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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.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to draw circles, which might lead you to think, Oh come on, Deke, do you really think we need help drawing circles? Are you mad man? What is wrong with you? I'm not sure that we want to get into that, it's a long list, but I am going to show you how to draw circles and not only that, we're only going to draw the first three circles in this exercise. We're going to wait for the other two circles till the next exercise. That's how much information I have to share with you. It's a ton of information, some related to circles, some a little more generalized, all very, very useful stuff.
And by the end of this pair of exercises, I swear to you, you're going to be going, Oh, I was wondering how you did that in Illustrator. Now I know. Those will be your exact words. Please write them down now so that you can read them back at the end of this pair of exercises. All right so if you've been working along with me inside the Tonalpohualli document then stick with it. If you want to catch up with me, I'm now inside the Circles.ai document in which I've already gone ahead and converted the circles and calendar layers to locked templates here, and the guides layer is visible and the My drawing layer is active. So we're ready to start drawing our circles and I'll start with the stuff you already know. I know you already know this but I just need to make sure we're all on the same page. You get to the Ellipse Tool by clicking on it of course and you can also take advantage of the keyboard shortcut, which is L for ellipse, so go ahead and grab that Ellipse Tool, and then you can drag with the tool in order to draw an ellipse, yes, yes, yes. You can press the spacebar in order to move the ellipse on the fly. I'll go ahead and release the spacebar as soon as you get that ellipse in the proper location. You can press the Shift key in order to constrain the ellipse to a circle, to a perfect circle.
So all that stuff you already knew, I knew that. Okay, so I'll go ahead and undo that circle I drew. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to draw the first circle from the center outward. So position your cursor at the center of these two guides, at the intersection of these two guides, and then start drawing and as you're drawing press and hold the Shift key so that you're getting a perfect circle and the Alt key so that you're drawing from the center outward. So that's Shift and Alt. On the Macintosh side I want you to press the Shift and Option keys. Then when you get the two circles aligned here, go ahead and release your mouse button and then release your keys and that will ensure that you have a perfect circle, perfectly aligned with the perfect center of this perfect 260-day calendar. Next I want you to stroke this shape with black and I want you to do that by pressing the D key. The D key goes ahead and assigns the default colors and you can also click on this little icon down here in the toolbox, but it's so much easier just to press the D key, that gets you the default fill and stroke for this specific object, and for most drawn objects the defaults are a black stroke and a white fill.
Now I want you to go ahead and change that fill. The fill should be active and you can confirm that here inside the Color palette, which you can get by going to the Window menu and choosing the Color command or pressing the F6 key. Or you can make sure to fill is active down here in the toolbox too, and all you need to do to make sure that fill is active is just click on that fill icon. This guy's the fill icon, this guy's the stroke icon. And then make the fill transparent by either clicking on this slash or pressing the slash (/) key on the keyboard. So just as you can get the Line Tool by pressing the backslash key (\) because it looks like a backslash, you can get a transparent whatever, fill or stroke depending on what's active, by pressing the forward slash (/) key because that little line there looks like a forward slash. And then finally change the stroke value up here in the Control palette to 2 and press Enter. So those are the fill and stroke attributes that I want you to use.
A couple of other ways to draw ellipses or circles inside of the Illustrator. You can go ahead and start dragging at the side of an arc here. So let's drag from this point here and as I drag down, now I'm left handed, so sometimes that affects the direction in which I'm dragging. You can start from one of the other arcs if you want to, but notice as I'm dragging even if I press the Shift key which I need to do so that I get a perfect circle, that I'm actually drawing from corner to corner of the bounding box that contains the circle, which is not really the best way to work. I would rather draw from arc to arc because those are points on the ellipse, and if you want to do that too then also press, you've got the Shift key down, also press and hold the Control key or the Command key on the Mac and notice now you're dragging from arc to opposite arc, and this is the way Illustrator used to work, this is the way that the Ellipse Tool used to work inside of Illustrator, back in the good old days where this feature is concerned, but now you have to press and hold the Control key or the Command key as well because people from other programs got mixed up. Oh well anyway, so that's another way to draw if you want to. And then finally, and notice it's not quite in the proper position, don't worry about that. We're going to align all of these circles in the next exercise. Just leave it sort of cockeyed for now.
And then finally the other thing that you can do is just click with the tool and I invite you to just click, at the intersection of the two guidelines here, go ahead and click with the tool in order to bring up the Ellipse dialog box that asks you what size of an ellipse you want to draw. I want a circle and I just happen to know that it's 238 points in diameter, and I am working in points but just in case you aren't, you could also enter pt at the end here, 238 pt like that. And then, of course you'd have to press Tab and enter 238 pt for the height value as well, cause it's a circle or you could just click on the word Height. Watch what happens. If you click on Height, it lifts the value from Width. If you were to click on Width, it would left the value from Height. Isn't that cool? Isn't that, now you didn't know that. There's something nifty, I think. And that works for drawing other shapes as well, as it turns out.
All right, so go ahead and click OK in order to create that shape. Now there's a problem because it created the shape from that corner. That's no good. So let's undo that and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click. So Option or Alt-click brings up the Ellipse dialog box again. Just say OK this time, exactly centers the shape this time at that point because I had the Alt or Option key down. So there you go, we've drawn three of the five circles, I will show you how to draw the next two circles and I will knock your socks off as well with an extra special trick in the next exercise.
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