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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
All right gang. It's good to see you all here. We are about to start on yet another project here in Chapter 4, which is all about geometric shapes of course. And I want you open up this illustration right here, it's called Tonalpohualli.ai. I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing that right or not, but what it is, is the 260-day Aztec spiritual calendar. They also by the way, they had a 365 day calendar. They were smart people those Aztecs. Too bad the Conquistadors wiped them out during their kill all the smart people project back in the 16th entry. Bbut anyway, since then we have learned that one of the wonderful things about the Tonalpohualli is that you can draw every single bit of it using geometric shape tools inside of the Illustrator.
That is quite possibly its single most wonderful characteristic. Or at least I was able to draw this version of the calendar using simple shape totals and only simple/geometric shape tools here inside Illustrator, and you and I are going to put some of those simple shapes together inside of this chapter and then in the next chapter, we're going to go ahead and fill and stroke those shapes so that we make a version of this calendar right here. Does that not sound exciting? Is that not the most exciting calendar project you've ever heard of? Anyway this image by the way, this illustration is found inside the 04_Geometric_Shapes folder, and in this exercise right here we're going to go ahead and turn this layer into a tracing template so that we can trace over it.
So what I like you to do is turn your attention to the Layers palette if you're working along with me. Now I have these dinky little layer thumbnails here. I don't like them. I don't like them that small, I got to tell you. So, what I suggest you do, and of course you've got more screen real estate than I do, so you might as well take advantage of it. You can create thumbnails of basically any size you want by going over to the palette menu here by clicking on this little icon and choosing Panel Options, and that brings up the Layers Panel Options dialog box. You could switch to large thumbnails but I'm here to tell you large ain't large enough. Why don't you go ahead and switch to something like Other. Or actually not something like Other, go ahead and switch to Other and I'm going to enter 70 pixels, you could try 100, if you've got a really big screen, but I'm going to try 70 and then click OK and now notice, check out those big lustrous layer thumbnails. You can actually tell what's going on with the thumbnails now.
I want you to go over to the calendar layer right here and I want you to meatball it, by clicking on its meatball. It's not enough that this little circle here is known inside Adobe as the meatball, I'm turning it into a verb. I want you to meatball this layer by clicking on that circle in order to select the entire layer of course. And we're going to go ahead and assign an opacity value to that layer. So go up to the Control palette up here at the top of the screen and change the opacity value to 25% or thereabouts, and then I want you to go ahead and, by the way you can deselect these items right here. Now that we're done working with them, you can deselect them either just by clicking off of them with the black arrow tool. We've seen that a couple times in the previous chapter, but I want you to see yet another way to work. You can go up to the Select menu and you can choose the Deselect command, which has a keyboard shortcut of Control+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac, because after all Control+A or Command+A selects everything. Control +Shift+A or Command+Shift+A deselects everything.
So we've deselected this layer, we've gone ahead and changed its opacity to 25%. I now suggest you lock it down by clicking the second column right next to the calendar layer, in order to display this little lock icon, and then finally I suggest you turn on the guides layer. Now the guides layer doesn't have much going on. It's just two guides intersecting the very center of the calendar. But those guides will help you locate shapes inside of the future exercises. And that's all that we're going to do for now.
We're just setting things up so that we can begin drawing, and begin drawing we will in the very next exercise.
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