Drawing Vector Graphics
Illustration by John Hersey

Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions: Demo


Drawing Vector Graphics

with Von Glitschka

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Video: Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions: Demo

So, we're going to take a look at keyboard shortcuts now. And before we jump into that, I want to demonstrate how you would do something in Illustrator without keyboard shortcuts, so you can understand the benefit of using them. With this design, I've created this starburst shape which I don't want it to fall outside the circular shape of the design. So, we want to make a clipping mask using the circular shape with the starburst. In Illustrator, you'd select the shape like I've done here.
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  1. 2m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 26s
    2. Exercise files
      1m 5s
  2. 18m 36s
    1. What is illustrative design?
    2. A systematic creative process
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring analog tools
      2m 39s
    4. Exploring digital tools
      13m 37s
  3. 18m 31s
    1. Creative preparation
      1m 13s
    2. The creative brief
      2m 25s
    3. Creative thinking methods
      1m 2s
    4. Word associations
      1m 55s
    5. Mind mapping
      1m 55s
    6. Before. During. After.
      1m 26s
    7. I think, therefore I design
      2m 46s
    8. Selecting the appropriate style
      2m 57s
    9. Using reference material
      2m 52s
  4. 8m 50s
    1. Solid creative foundation
    2. Anyone can draw
      2m 17s
    3. Thumbnail sketching
      2m 34s
    4. Refining your drawn ideas
      3m 6s
  5. 44m 40s
    1. Workflow enhancements
    2. Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions
      2m 25s
    3. Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions: Demo
      13m 15s
    4. Using custom scripts
      6m 44s
    5. Graphic styles and custom color palettes
      8m 19s
    6. Using layers
      7m 15s
    7. Toggling Smart Guides on and off
      5m 45s
  6. 38m 59s
    1. Building your vector shapes
      1m 0s
    2. A roadmap for vector building
      4m 40s
    3. The clockwork method
      7m 4s
    4. Prime point placement
      3m 40s
    5. The point-by-point method
      8m 22s
    6. The shape-building method
      6m 46s
    7. Symmetry is your friend
      6m 1s
    8. Art directing yourself
      1m 26s
  7. 19m 54s
    1. Presenting your designs
      1m 4s
    2. Presentation formats
      5m 50s
    3. Revealing your designs
      1m 36s
    4. Writing a design rationale
      1m 56s
    5. Responding to client revisions
      3m 46s
    6. Renewable creative energy
      5m 42s
  8. 49s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Drawing Vector Graphics
2h 32m Intermediate Dec 21, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join illustrative designer Von Glitschka as he deconstructs the creative process to teach you how to develop and create precise vector graphics. The course begins with an overview of his methodology for design and drawing—analog methods that are vital to digital workflows. Next, discover how to prepare yourself and your client for the project by defining the scope and expectations early on. With the creative brief ready and ideation explored, Von jumps into sketching, refining, and creating vector graphics through simple build methods. He continues to art direct the work and conducts digital and physical presentations of the final designs. The last chapter includes some workflow enhancements designed to save you time and conserve your creative energy for future projects.

Topics include:
  • What is illustrative design?
  • Establishing a creative brief
  • Defining client expectations
  • Exploring creative thinking exercises
  • Art directing your drawing
  • Selecting an appropriate style for each project
  • Drawing and thumbnail sketching
  • Discerning anchor point placement
  • Building vector drawings with shapes
  • Presenting your illustrations
Von Glitschka

Keyboard shortcuts and recording actions: Demo

So, we're going to take a look at keyboard shortcuts now. And before we jump into that, I want to demonstrate how you would do something in Illustrator without keyboard shortcuts, so you can understand the benefit of using them. With this design, I've created this starburst shape which I don't want it to fall outside the circular shape of the design. So, we want to make a clipping mask using the circular shape with the starburst. In Illustrator, you'd select the shape like I've done here.

