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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we know that in Illustrator there are two possible attributes that you can apply to any vector path. One of them is a Fill and then as we discussed one of them is also a Stroke. Now we didn't go into detail about each setting of the stroke itself, but we do know that there were certain basic settings for strokes. For example, if I were to click on this particular stroke right here and select it. If I look at my Stroke panel, I see that the stroke Weight of the thickness of that is 1 point and I have no other fancy settings here. I just have regular plain, Butt Cap settings. Miter Joint is set for corners here and there is no Dashed setting whatsoever.
If I click on this one though, this is the same exact path but it has a different appearance because I set the stroke weight to 20 point, which is much thicker. In fact, all these are the exact same paths. If I go into Outline mode by pressing Command+Y or Ctrl+Y on Windows, I'll see that they are all just regular plain paths, each to have anchor points on either end of it and that's all that it is, but the appearance is very different based on the Stroke settings that I have applied to them. For example, this one right over here as a stroke weight of 10, which means that the weight or the thickness of the stroke is 10 points, but then I also have a Dash Line setting and I basically have a Dashed setting of 10, which means that the stroke is on for 10 points, and then it has a Gap setting of 4, which means that the stroke is turned off for 4 points, and then it goes back to 10 point dash again. If you don't specify any other settings here, it just simply repeats itself as if you had done 10-4, 10-4, 10-4. Got it? 10-4.
So what I have over here is a stroke that I have applied to those particular settings too, but maybe times when I actually want to physically go ahead and maybe delete one of these particular shapes or these rectangles. I can't really access them. They are not regular physical shapes that I could click on; they are just Stroke Attributes, they are a type of a stroke. Let me show you some of these others that I have created here as well. This one here is a little dot pattern. Again it's a regular stroke that I have applied, if I click on it. But the difference is that it has 10-point weight, but rather than a Butt Cap it has a Round Cap. It also has a Dashed setting of zeros. It's a nice little tip by the way. If you want to create a perfect circle for a dash, set your settings to have a Round Cap, but have a Dashed setting of 0, and that basically creates a perfect circle, then I have a gap of 20 points at the center in the next particular one that's here as well.
Then I have let's say this one over here, which just has a longer Dash and Gap setting that's here and this one over here actually has alternating dashes and gaps, so it has 5, there is a little short Dash and then 10 point Gap. Then it has 20-point Dash and then 10 point Gap so on and so forth. Then that way it repeats itself over-and-over again as well. But let's say, like I said before I won't be able to access or work with these as if they were actually regular objects, not just the attributes from a stroke per se. So the way that I can do that is I can use a command inside of Illustrator called Outline Stroke. I'll say select this one right here for now.
I'll go to the Object menu, I'll choose Path and then I'll choose Outline Stroke. In doing so you see that I no longer have a stroke anymore, but I have actually created a whole bunch of rectangles. This is similar to as if I had drawn one little rectangle that's 10 point? 10 point and then duplicated it and made copies of it, basically over and over and over again. I can do the same thing for each of these. I can go to this one over here and choose Object, choose Path and then choose Outline Stroke, and again get individual ones. Let's say I decide that I want to delete every other one for example or every once in a while I just want to have one that I can just delete and work with.
So in this way I could really go ahead and treat things as I need to, and that's the way that I can turn the Stroke Attribute, which is normally just something that you can't really physically work with inside of Illustrator, but now you can simply go ahead and convert them to outlines and then use them as you wish.
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