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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.
All right gang now that we've seen a corner point, which represents a corner between two straight segments, and a smooth point, which represents a continuous arc between two curving segments, let's see a cusp point, which indicates a corner between two curving segments. See a little of both, corner and smooth mixed together. So I've got my white arrow tool active here. I'm still working inside the Finished spline.ai file that I opened in the previous exercise, and to which I've added this curving line right here along the left side of the animal's head, it's right side of course, cause it's looking at us, I guess. It's got it's eyes closed or something.
So I'm going to go ahead and move this point up just a little bit there, cause I want to kind of keep some floppiness to this ear, so that it looks like an natural ear to a natural animal. All right I'm going to go ahead and grab my Pen Tool now, and notice my Pen Tool cursor has a little X next to it and we learned a few exercises ago that that means that if we start clicking or dragging with the tool we're going to begin a new path and we don't want to do that. We want to add to this existing path. So I'm going to drag from the path in order to continue it. It's important if you want to retain the smooth point quality of a point because you started a smooth point, you want to keep it a smooth point, that you drag from it as opposed to just clicking on it, because that would sever away its control handle and leave it sort of a cross between a smooth point and a corner point, as it turns out. Having reactivated the path which I can see I've done because my Pen Tool now has nothing next to it, which means it's in path drawing mode, it's a happy little camper. Now I'm going to go ahead and drag down like so in order to create just a little bit of a droop on the end of the ear, and I think that looks pretty nice.
Now check this out. If I press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and position my cursor over this point and then begin dragging, notice what happens instead of drawing out symmetrical control handles so that they're locked into alignment with each other, this control handle's going at a totally different angle than this control handle. That means they're independent of each other and their point has now become a cusp point and check out what the means. If I start dragging here to draw another smooth point, we can see that we've got a curved segment joining another curved segment at a corner.
We can see that we've got a curved segment joining another curved segment at a corner. So that is the cusp point my friends. And bear in mind it's a good idea, or at least it's one approach to go ahead and create your cusp point originally as a smooth point like so, because we're going to want to cusp at this location as well, and then after you draw the smooth point, then Alt-drag or Option-drag from that same point once again in order to convert the smooth point to a cusp point. Now, that's one way to work. Another way to work as you're dragging like so, and I'm going to go ahead and move that point down a little bit by pressing the Spacebar as I'm dragging, remember that little trick, where you can move a point on the fly, as you're creating it by pressing and holding the Spacebar.
Now I've released the Spacebar and I'm back to just dragging the control handles around. If you want to create a cusp point on the fly, then midway into your drag once you've gotten the opposite control handle in place, and by opposite I mean the top one that's wiggling around ever so slightly right there. Once you've got that control handle in place, go ahead and press and hold the Alt key or the Option key as you're dragging in order to move the control handle that's under your influence here, the one under your cursor, in a different and independent direction. I'll show you that again.
You start by dragging like so, then you press and hold the Alt key or the Option key and then you move your other control handle in the opposite or not the opposite but in an independent direction. And I'm going to just keep doing that in order to draw these scales right here, and this is Bezier drawing at its best folks. This is the way that things work inside of Illustrator and it may seem a little weird and a little confusing at first, if you've never done this kind of thing before, but it is one of the things, one of the many things of course that makes Illustrator so very great. I'm going to go ahead and drag this upward a little bit. And so very powerful and so very skilled at creating exacting graphics and we'll be seeing more of this kind of thing, how we gain more and more control inside the program in future exercises. Please stay tuned.
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