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Drawing a straight-sided path

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Drawing a straight-sided path

All right gang, we are now going to take our first look at that tool that originally launched Illustrator on its way, the Pen tool right here. It really is the tool that made Illustrator a program of merit, when it first came out. This is a fantastic tool. It's really a great tool. We can draw anything with it, as you will see over the course of this chapter. Right now, we are going to start things off by tracing this canoe right there, and we are going to draw a free from polygon. So a straight-sided shape that has as many straight sides as we want it to have. I'm working inside of this document called Base template.ai found inside of the 09_pen_tool folder.

Drawing a straight-sided path

All right gang, we are now going to take our first look at that tool that originally launched Illustrator on its way, the Pen tool right here. It really is the tool that made Illustrator a program of merit, when it first came out. This is a fantastic tool. It's really a great tool. We can draw anything with it, as you will see over the course of this chapter. Right now, we are going to start things off by tracing this canoe right there, and we are going to draw a free from polygon. So a straight-sided shape that has as many straight sides as we want it to have. I'm working inside of this document called Base template.ai found inside of the 09_pen_tool folder.

Let's go ahead and just grab the Pen tool. You can get the Pen tool by either clicking on its icon here in the toolbox or pressing the P key. Notice though, as soon as I bring my cursor out at least this is a way it is for me, I get this little pencil with a strike-through it, saying you cannot do anything to this illustration. What it's really saying is you can't do anything to the layer you have selected because it's locked. So you need to switch to an unlocked layer like Drawing, then you can do anything you want. Now, I'm going to go ahead and zoom-in on this canoe over here on the left side of the document. I'm also going to make the palettes a little narrower here, so that we have a little more room on screen to work.

Now, notice the appearance of the Pen tool for a second. You have got a pen nib that just shows you that you have the Pen tool active, and you have got a little X next to the cursor meaning that there isn't any path that's currently active. THAT'S what that X means, and the upshot is that if you begin clicking or dragging with the tool, you are going to begin a new path, which is perfect. That's what we want. So I'm going to click right about there, in order to set the first anchor point. Notice that. And this happens to be a corner point, which is indicating that it will have a corner inside of our path at this location. It might be a very spiky corner, a very cute corner, or it might be an oblique corner. It is just a little bit of a corner inside of the path. It doesn't matter.

It's still a corner. Now, notice my cursor first. Notice that I have got a pen nib now, great, without anything else next to it. That means we have got an active path in progress, and if I were to click again like so, I'll draw a straight line between these two points, these two anchor points. This straight line is called a segment. So we have a straight segment. Click again to make another straight segment, click again, and so on. I'm just going to keep clicking around this canoe. Don't worry about the fact that the canoe is much more rounded than this. We'll take care of this later.

Now, at a certain point like now, you are going to encounter a scenario where you're covering up the canoe and you can't even see the canoe in order to trace it any longer. And you have one of two options at this point. You can get rid of your Fill if you want to, and set it to Transparent. Or a better solution really is to just go up to the View menu and switch to the Outline Mode, and that's what I'm going to do. Ctrl+Y of course, Command+Y on the Mac, also makes that happen because we are working with the Tracing Template. We can see the image in the background, but we can see through the path as well. All right, so I still have an active path going, I'll click, I'll click.

Now, it is possible to deactivate the path accidentally. Let me show you what that looks like. If I grab a different tool, switch to it, and then switch back to the Pen tool for example, you will notice that the Pen Nib has an X next to it saying that nothing is active inside of the illustration. Now, that could even be the case. I'll go ahead and get my White Arrow tool for a moment, and I'll click on this last point right there, that final end point. So the path is selected, just as it needs to be. I go back to the Pen tool now, and it's still showing an X, showing me that no path is active. So the path is selected, but it's not active for modification at the moment.

Now, notice what happens. What this means is if I start clicking like here, then I'm going to begin a new path outline. These two points are not connected to each other. All right. So let's go ahead and undo those last few points. They are Ctrl+Z several times, Command+Z a few times on the Mac. How do we make this path outline active where the Pen tool is concerned? You move the cursor over one of these end points, and by end points I mean the points at the ends of this open path. This is an open path that can accept more points added to it of course. So I'll hover over this point.

Notice now, if you can see it. If you can make it out, you can on your screen if you are working along with me. You have got a pen nib with a little Slash next to it. That Slash is a line segment, and what it's saying is if you click here, then I'll begin to add line segments once again and that's what you want. So you click, and now you have got an active Pen Nib, right? You don't have any X next to it, nothing in fact. It's a free and unrestricted tool now. Now, I'll click on word and you can see that we are now adding line segments to this path. I'll keep working until I get things where I want them to be. Now, what happens if you click in a wrong location? I'll click in a totally wrong location like so.

Now, I still have my mouse button down. I'm not dragging. I'm just holding at this location. Right as you are clicking, if you think better of the position of your point, then you can press and hold the Spacebar. Very important that you have Spacebar down. And then, drag the point to a different location and then when you are done, release the Spacebar and release your mouse button. Now, you don't want to drag with the tool without that Spacebar down because you'll add a control handle. We'll talk about control handles later, but that would add curvature to your path at this point in the game. We don't want that.

All right. So I'll just click, click, click, and so on throughout this path. Finally, we'll end up getting done here. Let me just go ahead and fill out these areas right there, and then I'll come back around to this point or so in the canoe and notice, if I come back to the first end point in the path, I get a little O next to my cursor, and that's telling me that I'm going to close the path. So I'm going to come full circle and sure enough as soon as I click there, I have closed the path, and look at my Pen tool Nib. It is now saying there is no path active. If you start clicking again, you are going to create a new path like so.

All right. So that's a basic, very basics of the Pen tool. That's how you create a free form polygon, a straight- sided path. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to Move, Add, and Delete points.

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This video is part of

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Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

182 video lessons · 37881 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 42m 7s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 2s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
      56s
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      35s
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 14s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 39s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
      55s
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 43s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
      54s
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 38s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 28s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
      55s
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 48s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 30s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
      44s
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 55s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 32s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
      51s
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 1s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 26s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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