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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.
In this exercise, we are going to take the fingers and we are going to combine them with the spiral palm using a sequence of operations. We have to outline the stroke that's associated with the palm, we need to drag down the fingers, we need to align all the points, and then we need to unite the whole thing into one mega shape. If you are working along with me, I've saved my progress thus far as the Better spiral.ai inside the 07_edit_transform folder. I'm going to switch to my black Arrow tool and then I'm going to find and click on the spiral right there. It's currently an open path stroked with a 24 -point line weight. Let's go ahead and convert it to a filled shape by going up to the Object menu > Path > Outline Stroke or taking advantage of that wonderful keyboard shortcut that we created, Ctrl+\. That's Command+\ on the Mac. You can see what easy work that shortcut might have made for us.
Now I'm going to zoom in quite a bit actually on this transition right here and you can see that things are out of alignment. This is a join of the end of the spiral along with the thumb, by the way. We will be able to see this problem better, if we were to Ctrl-click on the eyeball, or Command-click on the eyeball in front of the elements layer so that we are seeing this layer in the outline mode. Yup, it's a problem. So I'm going to click on the thumb for a moment, just to identify where the anchor point is. It's right there. All right, let's click back on the spiral and then drag and snap it into place, but I'm not getting a snap cursor. Why not? Because I told Illustrator not to snap, when we were using the Reshape tool. So I have got to go back to the View menu and choose Snap to Point right there or press Ctrl+Alt+", Command+Opt+" on the Mac.
All right, now I'll drag this guy into the position, where I think the point is. It's right there and I get my little snap cursor to show me I have a snap. Then I release and sure enough, these guys are in alignment. In fact, we are going to have a better effect than we did here inside the template layer. So I'm doing a better job than I did inside of my, supposedly, perfect final illustration. So now I want to drag this finger down, so that it meets with the palm. This is the end of the index finger. I'm going to get my white Arrow tool this time and I'm going to marquee around the bottom points in this path. Now it's important that you marquee around them, as opposed to click, and Shift-click, and Shift-click, because there are actually more points than meet the eye. Notice that. There is this other point, this coincident point that was located at the same location as this point.
The reason it's there, that's some sloppy work obviously, but that's because of the Outline Path command. It did it and whatever algorithm is going on, it left two points at that place. So we need to marquee it. I went ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that movement. Then I marquee around those points, taking care not to include any of this arc over here in the spiral. Now I'll drag downward while pressing the Shift key and I invoked a little bit of auto-scroll there. That's okay. Once I get things into the proper location, I'll release. Now we have another alignment problem, which is of course because of our monkey business with the spiral and the Reshape tool. So we need to move the left edge here of the spiral over. So I'm going to marquee, like so. Notice I'm being very careful not to include the finger, which is over here. So I'm marqueeing between the two shapes, like this. See if I can get it in the position there and then I'm going to get whatever points are located there.
Now it's tempting to think, "oh! Well, you did a lot of careful marqueeing just to get one point." However, if you are working along with me, you may have 4 or 5 points at that location depending on how many times you dragged with the Reshape tool. Here is the dirty secret with the Reshape tool. The more times you drag with it, the more likely you are to get a bunch of points all over the place. The fewer times you drag, the better off you are. Anyway, you are better off in our case at this juncture. Marqueeing these points in order to make sure you get them all and then I'll Shift+Marquee around here in order to get these points. Then I'm going to nudge with my Arrow keys. So make sure that you have a low nudge value. Press Ctrl+K, Command+K on the Mac. Make sure that keyboard increment is set very low. 0.2 point is what I recommend. Cancel out in my case.
Then I'm going to press the Left Arrow key, just three times in my case. Again, it's all going to be different for you, but three times in order to move that left edge of the spiral over. All right, so let's zoom out a little bit. Let's go up to the bottom of the third finger. I'll marquee around the base of that finger and then I'll just go ahead and drag down on this point. I'm pressing the Shift key as I drag to make sure that I have vertical constraint. That looks good. Now here I want to make sure that I marquee. Once again, very important that I marquee the bottoms of these Popsicle sticks here. This is the fourth finger, but when I do, of course I go ahead and select this arc as well. So just go ahead and Shift-click in the middle of that segment in order to de-select it and then drag down. What you want to make sure is that all of the anchor points are well within the edge of this curving segment, so that you aren't going to have a little bit of this curvature showing up when you join everything together.
Now let's marquee these guys. This is the pinky. Shift-click on this edge in order to de-select it; drag downward while pressing the Shift key again. I'm not sure, I'm always telling you to press the Shift key, but when you want to apply a vertical constraint, of course you need that Shift key down. Now once again, we have some, not entirely accurate alignment, which is to be expected. I'll marquee right there in order to make sure -- oops! I missed the point entirely. I will marquee higher in order to make sure I grab it and then I'll Shift+Marquee this one. Again, I've got some clean results. My goodness, I'm proud of myself. Then I'll go ahead and press the Right Arrow key a few times in order to move that edge over, not too far over. This is good; that's too far.
All right, right there is good. We now have everything, where it needs to be. I, kind of, missed the mark over in this location but that's fine. This time around on the Anasazi stop sign, one more zoom out I think, and now in order to unite all these shapes together, you press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac to select all of the objects inside of this illustration that are not locked. And because this guy is locked you just select the objects on the elements layer. You can also just Alt-click or Option -click somewhere inside the elements layer, other than on the meatball; don't click on the meatball. Then let's go ahead and unite these shapes together. I'm going to bring up this palette right here, the Pathfinder palette, which you can also get to by going to the Window menu and choosing Pathfinder or pressing Ctrl+Shift+F9, Command+Shift+F9 on the Mac and then click on Unite. You have united all the paths.
Now if you are familiar with previous versions of Illustrator, this may surprise you that all you have to do is click on Unite. You don't have to Alt-click, the way you used to in the old days. They reverse the behavior, which is a good thing. I think it makes more sense and we now have one continuous mega shape. Thanks to all of those operations. Join the fingers to the spiral shaped palm. In the next exercise I'm going to demonstrate how to use that other command to which we applied a keyboard shortcut Offset Path. Stick with me.
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