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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
Now I know at the end of the previous exercise I said we were going to smooth over the transition between this lopped off image without a shoulder and the rest of the vector objects by introducing a little bit of filigree. However I think it's important to take a moment out in order to explain how to manage your linked images here inside Illustrator. So let me introduce you to the various linking option that are available to you. I'm going to go the Layers palette, twirl open the image layer, and meatball Sepia image.psd. So I have the image selected here inside the illustration window. Then notice that I see a couple of different links.
Linked File, which is going to bring up the Links palette, and Sepia image.psd, which gives me direct access to a few commands that I can apply to this linked image right here. And so I'm going to go ahead and click on that item to bring up a menu and I started things off with Relink, which allows me to link this image to a different image on disk. So I can go ahead and swap out images, if I want to. If I'm working inside of a document that contains all sort of linked images and multiple Artboards and I'm not exactly sure where a specific item that I have selected is located, then I can go ahead and choose Go To Link in order to center that linked image right there inside of the illustration window.
So that's great when you have a lot of links going on. I'll go up to that option again and choose Edit Original. Which will go ahead and open the image inside of it's originating application, which in our case is Photoshop. Then you can make some changes, you would save changes, you would go back to Illustrator and presumably the application would go ahead and ask, if you wanted to update your modifications which of course presumably you do. I will go ahead and click on this link again. We have got Update Link just in case Illustrator wasn't wise to your modifications. You could force an update like so. Placement Options is quite interesting in my opinion. It allows you to determine how one image is replaced with another. So I'll go ahead and choose that option. This also applies to updates incidentally.
So by default Illustrator is going to go ahead and Preserve the Transforms, by which it means any scaling that you have applied. And that's why when we replace the 267 ppi image with 220 ppi version of itself a couple of exercises ago. It stays at the same size because the scale was preserved, thanks to this Transform setting. So this is the default setting inside Illustrator and by the way if you want to understand this little graphic here. The palm tree is replacing the dunes. So the dunes was a horizontal image. It's getting replaced with the palm tree.
What's going to happen, why, whatever scale has been applied to the dunes is going to get applied to the palm trees. But Illustrator is not going to make any attempt to make sure that the palm tree is the same size. Whereas if you choose Proportions(Fit) it's going to put in there all the way it's going to scale it down like so it fits into the dune. Whereas if you choose Proportions(Fill) it's going to fill up the entire area consumed by the dunes which means it may have to get larger. It's definitely going to get bigger than the dunes in some way, shape or form.
You also have the option of retaining the original File Dimensions, which were that the setting when we had updated to 220 ppi image. It would have grown inside of our composition. This is my favorite setting by the way, this is the one I use. Then finally you have the worst possible setting ever. This is going to squish the image into the old frame, which is just a bad idea. So I recommend you stick with Transforms or if you are me, you would work with File Dimensions because me, I make sure that I scale my files inside of Photoshop before I bring them over to Illustrator and that's what I'm recommending you do as well.
Now I'll click OK to accept that modification. Finally under this menu you have Link Information, which brings up this little Link Information dialog box, as opposed to the big Link File Info dialog box, a big XMP multipanel dialog box, where we saw that weird TIF information. But anyway we'll see the Name of the file, where it's located on disk, which for me is on my D drive. How big it is and what kind of file it is when it was created, when it was updated and so on the transformation that's been applied. Go ahead and click OK in order to just accept that FYI. There is nothing you can do inside that dialog box. You just find out the good stuff.
You got buttons if you want to you can embed this image into the illustration, so it's no longer linked which means your file is going to grow. It's going to really balloon. Not my favorite solution but there it is Edit Original we already saw that it's going to edit the original in the originating application which would Photoshop in our case. Live Trace allows you to trace the image with vectors and we'll be seeing how that function works very exciting feature that we'll see inside the mastery portion of the series. And then over here in the Linked File, we'll go ahead and bring up the Linked palette, same as choosing the Links command from the Window menu and these buttons down here just duplicate functions we have already seen. Relink, we have got a Go To Link, we have got Update Link and we have got Edit Original. So that there as well. I think they are easier to get to from that little guy, but it's up to you. If you bring up the fly-out menu, you will see yet again more duplicates of those same commands. You also have the option of embedding if you want to. Here is the Link File Info command that brings up that XMP panel. And the reason this is useful disk by the way is so you can find information if there is Description info.
So copyright information all kinds of good stuff, if somebody is going ahead and taking the time to annotate the image always a good idea you can go to the URL If you want to, and you can check out just all kinds of other info about the original image. I'm going to click OK and finally let's say you lose an image. Now this is very, very important. If you are linking to a bunch of images from your illustration and you take that illustration to get printed by a commercial printer, you have to have all those linked images with you because if you don't have one with you. It won't print properly. And if you are lucky your commercial printer will scold you and tell you, you have made a mistake and then you'll go back and fix it, and if you are not lucky you just won't have that image and your print shot will get ruined. It's a terrible thing.
So if you lose track of one of these files and just you can't figure out where it is in on your hard drive, then click on the fly-out menu icon and choose Reveal in Bridge and that will go ahead and reveal the image inside the Bridge and show you the path of that image over here in the folders tree and up at the top of the screen. So there you have it in the nutshell links management inside Illustrator CS4.
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