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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.
Now that we have made some modifications to an illustration and saved our changes to disk, I want to introduce you to an entirely separate application that is a companion to Illustrator; it's called the Adobe Bridge. It ships along with all versions of Illustrator CS4. So whether you buy Illustrator by itself or you buy it with one of the Creative Suite 4 skews, you are going to get the Bridge. The Bridge is one of those programs that's really been coming along over time. It started out sort of rinky-dink frankly, but it's getting better and better, and it's actually now quite good, I think, and it allows you to manage your digital assets. So it's a Digital Asset Manager, a DAM application.
I am going to go up to the File menu and choose Browse in Bridge or I could press Ctrl+Alt+O or Command+Option+O on the Mac. That's one way to work. Or another way to launch Bridge, very quickly actually, is to go up to this Applications Bar. That's what this thing is called right here; on the Mac it's located under the menu bar, and there is this little guy called Go to Bridge, click on him and you will go to the Bridge. Now, if the Bridge hadn't already been running, you will see it launch, so you will have to wait a few moments for it to start up. But I already had it running. I have already got it trained on that Sample Art folder, inside the Cool Extras folder that contains all of these illustrations that ship along with Illustrator CS4. So let me tell you a little bit about what we are looking at here.
The Bridge is divided into a bunch of panels, which are like these, relatively locked down in aligned pallets. We have got this area right here that's called Favorites that allows you to go to this place called Bridge Home, for example. If you got to Bridge Home, you can check out some training movies that were actually created here at lynda.com and the Illustrator videos were created by myself and a fellow trainer here, Mordy Golding. Lots of other stuff too, all kinds of trainers from lynda.com got involved in these. So they are free. They are very educational, if you just want to pick up a single feature at a time, all kinds of information about the new features in the program. Lots of other stuff going on at Bridge Home as well, so you might want to check that out. You have to have an Internet connection in order to make it work.
Then Folders allows you to peruse your local hard drive or a network drive, something along those lines, a network volume. In my case, I just want to show you where I'm in a larger hierarchy, because you can see I'm inside the Program Files folder inside the Adobe folder going down here. But the easier way to look at it is to click this down pointing arrowhead, so that you can navigate to this location as well, if you so desire. So here on the PC, under Windows Vista or XP, you go to your Computer and then one of the Local Disks, presumably the C drive. That's the default location.
Then you go into Program Files/Adobe/ Adobe Illustrator CS4/Cool Extras. You may see a Language folder at this point. English US and then Sample Files. That's where I am. So we are digging downward on the way up here. On the Macintosh side of things, you really want to go to the Applications folder. So this guy is the big difference. You can do that from the Finder just by pressing Command+Shift+A, and that will take you to the Applications folder. Then go into the Adobe folder, Adobe Illustrator CS4, Cool Extras, the Language folder, and Sample Files, and you will find these illustrations here. With the possible exception of T-shirt artboards, which is the one that I created.
All right. So this is the Contents panel. It shows you the contents of the Active folder. So it's a content browser essentially. If you are working on another folder, you may see types of files that the Bridge really doesn't support or understand, like Word files, Excel files. It would just go ahead and show the icons for those specific files. But if it understands a file, like an ai file for example, it will do its best to show you a preview. Now these are really dinky previews at this point, these tiny thumbnails. So you go down to this little slider icon down here at the bottom of the window and you crank it up like so, and they get bigger or smaller if you prefer. You can also click on these icons to zoom in, like so. So I would have already zoomed in once, and I could keep zooming in. Or you can zoom out with this little guy here, and you can also zoom in and out of the keyboard, as long as Bridge understands that that's the Active panel. Then you can press Ctrl+Plus to zoom in and Ctrl+Minus to zoom out. On the Mac that's Command Plus and Minus.
If you click on one of the thumbnails, and you can see your Preview panel, and by the way, if you want to see exactly the same kind of stuff that I'm seeing on screen so that the Bridge is divided in the same rough panels right here, you want to go ahead and click on the word Essentials; that's the default workspace for the Bridge. It basically is showing you as many panels as possible. You should see a Preview panel on right here. The great thing about the Preview panel is it shows you a bigger version of the illustration. If I drag, see this vertical bar right there, if I drag it over to the left, we are going to expand the size of the preview so that we can see a really big preview.
Now at a point it's going to top out, and it's essentially going to top out at whatever the file size is, the size of the artboard at 72 Pixels Per Inch. So the Bridge can't render any farther then 72 Pixels Per Inch. So if it's a small illustration like a little 4x4 graphic or something, it's going to top out very early if it's a big illustration, it's going to top out later. You can also-- check this out-- you can switch pages. So you will see that I'm looking at artboard 1 of 2 inside of this .ai file. If I click the right pointing arrowhead, I may have to wait for it incidentally, because its tempted; if it hasn't visited that artboard before, its just going to show you the first artboard. So you don't want to race through a file. You don't want to just go click, click, click, because it's not necessarily going to keep up with you, and it's going to make it look like all the pages have the exact same illustration on them.
Now, another cool thing is if I click on, let's say, Loyal Order of the Wormwood, which is a really cool file in my opinion, I really like it. Notice I have got this little zoom cursor. If I click on a part of my illustration, like the dude's nose right there, I'm going to loupe the nose. Louping means loupe. That's a magnifying glass essentially. So we are seeing a larger version of this area of the illustration. So it's basically 100% View size at this point.
I can actually move this loupe around like so. If I go to far, it's going to switch. Did you see it switch ground to the other side? It also does this thing where it likes to rotate sometimes too. You can sometimes see it rotate around. Wherever you are pointing, whatever you're pointing to is the center of the louped view. So if I point to this guy, this little guy is sort of commentary there, we are going to see it right there centered. I have no idea what he is saying, because I don't read Congi, but pretty entertaining. Then if I want to see who did this, I could drag down. Check this out. I'm looking at the guy's name, the Credit Information, Von Glitschka of the Glitschka Studios, which is really, really cool. Amazing work, Von Glitschka.
Of course I could go through his pages once again and find out more information about those. Now, sometimes things aren't going to keep up. You may experience this; you may not. If you do, where I'm seeing actual view of the previous artboard, not the one that I'm really looking at, then I could just go ahead and click on this little Close button or click anywhere inside of the loupe in order to close it, and then just click again to reinitiate it, and you should be able to get that guy to participate eventually, if not immediately. Now I want you to see, check this out, this Living on a Heart Grunge, the original .ai file. Let's get rid of that loupe there and you can see that it's got three artboards that we can peruse, and of course you may recall these artboards from before.
The modified version of this document, which is T-shirt artboards.ai, it has 6 different artboards, and I can check them out. So there is the poster, there is the skateboards; I modified the artboard size so it's smaller. So the Bridge is totally capable of reading these different artboards, so you catch on. These artboards don't have to be the same size, the way they are in a page layout application, where every single page is exactly the same orientation. They can be anything you want them to be. The Bridge will keep up with you and just show you these differently sized artboards, including artboards that are overlapping each other. So artboard 3 had both t-shirts; artboard 4 just one t-shirt, the top t-shirt; artboard 5, there is a bottom t-shirt. And then of course artboard 6, my interpretation of this bloody disassociated organ, set against the brown t-shirt background there.
That gives you a sense of how you can preview your assets here inside of the Bridge. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to open an asset from the Bridge in Illustrator.
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