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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
And this is the last exercise of the chapter. I'm going to show you how to move the tile patterns without moving the objects because the idea here is that we want to get one of these green stars right dead center in the middle of the circle, so the entire tile pattern appears to be emanating from the center of this artwork. Now, I'm still working inside Big pattern circles.ai and I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac to select everything inside this roll of the dice layer right there and I'm going to go ahead and twirl the layer closed as well.
So you can see core design is not selected because it's hidden right now. And then go to the Appearance palette and notice that we have mixed objects, mixed appearances so that we've got tile patterns applied as Fills, we have got tile patterns applied as Strokes. We've got all kind of interactions going on, all kinds of blend modes, all kinds of dynamic effects, which I should say up front can mess up Illustrator a little bit. So, what we are about to do should work perfectly fine in one application without any hand holding but we are probably going to have to do a little bit of hand holding because things do get a little bit buggy sometimes.
But anyway, what do we do? Do we just start dragging the pattern around somehow? No, we can't do that, because if I dragged anyone of these selected shapes here, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+K or Command+K to demonstrate, we would just move the objects because Transform Pattern Tiles is turned off inside the Preferences dialog box. So we would move the objects and we would leave the patterns unmoved which is exactly the opposite of what we want, because after all we don't want to move these objects at all, everything is centered inside of the artboard and that's exactly the way I want it. So I want things to emanate from the central point right there.
Now, one of the things, you should be able to do is press Ctrl+R, Command+R on the Mac in order to bring up the Rulers. And notice that my zero point is right about here for some reason inside of this artwork. I'm not sure why that is, but if I were to drag from the ruler intersection in the upper-left corner of the window and drop that zero point right there in the middle of my shapes, that's going to go ahead and adjust my tile pattern slightly. But it's not necessarily going to get things centered the way that I'm looking to get them centered. After all, that green star is not exactly where I want it to be.
So, I'm going to undo that modification, because it's just going to goof things up for me at this point. But I did want you to see how the zero point does effect the position of the title patterns inside of your artwork. All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+R, or Command+R on the Mac in order to hide those rulers once again. Here is what we need to do. We need to move the tile patterns numerically. So without moving the objects, we move the tile patterns only and we do it by going up to the Black Arrow tool and double-clicking on it or if you prefer you can go to the Object menu, choose Transform and choose the Move command.
So either way, will get you that Move dialog box but the simplest thing to do is just double-click on the Selection tool and then notice I have figured out that a horizontal movement of negative 27 points and a vertical movement of negative 19 points. So a Horizontal negative value moves things to left and Vertical negative value moves things down. This gets us exactly the effect we are looking for, but right now we are moving the objects not the patterns. We want exactly the opposite of that. So we turn on Patterns and wait for it because basically Illustrator has to render out all these live dynamic effects, which primarily involve Gaussian Blur because we have got drop shadows.
Then turn-off Object, so we are moving just the patterns and not the objects, we've got to wade through all the progress bars right here, all these applications of Gaussian Blur and then we've gone ahead and moved things exactly where we want them. So we have this green star right there dead center, in the middle of the circle and we can tell it's dead center because these other green stars are just barely touching the edge of this circle here and that's perfect. Now how did I figure out negative 27 and negative 19? Well I just clicked inside of these values and press the Up and Down arrows to nudge the patterns around, which takes some patience because you have to sit there and wait for the progress bars over and over again, which is why I decided to save you from the patience by going ahead and figuring out the exact values for you.
Anyway, go ahead and click OK in order to apply that modification. I've recorded this exercise a few times now. This time, everything worked out perfectly, insofar, as I can tell. I'm looking at these tile patterns and everything seems to line up just beautifully. If for some reasons, something is off for you, then what you need to do is click off the shapes in order to deselect them, click on the offending object, which in the past has been this guy for me. The one that has the gradients applied to it, this compound shape, and if you end up seeing a problem, which would occur if the pattern did not move.
So basically, what can happen is most of your patterns move but one doesn't and it could be the background object here, which could throw things out of alignment or it could be this compound path. Whatever it is, identify it, select it with the Black Arrow tool, go to the Appearance palette, go ahead and isolate that specific attribute that has the tile pattern assigned, which would be stroke in this case and then double- click on the Black Arrow tool once again and apply that last applied modification and that should take care of your problem and everybody should once again be in alignment just as they are for me.
So there you have it. We have seen how to create and modify and exploit seamlessly repeating tile patterns inside of Illustrator. In then next chapter, I'll show you how to work with Blobs and Brushes. Stay tuned.
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