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Expanding and separating paths

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Expanding and separating paths

In this movie, we are going to take that Live Trace object that I created previously here inside of Illustrator and we are going to expand it into a collection of path outlines so that we can gain full control over our newly minted piece of vector-based artwork. I've saved my progress as Live Trace flag art.ai. I am going to start things off by selecting this Tracing object here inside my layers panel. So I'll go ahead and expand open the images and then I'll meatball this tracing object to make it selected. Then I'll go up to the Expand button and click on it and that goes ahead and converts the Live Trace object into a collection of static path outlines, meaning that I can't edit the Live Trace object numerically anymore but I can adjust each and every path outline to suite my exacting needs.

Expanding and separating paths

In this movie, we are going to take that Live Trace object that I created previously here inside of Illustrator and we are going to expand it into a collection of path outlines so that we can gain full control over our newly minted piece of vector-based artwork. I've saved my progress as Live Trace flag art.ai. I am going to start things off by selecting this Tracing object here inside my layers panel. So I'll go ahead and expand open the images and then I'll meatball this tracing object to make it selected. Then I'll go up to the Expand button and click on it and that goes ahead and converts the Live Trace object into a collection of static path outlines, meaning that I can't edit the Live Trace object numerically anymore but I can adjust each and every path outline to suite my exacting needs.

Now, notice that the path outlines appear inside of a group. That doesn't help me out at all. So I am going to go up to the Object menu and I am going to choose the Ungroup command or press Ctrl+Shift+G and that goes ahead and separates every single one of those path outlines. Now, what I want to do because, again, I am not sure exactly how the printing process is going to work here. We might be printing on a big white flag, and that means that the printer will apply black and red inks, or we may be printing on a red flag in the first place, so the fabric might start out red, in which case the printer is going to have to apply black and white pigment.

So I am not sure what's going to happen. I want to be prepared for either eventuality. So I am going to divide all the black paths onto one layer, and all the white paths onto another layer, and all the red paths onto still a third layer so that my printer can decide which paths they need very easily. So for starters, I'll click off the paths to deselect them. Then I'll select one of these paths. I'll click on its outline and then I'll go to the Color panel, note the fill, this must be a black path. So let's go ahead and grab all the other black paths as well by going up to this similar icon here inside the Control panel.

I could click the down-pointing arrowhead and choose All or Fill Color. Either is going to work. So I'll just go ahead and go with All this time around. Then I am going to create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+L or Cmd+Option+L on the Mac. That's the keyboard shortcut for creating layers in Illustrator. I am going to name this layer black, and I am going to leave the color set to red actually, just because that will set off the black shapes nicely. I'll click OK. We've got a new black layer to house the black objects, all of which is selected right now. I'll grab that little green square that's next to the Images layer, not next to any one of the selected paths.

So go ahead and grab that guy and drag it up into the black layer and that will move all of the black objects onto that black layer as you can see right there. All right. Now I am going to lock that layer down so that we can easily select through it and I am going to click on one of these white objects, and then I'll confirm that it's white here in the Color panel because it could be the interior of a black shape. So the black shapes, and the white shapes, and the red shapes, they all run into each other because, for example, where this eye appears, this red eye, it's not a red shape against a black background, the way you might think it is.

Instead, it's a red shape, of course, but there's also a hole clipped out of the black background that exactly matches that red shape right there. So you have to be a little careful. That's why I locked down the black layer. I grab that white object. I am just going to click on the Select Similar Objects icon this time around because it will go ahead and duplicate the last behavior. It will select all of the white objects. I'll create a new layer called white by pressing Ctrl+Alt+L, Cmd+Option+L on the Mac. I will call it white, change its color to light blue I think. We definitely don't want to leave it green because we already have a light green layer going on and I'll click OK in order to create that layer.

Now, for some reason, Illustrator's seen fit to go ahead and throw that to the back of the stack, that's not what I want. That happens every once a while. Sometimes it throws things in the wrong direction. I am going to go ahead and twirl close Images. I am going to drag white on top of it, like so. Then notice that the objects here, the white objects are still selected on the Images layer. So I'll grab that green square and I'll drag it up onto the white layer. We've now isolated all the white objects onto the white layer. Now, the red objects are a little trickier.

