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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 next project we are going to be creating this overwrought lace pattern right here. If you want to work along with me, I have got this document Lacemaking.ai found inside the 10_ select_enhance folder. It is really just a bunch of circles that I have attacked with the Scale tool as we will see. But there is a few other things going on as well. We have got some various rounded corner rectangles going on in the background with differing drop shadows actually applied to them. I've got this four-pointed star that is translucent so it is creating kind of a spotlight effect toward the center.
Then I have these frames here that are filled with radial gradients in order to create this cool depth effect. We are going to be focusing most of our attention on this lace making towards the center. To give you a sense of how it was put together, I'm going to turn on the One shy layer right here. One shy indicating that it is actually missing one rounded rectangle right at this position here that we will be creating in this exercise. Then here are our circles on the Just circles layer. These are the circles that we will use to create the lace-making pattern. So that's all we had. Just these three circles end up creating all of those twirly pools all over the place, as you will see.
All right. For now I would like to turn off Just circles and you might as well lock down the Final lace layer because we don't want to manipulate it. We are going to be working on the One shy layer. So go ahead and click on that one to make it active. Frames should be on but locked as it is. If you want to know where the Frames end, by the way, this is kind of important to understanding this illustration. If you turn off the Frames layer, you will see that we still have this big brown background here that covers up most of the stuff on the One shy layer except for the forward circle is exposed, just this big circular stroke is the only thing that is sitting in front of that brown item, I believe. In fact, you can see these front objects are all grouped together and it's the circle right here.
Yes, the circle with the stroke is the one that's in front and then we have the brown frame in back of that. The star, another circle, the circle that's responsible for that pinkish fill right there. All right. So I'm going to go ahead and twirl these guys close, just wanted to make it layer what was going on. Let's go ahead and turn the Frames back on actually and let's go ahead and draw the rounded rectangle, this missing rounded rectangle. I am going to turn on the Guides layer so that I have a little bit of support here. Then I'm going to go grab my Rounded Rectangle tool from the toolbox. You could also draw a standard rectangle and use the Round Corners function in order to round it if you wanted to, but I want to work with the Rounded Corner Rectangle tool just for the sake of showing you some stuff that's going on here. I want to be able to lift some attributes, the double drop shadow effect using the Eyedropper tool which is a little out of keeping with the Eyedropper's default behavior.
Okay. So I'm going to drag from this corner to this one right here. So drag from one corner to the opposite corner and then you can press the Up Arrow key like so. I'm pressing and holding the Up Arrow key in order to change the roundness of those corners like so. So pressing the Up Arrow key increases the roundness of the corners, pressing the Down Arrow key decreases the roundness of the corners. And about this point here, it is not necessary you would get it exactly right, just somewhere in this neighborhood ends up looking quite good. Then I release in order to create the shape.
Now it has got the right stroke and fill. I'm going to go ahead and, by the way, press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide that selection outline. It has the right stroke and fill, but it doesn't have the double drop shadow effect. Let me show you what is going on with the double drop shadow effect for just a minute here. I'm going to go back to my Selection tool, my Black Arrow tool and I'm going to click on this rounded rectangle right there. Just to make sure it is selected I'll press Ctrl+H, Command+H on the Mac. It is indeed selected. All right. Then I'll go the Appearance palette. I'll press Ctrl+H again, by the way, in order to hide that selection, Command+H on the Mac. We can see that not only do we have a 1.4 point black stroke, so nothing special going on there and an opaque blue fill, neither of which are special, right? But we have two drop shadows. What gives with that? Now, if you are familiar with Photoshop, you know you can have one and only one shadow or maybe you don't know that but now you do because I just told you. You can only have one drop shadow per layer inside Photoshop.
Illustrator does not restrict you in that way, you can have as many drop shadows as you want, which is great. I wish you had that in Photoshop frankly. It would be awesome! Because in the natural world, things cast multiple shadows, based on how many light sources you have and so on. In our case, we are using drop shadows in different ways. One of the drop shadows, for example, is this light drop shadow that's at the top here. So a shadow doesn't have to be dark, it can be light. Then the other drop shadow is down here, this dark sort of blue area. So drop shadows are ultimately just directional effects, whether they are shadows or highlights or what have you.
