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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, in these first few exercises, I'm going to show you how to load a few custom keyboard shortcuts and how to establish some desirable color settings that will serve you well across the various Adobe CS4 applications. Now, if you've been working with me since the fundamentals portion of this series and you might already have your color settings set up the way that you need them to be setup. So if you worked thought I believe it was Chapter 3 of that series where we establish color settings, then they're still established, one would think, so you don't have to do the color setting stuff but I'm now giving you some keyboard shortcuts as well. Though I'll caution you, you don't need to load these.
This isn't a cautionary note. In other words it's not going to hurt you. Loading anything I show you is not going to hurt your computer at all. It's all going to work out beautifully for you, but you don't have to do it if you don't want to. You can still follow along with me without the keyboard shortcuts and without the colors settings. It's just that if you do go ahead and load these keyboard shortcuts, which I recommend because they're really great, and if you do go ahead and load my color settings, which I definitely recommend because they're really going to serve you well across the various CS4 apps, then you're going to get better results out of the software and you and I'll be in sync with each other.
So that's the idea. So if you have access to the exercise files folder, then you'll see that there's a 00_ settings folder therein and inside of that 00_settings folder, I'll go to it for a moment. You'll find this file called dekeKeys instructions.tif and you can open that inside of Photoshop if you like. It gives you the instructions as to where to go ahead and install the keyboard shortcuts file. But I'll be showing that to you here on screen. So it's not essential that you load this file. What you do need to gain access to is this folder right here, dekeKeys AIcs4, Adobe Illustrator CS4, 1on1, and it contains two shortcuts files, one for the Mac and one for Windows. So if you're working on Mac, use a Macintosh version; if you're working on Windows, use the Windows version. And then, what you got to do, you can't just double-click on one of these files because that's going to attempt to open the file inside of Photoshop or Premiere or some other application and it's going to fail.
You can't just open the file directly inside of Illustrator. Instead what you have to do is install this file in a top secret location. So let me show you what that location is right here in this file. It says Copy dekeKeys AIcs4 1on1.kys, which is the keyboard shortcut file, and of course, you grab the Mac version if you're working on the Mac or the Windows version if you're working on Windows, and you'll copy it to a location on your hard drive which depends on your platform. So there's three different platforms that we have to worry about, Windows XP or Windows Vista or the Mac.
So you have one of those three and here's what you do. If you're working on Windows XP, the location that you need to copy this file, it's going to be on your C drive, it's going to be in the Documents and Settings folder\User. By the way, User is your computer login name, so whatever ostensibly your name is probably. Application Data\Adobe\ Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\en, which stands for English, _US. Now this part I imagine is going to change for those of you who are international users. So if you're using the US version of the application then you look for this en_US folder. These are all folders by the way. Folders are divided by these backslashes on Windows. But if you're working with a different version, some international version of the software then you'll see some different folder right there that you have to worry about.
Anyway, find that folder. Now in order to find it under Windows, I'm switching back to this folder right here, what you are going to have to do is locate a command that's either called Folder Options or Folder and Search Options. You can just run a Search for it too if you want to in this little Search field. Once you've find it, you'll switch over to the View tab and then scroll down a little bit and notice that there's this Hidden files and folders folder thing, whatever that is here in the weird twisted world of Microsoft interfaces. Notice that by default it's set to Do not show hidden files and folders.
You want that to be set to Show hidden files and folders. You need to see the hidden files and folders or you won't see this folder structure right there. I also recommend you turn off Hide extensions for known file types. You might as well see your extensions, you want to see those. Then definitely turn this one off, Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). They recommend you leave it on. I'm recommending you turn it off because otherwise you're not going to be able to install the keyboard shortcuts and by the way, you're smart enough not to ruin everything on your system. That's the idea. As soon as Windows shows you a system file, why then you're going to want it just grab and throw in the trashcan or something along those lines and just destroy the hierarchy of everything that's going on in your system. But not really.
