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Joining open paths

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Joining open paths

In this exercise, we are going to discuss joining, how to join paths together. We have actually got a couple of path combos that we want to join. First, we want to take this guy, right here, the arc and the spiral and join them into a single path and then we want to take these two partial arcs and join them as well. And remember, by the way, if you are trying to click in order to select these guys, because we have to select by path outlines, you want to watch your arrow cursor and as soon as you hover over a path outline, some place that you can click, you'll get that little block next to the arrow and they will tell you, now you click and you'll get something. If you don't see the block and you click, you're not going to get anything selected because you are clicking on the stroke, not the path.

Joining open paths

In this exercise, we are going to discuss joining, how to join paths together. We have actually got a couple of path combos that we want to join. First, we want to take this guy, right here, the arc and the spiral and join them into a single path and then we want to take these two partial arcs and join them as well. And remember, by the way, if you are trying to click in order to select these guys, because we have to select by path outlines, you want to watch your arrow cursor and as soon as you hover over a path outline, some place that you can click, you'll get that little block next to the arrow and they will tell you, now you click and you'll get something. If you don't see the block and you click, you're not going to get anything selected because you are clicking on the stroke, not the path.

All right, anyway, when you are thinking about joining, you have to work with open paths. What do I mean by open paths? Well, these guys are open because they end in end points; they have end points on them. They don't loop all the way around and rejoin. So something like a circle is a closed path, something like this eye up here, by the way, is a closed path. So anything that loops around becomes a shape, a shape is a closed path and what we think of this being a line is an open path and you can join open paths together. All right, so see how it moved the spiral off to the side a little bit. I'll undo that movement, so it's back where it was and you can see these two paths aren't really lined up properly. I'm going to zoom in farther, so you can see this guy is down a little bit. And by the way, I have saved my progress just in case you want to get exactly the same effect I'm getting as Join me.ai.

Now, I'm going to Ctrl-click or Command- click on this top eyeball to send this layer into the Outline Mode and I'm also, for a moment, I'm just going to click on the Guides to hide them so they are not in my way. So I can see what I'm doing and you can see these guys are not on top of each other. In order to join end points affectively, you really want them to be coincident and what this use of coincident means is that they occupy exactly the same space and the easiest way to make that happen is kind of drag the spiral off to the side here, get it out of the way, because this guy was lined up perfectly with the guide, notice that. So he is in a good spot, it's a spiral that's in a bad spot; I didn't draw it quite right. So now, I'll drag by then end point, I'm using the Black Arrow tool, notice that, and I'm going to drag it onto this other end point, so it snaps into place. Of course, I'm nice and zoomed in, so I can really see what I'm doing.

All right, now let's zoom out a little bit and I'm going to go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and you now want to select the two coincident endpoints and the easiest way to do that is instead of clicking on the point, you want to marquee it. Now I have introduced a new tool here, the White Arrow tool, the Direct Selection tool, what it lets you do is select partial paths. So, for example, if I click right there on the end point of this arc, I'm selecting just that one anchor point and I can move it around all over the place, check that out. This is called reshaping, by the way, and we are going to examine reshaping in more detail in a later chapter, but you can take any path, and bend it like this just by dragging a point around.

So I'll press Ctrl+Z a couple of times, Command+Z on the Mac a couple of times, in order to move that back into the proper location. But the thing is you can't really affectively click on a point to select two points at the same time. This gets the end point in the spiral, how do I now board down and get the end point in the arc. Well, the easiest way to do that is to marquee and notice, if I just drag in an empty area with the White Arrow tool, I get this little marquee, you can see it right there. Anything that gets trapped inside the marquee, even partially, gets selected. So I just ever so partially surrounded this point and now it's selected. What I want to do is marquee down here and that will select both of these coincident end points, awesome! Now, I'm going to go up to my Control palette up here and notice we have got this Cut control right there, Cut path at selected anchor point. So you can also cut path this way. You can select a point with the White Arrow tool and click on that icon right there in order to cut it at that location.

But what we want to do instead is use this option; Connect selected end points, and if I click, notice I get this Join dialog box and I can say how do I want to join these points together. Now I have a smooth arc that's gently going to connect these two lines with each other. So I don't want to Corner, because that could end up creating basically what's known as a cusp point at this location, where we have a little bit of a Corner going on. I want to make sure that we have an absolutely smooth transition. So I'll select Smooth and click OK. Another way to work, by the way, in case you like commands better than icons up here, just so as you know, I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac to undo that modification and I'm going to go up to the Object menu, these points are still selected, by the way, I choose Path and I choose this command right there; Join. You also have a keyboard shortcut. Ctrl+J, Command+J on the Mac. It does the exact same thing as this icon right there and it brings up this dialog box, you click on Smooth and then click OK.

All right, here is where things can go wrong. I'm going to undo that again and we will now have a lot of control handles showing up. That's okay. But things can go wrong with using the Scissors tool. So do you have a Scissors tool, it can give me an alert message and get mad at you, well the same thing can happen with joining. When you are joining, it's a very old trick inside of Illustrator and the old tools tend to be the fussiest tools. So let's say I would turn the Guides back on, so that I could see them and I were to go to the View menu, choose Guides and then choose Lock Guides, to turn off the lock. Notice that I have got the points selected. The guide does not appear to be selected. It's not a different color, it's still cyan, so we should be okay, but this Connect icon is dimmed.

And if I go to the Object menu and I choose Path and I choose Join, why then I get an error message saying, to join you must select two open end points. It's like, okay, done, thank you very much. If they are not on the same path, which they aren't; they are on different paths, they cannot be on the text paths, nor inside graphs. Well, this in a graph and it's not a text path and if both of them are grouped-- they aren't grouped. I haven't done any grouping. They must be in the same group. And it's just like, okay, check, check, check and check, none of this applies, okay, I'm now confused. Here is the problem; when you marquee there, you did select the Guide and you can see I selected the Guide because there is a little mark there inside the Guides layer that's telling you some Guide is selected and then it's like oh! So if I go up to the View menu and then take care of that problem, Guides > Lock Guides, then my Guides are no longer selected.

This Guide is now available, see and the Path > Join command is no longer going to gripe at me; it's just going to do what I asked it to do. All right, so I'm showing you that it's the height of tedium, I acknowledge that. But I'm showing it to you because you will run into these problems and you'll see an error message like that, where nothing in the error message. Even if you are the kind of person who diligently reads the error message, you just don't freak out and click OK. You read it and you are going, all right, so what's your point, Illustrator? This is the kind of stuff that happens. So in other words, Illustrator is frequently, especially with these old tools, unaware of its own issues. It will give you a text, this huge like page discussion of what it thinks its issues are and then it turns out, none of that applies. Very common.

So that kind of stuff happens. So that's one joining scenario there. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you different joining scenario, where we are working with two points that don't quite line up with each other, what do you do? The solution, coming right up.

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Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

182 video lessons · 37867 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 42m 7s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 2s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
      56s
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      35s
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 14s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 39s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
      55s
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 43s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
      54s
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 38s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 28s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
      55s
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 48s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 30s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
      44s
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 55s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 32s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
      51s
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 1s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 26s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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