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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.
In this exercise we're going to take this little collection of five rectangles here that we drew at an angle in the previous exercise, thanks to that crazy constrain axis, and we're going to take these five rectangles and we're going to clone and flip them so that we can create the other collections of rectangles that are symmetrical about the god's face at the center of this 260-day spiritual Aztec calendar known to us as the Tonalpohualli. So if you want to catch on up with me I am working inside the Time to flip.ai I document that's available to you inside the 04_Geometric_Shapes folder.
And things are starting to get a little busy here inside of this illustration so I suggest we go ahead and assign our rectangles a fill just so that we can distinguish them from everything else that's going on inside of the document. So I want you to go ahead and grab all five of these rectangles by marqueeing around them, in the way you see me marqueeing around them with the black arrow tool on screen right now. So then I'd release and then I've selected all five of these guys. If you accidentally select some other stuff, let's say you draw a bigger marquee and you end up getting these shapes selected as well, like this star right here and this circle, why then just Shift-click on them in order to turn them off and that will go ahead and deselect those items, and if you select too few items, for example you only get this many rectangles for some reason, then you can Shift-click on the other rectangles in order to select them as well. So Shift- clicking changes whether an object is selected or not, in addition to the other objects that are going on.
So we have a total of five rectangles selected at this point. I want you to fill them all with white by going up to this first option here inside of the Control palette. I want you to click the down pointing arrowhead and I want you to choose white as your fill color. That fills them all with white. Now I want you to go to the Object menu, and I want you to choose the Group command or press Control+G or Command+G. Pretty standard way of grouping objects inside of an illustration program. And that goes ahead and makes sure that all the objects are clustered together, so that if I click off the shapes and then click on them again, they all get selected with the black arrow tool.
But got a problem, this one rectangle, notice this guy is supposed to be on top of these guys. So what do I do about that? Well I'll go ahead and switch to the white arrow tool and I clicked off the shapes to deselect them by the way, so nothing's selected right now. I'll get my white arrow tool, I'll Alt-click or Option-click, remember how you can select into groups with the white arrow tool and if you Alt or Option click you'll select an entire shape at a time inside the group. And that's what I've done here and then I'm going to go ahead and right-click on the shape, and I'm going to choose Arrange and I'm going to choose Bring to Front or I can press that keyboard shortcut, Control+Shift+] Command+Shift+]on the Mac and notice that that goes ahead and brings that shape to front inside of the group. So it brings it to the front of the group not the front of the entire illustration or anything.
Although that does happen to be the case cause there's nothing in front of it, but just to the front of the group. Now switch back to your black arrow tool by pressing the V key or selecting the tool from the palette. Then click on the outer rectangle or one of the other rectangles in order to select the entire group. Now then, notice these white points, these big white points around the parameter of the outer rectangle here. Those are the handles on the bounding box, and the nice thing about this automatic bounding box is that you can drag one of these handles in order to scale the shape, and you can also, if you move your cursor slightly outside like this you get a little rotation cursor and you can go ahead and rotate the object as well, like so.
And I'm going to undo those last two modifications by pressing Control+Z or Command+Z a couple of times. I happen to hate the bounding box, even though it's so utterly convenient and it allows you to scale and rotate objects on the fly without having to switch tools. I just hate it, and I'll tell you why, because it interferes with just moving shapes around and editing them in more normal ways. So what I recommend you do, because you're working with me these days. I recommend you go up to the View menu and you choose Hide Bounding Box in order to get rid of that intrusive bounding box.
You can also press the keyboard shortcut. Control+Shift+B or Command+Shift+B on the Mac. And notice the big handles go away and you can no longer do that thing where you drag a corner handle to scale. If you drag a corner handle you're going to move to shape. But the nice thing is, you can now move the shape and like snap it to another shape in order to make sure that these corners are exactly aligned with each other. So you have access to a function that the bounding box interfered with. See and you can still get to all that scale and rotate stuff, you just have to switch tools. So this is a better way to work, if you're an expert user and I hope you aspire to be an expert, that's what I'm here for. All right anyway. Now we want to flip this guy, flip it down here, don't we? Clone and flip it.
And that's something you do by way of a tool inside Illustrator as opposed, notice that there's no options that are immediately available to us. There is this Transform option, you can go up to it, click it and then you could click on this palette menu right there and you could choose Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical or something along those lines, but the tool is your best bet. Let me show you that tool. Go over here to the Rotate Tool inside the toolbox, click and hold, choose the Reflect Tool or you can press the O key. Why O? Because O is a totally symmetrical shape. You flip O any direction, and it's still an O man, that's why. So I got the Reflect Tool. Now you can drag with this tool, there's things you can do, but for now I'm just going to tell you the easiest way to work with it.
I want you to make sure that the tool is basically at the intersection of these guides here. So position the cursor right at that intersection. Alt-click or Option-click on the Mac in order to set the center point of what will be our reflection. You can reflect the selected objects across a vertical axis, which means a horizontal flip or you can flip it across a horizontal axis, which means a vertical flip. I know that's just like, twisted, but that's Illustrator for you.
Turn on Preview is my suggestion. If you turn on the Preview checkbox then you can get a sense of what it is you're really doing. And I'm going to suggest that we start things off, well heck this is just fine. We might as well flip it across a vertical axis, which means a horizontal flip for starters. But click Copy. Don't click OK, click Copy so that we make a clone of our rectangles and then grab your black arrow tool, Shift- click in order to select the other one there, go back to the flip tool, Alt or Option-click at the intersection of those two guides again.
And this time Preview should still be on, excellent. This time select Horizontal as your axis and notice that it does a vertical flip this time. So imagine that this is the axis of the flip and these guys are pirouetting around this axis. That's what's meant by the whole flipping axis here. All right, then go ahead and click Copy. I was saying flipping because we're flipping. Anyway click the Copy button, and we now have a total of four different rectangular ornaments that we've created inside of Illustrator.
Ts that not a beautiful thing? Yes it is. We are covering up a few, you know, important items inside of this illustration, but we're going to take care of that and more in the next exercise.
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