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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 OpenType fonts and the OpenType palette here inside of Illustrator and we will even switch out a few ligatures and if that sounds like the nerdiest thing ever, I assure you it is, but it's all for a good cause. We are making our document look that much better. The document in question is called, this time around, Composed & justified.ai. If you are just joining me for whatever reason, found inside the 08_type folder and let's take a look at the fonts that are available to our system. I'm just going to go up to Type menu and choose Font here so that we can see not only the names of fonts rendered in their fonts of course, but also we are seeing these icons over to the left and these icons have a very specific meaning.
For example, this guy right there, this red A means that we are looking at a PostScript Type 1 font and this sort of multi colored T, we have got a gray T, with a blue T in front of it. That means we are looking at a TrueType font. Now the thing about PostScript Type 1 fonts and TrueType fonts is that they are old school, essentially. You have to have different fonts for different operating systems. So they are both available for both the Mac and the PC, but you would have to have a different font for the Mac than you would for the PC and a different font for the PC than the Mac, you get the idea. Whereas all of these other guys are OpenType fonts and OpenType fonts are way better for several different reasons and thankfully everybody has jumped on the bandwagon as you can see here. Just about every font that has made these days is an OpenType font and even fonts that you have purchased in the past are probably available as OpenType fonts and there are even utilities out there that will convert your old Type 1 and TrueType fonts over to OpenType if you like and there are good reasons to do that.
Especially if for no other reason than they are crossed platform. So if you've got an OpenType font for the Mac and you want to use it over on your PC, all you have to do is copy it over and you are good to go. So that's one of the big things with OpenType. Another thing is that they devote 2 bytes to every character, instead of just 1 byte per character like old school fonts, there are 2 bytes devoted to every character and when I say that, we are not taking bytes out of character here. I mean 2 bytes of data and what that means is instead of having 256 different characters available to you inside of a font, which used to be the way it was. It would top out of 256 characters, one of them being a paragraph return that kind of thing. Now we have got tens of thousands of different character variations. So a single font can contain not only the entire western alphabet and all the different accent variations, but it can also contain all other alphabets that there are, every single other alphabet on the planet.
So all the Chinese characters, all the Japanese characters, all your Ethiopian characters, all your Cherokee characters, the list goes on and on. And then finally OpenType fonts are very smart, meaning that they can be very smart, not all of them are, but they can be very smart. Then I should say all of this stuff is possible. I don't know of any font that actually contains every single language available. It just can, if it wants to. Anyway, back to being smart. The font can have intelligence built into it. So you can have multiple variations of a single letter that you can choose from and if the font is marked then Illustrator is there to support it with its OpenType palette. So let me show you what's going on with that. Let's go ahead and get rid of that menu that's been on screen for about an hour and half.
Switch back to our text. I'm going to double-click inside of it at I at some location right there and I'm actually, you know what I'm going to triple-click in order to select this entire paragraph like so and then I'm going to bring up my OpenType palette and the OpenType palette is available right there for me. Just go ahead and click on that icon to bring it up. If you can't find the palette then you need to go to Window menu and you choose Type, way down here at the bottom for me, and then OpenType. Notice everybody has got a keyboard shortcut, so I'll show you how those work really briefly here. Ctrl+T or Command+ T takes you to the Character palette.
Ctrl+Alt+T or Command+Option+T takes you to paragraph and then go ahead and add Shift. So you got Ctrl+Shift+Alt+T or Command+Shift+Option+T on the Mac in order to switch over to OpenType and notice that we have these icons right here along the bottom and these icon show what kind of variations are available to us for our selected text. So for example, the Swash character is not available for this specific style of this specific font. So typically for your regular or Roman styles you are not going to get swashes. Those are typically associated with Italics. But if you don't have that specific variation available to you then it will be dimmed. If you do have a variation available to you such as Discretionary Ligatures or Standard Ligatures here, then you will see that option.
All right, so how does that work? Let's go ahead and hide that palette for a moment and I'm going to attempt, let's see if I can do it. Yeah, I'm going to be able to zoom in here, this is a Spacebar trick. So I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't replacing any of the text with a space of course. Notice this ff right there. Anytime you see a lower case f inside of a document followed by another character, whether it's a fi or an fl combination or an ff combination or ffi or an ffl, there are all kinds of them. Even fj, but I don't know too many words with fj combos and those can be replaced with a single character ligature and the idea is that it increase legibility and it makes designers happy and it makes the text look better so that two fs aren't just jamming into each other quite like we are seeing them here.
Now what you do if you want to replace everything that Illustrator thinks should be a ligature with a single character, then you go over to the OpenType palette and you click on this icon right there, Standard Ligatures and watch that ff, watch what happens to it. It gets switched out with a single ff character and that is actually a single character. Even though I'll go ahead and click right there and I'll press the Arrow key to move in between them so I can still edit them as independent characters and they still spell-check as independent characters. Because in the old days, you would have to enter O and then find the ff ligature and enter it manually and then of course old versions of Illustrator wouldn't have known that was the word off. They would have thought it was of-f, whatever that character is and that wouldn't have been a part of your dictionary and it would call it out as being a mistake.
These days thanks to OpenType, Illustrator is well aware is that is an ff right there, and it's replacing that character on the fly. All right, now what other kind of characters can we replace? I'll go ahead and triple-click again inside this paragraph to select the whole thing. Also, we have these Discretionary Ligatures, which include things like st combos and ct combos and those sorts of variations, and these are old styles ligatures. This is why they are broken up from each other. Standard Ligatures, you definitely want to replace, they include all the f combos. They sometimes include capital T followed by a little h, you definitely want to hit them, is the idea.
However, Discretionary Ligatures you may or may not, because sometimes they are just a little bit too precious, as we will see. So I'll go ahead and turn on this option as well, and notice that this st combo got replaced with this little humpy-poo in the middle there and that's what a ct combo would look like as well. As an old style convention, you may like it, you may not like it. I'm going to leave it on just so that we are aware that these options area available are to us and there are several other examples of ligatures inside of this specific little file. There is another ct right there, there is another off. There is a few others. There are some fis, some fls, right there. See these guys, the flop and the flump right there? Those have been replaced by standard ligatures.
All right, so there you have it, more info than you ever wanted to know on the topic of ligatures. Basically my recommendation is definitely turn on your standards. It's up to you about the discretionaries. In the next exercise, we are going to be talking about more exciting things, more exciting OpenType things including fractions, numerals and ordinals. Really cool stuff, stay tuned.
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