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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 we're going to draw this nicely curving line right here and we're going to do so using the Arc Tool, which is one of the simpler tools you use inside Illustrator, although there are a lot of interesting keyboard tricks available to you when you're using the Arc Tool. The great thing about the Arc Tool though, is that it ensures nice smooth curves, so that we don't have any weird hitches or transitions inside of our curves. And I'm working inside of The template.ai file and the only change I've made to this file so far, is to add this vertical line here as per the previous exercise.
If you're working along with me inside the original Horus.ai, illustration more the power to you. I'm going to select the Arc Tool from my little Line Tool palette here, or I could select the tool from the Line Segment Tool flyout menu. Either way, go ahead and grab that Arc Tool and then you might just start dragging with the tool to get a feel for how it works, and in my case I'm drawing an arc clockwise inside of my illustration. That's fine for now, no problems there. Note that you can press the Shift key while using the tool to draw a perfect quarter circle, like so.
I'll go ahead and release that key. I can also press the spacebar to move the arc on the fly. Now I'll release the spacebar. Another key you can press, you can tap the C key in order to close off that arc, so that your drawing a quarter oval, or press the C key to make those closing lines go away once again. Finally you can press the up and down arrow keys. This is a wacky one. You can make the slope more convex or more concave. So this is the result of pressing the up arrow key. This is a result of pressing the down arrow key.
Now if you get things all messed up like this and you want to return to your nice fluid arc once again, then just go ahead and release the mouse button, undo the addition of that line by pressing Control+Z or Command+Z, and then click with the tool in order to enter the Arc Segment Tool Options dialog box. Now, if you click with the tool you will end up creating a new arc after you accept these settings. If you click OK, you will create an arc. Compare this, there's another way to work. If you don't want to create an arc, you just want to reset your settings. You can press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to bring up the Arc Segment Tool Options here.
Then go ahead and enter 50 for your slope, and then click OK. Nothing happens. In other words, you don't make a new arc, but you did modify the default settings for the tool and now if you start dragging, everything's better once again. I'm going to undo that line, because now we're going to draw the real arc here. I want you to start dragging at this location here. So at this horizontal guideline, and I'm going to drag downward and notice I'm going in the wrong direction. That is my arc is progressing in the wrong direction and I'm going to flip it by tapping the F key. That's all it takes. Just tap the F key and it'll go the right direction, and only do that of course if it's going the wrong direction in the first place. But just note, the F keys flops it back-and-forth. Very cool function.
Once you get to this location here, go ahead and snap to this bottom guideline, this bottom ruler guide and then release and you have drawn your arc. Now in my case it's not filled and stroked properly. For some reason, for whatever reason I have a transparent fill and stroke. So I need to go ahead and lift the attributes using the Eyedropper Tool. I need to click on one of these lines here in order to lift the proper attributes. Bear in mind when using the eyedropper that you need to exactly click the right location. If you click slightly off center you can end up filling this line instead of stroking it. So you need to click dead center inside of that line here, inside one of the properly stroked lines.
And that's a function of having selected that Object selection by path only Preference setting in a previous exercise. Remember that one? So if you selected it then, you need to make sure to click dead center in the middle of a stroke with the eyedropper. Just an FYI in case you run into trouble, but in my case, everything is A-OK. I am ready and raring for the next exercise in which we'll add this little spiral at the end of our arcing line.
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