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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, I'm going to show you how to move objects by the numbers, in other words, how to move something a specific numerical distance. I'm working inside of a document called Five fingers.ai in which I have gone ahead and cleaned up the Layers palette further. I have gone ahead and thrown away the stuff that we are not using. So all we have is the elements layer and the big unite layer, which shows us our final project, and we are working in the Elements layer. Now if you are still working inside the Starting point document, that's just fine. Now we have got five Fingers, but they don't look like fingers. They look like five black Popsicle sticks because they are all in alignment with each other.
If you look at your hand, your fingers are higher than your thumb for example and each one of the fingers has a different height so we are going to try to simulate something resembling that here and what I want to do is I want to grab the fingers. The thumb is fine where it is, but the fingers are too low. And you know you can go ahead and select all the fingers by marqueeing them. You can move them to a different location by dragging them if you were to press and hold the Shift key as you drag you would move them exclusively vertically or at an angle diagonally that is at a 45 degree angle or horizontally what have you. Also, I'll go ahead and undo that movement there after dropping them. You also have the option of pressing an arrow key to move the fingers, the specified distance in the Preferences dialog box or you could press Shift along with an arrow key in order to move the fingers by ten times that amount.
Now the thing is what I don't like by the way, about nudging an object from the keyboard is if I press for example, Shift+Up Arrow once, I have already done it once. Twice, three times, four times, and now I think, no, that's not right. I don't want to move them up. I want to move them down or I didn't mean to grab the pinky, it should be left alone. Then when you press Ctrl+Z, you only undo the very last movement. So I have to press Ctrl+Z one, two, three, four times in a row. That would be Command+Z one, two, three, four times in a row in order to reset the fingers to their previous location which I consider to be a pain in the neck. I wish once we invoke the movement that was the beginning point for the undo but anyway, why focus on the problem when we ought to be focusing on the solution? There is a way to move objects numerically. If I know I want all of these fingers to move up 50 points for example, which is I what I want, go up to the Object menu, choose Transform and then choose Move. Notice you have a keyboard shortcut; I don't want you to even think about that keyboard shortcut because there is a better way to work.
If you want to get to the Move dialog box, here is what you do. Press the Escape key a couple of times, you double -click on the Selection tool icon here in the toolbox and that brings up the Move tool or even simpler, when the Black Arrow tool is active and notice its keyboard shortcut ends in the last consonant in the word Move. That V does stand for Move. That's no coincidence, by the way. When this tool is active, if you press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, you will bring up the Move dialog box as well. So those are the keyboard shortcuts you care about. By the way, in case, you are wondering where in the world this comes from, why did they decide 48 points horizontally? I'll turn on Preview, so that we can see the results of that. Well, that was the last movement we applied. So the Transformation dialog box is really great about tracking the last thing you did in the event that you would like to redo it which is the most common scenario, by the way, and it makes sense that we are moving 48 points because after all, the width of each one of these lines is 24 points. Remember that was the Stroke weight and then we had two of them next to each other. So 24x2, 48 right there.
Anyway, we don't want anything for Horizontal. Change that to zero. Tab then to the Vertical value and change that to 50 and press Tab again and you will see the fingers move up 50 points. We also have this Distance value here, it's telling us, we are moving a distance of 50 points at an angle of 90 degrees which is straight up. That is fine. Click OK. Now, the pinky wants to stay where it is so we will deselect it by Shift-clicking on the pinky and we are ready to move the other fingers. I'm going to press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to bring up that Move dialog box once again and true to form, it remembers that last movement that we just applied. I'm going to Tab to Vertical and enter a value of 20 points this time around and then I'll click OK so that just moved those fingers up ever so slightly.
Now, I'll select the middle finger which wants to go a little higher and let's say I want to move it up another 20 points, I could go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key in order to bring up that dialog box again or I could go to the Object menu, choose Transform and choose Transform Again. Or I could just press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac. Now you might say hey Deke, you just told us a couple of exercises ago that Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac stands for Duplicate. That's where they got it. So aren't you going to duplicate the finger? No, you are just going to repeat the last transformation. So whatever it was, if it involved cloning as did our previous transformations, the ones that we applied a couple of exercises ago, then yes, Transform Again will reclone. So it will duplicate, but if your operation did not involve cloning, ours did not, then Transform Again will not clone. So let me just show it to you from the keyboard so we can see it in the background without the finger getting blocked by the menu. I'll press Ctrl+D, Command +D on the Mac, and that just nudges up that middle finger. Awesome! In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to use the Reshape tool in order to change the curvature of this spiral.
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