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Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Joining and averaging paths


From:

Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

with Justin Seeley

Video: Joining and averaging paths

As you begin to work with artwork inside of Adobe Illustrator, especially artwork that was created by other people, you may run into some problems that you need to remedy with the paths that were created. When I first started working with Illustrator, I ran into this problem a lot. As a matter of fact, I created this problem a lot, and so in this movie I'm going to show you how to take two separate paths and join them together, or average them together to create one single path. Basically what I'm talking about, if you focus on this area here inside the artwork that I have open, you'll notice that this leaf down here is actually comprised of two separate shapes, this one and this one.
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  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
8h 48m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adobe Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks, from illustration to app development. This course demonstrates core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow—for print, the web, or building assets that will find their way into other applications. Author Justin Seeley explains the elements that make up vector graphics (paths, strokes, and fills) while showing how to use each of the drawing tools, and demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths and organize them into groups and layers. The course also covers text editing, working with color, effects, and much more.

Topics include:
  • Understanding vector graphics
  • Creating and setting up files for print or web destinations
  • Selecting and transforming objects on the page
  • Creating spot colors
  • Applying fills, strokes, and gradients to artwork
  • Adjusting appearances and effects
  • Working with anchor points and paths
  • Drawing with the Pen tool
  • Creating text
  • Managing layers
  • Creating and using symbols
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Justin Seeley

Joining and averaging paths

As you begin to work with artwork inside of Adobe Illustrator, especially artwork that was created by other people, you may run into some problems that you need to remedy with the paths that were created. When I first started working with Illustrator, I ran into this problem a lot. As a matter of fact, I created this problem a lot, and so in this movie I'm going to show you how to take two separate paths and join them together, or average them together to create one single path. Basically what I'm talking about, if you focus on this area here inside the artwork that I have open, you'll notice that this leaf down here is actually comprised of two separate shapes, this one and this one.

They're both open ended paths though. I simply drew one half of the leaf here, and I drew one half of the leaf here in the arcing shapes. The line from here to here is actually created because of the open-ended shape. What I want to do is make sure that this turns into one of these, and in order to do that, I'm going to have to utilize the Join or the Average Command. So the first thing I need to do is determine which one of those in need to use. Well technically on this particular shape, I can use either one. Let's take a look at what they both do, so you can see exactly what to use in any given situation.

I'm going to first zoom in really close to the edge of this leaf. And you'll notice here at the end, I have two endpoints, and I can actually take these and make sure that they match up really close, like so. Once I get them really close, I can then use something called the Join Command and the Join Command is actually going to take both of these and join them into one single path. Now could I manipulate these anchor points individually and move them into the right space and then use something like the Pathfinder or Compound Shape to do this? Absolutely, I could.

But that takes a lot of time and as you know, we don't have a lot of time. So let's go ahead and see how we can do this quickly and easily by utilizing one of these cool commands. I'm going to grab the Direct Selection tool, and the first thing I'm going to do is draw a marquee selection around the ends of the shapes. I know there are only two endpoints here, because I drew the shapes. What you'll have to do is investigate your artwork and see exactly how many anchor points are at the point where you're trying to join. You have to work with two anchor points here and they have to be close together like you see here.

I'm going to go up to the Object menu, and I'm going to go down the Path. At the top of the Path menu you'll see Join, and you also see the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+J. So if you wanted to use the keyboard shortcut, as opposed to this command, you could simply hit Ctrl+J on your keyboard and you can do the exact same thing. Once I hit Join, you're going to notice that the line in between disappears. They become one unified point, and if I zoom out, and click away, I've pretty much created the shape that I wanted. However, the endpoints weren't exactly matched up.

So when I look at this, it joined them into this slanted-off ending. I don't like that at all. So let's go ahead and undo what I just did. So for this particular case, I don't believe that Join is going to be the right thing to do. So I'm going to click away and grab my Direct Selection tool again. This time I'm going to select the two endpoints here. Notice that these endpoints have a little bit of distance between them, they are not actually touching. So in this case I have to do something called Average. So I'm going to go to the Object menu and I'm going to choose Path and I'm going to choose Average.

When it pops up, it's going to ask you which Axis that you look at, in order to determine how to join these paths together. For this particular one, I'm going to choose Both and see what happens. When I hit OK, they snap right together into one path, and if I zoom out, you'll see here that it has completed the shape just like I wanted it to. If I click away and zoom back out, you can see that it looks just like all the others. Now there is somewhat of a seam down the middle, and we could fix that simply by creating a compound shape or merging these with the Pathfinder.

But I've essentially eliminated the problem that I had before, wherein I had two separate paths. Now I've one single path that I'm able to edit and manipulate just like the rest. So the next time you run into a problem like this, try the Join and Average Commands and see if they don't help you get where you need to go, just a little bit faster.

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