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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right, so we are ready to go ahead and start drawing some graphics inside of Illustrator. I want to start off just by creating a regular print document with one artboard, click OK and now I'll get the screen here. We are going to start off by using the primitive shape tools inside of Illustrator. Now when I say primitive I don't mean that they are not modern. I mean that they are creating primitive type shapes meaning rectangles, squares, circles so on and so forth. Those can act as the basic building blocks of any illustration. Now once we are comfortable using those tools, we move on to using some of the tools that allows (ph ) to create freeform graphics. I'm going to start off by creating closed paths.
Remember we discussed the ability in Illustrator to have really two types of paths. Open paths and closed paths. I'm going to start off by creating closed paths, which are ellipses or circles and ovals, rectangles. So on and so forth. So I'm going over my toolbar over here and the first tool that I'm going to choose over here is the Rectangle tool. By the way you will notice that these tools that appear inside of the toolbar some of them have these little black triangles in the little right hand corner. That identifies that there are more tools hidden behind that tool or grouped with that tool. The way to access those is you click and you hold the mouse button down and then this entire list shows up of all the different close shape tools that are here.
We are going to explore in this particular movie using the Rectangle tool, the Rounded Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, the Polygon tool and the Star tool. The Flare tool is completely separable. We will deal with it another time. By the way to make it a little bit easier to access these tools, you can move your mouse over here to this bar on the right side, which is called the tear-off panel. When I let go of that, it turns into this little mini toolbar on its own. So let's start by just drawing a regular rectangle. Now the way that you create a rectangle is very simple. You position the cursor where you want to start the rectangle and then click and drag it to the right. Notice by the way that the Smart Guide just let me know of the dimensions of my rectangle as I'm drawing it. The important here this is I'm not letting go with the mouse. This is the key if we began to draw other graphics as well. Don't let go the mouse because once you do you now commit that graphic as the way that it is. Of course you can always change things later on inside of Illustrator, but it's more difficult to do so.
For example you will notice now that I'm drawing this rectangle and it's originating from the upper left hand corner. Now if I decide that I want to reposition this graphic somewhere else. I'll hold down the Spacebar key. Again my mouse button is still down. Now I can freeze the rectangle on its own, reposition it somewhere else at my document and when I release the Spacebar I can continue join that rectangle. Again, the key here is not to let go the mouse button as I do that. Now there are certain keyboard shortcuts that are very important to know when you join graphics. Let me delete this for one second here. For example as I'm clicking and dragging my rectangle, if I decide that I want it to be a perfect square, meaning that the width and height are exactly the same. I'll hold down the Shift key to constrain the proportions.
Now you will also notice as I said before that the rectangle is being drawn from the upper left hand corner. Say you wanted to draw the rectangle out from its center. Well hold the Option key down and then when you click and drag, you see that the rectangle is actually being drawn out from the center point. Finally, if you want to create a rectangle or a square to an exact dimension rather than draw it out and try to do it by eye, you could basically specify any shape numerically. Let me show you how to do that. Simply take your cursor with your Rectangle tool and just click and release the mouse once anywhere on the artboard. In doing so a dialog will appear where you can then enter the width and the height.
So for example I may want to type in let's say 2 inches by 3 inches. Again notice that even though a point is specified now as the measurement system for Illustrator's document right now. I can still type in either in for inches or just type in the inch mark that way and Illustrator as I'll hit the Tab key will automatically figure out the conversion for me. When I click OK, Illustrator now creates the rectangle at that exact dimension. Let's take a quick look at some of the other tools that are here as well. I'm going to press Command+A or Ctrl+A to select everything and press Delete. I'm going to go to the Rectangle tool. The only difference between the Rounded Rectangle tool and the Rectangle tool is that the corners are rounded. Now as I click and drag, notice that this corners are rounded. I can use again with my fingers still pressed down on the mouse button. I have not released the mouse button yet. I can use the up arrows and the down arrow on my keyboard to adjust the radius or how round those particular corners are.
Notice right now I'm tapping the up arrow key in my keyboard that I have very rounded corners and if I used the down arrow key in my keyboard, I can see that right now the radius is getting smaller. I released the mouse and now that goes the heading and comes into that particular shape. Now again if I hit the Delete key now I just click once and release the mouse right away, I can specify values for the width, height and if the corner radius directly. Let me click Cancel. Let's go on to the next shape. When joining ellipses, which are circles or ovals, again I could do the exact same thing I have been doing before with the Rectangle tool. Click and drag to draw a circle or an oval from the upper left hand corner. The Shift key constrains it to a perfect circle. Option key or Alt key on Windows constrains it to draw out directly from the center.
By the way you can hold down the Option key and the Shift key simultaneously while you are dragging to draw a perfect circle out from the center. Again, that's the reason why you can't combine these keys. In fact I even have the Spacebar to move my circle somewhere else and then continue to drag and draw this way. Again, the key is not let go the mouse when I do that. Again I can click once anywhere in my artboard to specify these acts with the height setting for either a circle or oval just by clicking once on an artboard and releasing the mouse immediately. Let's take a look at the Polygon tool. The Polygon tool allows me to create a polygon shape, which means that I can have anything from 3 up to more size than that, but each of the side are always going to be equal in length.
For example right now I could use the down arrow key again. I'm not letting to the mouse button as I do this. The down arrow key hit it all the way through as low as it will go three size, which will give me perfect equilateral triangle. Plus I can go ahead and I can type the up arrow on my keyboard and add as many sizes as I like to. Let me come back down to just 3 sides for the triangle for a minute here. I want to show you I can hold the Shift key down as I do this. The Shift key will make us so that the triangle at least has the base constrained on that 90-degree angle on the bottom. So again I can do that very easily. I'm again holding down the Spacebar will allow me to go ahead and reposition that particular shape as I'm drawing it again. I'm not letting go the mouse when I do that. As soon as I do release the mouse, I can no longer change a number of size or anything else for that matter.
Again I'll delete that right now on my keyboard. What I'll do is I'll create a star. Let's see how we create a star inside of Illustrator. The Star tool is pretty cool. I click and drag outwards. Again, don't let go the mouse. You can rotate the star as you rotate the mouse around. Hold down the Shift key, and basically the star is always going to sit straight. Hold down the Options key and that creates some of, which we call aligning the shoulders. Those are the two arms I guess you can say at the star right now are in alignment and now they are not. So I'm holding down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows to align the shoulders of the star. Again, I can use the up arrow and the down arrow on my keyboard to add or remove the number of points on my star. I could also hold down the Command key to adjust the delta or the difference between the inner radius of the star and the outer radius of the star, which basically makes either not a very pointy star or a very pointy star.
I can go ahead and I can adjust this as I'm working at the star. Again, once I let go the mouse that means I have now committed a shape, I can no longer make changes to it other than the regular editing tools, which we will deal within the later chapter. So that's how you start creating basic primitive shapes in Illustrator using these tools. Now in the next movie we will explore creating open paths in the same method.
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