Go to Edit, and you would Copy. Then, you would have to go back to Edit again, pull down to Paste in Front. Then, you have to go to Object, pull down to Arrange>Bring to Front. Then you'd have the shape ready to make the mask. This shape is now cloned from the previous shape behind it. So you can see that there. With that Mask Shape selected, you select the Starburst. Then, you go back to Object, down to Clipping Mask, and over to Make, and that's how you would mask that shape to create the design you want.

So, you can see, it takes a lot of pulldown menus; approximately four pulldown menus, and a couple of secondary menus in order to get what you need. I think there is a more efficient way of doing that. So, we are going to undo what we did. And this is how you can do it with keyboard shortcuts. You first have to set up your keyboard shortcuts by going to Edit, go down to Keyboard Shortcuts. That will bring up the Keyboard Shortcuts menu. And the type of commands that we are wanting to change are all menu commands, so we're going to click on Menu Commands.

The first one we are going to change is under Object, and we'll scroll down to Clipping Mask, click that. You can see the options under here, under Make, Release, and we want to change the Make Clipping Mask. This is where you can click in here and put in any key command you want. As you can see right now, I have it set up for the F1 key to make a Clipping Mask, and that's what we want. The nice thing about Keyboard Shortcuts is these Menu Commands can be changed to anything you'd like.

If you don't want to use your F key, you don't need to. In this case, I've changed this one to F1. And you can see, the next F command key of mind is F2. And I made that the Release Clipping Mask. So, let's go back, and I'll demonstrate how that works now. So previously, you saw that it took four menu commands in order to create the mask we want. In this case, we can just select the circular shape. I am going to hit my F3 key, which is my Clone key.

I'm going to go over that. But, you can see one button push, and I have everything I need. I now select my starburst, and I'm going to hit my F1 key now, and that creates my mask. So literally, a two-button push to get what we need instead of four menu options, and two secondary menu options in order to do it. So you can see, if you use these type of functions as you build your designs over a period of time, you are going to save a lot of time doing that.

So that works great. That's how you set up a keyboard shortcut in Illustrator. You can customize it to any keyboard you want. It's going to make your workflow a lot more efficient. So now, we're going to go over the F3 key, which is set up to be a Clone Command. In Adobe Illustrator, there is no Clone Command. The only way you can do that, specifically with this design I am going to show you, is we want to take this pattern of these dots and we want to mask it into the skull shape.

Now, to do this natively in Illustrator, you'd select the skull shape, go up to Edit>Copy, then back to Edit>Paste in Front. So, this is now cloned from the shape below it, but it still isn't in the right position. You would have to go to Object now, Arrange, and bring it to front. Now, it's in the correct position to select the mask, go under Object, down to Clipping Mask, and Make in order to create the design we want.

So, you can see, it takes three, four steps, and you add that up over the course of entire year with all your projects, and you can see all the time you would waste building that way. There is a better way of doing this, and it's going to involve having to use recorded actions in Illustrator. So, you can see the Actions Palette right over here in Illustrator, and you can see some of the actions I've already created. We are going to replicate my Clone command here, and I am going to show you how that's done.

So, let's go to a different layer. So, in order to do that, we need to record the action we need in order to assign a keyboard shortcut to that. To record the action, you go to the Option menu, under the Action Palette, to New Action, and that will bring up this pane. You can name it whatever you want. In this case, we'll just call it Clone 2, and we'll keep it under our Set: GS Actions as you can see here.

You don't have to do this. But personally, the default coloring for all the actions in Illustrator is None. So, I like to attach red to it just to distinguish it as my own. Then, to assign it to an F key, you can select any F key under this menu, and for this one, I've already set up a Clone command under F3. So, what we're going to do just to demonstrate this, we'll select the F3 key, but we are going to tell it to also say that you have to have Shift selected with F3 because I want to show you how to record it first, and I have to select something before we can do that.

So, we are going to hit Record. So now, Illustrator is in Record Mode. You can see the red light is turned on, on the Actions Palette. We'll select the shape we want to clone. Now, we'll just walk through that process that you have to do if you built it natively in Illustrator. We'll first Copy it, go back, we'll Paste in Front. Now, we are going to go to the Object Menu, to Arrange, and Bring to Front. That's the action we want to happen every time we hit our F key.

