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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we're starting to understand what these vector objects are. We know that paths themselves are made up with anchor points. They are connected with paths. Some paths, which are curves, also have control handles, which define those curves. But all of that has to do with the actual geometry of the shape itself, not how that particular path may visually appear. Let me explain. All the things that we've been seeing so far as far as anchor points and the paths and these control handles, those don't actually print down on a piece of paper. That would be pretty silly, right? What the paths actually do is those particular control handles and those anchor points are there for us to interface with those paths when we are working with them inside of Illustrator.
However, when we print a particular path, what we need to do is we need to apply an appearance to that particular path. Think of a path on its own with just the anchor points and the paths itself as naked, and we need to get them dressed with something. So we get them dressed with two types of attributes, something called Fills and then something called Strokes. The Fills refer to the part of a path, which is the enclosed area and there are different types of fills. The Strokes themselves refer to the appearance of the physical path itself, and again there are different types of attributes of those strokes as well. Let's take a quick look at what those are. Later on in the video titles we'll talk more about what each of those settings are.
I'll start off with something simple, which is the Fill. I'll move over to the rectangle here on the bottom and I'll use my regular Selection tool to click on the shape. If you want to follow along, you'll find this file called fills_and_strokes in the first chapter folder in the exercise files, or you can just sit back and watch as I go through these concepts. Now this particular file is selected, again we'll talk more about details about how to select objects and what that means. But for now I've selected this particular object right here. If I go to my Control panel here, I have two buttons. One on the left here refers to the Fill Setting for that particular shape.
So I'm going to go ahead and click on that. I'm going to see a range of colors or swatches that I can choose from. For now, I'm just going to click on yellow, by the way yellow is my favorite color, I'm sure that you will find that out as you go through the rest of the title here. I now have this box that's filled with yellow. I just want to show you by the way, I'm going to go my Layers panel here and I actually have a layer here called Path Appearance and Path Geometry. I'm going to hide the Path Geometry layer. I'm just going to turn off the eyeball there, because Path Geometry itself and those anchor points are things that we see when we work inside of Illustrator. For example, when I click on this rectangle right now, you see the little anchor points that are right here. But those don't print down when I print this on a printer or even when I save them to be viewed on a web page.
They are there for me to interact with the object when I need to, but the way the artwork will look is just this. It's got a yellow fill and it's got that shape of that rectangle. So that is the Fill Attribute, and like I say there are other Fill attributes as well, this is a basic idea, you have something called Gradient Fills, which are fills that start off with one color and then gradually go to another color. Then you also have Pattern Fills, which are fills that have other kinds of artwork that repeat itself over- and-over again inside of that. So you have these particular types of fills that apply to an object. Remember, the important thing is that the past geometry in this stuff that we've been talking about till now is stuff for us to see on our screen. However, we don't really see that when we print that out in the file. Let me go ahead and just actually hide the Path Geometry.
I'm going to select this circle that appears here. You see now when I select the path, I see those control handles, and I see the anchor points; but remember, those don't print at all. But what I can do is take this particular circle right here, click on it, go over here to my Fill, and maybe we'll fill that with like this gradient, it's called the Radio Gradient; we'll talk more about this later as well. So now I have these two shapes, and again I've applied that particular Fill to it. Remember, when I print it out I don't see any of those paths or anchor points or control handles as well. Let me go back over here now, for example, to this shape. Let me turn the Path Geometry back on again. I'm going to select this part of the path that's right here. Now, the other attributes that I have besides a Fill is something called the Stroke Attribute, and the Stroke Attribute, if I go over here to my Control panel here, I can see the word Stroke, it opens up the Stroke panel that's right here.
I can apply what's called the Stroke Weight. Now the Stroke Weight is basically the thickness of that particular stroke. Let's say I choose something really thick, I really have like 10 points, for example. Do you see now I have a very fat appearance of that particular stroke that's right there? I can control that thickness, I can make let's say 40 points, or I can make it very thin and narrow and make it just 1 point, for example. Again, if I turn off the Path Geometry here, I see the way it is going to look when it prints is this way. Now I mentioned before there were different settings for strokes, for example, strokes have what we call a Dash Setting. If I click on this setting, it allows me to have -- now instead of a solid line just kind of a broken line. Again, I'm just going to click and drag here to select this particular curve path as well.
I can apply a stroke as well here, maybe a 5-point stroke, and I can also change the color of that stroke. Maybe we'll do some cyan here. And again, I also have the ability to control some of the ways that stroke looks. For example, if I change the Stroke Weight here to maybe 20 points. See how it kind of ends in a very square edge right here. What I can do is from the Stroke panel choose to define how the cap or the end of that stroke appears. For example, a Round Cap would make the stroke appear as such. So these are the settings that you have basically, the way that you 'get a path dressed,' you give it an appearance, and we'll talk more about appearances as we go through into the title. But now we have the basic premises or ideas of what vector graphics are.
Vector Graphics are basically made up of these anchor points. There are different types of anchor points. Smooth anchor points have control handles that help define the paths that connect to these particular anchor points and then what I can do is I can define how my path looks by applying Fill and Stroke attributes to that.
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