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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.
I think this might be a good time to provide some insight into the big picture, what's at the heart of Illustrator. This is a vector-based illustration program. Maybe you know that. Meaning that it relies on mathematically defined objects that communicate resolution independent line definitions to screen, printer, or any other output device. What do I mean by mathematically defined objects? Well, it's all about a point which has a coordinate position, so there's your math, connected to another point, just like a dot-to-dot puzzle. You draw line from one point to another. The difference is Illustrator calls the points anchor points because they lock down the path like stops on the subway, the train, the path has to pass through the anchor point.
You can move a point but if you do, the path moves with it. Here's another thing that's different than dot-to-dot puzzles. In Illustrator the lines, we call them segments because they're just part of a larger line. They don't have to be straight. They can curve. But okay, how much? What direction? There's this other point. It's not on the path. It's not an anchor. It's a magnet. Adobe calls it several different things. I'm not going to bore you with that. This is confusing enough. I call it and I've always called it the control handle. It's not on the path and it's a handle instead of a point and it gives you control.
You drag toward you with the control handle the segment comes toward you. You push away with the handle the segment goes away. You're not really in the illustration, how could you be? But there's this attract repel quality to the control handle. You'll see of course, but just bear in mind it's a magnet. It has gravity. It has a thing that pulls and pushes. It loves the path. It hates the path. It says come hither. It says go away. If you want to think of it this way, the anchor point is the Y-chromosome. You know, the boys, the simple boys. You gotta go through me. The control handle it's the X, it's gorgeous.
It really is and once you learn it's ways, it's extremely predictable and it makes the entire program work. It's the X. The control handle is where Adobe as a company started. It's one of the very first patents. It's the beginning of everything. It really is that cool. Here's how it, and the Pen Tool that makes it, work.
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