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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 introduce you to the None attribute, which allows you to either turn off a fill or turn off a stroke so that it becomes transparent. You can even make an object entirely transparent if you want to. I want to go ahead and restore the version of this document that does not have a special paper color and has the original Transparency Grid, because those were all specifications that we setup here in the Document Setup dialog box; both the fact that we are simulating the paper color and what that paper color is and how it affects the Transparency Grid, go ahead and cancel out.
That means that information is saved along with the document, and I can overwrite my modifications by going up to the File menu and choosing the Revert command, or pressing the F12 key. I'll get a warning that's going to tell me, hey, you cannot undo the Revert command, it's going to wipe out all of your changes, and that would be just fine with me, because they weren't good changes. So let's go ahead and Revert, and we get back our original version of this illustration. All right. I'm going to turn the Calendar layer once again-- we have seen this before-- into a template by meatballing it here inside the Layers palette. And then I'll go ahead and change the Transparency to 25% and I'll lock down that layer so that we can't modify it, and then I'll turn on the Paths layer.
Let's go ahead and zoom in on the Paths layer here, and notice that I have this green Stroke right there, on one of the circles. Now, if I were to switch over to the Appearance palette here, we can see that I have got a Stroke, but I don't have any Fill. So the Fill is set to Transparent, which is once indicated by that red slash. So I click on Fill to make it active and then click again to bring up the Swatches palette, and I'll choose white as my Fill color. That goes ahead and covers up a few of the objects in the Template layer. But also, we can tell that it is now filled. Of course, if we were to go to the View menu and choose Show Transparency Grid. So we can see Transparency outside the object, but not inside the object.
Now, if you want to get rid of an attribute so that it becomes transparent, there is a couple of different ways to work. One is to grab that attribute; I'll grab the Stroke, and throw it in the Trash Can. You can actually drag it to the Trash Can here inside the Appearance palette, and notice then that Stroke becomes Transparent, it becomes None, and we lose any ability to specify a Line Weight, that is, we lose the Line Weight pop-up menu right there. We could still click on Stroke and specify a Weight this way if we wanted to; if we wanted to go ahead and add a Stroke back in.
Illustrator is smart enough to bring up the last Stroke color as well. But I'm going to go ahead and undo that modification, and now I'll switch to the Fill. So you can drag it to the Trash Can; that's an awful lot of work, especially since you can just click on the attribute and set it to None if you want to, or here is a great keyboard shortcut. Notice the angle of that red slash. It looks just like the Slash key, the key that has the slash and question mark on it. So if I were to just click on the Fill attribute and press the Slash key, you are going to change that attribute to None as well.
So now this object is completely invisible. If I click off it, it goes away. Even better I think, I'm going to go to the Layers palette and turn off that Calendar layer so we can't see it, and so now that object has completely disappeared from view. It's still there so we can still do things with it, but it's not visible. Now, watch my cursor, notice that it's a little black arrow cursor right now, notice what happens if I hover over the object. Once I have hovered over it so that I can select it, I get a little square next to my cursor, telling me, hey, there is something going on here, click, and you will see what it is.
Or another way to find a Transparent object-- I'll click off it to deselect it-- is to go up to the View menu and choose the Outline command or Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, and that's going to switch you to what sometimes is known as they Keyline Mode. These are the various actual paths that make up your illustration, without any Fill or Stroke attributes assigned to them. We are not seeing the Transparency Grid anymore; the Outline Mode is just not that fancy. We are just seeing the paths represented as thin single pixel outlines, and that's it.
Then if you want to see your illustration again, then you would go up to the View menu and choose the Preview command. It's still Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac. So that's a great keyboard shortcut to know about. Just right next door to Ctrl+Z for Undo, so Command+Z on the Mac. So it's pretty memorable actually, once you start working inside of Illustrator for a while. All right. So we have got this invisible guy. I think I'll go ahead and make it moderately visible, just so that we can see it, by clicking on it. I was able to find it of course because of that little square next to my cursor. I'll go ahead and click on it, and then I'll give it a black outline; either from the Appearance palette or just for the sake of variety here, I'll just go ahead and go to the Stroke pop-up menu up here in the Control palette and I'll choose 1 point. Or even better, let's give it a 2 point Stroke, just to make it a little thicker, and then I'll change the color assigned to that Stroke to black.
All right. So that's the None attribute. That's what's going on with it. In the next exercise, we are going to be taking a look at Color Libraries and the Color slider bars.
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