We're done recording, so we are going to hit Stop on the recording over here. And you can see how it's now created a New Action underneath our Actions folder for GS Actions called Clone 2. We can collapse that. That shows you that action is ready to go, and it's now assigned to the F3 with Shift holding down. I've created the exact same Clone command here. You can see the steps it's taking here, the exact same ones we just recorded.

And that is attached to the F3 key. So, with that action in place now, all we need to do is select our shape, hit F3, and it's immediately in place to now paste inside, and as I showed you in the last movie, we have that F1 key set up to paste inside, and we are done. So, it's literally a two-key process in order to create the art we want, rather than multi pulldown menu options and secondary menus in order to pull it up.

So, the more you can set up quick keys to do these kinds of routine tasks, the faster you will work and the more efficient you will work. So now we're going to go over the F7 key. And with this piece of art, or a lot of art you create in Adobe Illustrator, you'll create individual shapes that make up your art. In this case, we have this rose design. And the background is this rose, this red shape, and on top of it is a white shape, and then on top of that white shape is another red shape.

So, it looks like it's see-through here to the background, but in reality, if you toggle on the background color, you can see how they're just individual vector shapes stacked one on top of each other. Now, to build this so that it is see- through, you would select this white shape, select the red shape, and using the Pathfinder Palette like a cookie-cutter, we would now punch out that shape from the other shape. If you turn on the Background again, you can see now it appears everything is see-through.

That's great! Now, in order to create a design where you can move all your shapes as one unified piece of artwork, you could group this. But, in this case, we want to unite all these shapes into one shape. So, we're going to go back to the Pathfinder Palette, click the Unite button. So now, if I deselect and reselect that shape, it moves as one independent shape, and that's what we want.

If we turn on the Background, you can see through it. That's great! Now, let's say after we're looking at this art, and we scrutinized it, we decide we want to make an edit now to this shape, such as on the end part of this petal, we'll zoom in so we can this a little better. We are going to edit this part right here on the end of the petal, and we want to make it, kind of lop it off, cut off part of that. So, we'll do that by using what I call a throwaway shape.

We'll just use this shape to edit the other shape. That's on top now. We select this red shape. And going back to the Pathfinder, we'll just hit Minus (-). So, we are just going to cut off that little piece at the end. But, watch what happens in Illustrator when you do this. You hit Minus (-) and part your artwork disappears. So, that's the problem that exists in Illustrator. And the way you get around it within Illustrator without setting up any kind of customization is after you've created the shape by using Unite, you would have to go to the Object Menu, pull down to Compound Path, and Make.

And all that does is it's still a unified shape. It moves as one shape. But, it's what's called a true Compound Path. This is literally considered one path in Illustrator even though it's made up of individual shapes. Once that's done, you can now select this shape, and edit the end the way you want. So, we'll lop off this in the way we wanted to do it. And now when you do it using Pathfinder, hit Minus (-) and it would cut off the end, and you don't lose any shapes.

That's the only way you can do it. But, as you can see, it takes some extra steps. So, I build this way all the time in Illustrator, and it was a problem I kept running into. So, in order to resolve this, I recorded my own action which I call Compound Path. So, if we go over to the Actions Palette here and I'll just toggle this, you can see all this is, is it is running under Object, down to Compound Path, and it's running that Make Compound Path command.

So, if I select this art, and I now hit my Minus (-), and then I select all my shapes, and I unite them, all I have to do is I always make sure just to hit the F7 key. I don't have to go up here, and pull down, and go Make. I just have it as a F key, the F7 key.

So, if I make edits moving forward, that problem doesn't happen. I can edit it. It's not a huge problem, but I build this way literally on everything I create, and it's something that you're going to run into. And unless you're aware of it, it could cause a lot of frustration, a lot of problems, and this is the way you can resolve it by recording your own action and applying that action to a key. It could be an F key like I'm using F7, it could be any key actually, whatever you prefer for your own workflow.

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