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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right, gang. Let's get drawing. We are going to start extremely simply actually, just by drawing a straight line with Line Segment tool. Just in case you are thinking, oh, come on, Deke. I don't need help drawing a straight line, buddy, believe it or not. There is actually a couple of things I want to pass along. So yes, I understand, you can use this tool without my help, but you will use it better with my help. I am working inside of this catch-up document called the template.ai that represents my progress so far. Notice that I have the Draw here layer selected, the Horus layer is dimmed and locked, and then the Guides are locked currently, because I have Lock Guides turned on in the View menu.
So I'm going to go grab the Line Segment tool, and notice you have got a keyboard shortcut which is /, which looks like the Line tool actually. So I'll go ahead and grab that Line tool. Here's the line that we want to draw, this guy right there. All we need to do is just draw it from this point, down to this point, and it will snap into alignment. The problem is that we don't really have anything to snap to in the vertical department. We have got a horizontal guide to snap to, but we don't have a vertical guide to snap to. So if you want to draw an exactly vertical or horizontal or 45 degree line; people frequently call these perpendicular lines even though we have got 45 degree right there. You can press and hold the Shift key. That's a press and hold as you are drawing. So initially you just start drawing normally. Then with the mouse button down, you press and hold that Shift key. Keep that key down until after you release, like so, and then you have gone ahead and drawn a straight line.
Now, another way to work, by the way, when you are drawing a line; I'll just draw another one up here, notice that you can move it on the fly by pressing and holding the Spacebar. Then as soon as you release the Spacebar, you go back to the standard drawing metaphor. Also, notice that I started my line here and I'm dragging like this. You can draw from the center outward by pressing and holding the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then Spacebar again to move it on the fly and Spacebar off to set it down, and then press the Shift key to go perpendicular or 45 degree, and so on. So a few different keyboard tricks that are available to you as you use the Line tool right there.
Now, more to the point it seems to me is the fact that this line doesn't seem to really be here, we drew it, but it's gone. Let's go ahead and get rid of the newest line by pressing Ctrl+Z. This one is now selected, so when I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac, it not only undid the most recent item, it returned me to the previous object being selected, and so I do have a selection going right here. Let's give it some attributes. It has no attributes. Again, it's Transparent Fill, Transparent Stroke; that's my problem. Stroke is currently active. I'm going to go ahead and change the Stroke to Black. Notice it's giving me the last color here in the Color palette. By the way, if you can't see the Color palette, you go up to the Window menu and choose Color. That gets a keyboard shortcut F6, which should show you something; F6 followed by F7, those are very important palettes, so coloring layers, you are going to spend a lot of time in them.
If you have got access to it, you can click this last color to assign it to the Stroke. If not, you just come down here to this little Swatch on the far right side of the CMYK spectrum. Then I'm going to increase the Weight of this Stroke to something like, let's say, 8 point, or if I'm not exactly sure what Stroke Weight I want, I could just go ahead and grab the Eyedropper right here and I could click on one of these neighboring lines right there in order to lift its attributes. Now you may say hey, why did that work? I'm going to go ahead and zoom in incidentally so we can see that. All right. So before, let's back step two levels there. So Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, or actually let's go one step back. Ctrl+Z again, Command+Z again, so it has no attribute whatsoever. How can I click on this guy over here and somehow I lift everything with the Eyedropper tool? Well, the reason that it brings it in black instead of bringing it in gray or this light gray in fact is because that Dimmed attribute, that 25% Opacity that we applied in the previous exercise, was applied to the entire layer. The objects inside the layer continue to be Filled and Stoke the way they were. So we are able to lift that just by clicking on it with the Eyedropper. Make sure to click in the center of the path in order to nail it.
Notice that the Eyedropper tool, another extraordinarily useful tool, has a great keyboard shortcut, I, and we have drawn a straight line. See, there was more here than you thought. It's not just about drag from one point to another to draw a straight line; it's all the myriad things that you can do when you are drawing lines here inside Illustrator.
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