All right. Now I'm going to click on this forward guy, the one we just drew in order to select it and you can now see it is selected, not only because of course I just clicked on it, but also because the Appearance palette is showing that we have a stroke and a fill and that's it. Now if I go over to the Eyedropper tool and I say all right, I'm going to click somewhere in this area to lift the color from this rounded rectangle right there. If I click there, notice things really go to heck and I actually end up lifting no stroke and a fill. If I twirl that fill open here in the Appearance palette, I can see its 30% opaque.
What I just did, in case you are wondering, is I lifted the attributes that are associated with this translucent star shape, this four-pointed star, that's serving as a spotlight. So that's totally wrong. I don't have to undo that if I don't want to, I could just go ahead and use the Eyedropper on the proper shape. So I'll click away from the star, not directly on the star here but over here in order to lift the proper attributes. And all I have done is reinstate the attributes I had before. I have got the 1.4 point black stroke and I have the blue fill and that's it. I don't have the drop shadows. So what's the problem? Well, the Eyedropper is not set to grab live effects other than translucency, transparency, opacity, what have you, but that's it. So it doesn't grab things like drop shadows and transform effects and some of the other live effects that we have seen.
So what you need to do is double-click on the Eyedropper tool to bring up this big old, confusing dialog box. I say it's confusing because notice we have this word Appearance right here, this is the only unchecked item, it's Appearance. And yet everything under it that would be inclusive of Appearance is turned on, which is very strange. This is in my opinion a badly expressed option here. Because all these guys truly are on. Transparency is on, Focal Fill is on. That's that one fill that the Eyedropper can see. It can only see the rearmost fill and it can only see the rearmost stroke which Illustrator calls Focal Fill and Focal Stroke, fine. We can see all those attributes that are associated with that fill and that stroke other than dynamic effects. But if you want to turn on dynamic effects, which include so many, many, many things including multiple fills and multiple strokes. If you want all that, then the only thing you turn on is this one checkbox.
Here is the bizarrest thing ever. Turn on that checkbox, it closes everything. If you say gosh! I wonder what I just turned on. I would like to see. I would like to twirl this open. You turn it back off. So what you do is you turn on Appearance, you leave it alone. You don't even worry about what the Eyedropper is going to apply. You just go ahead and click OK. We are just interested in what it's picking up. Now go back to this item, click on it. And now we have imparted to the selected object and you can see it is selected if you press Ctrl+H or Command+H again, there it is. I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H again to hide that selection. There is the top drop shadow and the bottom drop shadow both exposed.
Now the next thing that I want to do is I want to stack this properly, because it is sitting in front of the circles and the star and all that jazz. Now one of the things I could do, I could grab my Black Arrow tool right there and I could hunt around for where those shapes reside by keeping an eye out for that little square next to the Arrow cursor and I could click on the item, is the idea, and then bring it to front. Or with this forward shape selected, I could go to the Edit menu and I could cut it and then I could paste it in back of the other objects. That's another way to work.
But I'm going to show you yet a different way to work. Let's press Ctrl+H or Command+H for the umpteenth time here in order to bring back the selection outline. You also have the option under the Select menu to go up and down the stack. So, for example, if I select next object above, they'll go ahead and bring back my Layers palette here. I would select the next object up and you can do this in terms of layers. In other words, you can jump from one layer to another layer. The problem is nothing above this object is visible and unlocked at this point. So there is nothing that I could select.
So if I went up to the Select menu and chose Next Object Above, I would end up doing nothing because there is no next object above to select. Whereas if I were to go to Select menu and choose Next Object Below, these both have keyboard shortcuts, if you want to memorize them, that involves the Bracket keys. If you choose Next Object Below, then it is going to go ahead and grab this group of objects that we saw earlier, you may recall, they are right down here, these front objects. So-called front objects because they are no longer in front. Now then with these objects selected I could press Ctrl+Shift+Right bracket or Command+Shift+Right bracket on the Mac to bring those objects to front and now everybody is in the proper stacking order. I would press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect everything. We now have this missing rounded rectangle intact. So it's no longer one shy and now has everybody inside of it. So let's go ahead and rename it something like, All objects, would work out just fine and click OK in order to accept that modification.
We are missing, however, something. Notice if I turn off All objects for a moment, take a look at that Final lace layer how it has this white stroke in between and these white strokes join into each other. That's something that I'm going to show you how to make in the next exercise.
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