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Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustration by John Hersey

Drawing a straight-sided path


From:

Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

with Deke McClelland

Video: Drawing a straight-sided path

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Pen Tool, the famed Pen Tool. It really is the tool that launched Illustrator on its way, back in 1987, long, long, ago, in a galaxy very nearby. And the Pen Tool derives its power from the fact that it's so incredibly methodical. You draw lines and shapes one point at a time, so you need to give it patience, in return it gives you control. That's the bargain. And we're going to start things off here by drawing the simplest things that you can draw with the Pen Tool, which are straight-sided paths or if you prefer, free-form polygons same difference.
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  1. 59m 53s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 35s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 51s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      55s
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 56s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 10s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 17s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 45s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 58s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      7m 0s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 16s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 36s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
      33s
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 6s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 39s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 14s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 58s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 16s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 35s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 15s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 16s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 30s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 25s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 50s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 32s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 56s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 4s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 31s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 42s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 28s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 8s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 8s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 21s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 39s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
9h 36m Beginner May 18, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Drawing a straight-sided path

In this exercise, I'm going to introduce you to the Pen Tool, the famed Pen Tool. It really is the tool that launched Illustrator on its way, back in 1987, long, long, ago, in a galaxy very nearby. And the Pen Tool derives its power from the fact that it's so incredibly methodical. You draw lines and shapes one point at a time, so you need to give it patience, in return it gives you control. That's the bargain. And we're going to start things off here by drawing the simplest things that you can draw with the Pen Tool, which are straight-sided paths or if you prefer, free-form polygons same difference.

All right, I'm going to go ahead and grab the Pen Tool from the palette by pressing the P key, or clicking on the tool, and I'm working inside of a file called Base template.ai. It's the same file that we've been seeing over the course of the last couple of exercises. It's just that this one's loose inside of the 07_pen_tools folder, just so that we're getting out of the Mishipizheu subfolder there and we're going to be tracing this comb item in back of the great-horned lynx/underwater panther here, the big monster. And I presume it's a canoe filled with skinny guys that are in hot pursuit here, but whenever it is it was part of my original photograph of that pictograph there in Bachewana Bay, so I want honor it by adding it to my illustration here. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this detail, and I want you to start things off. First notice the appearance of the Pen Tool. It appears as a little pen nib with an X next to it. That X for what ever reason, that X is Illustrator's way of saying, Hey, you're about to start a new path.

Whenever you start clicking and dragging you're going to make a new path. For now I just want you to click unless I tell you otherwise of course. And I want you to click here in order to lay down a point. Now notice as soon as I move my cursor away from that point, what went away? The X went away. What does that mean? It means that if I click again, which I'm going to do right now, Illustrator will go ahead and join that new point to the previous point with a straight segment. So every time I click, notice this, Illustrator's laying down a new anchor point, and it's joining that anchor point to the previous point with a straight segment. Now at this point, in the process that is.

I'm having a little bit of a problem because I'm covering up, since I have my default fill and stroke active here, I've got a white fill and I'm covering up my canoe so I can't see it anymore, which makes it awfully darn difficult to trace. So in this case I need to switch over to the Outline mode, and I'm going to do that from the keyboard by pressing Control+Y or Command+Y on the Mac, and notice when I do just as I indicated in the last exercise, the template remains visible. So we can still see it, thanks to the fact that the image resides on a template later, on an official template layer. Now I'm going to go ahead and click, of course now I can see through the path because I'm in the Outline mode, so I'm not seeing the fill or stroke, and I'll just continue to click around the shape here.

Now I want to show you some of the pitfalls you can run into, or at least one pitfall. If you accidentally, let's say deselect the path, and one way to deselect the path is to Control-click off the path or Command-click off that path on a Mac, because Control or Command temporarily gets you the arrow tool. If you deselect the path in any way, shape or form, then it becomes inactive and your pen cursor changes back to a little nib with an X next to it, and that means if you click, you're not working on that past path anymore. You're starting a new one. All right, you don't want to do that, of course, so you'd press the Backspace or Delete key to get rid of that new point and you'd reactivate the path by clicking on it. Notice my cursor right now. I haven't clicked yet, I've just moved my cursor over the last anchor point, the end point in the shape.

And I can see a little /, a little sort of tiny line segment next to my pen nib and that means, Do you want to continue from here? And if you click then your answer is, Yes I do. And then you start clicking and notice we're back to the pen nib without anything attached to it, and that means that we're good to go, we're good to add more anchor points to this shape. Now, let's say you click at totally the wrong location. Now I'm clicking and holding. I'm not moving my mouse at all at this point, but I do still have the mouse button down and I notice, it occurs to me, I've clicked in totally the wrong location. Well then you would press and hold the Spacebar and move the point to the location where you want it to be, and then best thing to do is release your mouse button and then release the Spacebar, so that you don't risk dragging with the cursor and creating a control handle, which is something that we'll discuss in a later exercise.

Spacebar along with the Pen Tool means the ability to move a point around as you create it, but I'm just going to go ahead and continue to click around the comb, like so, and eventually I will get to the end of the shape. I'm, you know, I'm kind of being fairly rough about the points that I'm laying down at this point because I can always go back and move them if I want to later. I'll go ahead and click here. Finally I'll click on the very first point in the shape, the end point and notice my cursor now. It has a little o next to it, showing me that I'm about to close the shape. So if I click, indeed I do close the shape. It no longer has any end points and it is now a continuous path outline.

Awesome. You have now created a straight- sided path/freeform polygon using the Pen Tool. In the next exercise we'll see how you can use the white arrow and Pen Tools in order to modify a path and make it look its absolute best.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials.


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Q: When trying to synchronize color settings between all Creative Suite programs in Bridge, the Creative Suite Color Settings command either does not appear in the Edit menu or does not work. What is causing this?
A: If the Color Setting command is not available or does not function, it's because Bridge thinks that a single application (such as Photoshop or Illustrator), is installed and not one of the many versions of the Creative Suite.
If only Photoshop or Illustrator is installed, skip the exercise and move on.
If the entire Creative Suite is installed, then, unfortunately, there is no easy fix. Either contact Adobe or completely reinstall the Creative Suite.
 
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