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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
All right gang, I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as a file called Fun with frisbees.ai. Now, you may recall that we've used the divide and unite combo a couple of times. First of all, just a basic combination of divide followed by unite in order to create the robot's thumbs. Then we used an advanced application of divide and unite in order to create the B in BOO and in this exercise we're going to use an expert application of divide and unite in order to combine the frisbees along with the smock. Because this is what we're looking for.
If we switch over to the final version of the ghost robot, what we have essentially is a partial cylinder on top here with a frisbee underneath it, another partial cylinder atop another frisbee, a third partial cylinder atop a final frisbee and then the rest of the robot's body down below and that's the effect we need to achieve. So these are the primitives that we're going to be working with. What we've got is the larger smock shape and then we have this little guy here, which is going to serve as the base of our first cylinder. We've got this guy which is the base of our second cylinder, and this guy which is the base of our third cylinder and then we've got a series of three frisbees.
Now, the thing about the frisbees is-- let's go ahead and switch back to the final version of the illustration. Thing about the frisbees is they both appear both in back and in front in different forms, right. They're somewhat covered up in back but we can't see them through the translucent shapes right here. And then they are entirely opaque in front. So we really need two shapes, this guy right there and then this guy in the background, in order to express the full frisbee shape. This is how we're going to achieve that effect. I'm going to go ahead and switch back to Fun with frisbees.ai and I'm going to select each one of the three frisbees like so. So click on one, Shift-click on the others. And then I'm going to ahead and copy it by going into the Edit menu, and choosing the Copy command, Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac. And you know what, why don't we go ahead and paste these frisbees in advance? Instead of just expecting them to sit there and exist in the clipboard, because the thing is the clipboard is precarious. It's a fragile cache essentially.
And what means is that at any time in the future you could select something else and then copy it and then you wipe out your frisbees. So I might as well paste them in advance. So I'm going to click off my robot to make sure nothing is active and I'm going to press Ctrl+V, or Command+V on the Mac, in order to paste those frisbees to back and I'm going to go ahead and scroll down my list here in the Layers palette so that I can see that indeed there are my three frisbees pasted in back of everything else. Why don't we go ahead and group the frisbees together by pressing Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac. So now we have a group. All right, great and you know what? I'm going to hide those frisbees for now by clicking on the eyeball in front of said group. All right, let's select those guys again. Click, Shift-click, Shift-click to select all three of them and then I'm going to do something very smart. I'm going to change them to a different color so that they're uniquely colored where this illustration is concerned. That way, I can easily select the fragmented shapes in the future. Because I'm going to divide them into a bazillion shapes. They're going to be very hard to select manually.
But they're going to be very easy to select if they are colored the same, as we'll see. So the color then I'm going to use doesn't really matter as long as it's unique. But let's try like 50% Cyan, and then let's try like 15% Magenta. I'm pretty sure I didn't use that in any place else inside of this illustration. And then for larfs, let's do 35% or even 36%, something just weird, 36.3%. Yellow will workout nicely for us. Okay, so that looks pretty similar to this guy right there, but it is unique as we'll see.
Now, it's time for divide and unite. So we need to make sure that we're selecting the three frisbee shapes. These three sort of wedge shapes, I don't know what you want to call them. The guys that define the bottom of the cylinders. Select each one of them, so we now have six shapes selected and then Shift-click on the background smock to make sure that it's selected as well. So there is big old white shape in the background. So you have a total of 7 shapes selected. Then I want you to go over to the Pathfinder palette and click on Divide. Now this is when things start getting pretty dicey because now we have just got a ton of shapes that we have created inside of this illustration. They're all grouped together of course. So that means in order to get rid of the ones we don't want, I'm going to have to switch over to the White Arrow tool. So go ahead and do that as well and I'm going to click off the shapes in order to deselect them.
Alt-click or Option-click on any one of these guys, because we need to get rid of them, right. Need to get rid of this guy and this little weird shape over here and this little weird shape and so on. Now, they are all transparent and if I'm lucky, I should be able to select them all. Because I've got one selected, I should be able to match that by going up to my little Select Similar Options icon right there and choosing All, or I could have just clicked on the icon I guess, because that's how it was set by default there. All right, now that didn't necessarily just select those shapes. In fact there is a few other shapes that have no fill going on here. And so those ended up getting selected as well. And so if you end up with this kind of effect right here, what you can do is you can deselect the shapes that you don't want to have selected anymore using the Lasso tool. It's a really great function of the Lasso tool and this is in fact the way I use the tool most often.
I'll go ahead and select the Lasso tool by clicking on it and then I'll press the Alt or Option key. Gosh we have this key down a lot. Alt or Option in order to switch the Lasso tool to a Deselection tool and then drag around the things that you want to deselect, like this region of the face. Now, it's deselected. Let's go ahead and scroll upwards, just to make sure there is nothing else up there that we want to deselect. Then I'll Alt or Option drag around this region in order to deselect those paths including the cape outline right there. So we still have these six shapes selected right there. That's very important. And then go ahead and Alt+Drag and Option+Drag around the feet and the ball and chain and we're left then just with these six guys selected there. Or you could have just Alt-clicked on one, Option-clicked on one and then Shift+Alt -clicked or Shift+Option-clicked on the other ones. Either way, but I just want to show you that nifty Lasso tool trick right there. Then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of those objects.
All right, now we're ready to add some of these shapes together. I'm going to go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and I'm going to Alt-click here and Shift+Alt-click here and Shift+Alt- click here and if you're on the Mac, that's an Option-click and a Shift+Option- click twice. So these are the shapes that you want to select. You want to select this guy right down there. This guy right there. I'm kind of tracing around it and then this top shape there and if you want to get a better sense of what's going on, you can drag them over to the side. These are the shapes that we are going to unite together. All right, I'll go ahead and undo that moment and I'll unite them by clicking on the Unite button.
Gets filled with the wrong color, that's fine. It's going with the forward color by the way. So the color of the frontmost shape, which happen to be this weird green. What we want is white, so with the Fill selected here inside the Color palette, just go ahead and click on the white swatch and we got it. Now, Alt-click or Option-click here. Shift+Alt-click or Shift+Option-click here. Shift+Alt-click or Shift+Option- click there. So again another group of three shapes. Go ahead and unite them together. It's tedious, but it's fun tedium don't you think? And then let's go ahead and fill that with white and then we're going to do the same darn thing again. Alt-click or Option-click.
Shift+Alt-click or Shift+Option-click, Shift+Alt-click or Shift+Option-click in order to select these three shapes. Go ahead and unite them together. Notice they are the wrong color, then switch them to white like so. All right, we only have one more group of shapes that we need to unite. But if you take a look at them, they are all the frisbee wedges at this point. But if you take a look, a close look, you'll see that there are a bunch of different shapes going on in here. If you thought, selecting those others shapes was tedious, just imagine trying to select these guys, because they are not always in front.
Look at this. If I click here, I get this guy. If I click here, I get this guy. So it's very difficult to select the shape right there unless you do this. Watch this. I'll just go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on any one of these green frisbee edges and then go upto the Select Similar Objects icon and click on it and because these guys were set to their own weird color, they are the only ones that become selected. Nothing else about the illustration is selected at this point.
Wonderful, my gosh! What a time saver. Then go over to Unite and click on it and now all of the frisbees are united together into one overarching group. In the next exercise, we're going to make the background smock translucent, so we can see through to the rear frisbees.
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