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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.
I'm still working inside the Playful violin.ai file that's found inside the 01_hello_illustrator folder which itself is inside the exercise files folder, that's available to you as part of this series. And this illustration of course you may recall, comes to us from Illustrator Aliaksandr Stsiazhyn. And I'd like to take you on a tour of how this illustration is constructed. Basically when you're working with a hand drawn graphic, like if you were working with say a pencil and a piece of paper, why then you would actually be drawing lines on that piece of paper.
Well Illustrator kind of works that way as we'll see, you do draw objects here and there but notice that word that I just said, objects. You're basically creating every single one of these lines as a separate thing and those things are known as objects inside of Illustrator. And they're piled up on top of each other, so you're actually building an illustration. You really are constructing it. So let's see how that works. Let's get a little feel for that. I'm going to switch to the black arrow tool so that I don't have my magnifying glass going on screen here, and you can do that just by clicking on that black arrow/Selection tool. Adobe calls it the Selection tool. I call it the black arrow, because what color is it? Black.
And then we're going to bring up the Layers palette and you can get to the Layers palette by going up to the Window menu and choosing the Layers command. You also might want to think about memorizing this keyboard shortcut because the Layers palette is a very, very useful palette inside of Illustrator. F7 brings up the Layers palette. F7 hides it and F7 works across many of the Adobe applications. So there's my Layers palette. I'm going to go ahead and extend that palette by dragging it down and I'm going to drag the top of the palette upwards so that we're basically taking up the better portion of my screen with this palette and you should see nice thumbnail previews of each one of these layers and you can think of these layers as being sheets of vellum, if you'd like to, that are layered on top of each other, each one of which contains different graphical information. So here's what I'd like you to do to so we can see how things are building up here, I want you to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on that bottom eyeball right there.
And what that does by virtue of the fact that you have the Alt or Option key down, and by the way you can release that key now. By virtue of the fact that you had that key down when you clicked on the eyeball you hid everything but that layer. All right, so now we're just seeing the Background layer, again courtesy of Alaiksandr. He created this layer. Next turn on the Body layer by clicking its eyeball. Notice that this area is blank where the eyeball formerly appeared. If you click in that blank area you'll make the eyeball come back. So we're not Alt clicking or Option clicking, we're just clicking. There is the body of the violin, very interesting, and just one shape, there's only one shape on that entire layer and then click on this layer that's called highlights.
And by the way if you're seeing truncated layer names you can go ahead and drag out this left side of the Layers palette until all of the layer names are completely visible. I'm still missing a little bit of Orange lines there. There, we go. And I'll use the Hand told the scroll my violin over just a little bit so that we can see it. All right now at this point we have this sort of psychedelic effect going on thanks to this Highlights layer. Now I'm going to turn on my Orange lines layer and this is where the sketchy lines begin to form inside of this graphic.
Then we've got the Red lines layer. Them we've got the Dark lines layer, these dark lines that are built on top, so layer upon layer of lines. This is not something you have to do when you're building an illustration. This is what this particular artist decided to do, so this is the way he decided to assemble his illustration. You could of course work just with a single layer of lines if you wanted to. And then finally I added this text on this Text layer, and you can see a little bit of the text up here in the upper left-hand corner and you may be able to see more of the text on your screen.
Now each one of these layers contains a bunch of different objects and you can see what those objects are and I don't want you to be frightened by this word objects because it is pretty darn unfriendly. It just means stuff, it just means various lines and shapes and other items that are going on inside of the illustration. Objects is just a catchall term for that. Go ahead and twirl open this backdrop player by clicking on its twirly triangle right there and you can see the various items that make up this layer. There's the teal twirls and there's the lower, let's go ahead and expand this palette a little more so that we can see what in the world that says. Lower swirls and then we have the background, which is just a big rectangle, so even a rectangle can be an object.
So you can basically get in there and dissect each one of the objects that exist on these layers. Now why in the world would you want to? Well because even if you're working with an illustration that's created by someone else, as we're doing here, you can still modify it to suit your exacting needs. So you can change which layers are turned on and which layers are turned off and you can modify the composition of the paths and you can add various drawn elements of your own and you can subtract elements that were already there and I'm going to show you what I mean by all that stuff, a very simple example, in the next exercise.
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