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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.
All right kids, if you're following along with me, you should have open a document called 4-Mishi drawing.ai. It's found inside the 07_pen_tool folder and then inside of a subfolder called Mishipizheu. No, not Machu Picchu, but rather Mishipizheu. All right now that you have the document open and ready to go and you understand what we're dealing with here, I want to show you how to import a scanned image or digital photograph, in our case, same difference, into an illustration as a tracing template. So I'm going to go ahead and take the template layer that resides inside of this document right now and I'm going to throw it away so that I can show you how to re-create it, don't you know.
And now I'm going to go up to the File menu. I invite you to do the same thing if you'd like, and choose the Place command. Once again direct your attention to that Mishipizheu folder that's inside of the 07_pen_tool folder. Therein you will find a document called 3-Mishi painting.jpg, which is the digital photograph of my acrylic under-painting that I created before I botched the whole project. And notice a couple of checkboxes that we're seeing down here in lower corner. We've got a Link checkbox that tells Illustrator to link to the file on desk. If you're worried about losing that file on disk and you don't want to ruin the link in the future, you could turn off the Link checkbox, in which case you will embed the image into Illustrator.
I suggest you don't do that. When in doubt, go ahead and leave the Link checkbox on, that way you'll create smaller files inside of Illustrator. But you definitely need to turn on the Template checkbox, and then click on the Place button, Now by virtue of the fact that I turned on that Template checkbox, Illustrator did a couple of things for me. One: it created a new layer. Two: it created that new layer in back of my existing layer so at back of the stack. Three: it went ahead and added the image, the digital photograph here as a linked file to this template layer, and it went ahead and automatically dimmed the image and it went ahead and locked it too. So did I say it did a couple things? I did like 17 things, all of which are really, really useful. Now it didn't actually center the image properly. Notice that. If I go ahead and close my palettes for a moment, if I collapse them, you can see that things are not aligned properly. Pretty poor job in fact, on my screen. On your screen it may have just nailed it, you never know with Illustrator. Anyway, so here's what we're going to do.
If you've got an alignment problem as I do, expand your dock once again. Go ahead and unlock this template layer by clicking on it's lock icon so that you know, it goes away. And when you do notice that you'll see a little Align link up here inside of the Control palette. I'm going to, just so that we can see what we're doing a little better, I'm going to collapse my palettes once again. Then I'm going to click on that Align link in order to bring up the Aligned palette and you're going to want to go ahead and turn on this Align To Artboard icon right there, and just to make sure you've got the right setting, go ahead and click the down-pointing arrowhead and choose Align to Artboard, because that's what we want to do, we want to align the creature to the artboard.
Then click on the Horizontal Align Center icon and then click on the Vertical Align Center icon and now everything is perfectly aligned. Phew. All right, now let's bring back the palettes, why don't we? I'm going to go ahead and double-click actually on this template layer because I want to rename it, for one thing. I'm going to go ahead and call it template of course, because that's what it is. We don't need to know what the original linked file is called. Notice that it's set to a Template and what that means, I'll show you in a second, but what that means is it's not only dimming the image and only images, this image function down here, Dim images to only affects imported pixel-based images. It doesn't affect vectors. For that you have to resort to the opacity values, which we've done several times in previous chapters.
Anyway, this Template checkbox right there, that goes ahead and ensures that what ever is on the template layer is visible in both the Preview and Outline mode, and as I say, I'll show that to you in a minute. Dim images to, I want you to set that to 35%, just so that we dim things down a little bit more and then click OK. Aww. That's very nice, I think. Notice that the image is a little less opaque than it used to be a moment ago. So this was before and this here is after. Now as I was telling you, I'm going to go ahead and click off of this image to deselect it. As I was telling you, you can see this image both in the Outline and Preview mode, and just to show you that that's the case I'll go up to the View menu and choose Outline and were there any paths inside of my document that would send them all to outlines of course, but we can still see the image, so we can still trace the image. Really, really helpful function and that is once again a function of having that Template checkbox on, and you can tell you've got a template cause you can see this little collection of shapes right there in the eyeball column. I'm going to just go ahead and switch back to the Preview mode by pressing Control+Y or Command+Y on the Mac, which is the keyboard shortcut of course, for that Preview command under the View menu, and we are ready to go folks, except for one more thing.
You need to lock down that template once again. So click and lock and then click on the drawing layer. We're now ready to trace this mythical Ojibwe creature using the incredibly powerful Pen Tool in the next exercise.
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