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Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
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Joining and averaging paths


From:

Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: Joining and averaging paths

You'll find that Illustrator has lots of useful little functions to be able to work with and edit your paths. For example, on this document right here, it's called joining and averaging, which you'll find in Chapter 05 of the exercise files. I'm going to go ahead and use my direct selection tool to show you that when I click on let's say this path right here, even though this looks like they're all connected, they are really not. These are separate individual path elements that are not connected at all. So how do I actually join these together? So there is a way to basically take two paths and join them so that they become one path and there are several options for doing that.
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  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
8h 25m Beginner Oct 13, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Making efficient use of the Illustrator interface
  • Creating text on a path
  • Using the Magic Wand and Lasso selection tools
  • Working with a pressure-sensitive tablet
  • Applying 3D extrusions and resolves
  • Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
  • Exporting files for use in Photoshop, Flash, and other applications
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Joining and averaging paths

You'll find that Illustrator has lots of useful little functions to be able to work with and edit your paths. For example, on this document right here, it's called joining and averaging, which you'll find in Chapter 05 of the exercise files. I'm going to go ahead and use my direct selection tool to show you that when I click on let's say this path right here, even though this looks like they're all connected, they are really not. These are separate individual path elements that are not connected at all. So how do I actually join these together? So there is a way to basically take two paths and join them so that they become one path and there are several options for doing that.

For example if I were to, let's say, go to this open area right here, I could use my regular direct selection tool to click once on that anchor point, Shift+Click on this anchor point. So now these two anchor points are selected and then I can go to the Object menu and I could choose Path and then choose Join. And that will join those together, it will find basically the shortest point between them and it will always use a straight line to basically draw a joining line between those two points. And now by the way if I go ahead and I basically click on this path, you'll see that the path is not all connected on this side. These are still two separate elements but that is connected. In fact, I'm going to now go ahead and let's say focus on let's say these two right here. And now it's hard for me to just simply Shift+Click to select both of the anchor points as they're right on top of each other. So what I'll do is, I'll marquee select these two. I'll take my direct selection tool, click over here, drag to encompass that area and release the mouse and now both of those anchor points are selected.

Now if I go to the Object menu, I could choose again Path and then Join. But I'm going to get a dialog box because I have these two overlapping points and whenever you have two overlapping points, Illustrator is going to ask me well, do you wanted to be a smooth anchor point or a corner anchor point. So in this case here, I wanted to be a corner anchor point, I don't wanted to be any curves involved. So I'll leave it as a corner anchor point. By the way, you never get that when you have two separate anchor points because they'll always be at corner. Basically, a straight line being created between those two anchor points. We'll never create a curve because how would Illustrator know where you want to place the control handles.

Whenever you do have two overlapping ones, it will ask you if you wanted to be a smooth or a corner anchor point. And notice I have two more that I select to connect. I have these two, which I have to connect, and then I have these two, which I have to connect. So I'll start for this one right over here. Unfortunately, there's just no way that I can select everything and then tell Illustrator, "Connect all of those overlapping paths that you find." There is a plug-in, by the way. It's available for Illustrator. It's called Concatenate. If you do a Google search for Concatenate, the guy who wrote it, his name is Rick Johnson, a fantastic guy, wrote a couple of plug-ins for Illustrator. It share like some 10 or 15 bucks to use it, but it's worth every penny because what it allows you to do is just select a whole bunch of disconnected paths and just say, connect them all with one function as opposed to what we have to do right now, which is actually select each of these paths on its own and go ahead and connect them.

So again, I'm going to marquee select these two here. The keyboard shortcut for joining is Command+J or Ctrl+J. Again I want it to be a corner point and click OK. Now here's the one thing that I can't do. Even though that right now these areas are split open, they're not connected whatsoever at all. What I can do is select all the anchor points of the shape. For example, right now, the shape is physically an open shape because it's not close but those two areas on the upper left hand corner right over here, they do overlap. And in this particular example when you only have two anchor points that overlap and that's all that there is. Basically, everything else is all connected. You can go to the Object command, choose Path and then join those and it will automatically join those using the same as case here, a corner point.

So that's the only case you can select a whole range of objects. Normally though, you would have to only select two anchor points and then perform the joint command. Sometimes you get an error if you try selecting more than two anchor points. You receive an error that says you need to have only two anchor points selected in order to use a Join command. So that's how you would use that particular setting. I'm actually going to undo this for a second so we see the back out so I have these is also for paths before. In fact, the easiest way was simply just go to the File menu here and choose Revert and that will bring us back to the state here in case you want to do it that way. So I have now these as again also for paths that are right here.

Let's say I want this to become a square, how would I do that? Right now I don't want just to connect the line; I actually wanted to square itself up. So what I can do is besides the Join command, there's also another command inside of Illustrator called the Average command. And the Average command can actually take two points that are not exactly sitting on top of each other and then perform an Average command then combine them on top of each other using that particular setting. Let me show you what I mean. If I take these two right now and I go to the Object menu, I choose Path and rather than choosing Join, I choose Average and when I choose Average here, I'm going to choose, not necessarily Horizontal or Vertical. I'll give you examples of why I chose both of these, in a minute.

I'm going to choose both. I want you to find basically average of the horizontal and the vertical together and when I click OK, you can now see that those are all together that's it, right there. Now I can go ahead and I can take those too, and I can join them, Command+J, make a corner point and then I'm done. So that's one easy way that I can simply perform an Average command to help me find that point and then simply join them in that way. So to take the averaging half a step further, what I can do is again marquee select with the direct selection tool, all of the anchor points on the far ends of these lines. Now, these were all lined up very nicely but these are not necessarily lined up very nicely. I can choose Object, Path, Average and if I choose both, look what happens here, they all both get averaged on both the vertical and the horizontal in the same time as well.

So, that is basically the commands of using, joining and averaging. As you will see later, there is the capability inside of Illustrator. These anchor points to stay selected, you can use some of the Align functions for that as well. And when we talk about the whole entire way of working with aligning objects, we'll get into detail about that as well. But here's just a basic simple way of just averaging or joining individual anchor points in this way.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS4 Essential Training.


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Q: I cannot get the new brush dropdown to allow me to create either a New Scatter Brush or a New Art Brush; the only ones I can click on are New Calligraphic Brush and New Pattern Brush. When I go to Windows > Brush Library and choose New Brush, again the only ones I can click on are New Calligraphic Brush and New Pattern Brush. How do I make these work like they should?
A: In order to create a new Scatter or Art brush, you must first have artwork selected on the artboard.
 
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