that we can all settle down here. So that I've deselected all the paths and nothing is active anymore. Now I can go ahead and drag from this endpoint, but oops.
That goes ahead and adds a smooth point. All right go ahead and undo that as well. Control+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. I'll Alt-drag from this location or Option-drag in order to add a cusp point. Now I can go ahead and close the paths. Notice if you look closely at my cursor, it has a little o next to it to show me that it's going to close off the path. And if I click, I'll close it with a corner point where I've clipped away the control handle that's associated with this segment here. So that's bad. If I drag I'll create a smooth point, and that's a little difficult to control. So I would say that's bad as well. So what do I do? Everybody, I press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag in order to close things off with a cusp point. So just a few different things to bear in mind inside Illustrator when it comes time to cut paths, separate them from each other, and close them off.
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