The reason is that there is a lot of little slivers of red all over the place. The Live Trace feature sometimes gets mixed up when it's looking at transitional colors, when it's looking at those transitional grays and it decides that they ought to be red because there is no other color to choose from. So a lot of these red objects, and you can see that there's just tons of them and we really shouldn't see that many at all. There should be a big background item and then maybe about six or seven items inside of these various sort of crevices here and then a couple for the eyes.

Instead, we have got something like maybe 30 or 40 of these path outlines, most of which we don't need. So if I clicked on one of them, if I meatball one of these guys, then I could see, oh, Look at that. This is some little red thing right next to its tooth. Well, we don't want that so I could throw it away or, this is going to sound crazy, I am going to throw away this entire layer. I don't want any of the red objects because all the work is being done now by black and white. I can just draw a big red triangle in the background and be done with it. So I am going to grab this layer and I am going to throw it in the trash and I am just going to get rid of all the red.

Then I am going to draw a new red shape in the background, but before I do, I might as well expand the size of this artwork. It shouldn't be just 12 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall; it needs to be 5 feet wide by 3 feet tall. So let's change the size of the artboard. We'll do that by dropping down to this artboard tool. You can also press Shift+L, and that goes ahead and selects the artboard in the background and I am going to go up to the Width and Height values up here in the Control panel. Make sure the chain is turned off, by the way, because I want to change these values independently, and I am going to change the Width value to 60in, because 12 inches times 5 feet is 60 inches. So 60in wide; that's a lot wider than it was before.

In fact, if I start zooming out, you'll see just how much bigger the artboard is now. I'll change the Height value to 36in, because 12 times 3 is 36, and I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, and that's how big our flag needs to be. Now, in order to apply my changes, I'll press the Escape key and that will take me out of that artboard mode back into the standard drawing mode. I also need a bleed, since I want the red to go all the way to the edge, assuming that I have to print red on a white flag. Again, I don't know how it's going to work but I might a well give myself a bleed.

So, I'll go up to the File menu and I'll choose the Document Setup command or you can press Ctrl+Alt+P, Cmd+ Option+P on the Mac, and make sure, there's the Bleed value right there, make sure that the chain icon is turned on and then change any one of these items to 72, which is 72 points. That's the same as 1 inch, by the way, and click OK. Now, we've got a big bleed around the entire image. I am going to create a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+L, once again, Cmd+Option+L on the Mac, and I am going to call this deep red, because I am going to actually going to change the red color; I am going to make it darker.

I am going to change the color of the layer to gold and then I'll click OK, and I want this guy at the back. So I'll drag it to the bottom of the stack there. Then I am going to create a big, huge, red rectangle by grabbing my Rectangle tool, which I can get by pressing the M key, and I am going to click in this top-left corner of the bleed. That will bring up my Rectangle dialog box and these are the values I will enter, that is 62in, and then I'll press the Tab key, and 38in.

Now you may wonder why 62 and 38, because the bleed is an inch all the way around. So we have to add 2 inches to each of the other values. So that is 2+60 is 62 and 2+36 is 38. Press the Tab key in order to convert those values to points, which are the default measurements for Illustrator here in the States, and then click OK in order to create that ginormous, big, huge rectangle. Then finally, I am going to change the color of the rectangle. It's active here in the Color panel and notice that I am looking at the HSB sliders.

The Hue value is 0 for Red, the Saturation value is 100%, so fully saturated, and the Brightness value is 65.1, where that comes from I don't know, but I want it to be 45. So I am going to darken things up and we'll get this effect here. And this is the artwork so far. You may look at it and say, well, that pirate is kind of lost, even though, by the way, he does look great against this red background. So that takes care of filling in all the proper red areas. We didn't need those jillion or so paths. However, he is getting a little sort of lost in the shuffle.

He's less a piece of flag art, then a tiny little icon against this big red field. Well, obviously, we've got to scale the art, and we've got to modify it here inside of Illustrator as long as we've got the chance. And those are things that we will do in the next and final movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28125 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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