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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.
Hello friends, I'm still working inside the document called Post donuts.ai. You may recall in the previous exercise we went ahead and combined the various paths over here in this region of the robot to form a nice cohesive mouth filled with teeth and so on. This time around, we are going to be working on the hand. As you may recall from an earlier exercise, I created these fingers using the Outline Stroke command and I created these thumb paths right there just by combining a couple of fingers together. But I want to get rid of these little tumors on his joints. I want to create a continuous thumb shape right there, and I need to do that by uniting the shapes together. So I'll go ahead and select the two shapes, go over to the Unite option, and click on it, and I get this horrible path outline right there. That's not what I want.
So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Since I want to get rid of pieces of this path, I need to first divide the path and then unite it, and I'm going to do that by going over to my first Pathfinder icon. And first before I do that, I'm going to find these paths in list, and they are actually not too far from the top, they are right there, because I want you to see what happens, the transformation that occurs as we apply various Pathfinder operations to these paths. So first I'll go ahead and divide the paths apart by clicking on this Divide icon right there. That goes ahead and combines the paths into a group. And then if I twirl open the group, you can see then I have several paths, one, two, three, four, five in all. I need to get rid of the areas of intersection, so I'll go ahead and switch to my White Arrow tool, click off the paths to deselect them. Alt-click on one, Shift+ Alt-click on the other. That of course would be an Option-click and a Shift+ Option-click on the Mac, and then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them.
We still have three paths now, and I don't want this sort of jigsaw intersection right there. We don't want to have stained glass thumbs. We want a continuous thumb. So I'll press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, click anywhere on anyone of these paths, they will all become selected, because they are grouped together. Then I'll go up to the Unite icon, and I want you to watch what happens to this group right here. When I click on Unite in order to unite all of the selected paths, they become one path that is no longer grouped. So Illustrator is smart enough to get rid of that extraneous group. Because if we had the group, it won't be doing us any good. We just have one path grouped to itself. That would be silly.
But now we have this awesome thumb. That is such a useful technique that I'm going to have you do it again, because we've got a second thumb and it's very worthwhile to see this happening from scratch. So I'll go ahead and select both of these shapes. I'll go ahead and switch over to Divide. I'll switch to my White Arrow tool by pressing the A key click off the shapes. Alt-click on one, Shift+Alt-click on the other. Of course on the Mac that's an Option-click and a Shift+Option-click, press the Backspace key or on the Mac the Delete key, press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool, click anywhere on any one of those thumb shapes, click on Unite, and you have a single path outline like so.
In the next exercise, we are going to take a look at what I call open path pitfalls. Stay tuned.
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