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Making the paintbrush behave

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Making the paintbrush behave

Now although Brush tool can be a pretty amazing tool for creating and manipulating artwork inside of Illustrator. It can be a wee bit frustrating as well. And when I say a wee bit, I mean exceedingly clench your fist, beat your head against the monitor, frustrating. At least for me personally, but I might have anger issues. But still there are ways to make the tool behave and I'm going to show those ways inside of this exercise as well as a few ways to edit the paths traditionally. I have gone ahead and made some changes to my artwork and I have saved those changes as Further edits.ai and I'm going to click on this hair because I want to change it a little bit. Right now, it looks a bit too much like a mullet, so I'll press the B key to switch to the Paintbrush tool here and I'm going to drag from this anchor point up and over to this anchor point like so and release, and that completely changed the direction of the path.

Making the paintbrush behave

Now although Brush tool can be a pretty amazing tool for creating and manipulating artwork inside of Illustrator. It can be a wee bit frustrating as well. And when I say a wee bit, I mean exceedingly clench your fist, beat your head against the monitor, frustrating. At least for me personally, but I might have anger issues. But still there are ways to make the tool behave and I'm going to show those ways inside of this exercise as well as a few ways to edit the paths traditionally. I have gone ahead and made some changes to my artwork and I have saved those changes as Further edits.ai and I'm going to click on this hair because I want to change it a little bit. Right now, it looks a bit too much like a mullet, so I'll press the B key to switch to the Paintbrush tool here and I'm going to drag from this anchor point up and over to this anchor point like so and release, and that completely changed the direction of the path.

Now that is not the maddening problem that I wanted to show you. That wasn't supposed to happen, so press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Basically, Illustrator has a lot of issues. We are determining exactly what portion of the artwork you want to modify are concerned, and you usually can help it by painting along the existing lines like so. But now this is a problem I wanted. I went ahead and paint it from corner to corner and when you release on a corner point, sometimes and you never know, but often times what it does is it goes ahead and wipes out that corner and replaces it with a loop like this and that's not what we want. So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to try again and I'm going to drag from this location like so and then I'll release right there on the segment instead of on the point. And that gives me more of the ripple that I was looking for.

Okay, now let's say that I really want to calm down the hair in this region right there because Eunice is not a part of a 80s hair band. We want some nice, just flowing lovely hair and so I want to repaint this entire area going down to this location. The trick is to make sure that you begin painting along a segment and you end painting along a segment. That's when it's going to work out the best. Now what's going to happen is anyone's guess. As I start painting along this region here but if I paint like so, along an existing segment and then I'm taken off doing my own things for a little bit and then I come back to an anchor point and release. This is what ends up happening. You just completely get rid of all that extra stuff that you liked at the end of the path outline and so when you release on an anchor point, danger is basically what you should feel.

So releasing on an anchor point is almost never a good idea where painting is concerned. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl +Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. The better thing to do is start off along this existing segment, paint as you like, like so, and then comeback to the existing segment and then release and that worked. Nice! And if you have problems with wiping out the beginning of the path, which can happen oh-so-often, then just try again. Undo and try painting along that existing segment once again.

All right, I'm going to switch to the Black Arrow tool by pressing the V key and I'm going to click on this path right there. This is another wonderful thing that can happen. I'll press the B key to get my Brush tool. I'm still working with my Wacom tablet by the way, and I'll start dragging from that anchor point, also a bad idea by the way, and I'll drag upwards like so and release and of course, Illustrator naturally thinks, "Oh, I know what you want to do." Wipe out everything you have done and redraw it. That makes sense! So go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+ Z on the Mac, because it most certainly does not make sense but that's what it does. Now what you need to do to solve that problem is begin dragging over that segment once again and then continue it like so and you end up getting much better results.

All right, yet another problem that you might run into is you have got a path selected, you are just not paying all that much attention, you start dragging from here. Notice I'm not that close to the path. I have got several pixels between me and that path and I just drag straight down or something and I completely wipe out that other path because I was close enough to the selected path that Illustrator thought I wanted to manipulate it. Now if you end up having those sorts of problems, obviously, Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo, then go over to the Paintbrush tool icon in the toolbox, double-click on it and that brings up the Paintbrush tool options dialog box.

Now make sure that Keep Selected is tuned-off. That way, when you are painting a bunch of brush strokes into an illustration, they don't remain selected and you don't run the risk of accidentally harming them. So Keep Selected should stay off. Edit Selected Paths should stay on because otherwise, you are going to edit deselected paths inside the illustration and that would be an unmitigated disaster in my experience but within 12 pixels. 12 pixels really honestly? I don't think so. I think, we can be more careful than that. So I'm going to reduce that value to 5 pixels, press Tab, it's going to update, click OK and now if I go ahead and start dragging it at this location here, then I keep the former path and I just add to it.

I will tell you, there is no reason you have to edit your paths with the Paintbrush tool, just because you drew with the Paintbrush tool, doesn't mean you have to edit them with the Paintbrush tool. You can use the White Arrow tool and the Pen tool, if you like. So for example, I could grab this point and drag it upward, I could modify my control handles if I want to. This is all okie-dokie by Illustrator and it won't harm a darn thing. What can end-up harming things is if you decide to delete an end-point. So just know that can cause problems. It doesn't always but it can cause problems. You may lop-off a nice tapered end. In our case, I think it works just fine with this main but in other cases, I have seen it go wrong. Yeah, this time it worked out okay, so that's nice. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z, though because I want that end-point.

What if you want to delete an interior point like this one right there? Well, don't just delete it because then you are going to buzz the path under two paths and then joining it back together can cause problems. So instead, just go ahead and grab your Pen tool right there and then hover that point, you will get the little minus sign next to the Pen tool cursor and click in order to make it go away. So as long as you are careful with your modifications, you should be able to retain all that good pressure sensitive and otherwise painterly information in that path outline.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21568 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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