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Editing anchor points


Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: Editing anchor points

While there are many tools inside of Illustrator that you can use to create artwork, I think you'll find that a majority of the time that you spend in Illustrator is editing artwork. We've learned how to use the Pen tool and the Pencil tool to create paths and anchor points. Now let's see how to modify those anchor points and paths by making edits to them. For this example, I have a file open. It's called watering_can. I'm going to zoom in just a bit so we could see a little more clearly and if I select the artwork with my Selection tool, you can see where the anchor points are on the path.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 1s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 24s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 25m 52s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 18s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Mordy Golding

Editing anchor points

While there are many tools inside of Illustrator that you can use to create artwork, I think you'll find that a majority of the time that you spend in Illustrator is editing artwork. We've learned how to use the Pen tool and the Pencil tool to create paths and anchor points. Now let's see how to modify those anchor points and paths by making edits to them. For this example, I have a file open. It's called watering_can. I'm going to zoom in just a bit so we could see a little more clearly and if I select the artwork with my Selection tool, you can see where the anchor points are on the path.

However we're going to want to deal with individual anchor points and when we're using the Selection tool, we can't do that. We need to use Direct Selection tool. So I'll switch to the Direct selection tool and now you'll see that I could actually select some of these anchor points and view the control handles for this part of the path. Just by quickly looking at this object, I can tell that, for example, this would be a corner anchor point, this would be a smooth anchor point and this one is one of the those combination points what we call a change direction point. Before we go any further, let's change some of the preferences in Illustrator to make it little bit easier to work with these anchor points.

If I click on a blank area to deselect everything, you'll see that I have quick access to the Preferences panel right here from the Control panel. So I'll open up Preferences and I'll switch over here to the Selection & Anchor Display. You can see that Illustrator offers different ways to display the anchor points and the handles for paths and for the Anchors setting I'll have Illustrator display the largest possible indicators. This doesn't change the functionality. It just makes the anchor points bigger so I could see them a little bit better. I'll do the same thing for the handles to make them more visible and I just want to make sure that Highlight anchors on mouse over is also turned on.

This way I'll easily be able to tell when I'm moving my mouse over an anchor point. Now that I've made these settings, I'm just going to click OK and you'll see now when I select this artwork the anchor point are just little bit more visible and hopefully it'll be easier for you to follow along. Using my Direct Selection tool, I'm able to click on any anchor point and adjust its position in the document. Obviously doing so also affects the paths that are connected to it. In addition, I can use that same Direct Selection tool to click on any of the handles and adjust the curve of those paths.

However grouped together with the Pen tool are a few additional tools to help you work with editing points. Just to make it easier to work with in this training video, I'm going to move my cursor over to the Pen tool. I'll click and hold my mouse on it so that you can see the different tools. But what I'm going to do is move my cursor all the way to the far right to this panel which is called Tearoff. If I release the mouse now, Illustrator creates a little miniature Tools panel that I could reposition anywhere on my screen. Here you can see I have four tools. The Pen tool you already know about. I also have two other tools here.

This one is called the Add Anchor Point tool and this one the Delete Anchor Point tool. Using these tools allows me to delete or add anchor points as necessary. We'll talk about that in just a moment but I want to focus on this last tool called a Convert Anchor Point tool. We already know that there are different types of anchor points inside of Illustrator: corner anchor points, smooth anchor points or change direction Points. At any time you can change a type of anchor point into a different type and anchor point. The way that you do that is using this tool right here. But before I apply it let's quickly review how we draw paths using the Pen tool.

I'll press the Command key and deselect my artwork and using my Pen tool, if I wanted to draw a straight line using corner anchor points, I know that I would click release the mouse, change the position of my cursor, and then click again to create a line. So to create a corner anchor point I click once and release the mouse. If I wanted to create a curve, I click and drag and I pull out control handles to create that curved path. This creates a smooth anchor point. Keeping that in mind, let's see how this new tool works inside of Illustrator, the Convert Anchor Point tool.

I'll select this artwork here, I'll now come over here and choose the Convert Anchor Point tool, and I'll move over to this anchor point right here. This is currently a smooth anchor point, but if I want to convert it to a corner anchor point I would take this Convert Anchor Point tool, position it right over the anchor point, and click and release the mouse. In doing so, I've taken a smooth anchor point and I've now converted it to a corner anchor point. Remember with the Pen tool I click and released to make a corner anchor point. With the Convert Anchor Point tool I also click and released to create a corner anchor point.

Now let's focus on this anchor point right here. This is currently a corner anchor point. If I wanted to turn this now into a smooth anchor point, I would position my cursor right over that anchor point, click, and then drag. Now we can that I'm pulling out handles from this path. This now converts that anchor point from a corner anchor point to a smooth anchor point. If you want to create a change direction point, take that same Convert Anchor Point tool, but instead of clicking on the actual anchor point itself. Click and drag on the control handle.

Now position my cursor right over the control handle and I'll click and drag to see that I can now adjust just one side of the path into that anchor point. Now there are some tools inside of the Control panel that will also help me get some of this done. For example, I'm going to switch back to use my Direct Selection tool. I'm going to click on this point right here which is now currently a corner anchor point and you can see in the top over here by the Control panel, I have an option where it says Convert to convert this to a corner or a smooth anchor point. Clicking once now converts that to a smooth anchor point with control handles.

Now it's important to realize that right now I have this anchor point selected. I've selected it with my Direct Selection tool. If I wanted to remove it, if I pressed the Delete key on my keyboard I wouldn't be removing just the point. I'd also be removing the paths that go through that point. In other words, I would actually be severing the path if I did that. Notice now that Illustrator removed all the paths that ran through that anchor point, which leaves me with an open gap. I'll press Command+Z to undo that and if I really want to just remove the anchor points but leave the path intact, I would use the Delete Anchor Point tool.

I can click on that, position my cursor right over the anchor point I want to delete, and click to do so. It happens to be that inside of Illustrator it's rare that I'd need to use these tools and in that I mean referring to the Add and Delete Anchor Point tool. Because Illustrator has some of this intelligence built in with a preference. To illustrate, watch what happens when I go back to my regular Pen tool and I move that Pen tool over an existing anchor point. Illustrator automatically switches to the Delete Anchor Point tool thinking that I might want to delete that anchor point.

Likewise, if I move my cursor over any part of an existing path, Illustrator automatically changes to the Add Anchor Point tool and if I click it adds an anchor point on to the existing path. If you ever want to change his behavior you can do so in Preferences. I'll deselect my path I'll open up my Preferences panel and in the General section, you could see there's a setting here called Disable Auto Add/Delete. If I turn this check box on, I will be required to use these tools specifically to add or remove anchor points. So let's just take a quick moment to review.

We know that in Illustrator I'll perform most of my edits with anchor points using my Direct Selection tool. If I want to change one type of anchor point to another, I would use the Convert Anchor Point tool. Finally I can add or remove anchor points by using the Add or Delete Anchor Point tool.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
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