Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustration by John Hersey

Polygons and stars


Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Polygons and stars

In this exercise we're going to add stars to our Tonalpohualli document here. And if you want to catch up with me, you can by opening the illustration called, that's found inside of the 04_Geometric_Shapes folder. Now let's go ahead, because I've already drawn all of the five circles that we need inside of this calendar, and note by the way there's a lot more circles in the final version of the calendar but it's just a matter of adding more circles to the document. So you've already gotten the sense of how that works.
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  1. 59m 51s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 34s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 50s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 55s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 9s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 16s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 44s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 57s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 0s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      6m 59s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 15s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 35s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 5s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 38s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 13s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 57s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 15s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 34s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 14s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 15s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 29s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 24s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 49s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 31s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 55s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 3s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 30s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 41s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 27s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 7s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 7s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 20s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 38s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
9h 36m Beginner May 18, 2007

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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.

Deke McClelland

Polygons and stars

In this exercise we're going to add stars to our Tonalpohualli document here. And if you want to catch up with me, you can by opening the illustration called, that's found inside of the 04_Geometric_Shapes folder. Now let's go ahead, because I've already drawn all of the five circles that we need inside of this calendar, and note by the way there's a lot more circles in the final version of the calendar but it's just a matter of adding more circles to the document. So you've already gotten the sense of how that works.

We no longer need the circles template, so go ahead and hide it by clicking on it's eyeball to get rid of it. We now need the stars template so go ahead and turn on the stars layer by clicking on its eyeball. Meatball that layer, so we can make it into a template. Let's reduce the opacity value to say 35% just to shake things up a little bit, something different here. And then finally lock it down by clicking in that second column. Now go back to the My drawing layer, which is where we're going to draw our stars.

And let's start things off by looking at the Polygon Tool. First of all because you need to know how to use the tool and secondly because the Star Tool's functionality is based on that of the Polygon Tool. So I'm going to grab the Polygon Tool here. As I mentioned a few exercises ago, the Polygon Tool draws a regular polygons, so they're already symmetrical shapes, so you don't need to press the Shift key, and it always draws from the center outward so you don't need to press the Alt or Option keys. So I'm not pressing any keys at this point, in order to get this pentagon, which is the default polygon shape.

If I do happen to press and hold the Shift key then I will make the polygon nice and upright like that. All right I don't care about that. I want to show you these other keys that I do care about. You can press the down arrow key to delete sides from the shape and you can only go down so far as the triangle here. Nice regular equilateral triangle. Press the up arrow key in order to add sides to the shape, and you can go pretty nuts, pretty quickly here with the Polygon Tool, so that it appears to be almost just a circle.

All right so I'll take some of those sides away by pressing the down arrow key. You can also press and hold one of these keys in order to delete a lot of sides at a time. So that's the Polygon Tool. There it is. Go ahead and release mouse button and press the Backspace or Delete key to get rid of that shape. Now let's move along to the Star Tool here. Same difference, it's always drawing regular stars and it's always drawing from the center outward. So I'll go ahead and start my five-pointed star, good old American star here, from the center outward, and if I press and hold the Shift key, then I make it nice and upright, the American way. Dun-da -da. All right so that's good. Now what I want though is nothing American at all. Originally these were the Americans, weren't they? The Aztecs, and they were working, in the case of this specific version of the calendar, they were working with eight-pointed stars. So I'm going to press the up arrow key three times in a row in order to get a nice eight-pointed star right here.

And I notice I'm having problems for whatever reason, I'm having problems getting my inside points and my outside points aligned with each other. All right, so I want to trace that outer star right here, your difference may not be so remarkable, but I need to get the inside points aligned and the outside points aligned. How am I going to manage to do that? Well it turns out you can. Start off by getting those inner points aligned like so, so that inner radius of points needs to be aligned first, and then press and hold the Control key or the Command key on the Mac, and now drag and notice that you move the outer points independently of the inner points, and you can even take them all the way and like this, so that they become inner points, your outer points become inner points and so on. Anyway so one ring remains stationary as you press and hold that Control key. As soon as you get the inner points and the outer points more or less aligned like this, then release your Control key or your Command key and then I invite you to also press the Shift key so that your star is nice and upright, nice upright eight-pointed star here, and then release.

Now it happens to be the wrong color for me. I accidentally picked up the star attributes here. The star shape attributes, that is the attributes of the shapes on the stars layer. So I need to go ahead and lift the attributes of the circles that I drew, and I'll do that of course using the Eyedropper by clicking on the inside of that star shape there, and I went ahead and lifted the stroke, but I filled the shape with white for whatever reason, so the fill is active. I'm just going to press the slash (/) key in order to make it transparent or I could click on this little transparent icon there. All right that looks good. Now let's draw the next star shape, the next one in, and those of you who know a thing or two about Illustrator might say, Why don't we just go ahead and scale it and duplicate it in order to create the center star? The reason is because the inner points and the outer points wouldn't be precisely aligned the way that they need to be so it's just as easy and in fact it's more precise in this case to draw a new star. So I'm going to start another star from the inside. Notice that it's once again an eight-pointed star. I will get the inner points aligned where I want them. Notice that the outer points aren't quite aligned where want them now, so I'll press Control or Command on the Mac and get those outer points aligned, then I'll release the Control key or the Command key on a Mac, I'll press and hold the Shift key, I will release the mouse button, and I've got my inner stars set up the way that I want it. Now I'm going to actually take that stroke down to one point for this specific star because it has a slightly thinner stroke as you can see. Now we're ready to draw the inside star, and by the way you can click with this tool as well in order to bring up the Star dialog box. This works for polygons too, and that way you can say what your outer radius is going to be and what your inner radius is going to be and how many points you want, but I'm going to cancel out. I just want you to see that, and it does, and as when clicking with the Ellipse Tool, that dialog box is always remembering the last applied settings, so that's what is showing us is the settings associated with the last star we drew. Now I'm going to draw yet another star here, but this time it's a four-pointed star, so I'm going to press the down arrow key four times in order to go from an eight- pointed star to a four-pointed star, get that inner ring of points in the right location, then press and hold the Control key and position the outer ring of points.

And it looks like the inner ring wants to be tucked in a little bit, so that it goes inside of that inner circle there and then I'll Control drag out again or Command drag on a Mac out again until I get all of my edges lined up exactly right. Now I'll release the Command or Control key, I'll press and hold the Shift key in order to make sure that I have an upright shape and then I will release my mouse button, and I will take that stroke back up to two points for this inner shape and that's it. Wunderbar. We have managed to create all three of the stars inside of the calendar. What's coming up next, in the next exercise? Rectangles friends, rectangles.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials .

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Q: When trying to synchronize color settings between all Creative Suite programs in Bridge, the Creative Suite Color Settings command either does not appear in the Edit menu or does not work. What is causing this?
A: If the Color Setting command is not available or does not function, it's because Bridge thinks that a single application (such as Photoshop or Illustrator), is installed and not one of the many versions of the Creative Suite.
If only Photoshop or Illustrator is installed, skip the exercise and move on.
If the entire Creative Suite is installed, then, unfortunately, there is no easy fix. Either contact Adobe or completely reinstall the Creative Suite.
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