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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.
In this exercise we're going to create a circle and a square compound path and assign a double stroke to it. It's going to be a really cool effect. And to get a sense of where we're going here, I'm working inside of a document called Rectangles abound, because we have all of our rounded rectangles in place, and it's available to you inside the 08_select_enhance folder. No surprise there. Now I'm going to turn off my One shy layer for a moment and turn on Final lace, and I'm also going to turn off the Guides layer, just to get it out of my face for a minute here and notice what I'm talking about. There's the circle in a square. It's a compound path. The two paths share a common stroke, notice that, and it's actually a double stroke effect.
So that's what we're going for. All right so turn that Final lace layer off again and then turn your One shy layer back on. Problem is, that square that we want to get to is pretty buried, and in fact if you click right here, like you would think, I'll click down here in one of the corners. In my case I'm clicking down in the lower right corner with the black arrow tool, and you would think you'd be able to get it because you can select through that star and none of the other rounded rectangles are in your way. But what is in your way is this group of objects that includes this background frame that's hiding the drop shadow edges, but it also includes the circles and it includes this star shape here.
So that's not exactly the shape that we want to select. What you can do though is go back down here to this extreme corner and right-click, and notice you'll get this Select submenu right there, and you can choose Next Object Below and it'll grab the next object down the stack at that location and it finds the square right there, and if you have problems doing it, try again. It really is there, you will get it if you click and right-click in the proper areas. So I've selected this square in the background. I'm going to go ahead and copy it and then I'm going to deselect everything by pressing Control+Shift+ A or Command+Shift+A on a Mac and then I'm going to press Control+F or Command+F on the Mac to paste that square in front and there it is.
It just has a stroke, a six-point stroke, and a blue fill. That's fine. We don't want the blue fill, however. So let's make sure the fill is active in the toolbox. Right now it's not for me, so I need to press the X key. With the fill active, I can press the slash key in order to fill the shape with nothing. Now I need to get the circle, but the circle is embedded inside of that group. That's a problem. So I need to use my selecting acumen. I need to be a little clever here about selecting that circle.
I'm going to grab my Direct Selection Tool by pressing the A key of course, and I'm going to make sure nothing's selected by clicking off the shape and then I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click on the circle in order to select it independently of the rest of the group and I'm getting cut it. I'm going to cut it out of the group by going up to the Edit menu and choosing the Cut command, and that goes ahead and extracts it from that group there. And then nothing's selected on this layer now, so I can press Control+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste it in front. So now I have both objects selected as you can see.
Go ahead and get your black arrow tool and Shift-click on the square in order to select it as well. So you should have both circle and square selected here. The Appearance palette is telling you that we have mixed appearances going, and that's a real pain in the neck thing. I've got to say, I've got to tell you that this is a big giant drag. So go ahead and click off the shapes. I'll show you why it's such a drag. Because they're both really stroked with exactly the same thing. If you click on one it says Stroke - six point, Fill - nothing.
Click on the other. It says Stroke - six point, Fill - nothing. The strokes are identical. So what gives? Why does it say they have mixed appearances? Well because that's Illustrator for you. If you grab two objects, and they weren't stroked and filled together, then it thinks that they're totally different from each other. It has no ability to compare the two. So that stinks. Anyway, so here's what you do. Let's just start with one of these shapes. Let's say I want to add a stroke to it because we want a double stroke effect right? We want a white stroke inside of a black stroke. So click on the stroke item here inside the Appearance palette and click on New Icon to add another stroke.
Now let's change this stroke to white by going up to the Color palette. Go ahead and twirl that guy open, and change that stroke to white by clicking in the white swatch there at the end of the CMYK spectrum, and then I'm going to change the weight value to 3 points and press Return. So now you can see, we've got a white stroke inside of a black stroke. To assign that same attribute to the circle you want to go ahead and select the circle. Then get your Eyedropper and click on the outline of the square and now both shapes have the exact same stroke information assigned to them. The exact same attributes.
So let's press Control+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect the item so we can see what's going on. Notice how one set of strokes interrupts the other. I'll go ahead and zoom in here so that we can see this up close and personal. Notice that the circle strokes are interrupting the square strokes. What if we want them to fluidly flow into each other? Well then we need to combine the two paths into a compound path, and you do that by getting the black arrow tool, clicking on one of the paths of course to make it active, Shift-clicking on the other path to select it as well.
Then go up to the Object menu choose Compound Paths and choose Make. Pretty weird, but that's what you do. Or you can press Control+8. Control+8 because an 8 is actually a compound path. We'll get to that later, but compound paths are all about one path cutting a hole in another path, but they can also share attributes as I'm about to show you here. So choose the command and notice that the attributes flow into each other. I just went ahead and clicked off the shape to deselect it. The attributes now flow into each other, which means these strokes are common to both paths.
So we have no interruption any more. All right I'll just go ahead and zoom back out so that we can take in this entire illustration here. Nice! Okay in the next exercise we're going to begin creating our lace. We're going to take those three concentric circles, and we're going to transform them into the elaborate lace pattern.
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