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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.
I have gone ahead and saved my progress as the document called Calendar face.ai found inside of the 06fill_stroke folder but if you have been working along with me inside of your Richer artwork document that's just swell. Now you may notice that the lips and the nose have two thick of outlines compared with the other strokes around them. So using my Black Arrow tool, I'm going to click on that nose and then Shift-click on the mouth and then Shift-click on the line in the middle of the lips there in order to select all three of these shapes.
Now Illustrator is always trying to offer you just those options that you need in the Control palette at any given time so it's responding to the selection. Sometimes it gets it right, sometimes it doesn't and in this case we are not seeing any stroke options up in the Control palette, if I go to the Appearance palette we do have Stroke options available to us now here inside of Illustrator CS4. So that's a great thing. So I'm going to go ahead and click on this Stroke option right there and then click again. And the nifty thing is we can change the Stroke attributes because all of the selected objects share the same Stroke attributes. If they didn't, for example if I went ahead and Shift- clicked on this eye right here, that would just mess up everything, right.
Now we have mixed Stroke attributes, so we are seeing Mixed Appearances for both, the fill and the stroke attributes at this point. So that's no good. If I Shift-click again in order to turn those objects off then I still have mixed fills but my strokes are available to me. Now if that turns out to be a problem in other words, not all of the attributes or the same then you would have to switch over to the Stroke palette which you can get to from Window menu by choosing the Stroke command or pressing Ctrl+F10, Command+F10 on the Mac. But in our case, we are good to go right here inside the Appearance palette.
So I'm going to click on Stroke and then I'm going to click on the Weight value and I'm going to set it down to the lowest value which is 0.25 which bear in mind now, that's a quarter of a point and a quarter of a point is a quarter of a quarter of 72nd of an inch. So we are basically talking about just a little more than 1300th of an inch. You don't want to go any slimmer than that. In fact, this is what's known as a hairline, aligned so slim that you can barely make it out in print especially when you are going to commercial reproduction with high resolution printers because they can print some mighty thin strokes I'm here to tell you.
So this is the best thin as you want to go. In our case, we want to match the weight of the strokes around the nose and the mouth. So we are going to change the Weight value either here or we were working down here. So I'll go ahead and stick to the Appearance palette. I'll change this stroke rate to 1 point like so. The other problem that we have and this problem is one that affects the nose. Notice that the corners of that nose there are sharp. Which is fine, that's not a problem in and of itself, but my other corners are rounded off as you can see right there and that's a function of what's known as the Stroke join.
So I'm going to click on the nose in order to select it and that selects all three shapes that are making up this compound shape, that is the nose and we will learn more about compound shapes in the later chapter, but for now go either to this Stroke palette or you can click on the word Stroke here in the Appearance palette to gain access to a pop-up version of the Stroke palette and notice these Join options right here, each one of them effects the corners of the strokes. So our default settings is Miter Join which means that we are going to get sharp corners, you can also switch to Bevel Join if you like in order to shave off those corners like we are seeing here or go with Round Join in order to round off those corners and I like Round Join a lot not because they result in nice, soft happy artwork, but rather because they avoid some of the problems that are endemic to Miter Joints with Miter Joints you can end up with really long spikes that can absolutely ruin your effects. It's kind of a when in doubt setting essentially. All right, I also want to demonstrate what's going on Dashed Line. We are not actually going to apply it to this nose permanently just for a moment here.
If you turn on Dashed Line then you can create a Dashed Line effect, this dash is way too big, so let's change it to one and then I'll change my Gap value here to one as well and then we won't worry about the others. You can have three groups of alternating dash and gap patterns if you want to get really elaborate. Now notice how things get kind of discombobulated here at the path intersections, at these corners or the joins, that is to say and that's not necessarily because of the round joint it would be just as bad if we had a Miter Join or a Bevel Join. It's just the function of the dashes not resolving properly at the joining points. So you also have this option of adjusting the cap and the cap is this thing right there, which is how the stroke wraps around the end point.
So if I were to click on just that one stroke actually let's go ahead and press the A key for the White Arrow tool click off and then Alt-click on in order to select that line, that would be an Option-click on the Mac bring up to Stroke palette again or just stick with the Stroke palette, that's right here on screen, you can see there is our Round Cap. If we have a Butt Cap that's going to shave off that edge right there at the end point if we add a Round cap, it will wrap around like that and then we can have a Square Cap as well to extend outward and it's wrapping around or extending outward a full half of the line Weight because that's how the strokes works right it goes half the line Weight on one side turns around and goes half the line weight on the other side.
So you can think of it as sort of being a road that takes the U turn right there. Anyway, we went around I'll go ahead and press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool you can see how and that can take care of our problem with the nose too, if I change it to a Round Cap, normally Cap does not affect a closed shape like this one because you need end points to accommodate a Cap, but because we have dashes we have this dash stroke right here. Illustrator treats the ends of each and every dash as the beginning and endpoint in the path. So if I turn on Round Cap look what happens, we end up with these little tick tacks that are all joined together you can get to circles by the way instead of tick tacks by reducing the dash value to zero and then you get exact circles.
Now we don't have any room between the circles because our gap value is so tiny. So I'll raise that to 1.5 points for example and then we would get this effect here and you are going to notice at some point where two dashes get kind of close to each other and you may have to adjust your values to accommodate for that. In our case, so I'm just going to turn Dashed Line off because that's the effect I'm looking for. All right, you may notice the problem with the tongue and the mouth. The tongue and the mouth line don't exactly line up with each other that's one of those gauche problems that could very well show up in print or could go unnoticed.
Let's assume that it is going to show up and it is going to become a problem that way I can show you the solution in the next exercise.
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