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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.
You see before you a stylized version of a classic Tonalpohualli, which is the 260-day Aztec ritual calendar. I drew this illustration using nothing more than the Geometric Shape tools. And when I say the Geometric Shape tools, I mean, these guys right here. We have got the Rectangle tool, which draws rectangles and squares. We have got the Rounded Rectangle tool, which draws rectangles and squares with rounded corners. We have got the Ellipse tool, which draws ellipses and circles. We have got the Polygon tool which draws regular polygons meaning things like squares, pentagons and hexagons and all those guys, octagons and so on. Then we've got the Star tool, which draws regular stars like a five-pointed American style star and that sort of thing. Then finally we've got this thing called the Flare tool.
Now the Flare tool is not really a Geometric Shape tool, these other guys just draw single shapes at a time, the Flare tool draws a bunch of different paths at the time and automatically fills them with these transparent effects in order to create the effect of a lens flare, and I'll show you what that looks like actually. We will start with that because I doubt we'll ever visit it again. It is sort of a one shot tool, if you want the effect, great, if you don't, you don't. I'm going to make sure the calendar layer is selected and I'm going to drag, let's say, about right here. Notice as I drag out, it automatically creates whatever the heck it is doing from the center outward and I have got a couple of concentric circles there.
There is actually more going on than that and a bunch of rays that are being emitted from the center. I'm going to draw something about this big. We are seeing that concentric circles stay entirely inside of the circles that belong to the calendar, and yet when I release, I've got this big circle that goes way outside and looks completely foolish at this point, does not look like it is a lens flare effect, it looks like it's a big saucer in the background. So I'm going to get my White Arrow tool and I'm going to click off the shapes for a second to deselect them and then I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click on that circle in order to select it and I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to delete it.
And then we get this lens flare effect, which is actually pretty cool. I mean, I do not know if it really works with this geometric calendar here, but it is a nifty effect that gives you sort of a sense of a light coming into a camera lens and then refracting around. That as I say is probably last time we are going to see the Flare tool, the others we are going to be using a lot right here. So I'm going to go over to the Geometric Shape tool flyout menu and I'm going to release on this Tearoff item so that we can get to these tools on a regular basis.
Go ahead and select the Rectangle tool because that will be our default tool here. We are going to use these tools to draw certain elements of the calendar and I'm creating this elaborate illustration here or having you create that elaborate illustration, because I want you to get a sense of just how powerful these tools are. Yes, they just draw rectangles and squares and ellipses and circles but they draw those things. So things can be incredibly powerful here inside Illustrator as you are about to see.
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