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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
Are you having fun? I hope so, because honestly this is a lot of what Illustrator is about. Creating a graphic in Illustrator is much less of like a pen and ink process than it is a building process. You're taking pieces and you're stacking them on top of each other and trying to figure out what that stacking order ought to be in order to create a successful graphic, and that's what we're doing here. So all of this stacking order is, ponderous as it may seem at times, is core Illustrator, that's what it's all about, baby.
So here I am inside of a document called Halfway there.ai. It's another catch up document for those of you folks who want to drop in at this point. And it's found inside the 05_ Fill_stroke folder. Now, if you're still working inside of your Richer artwork document, stick with it by all means, because I'm just at the point that I left off in the previous exercise and bear in mind that we're going here. Here is our goal. So we still have a lot of fillin' and stackin' to go people. And in this exercise I'm going to show you a couple of really great stacking functions known as paste in back and paste in front. Some really core features in Illustrator.
All right, so here I am back inside the Halfway there document. I'm going to select the outermost star, and I'm going to go ahead and fill it with Light clay, and I'm going to select the next star in and I'm going to fill it with white. Now notice something about these star shapes, they're in totally the wrong position. If I turn off this layer for a moment, I'll just go ahead and click the eyeball to turn it off and we can see the artwork in the background, which is what we're still basing our final illustration on here, and you can see how the stars just sort of stick out. We can just see their points and they stick out behind this circle here and then they stick into and behind these little squares, over here in the sides and along all of the corners. The outermost of all the spikes here you can see those squares.
So I'll go ahead and turn back on the paths layer here, so that we can access it and you can see now that the stars are totally stacked wrong. So I could grab both of the stars by clicking on one and Shift-clicking on the other and then I could just start pressing things like Control+left bracket over and over again and that would be Command+left bracket on the Mac in order to send those shapes backward. But really this is getting so complicated. There are so many different pieces that are layered on top of each other that it might just be easier to say, you know Illustrator I want to take this star, and I want to put it in back of this circle. Do it. And you can do that. You can tell Illustrator to do exactly that.
Here's how it works. First select the objects that you want to move, which we've done, we've selected the two star shapes. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose the Cut command or press Control+X or Command+X on the Mac, very common keyboard shortcut for the Cut command, and that moves those graphics out of the illustration into the clipboard, which is this little memory buffer that you have available to you inside of any application actually. Now go ahead and click on this circle right here, sort of the midway circle in this group of circles, and then I want you to go up to the Edit menu, and I want you to choose which one? Paste in Front? Should we have him in front of that circle or in back of that circle. Well it turns out, if you remember how things are put together there, it goes in back so we want to choose the Paste in Back command, or we've got a really great keyboard shortcut available to us, and this one I really want you to memorize: Control+B or Command+B for Paste in Back. We also have Control+F or Command+F for Paste in Front.
We're going to go with Paste in Back here and notice that that keeps the stars in the same horizontal and vertical position as they were before. It just changes their stacking order, and puts them in back of the circle and as you can see, in back of the squares is well. So they're in exactly the right position at this point. Isn't that wonderful? Now what about these squares right here? They're not supposed to be there. They're not supposed to be in front of these circles. They're supposed be in back of those circles. So let's go ahead and grab them by clicking on them. They're all grouped together, thankfully.
Then press Control+X in order to send them to the clipboard. That's Command+X on the Mac. Click on this circle out here, press Control+B for back, or Command+B for back on the Mac, and there they go. They go into exactly where they need to go to, in exactly the right stacking order position there. Let's go ahead and fill a few other items. I'm going to go ahead and click on this star and then Shift-click on the innermost stars. So these two stars I want you to select and we'll fill them both with white, cause you can of course fill multiple objects at a time if they're selected inside Illustrator. Then select this star in between by clicking on it, and I want you to change its fill color once again to the Light clay color like so. Then I want you to grab this circle, almost the innermost circle, not quite. It's the second to innermost circle there. And I want you to go ahead and fill it with Medium clay.
It turns out that that circle is way at the front of the stack, so we need to go ahead and cut it too. So press Control+X or Command+X on a Mac, click on any one of these rotated rectangles right here, in order to select the whole bunch cause they're all grouped together. And then I want you to press Control+F or Command+F on a Mac in order to paste that shape in front and we have just nailed the stacking order of all of these objects inside of this very complex graphic.
In the next exercise we're going to see how we can select into grouped objects and change the fills that are assigned with some of these more complex ornaments.
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