I think you can trust yourself. So turn this on, turn these two off, click on the Apply button and then click OK. All right, so we'll just OK out of there. So that way, you can find this folder right there. Under Windows Vista, which is the operating system I happen to be using, you go to C:\users, meaning the users folder. There in you'll find your folder, your user folder that is your computer login name. AppData, not application data. That one won't work. AppData is when you are looking for, Roaming\, whatever the heck that means, Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings\, and there of course, en_US.
All righty! So that's where you want to put the Windows files, in one of these two folders depending on whether you're using XP or Vista. Let's scroll down, why don't we, to the Mac. On the Mac, things are slightly easier, not that much easier. Go to the Go menu, at your Finder, so at your desktop level and choose the Home command, which has a keyboard shortcut of Command+Shift+H, by the way. What that will do is it will open a folder. It open your user folder, so you don't have to worry about what your computer login name is. It will just open up that for you.
So you have to be inside that user folder to start with and that's how you get to it is by choosing Go Home. Then go into the Library folder, go into Preferences, go into Adobe Illustrator CS4 Settings and then go into en_US like so, or whatever nation you're living in supposedly using the internationalized version of the software. Or regionalized, I guess they call it really. So let's go ahead and switch over to Adobe Illustrator. Once you've done that-- Now you don't have to quit Illustrator and restart it or anything like that. Just copy the darn thing to those folders as I've indicated. Good luck with that part.
Let's go ahead and maximize Illustrator so that's covering up that background junk. Go to the Edit menu and choose Keyboard Shortcuts, and this is whether you're working on the Mac or the PC. So go to the Edit menu, choose Keyboard Shortcuts. That's going to be Ctrl+Shift +Alt+K or Command+Shift+Option+K on the Mac. You may recall that I'm telling you these keyboard shortcuts in the reverse order that Adobe does it because Adobe and just a few other vendors are the only ones that do it in this weird order. Everybody else talks with Ctrl or Command first, Shift second and Alt or Option last. But anyway, go ahead and press those keys, mash your fist down, press the K key.
That brings up the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog box here. You'll go to Set, click on this down pointing arrow ahead or what have you, and then you should see dekeKeys AIcs4 1on1 either Windows or Mac, whichever one that you loaded in there, whichever one you copied over. I happen to have a second one just because I was goofing around in advance here. But this is the one you want. So you go ahead and choose it and it should show up because it's in the right folder. If it's in right folder, it will show up here in this pop-up menu. Then just to confirm that you've got the right keyboard shortcut, switch over from tools to menu commands. And what I want you to do is twirl open Object, which is the Object menu. Every one of these guys is associated with the menu and then you would scroll down to the Expand command and you should see a keyboard shortcut that I've given you of Ctrl+M or Command+M on the Mac.
Can you believe Ctrl+M or Command+M, which is sitting there fallow waiting to be associated with something? And the Expand command is what I associated it with, even though M does not appear in the word, Expand. But it does in the word Expamd. So like if you mispronounced Expand, there's an M in it. Anyway. And I also gave you-- This is a really great keyboard shortcut. If you twirl open Effect and then you twirl open Distort and Transform, so the first appearance of the word Distort inside of this menu right here, then you'll see the Transform command. I've given it Ctrl+E, which is also open, or Command+E on the Mac because it's an effect. It's a transform effect. It's the best effect inside the software, as we'll see in a much later chapter in the Mastery portion of the series.
Anyway, there you have it. We have now established the keyboard shortcut. You and I are in the same keyboard shortcut page. Go ahead and click OK in order to accept your new custom keyboard shortcuts, and you are ready to go, folks. For example, as you go into the Object menu, choose Path, you will see that you have got a keyboard shortcut for Outline Stroke, which is Ctrl+Backslash or Command+Backslash on the Mac, and Offset Path, which is Ctrl+Shift+Backslash or Command+Shift+Backslash on the Mac, and many more. So there you have it.
In the next exercise, I'm going to show you Macintosh users. This next exercise is only for Mac people. I'm going to show you how to change your system settings so that you actually have access to your function keys. Stay tuned!
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