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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Oversized artboard.ai found inside the 14_align_distribute folder and in this exercise I'm going to show you how to take advantage of the Distribute Spacing function right there. So what I want you to do is select this row of checkers which would be I guess the third row, even though the group and the center includes a couple of rows there. Then I want you to click a second time on the central group of checkers, thusly and you will notice now that Distribute Spacing becomes available to you and know that's available to you because you have this little spacing option right there.
Just for larfs, I want you to go ahead and set it something like 36 points and then press the Enter or Return key and now click on this option right there Horizontal Distribute Space. So what Illustrator has done is it has gone ahead and distributed the two outside objects with respect to the Central Key Object which has not moved and because I requested a space of 36 points, the difference from the left side of this violet object to the right side of the Group is exactly 36 points and same with this space over here on the left hand side as well.
All right, but that's not what we want, all right. We want these checkers to be right next to each other, so we want 0 spacing there. So, go ahead and set that option to 0 points and then click on this Horizontal Distribute Space icon here inside the Align palette. It is not available to you up in the Control palette, very important to note. All right, then I'll go ahead and select the second row of checkers, click a second time on the central group of four and then click on this icon again and then we'll go ahead and select this third column of checkers. So we are not working with the rows anymore, we are working with the columns.
Select that third column of checkers, note by the way if you don't have any Key Object assigned then Spacing option right there will be dimmed so that you can't take advantage of it, you can't change the spacing. So, another way to go ahead and select a Key Object is from Align To, to choose Key Object like so. But if you do that then Illustrator is going to randomly choose a Key Object for you and I believe that is going to be the four word object in the stack. You don't want that of course so you would click to turn that guy off and then you click here to turn that guy on.
So you are only going to have one Key Object by the way. You actually don't have to turn one off and one on. You can just go ahead and click on a different object and that will become your Key Object. All right and then I would click on this Vertical Distribute Space option right there. I'll select my second column of checkers like so and click on the central group of four and then go ahead and click on Vertical Distribute Space. We now have our central group of 12 checkers more or less positioned the way they need to be and that may surprise you because everything still looks pretty bad, but these guys on top here are in the proper vertical position as are the guys in bottom and these guys on the right and left hand side, they are in the proper horizontal position. But we still need some work and of course the corner objects are not anywhere near where they are supposed to be. And I'll show you how to go ahead and fix this problem. I'll go ahead and align all the checkers now using a combination of the Distribute Object and Distribute Spacing icons in the next exercise.
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