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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 so here we are still inside the Base template.ai file that I opened up in the previous exercise. And I have drawn this straight-sided freeform polygon that's tracing around this canoe shape with little skinny guys that are pursuing the dangerous critter, the underwater panther over there. And what we're going to do in this exercise, I'm going to show you how you can modify a path after you get done creating it. Now the first way that you modify a path is to grab your white arrow tool, not your black arrow tool, because if you get your black arrow tool and you start dragging the path around, notice that you move the entire path, even if originally just one point was selected, as was my case here, Illustrator overrides that and says, Wow, you've got the big path selector tool, so you want to modify the entire path at a time. Of course that's wrong, so then you go and you grab your white arrow tool or your Direct Selection Tool if you prefer. Click off the shape in order to deselect it and then select the offending point.
Notice that you get that nice little highlight there that's showing you that you are hovering over an anchor point in the shape, and then you drag it to a better position like so. And you can drag your points around as much as you want. You have infinite reshaping control inside of Illustrator just as you should. What kind of vector-based drawing application, would it be if it didn't give you this kind of control? Now let's say that you want to add a point to the path. Why then you'd go to your Pen Tool right here. Notice the flyout menu. You've got an Add Anchor Point Tool and a Delete Anchor Point Tool and so on. I'll show you what that tool does later, but you don't need these tools, because you can get to them all, you can get to their functionality from the Pen Tool by itself, which is a wonderful thing. So just switch over to the Pen Tool and notice if you hover over an existing segment inside of the shape, you get that little Pen Tool cursor with a + next to it. Click and that adds a point to the shape. Then you can drag it to a new location by pressing and holding the Control key or the Command key on the Mac.
That gets you your last active arrow tool. Then just go ahead and drag the point to a different location, and notice for me it snaps to the edge of the artwork right there. Not really absolutely necessary that I take things to the edge of the artwork, but it produces a pleasing effect. I think it follows more or less the contours of this canoe nicely, and so I still have the Control key down and I'm still moving points around here. This would be Command-dragging on the Mac of course. As soon as I release that Command or Control key, I return to my Pen Tool cursor. Now let's say I add a point at this location and Control- drag it over here and then Control-drag this point there and then I go, you know what, I don't need this anchor point anymore.
I can delete it by moving my cursor over the point, notice it now gets a minus sign, and then clicking. So if you move your Pen Tool cursor over an existing anchor point, then you can click to subtract that anchor point. If you move it over an existing segment, you can click to add a point. All right I'm going to go ahead and Control-drag this point over to a different location, drag this one up a little bit as well with the Control key down. Actually, I am thinking that it would be nice to have that point back over here, so I will click at this location, without pressing the Control key, then Control-drag it to a different location, thusly.
A few other things, what if you, notice by the way when you click on a point, you not only delete the point you fuse the segments back together so you don't have a gap in the path. What if you want to create a gap in the path? Why then you go ahead and grab your white arrow tool, might as well just be using the white arrow tool at this point instead of Control or Command-clicking, you click on the point that you want to delete and then you press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac and that not only deletes the point, but it deletes the two neighboring segments as well, and you get a hole inside of your path. In our case we converged what used to be a closed path into an open path.
All right I'm going to undo that modification because I definitely want to a closed path here. That's how you go about modifying a path that you've drawn with the Pen Tool. What if you have a path that you've drawn with some other tool? For example, I'm going to just switch over here to my favorite tool ever, of course the Ellipse Tool, because I'm circle crazy. Anyway I'm going to grab that Ellipse Tool and I'm going to draw an ellipse and this is a simple shape of course, but insofar as Illustrator is concerned, it's a full-fledged path with all the rights and privileges of any other path inside the program. So if you go over here and grab the Pen Tool and you click on a segment, you add a point to the segment.
And I could add as many points as I want. I could delete previously existing points inside of the path. I can switch to the white arrow tool and I could move these points around. I can also move the control handles but I haven't told you about control handles yet, these guys right here that are floating off, these levers that are floating off the path, I'll tell you about them later. Right now I just want you to notice that you can edit any path you like using the Pen and white arrow tools. So it doesn't have to have been created with the Pen Tool in the first place. I obviously don't want to his blobbular path outline here, so there's one point selected, notice that. I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac in order to get rid of it and then that goes ahead and selects the entire remaining path. I'm going to press the Backspace key again or the Delete key again in order to get rid of the remainder of the path.
So at any point in time, as long as one point is selected inside the path, one anchor point, you can press Backspace twice in a row or Delete twice in a row to get rid of the entire path. There we have it. In the next exercise, you may notice so far that our path is a little bit too angular, we've got too many straight sides and this canoe is more rounded. We are going to round off the path coming up next.
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