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Moving, adding, and deleting points

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Moving, adding, and deleting points

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to move, add, and delete individual anchor points here inside of Illustrator. Now, I'm still working inside the Base template.ai file. I have drawn a very rough canoe shape here, assembled as a free-form polygon, a straight-sided shape. Then I have also got this other weird shape up above. All right. So let's say I want to edit one or more of these paths. I have two Arrow tools available to me of course. I have got the Selection tool, the Black Arrow tool, and I have got the White Arrow tool. The White Arrow tool is the one you want if you are going to edit anchor points independently of each other, because a Black Arrow tool is always going to be working on a path as a whole.

Moving, adding, and deleting points

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to move, add, and delete individual anchor points here inside of Illustrator. Now, I'm still working inside the Base template.ai file. I have drawn a very rough canoe shape here, assembled as a free-form polygon, a straight-sided shape. Then I have also got this other weird shape up above. All right. So let's say I want to edit one or more of these paths. I have two Arrow tools available to me of course. I have got the Selection tool, the Black Arrow tool, and I have got the White Arrow tool. The White Arrow tool is the one you want if you are going to edit anchor points independently of each other, because a Black Arrow tool is always going to be working on a path as a whole.

Notice this for example. If I grab the Black Arrow tool, and I try to drag, notice I only have one anchor point that's active inside this path, and the active anchor point always appear as filled. There is a little Fill Square. The inactive anchor points appear as hollow ones. By the way, for those of you who are having problem seeing this on screen, if that's an issue for you at all, what you can do is you can make those anchor points bigger by pressing Ctrl+K, Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box, and I'll switch over to Selection & Anchor Display right there. You can go with bigger anchor points if you want to. Notice these are the tiny little anchor points. You could switch to bigger one. So this next option right there will make the selected anchor point bigger and leave the deselected one small, or you could choose to have them all be bigger.

I am going to make them all bigger, because we end up down-sampling these videos a little bit, and I want this to be obvious for you. So I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and that does make those anchor points bigger, notice that. All right. But let's say I want to take this active anchor point and I want to drag it to a new location independently of the other guys. If I do that with the Black Arrow tool, notice I get the entire path. The Black Arrow tool is always going to select that entire path. In our case, that's great because I don't want it. So I just selected the entire path. Now, I can press the Backspace key or the Delete key to get rid of it. But if we want to edit the points inside of the canoe, then we need to switch over to the Direct Selection tool. Now, with the Direct Selection tool, I can click on a point to make it active like so, and you also saw that when I hover over an anchor point, it shows me that I have an anchor point under my cursor.

So I can locate anchor points very easily this way. Now, it's pretty easy to locate corner points, because they're at the corners in the path outline. However, smooth points as we'll see, are more difficult to locate. All right, so let's say I want to grab this point right there. I'll click on it to select it and then I want to drag it to a new location, and I can drag it wherever I want it to be. If you get too close to its former location there, it's going to snap back into alignment with that location, or it might snap into alignment with another point for example, like that. So when you get two or three pixels within a point, you are going to snap into alignment with it, and you can always turn off snapping if that starts bugging you under the View menu. You go all the way down to this command, right there Snap to Point, or you can press this keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+Quote or Command+ Option+Quote on the Mac if you can remember that one. I must admit that's not one that I find very memorable.

You can just turn off the command if you want to, but we need it. I would leave it on. So you can drag these points around wherever you want them to be. What if you want to add a point to the path outline, what do you do in that case? Well, turns out that Illustrator actually offers you dedicated Add and Delete Anchor Point tools. I'll go ahead and show those to you after I get done messing around with that path a little more. Actually, there are all kinds of guys in here that need to be moved, like this needs to be adjusted down, this needs to go over a little bit, this guy probably wants to go over here, and by the way, you can nudge points too.

So you can click on a point in order to select it, and then you can use the Arrow Keys to nudge that point around to a different location if you like. So you have that precision control if you want to move it farther, remember 10X. You can press 10X, 10 times the usual increment, you would press Shift along with an Arrow key like so. All right. So anyway, back to adding and deleting points. You go over here to the Pen tool. So if you click and hold, you'll notice this flyout menu offers you an Add Anchor Point tool and a Delete Anchor Point tool, and they even have keyboard shortcuts, and I'm here to tell you, you don't need them. All you need is the standard Pen tool. Let me show you why? Armed with the standard Pen tool, if you hover over an existing point, it will change to a Minus sign. If you hover over a segment, it will change to a Plus sign. It's little hard to see at that location. Let's try right there.

So I'm going to click in order to add a point at this location because I feel like we don't have quite enough points around here. Then I want to move these points a little bit, don't have to switch back to the White Arrow tool now. I can press and hold the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac, and as long as the Ctrl or Command key is down, you will select the Last Active Arrow tool. In our case, that's a Direct Selection tool. All right. So with that Command or Ctrl key down, Ctrl on the PC, Command on the Mac, I'm going to move these points to new locations until I feel like I have got everything where I wanted to be. That looks really good.

Now, what if you decide you want to delete a point, I already told you, but here it is. Let's actually do it. You just hover your cursor over an existing anchor point in the shape, and you click, and it goes away. Now, the interesting thing about that is that Illustrator goes ahead and gets rid of that anchor point, but it connects the neighbors with a new segment. So it doesn't allow a hole to exist inside the path What if you do want a hole? So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification, and then I'll press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and Marquee around this point. So just that one point is selected.

What if you want to delete and create a hole, then you press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of it. And what that does is it allows you to draw some new points if you want to. So for example, I can click there, click here, click here, and click here just to add completely new points to this path outline. Then I Ctrl+Drag or Command+Drag that guy up just a little bit. Have a blast, do whatever you want to this canoe outline, get it exactly right. By the way, the whole time I'm dragging these points around, I have the Ctrl key down here on the PC. That would be the Command key down on the Mac. One other thing I want to show you is another way to delete an entire path. If I have got this guy selected right there. Notice that I have got one anchor point active. If I press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac, that one anchor point goes away, and then all the other anchor points become selected as well. And then I press Backspace or Delete a second time.

So if you're ever in a scenario-- let's go ahead and undo that, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. If you're ever in a situation where a path is partially selected like this and you want to just get the heck rid of it, just get it off the screen, you just press Backspace twice in a row, Delete twice in a row on the Mac. So Backspace, Backspace, there it goes, Delete, Delete on the Mac, and it goes away. All right. So it's looking pretty good. I don't know about this guy actually. Let's try him. I'm Ctrl-clicking or Command-clicking once again in order to make this path active, and move the points around. This looks pretty good I think.

In the next exercise, I'll show you how to round off the contours in this path outline, and create what's known as a Spline Curve, stay tuned.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

182 video lessons · 37882 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 42m 7s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 2s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
      56s
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      35s
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 14s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 39s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
      55s
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 43s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
      54s
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 38s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 28s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
      55s
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 48s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 30s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
      44s
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 55s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 32s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
      51s
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 1s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 26s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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