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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
Over the course of this chapter, I want to teach you to think like M.C. Escher. Now I don't promise to turn you in M.C. Escher, I'm no M.C. Escher myself. The guy had a very specially wired brain, but I want you to understand how you go about creating repeating patterns, how you think your way through these geometric puzzles, so that you can absolutely geek out and create anything you so desire. And to that end I've created this document called the humanoid factory.ai. It starts off here at the bottom of Layers panels with a template layer, and it features a central humanoid with a bunch of repeated versions of that same guy around him, just to make sure that everything fits, and what I'd like you to do is just go ahead and zoom in on that central guy, the guy that's filled with white right there.
And I want you to understand how not to work. So what you don't do is just set in and trace, because even if you crate a halfway decent tracing like the one here on the humanoid layer, go ahead and turn that layer on and click on it to make it active. Even if you mostly get it right, as I have here, with the few anchor points are obviously off, even if you do a pretty darn decent job like this, it's not going to repeat properly. So if I click on the shape to select it with my Black Arrow tool, then I switch over my Rotate tool, and I'm going to Alt+Click or Option+Click right there on the bridge of his nose, I guess that's what that is anyway, because that's the point around which we are rotating the shape.
I'll Alt +Click or Option+Click and then I'll set the angle value to a 120 degrees. Now why 120 degrees? Because there are three of them, one, two, three, and a full circle is 360 degrees, so you divide 360 by 3, and you can even enter the math if you like, and then press the Tab key, and that will give you 120 degrees. Then click the Copy button and notice things do not align, and then if I press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on the Mac, in order to repeat that transformation, I can see that everything is off.
Now I could go in and modify each one of these shapes, so at least these three shapes fit together, but that's not going to do the job. That means that for every other repeated version of the humanoid, I'm going to have to make some additional adjustments, and that is just not going to work out. I'm not going to be able to reconcile things. So I'm going to get rid of everything on this layer by pressing Ctrl+A, because everything else is either locked or hidden, and that would be Cmd+A on the Mac, and then I'll press the Backspace Key or the Delete Key to get rid of things.
Here is what you need to look for, points of intersection. That is, points at which the guy rotates around himself. Now one of the obvious points of intersection is that point that I just Alt- or Option-clicked on with the Rotate tool, right there at the bridge of his nose. But there are three other points inside of this illustration, because we're repeating him three times, he is a triad. There's going to be two other places where that happens. I have marked those points of intersection here on my intersections layer. So go ahead and turn it on and you'll see there are the points, right at the bridge of his nose, down here at his left knee, and down at the base of his kooky Nike, or whatever the heck this is, and so those are the lines that you have to make sure work out, notice that these are all the exact same line just rotated at different angles.
So let's start off by creating those points of intersection. I'm going to turn that layer back off, because having it on is a little bit confusing, and it's also cheating, don't you know? We want to make sure that we're creating this project from scratch. So go and get your Pen tool, we're going to have to use the Pen tool for this entire project. No Pathfinder operations this time around. Again, make sure the humanoid layer is active, because it's unlocked and you can draw on it. And I'm going to zoom in right on the bridge of the nose there, and I'm going to click at the bridge and then I'm going to click, like so. And that's basically all I need to do for now.
Now in the Color panel, I can see that I have no fill and I have a black stroke, and this is a rich black stroke or at least it should be, it isn't, but it's going to be, as soon as I switch over to the Swatches panel. And I click on this Rich black Swatch that I have created for you, I'll go back to the Color panel, make sure that it's assigned to the stroke properly, it is. Now I'm going to take that line and I'm gong to select it with the Black Arrow tool, and then having done that, I'm going to the press the R key to switch over to the Rotate tool, and I'm going to Alt+ Click or Option+Click right at the top of that line, and I'm going to set the angle to 120 degrees, just as before, and I'll click the Copy button, and then I'll do it again by pressing Ctrl+D, and that establishes that first line.
And you know we ought to do here? Let's go and press the V key, to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. I'm going to select all three of those guys, and I'm going to click on the word stroke up here in the Control panel to bring up the Stroke panel, and I'm going to switch my corners and my joints to round, and that way I'm not going to have any strange mitered corners and everything is going to align properly. All right, so we'll just start with those guys for now. Now let's move down to that other point of intersection, and you can see it quite easily here, the shoe rotates around itself. So let's go ahead and draw in those lines too.
Again, using the Pen tool, I'm going to click here, and then I'm just going to click here, and all these are straight lines so far, anyway. The next ones that we'll draw curve slightly. And I'll press the V key once again to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. Click on this line to select it. Press the R key to switch to My Rotate tool. Alt+Click or Option+Click at the bottom of that line, go ahead and stick with an angle value of 120 degrees, click the Copy button, and press Control+D in order to copy that line. And this way, the idea is, no matter what, he is going intersect properly with himself, because whatever I did with that line is going to work out, because I've copied it two additional times.
All right, let's move now over here to the knee, notice how these knees are intersecting each other, and I'll press the P key in order to switch back to My Pen tool, and I'll go ahead and drag, like so. It doesn't matter if you get this exactly right, in other words, if you don't match my template exactly, as long as you follow these steps, you will get the proper results. You will get a man, some sort of humanoid thing here, that interlocks properly with himself. Then I'm going to drag over on this side in order to more or less match the angle of that thigh line, and then I'll press the V key to get my Black Arrow tool again.
I'll click on that line to select it, press the R key. So we are doing the same thing over and over to get the Rotate tool. I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click at that knee intersection, the angle value will automatically come up as 120 degrees, I'll click the Copy button, and I'll press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac to duplicate that line. And you can see that it's not matching the lines in my template. That's okay. Again, as long as it's matching itself, that's what counts, and this will become more and more obvious as we work our way through this project.
And that's how you create the points of intersection that are required to create a seamlessly repeating pattern.
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