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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.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to use the Smart Guides function in order to align one circle with respect to another. So we are drawing a series of circles. As you may recall, we are drawing them inside of the Circles.ai file found inside the 05_geometric_ shapes folder. I still have the Ellipse tool selected and we are going to draw this fourth shape, the next concentric circle outward here. Now I was telling you in the previous exercise about that great trick where you can draw from arc to opposite arc with the Ellipse tool by pressing and holding the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac. But I want to make it clear; you don't press the Ctrl key or the Command key before you start dragging. Very few of these drawing operations that I'm sharing with you that involve keys require you to press the key before you begin dragging. So it's not really a Ctrl+Drag.
It's a press Ctrl while you are dragging. You press the key after you begin the drag and you hold it until after you release. So to make that clear, notice if you press the Ctrl key or the Command key, you get the last arrow tool you used, and that would allow you to select different shapes. Now if I Ctrl-click or Command- click on one of these shapes I selected. All right, compare that to drawing, I release the Command or Ctrl key, I start drawing and then I press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac, and then we get arc alignment.
It's so much easier, so much more obvious to me anyway and then trying to get that bounding box aligned, like when you are drawing a circle inside of an imaginary bounding box, you don't know where the corners are there. There are no corners on a circle, so we are off target. But here is another way to work. In case you don't like and in case, you are going, you know what, whatever Deke. All right, I'll undo that modification there. That is, I'll undo the creation of that last circle and we'll take a look at Smart Guides instead. So I'll go up to the View menu and I'll choose this guy right there, Smart Guides, Ctrl+U, Command+U on the Mac.
Smart Guides have been around inside of Illustrator for a while and they just keep getting better and better. Basically, Adobe kind of hones them every time they upgrade the Illustrator and you can see that we've got a bunch of blue shapes that pop up and notice they are just telling me where the shapes are on the Tracing Template layer, and they are showing up as blue because that calendar layer, which we are using as a tracing template is set to blue. You can also make a little line show up, orange lines instead of our black circles if you want to, because in my drawing, that layer is set to orange. The green items are showing as alignment.
So notice we are seeing this intersection line right there. When I'm in alignment with the top of this fourth circle, I'm going to see an alignment line going right to it and I'm going to keep moving outward until I find a vertical alignment line right there that's going to the left edge of that same circle. So now I'm just going to move farther up, there we go. We now have the intersection points setup properly for both the top, we have got horizontal line going to the top of the circle and a vertical line going to the left-side of the circle. And then I would start drawing like so.
Now when I press the Shift key, this time I don't have to press the Ctrl key, I would press the Shift key and then make sure we've got everything in alignment to the best of our ability, and actually we don't even have to press Shift, if we don't want to. If we are going to get this totally aligned properly so that we are seeing intersection lines-- I'm having a difficult time doing it because there are so many objects in this illustration. That's part of the problem with Smart Guides is they are just snapping to everything, right. We would simplify it if we turned off the calendar layer. So setting things on specific layers helps you out quite a bit, because then you can turn off a layer and make it no longer visible to the Smart Guide's feature. But anyway, now I have things perfectly aligned as you can see. I don't even have the Shift key down and I can release, and I have now created a fourth concentric circle.
I am going to be using Smart Guide sparingly. So I'm going to press Ctrl+U, Command+U on the Mac, to turn Smart Guides off. You may want to use them all the time. Some people just love them, want to use them. Always other people want to be able to turn them on and off. I'm a turner onner-offer, dude. That's Smart Guides. Hope you liked them. In the next exercise, I'm going to demonstrate the Align palette.
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