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

Positioning the origin point


Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

with Deke McClelland

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Video: Positioning the origin point

Now so far we've seen how you can scale shapes with respect to their centers. For example, when we were scaling the circles in the previous exercises, we were scaling inward and outward uniformly so that each circle was concentric, that means all of the center points for the circles were at the same position. In this exercise I'm going to show you how you can relocate the center of that transformation, which is known as the transformation origin by the way, to gain more control over what's going on, and if that sounds like so much gibberish, believe me it is. No, no, I kid.
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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

Positioning the origin point

Now so far we've seen how you can scale shapes with respect to their centers. For example, when we were scaling the circles in the previous exercises, we were scaling inward and outward uniformly so that each circle was concentric, that means all of the center points for the circles were at the same position. In this exercise I'm going to show you how you can relocate the center of that transformation, which is known as the transformation origin by the way, to gain more control over what's going on, and if that sounds like so much gibberish, believe me it is. No, no, I kid.

It's actually really great information. So I'm going to zoom in here on this square on the side of the calendar, by the way I'm working in a document called Enough that's found inside the 06_Edit_transform folder. It's called Enough circles because we're done creating circles. We have enough circles in this document. We've attained enough circles, isn't that great? All right, so here's this square over on the far left side of the calendar. If I were to hide the progress layer for a moment so that we can see the underlying calendar template layer, you would see that what we've got, what we're going for is a square with two inset squares and notice that they're not centered, these squares aren't centered on each other. They're aligned to the lower left point. That's where we are going to put our transformation origin. All right, so I'm going to bring up the progress layer once again the active progress layer.

And then I'm going to go ahead and select this shape right here by clicking right along the seam between the black and green strokes So I'll go ahead and click right there to select the shape, and the reason that that's seam is where the path is actually located is because I have one centered stroke and one inner stroke applied to this shape, and you can see those strokes over here inside the Appearance palette, and if you bring your Appearance palette up on screen you'd see it as well. Go to the Window menu and choose Appearance, and you can see that we've got a path that has two strokes assigned to it.

I'll go ahead and move Layers down just a little bit so we can see what's going on. Two strokes assigned to it and the lighter of the two strokes is inside. So I used that inside stroke function right here inside the Stroke palette, you know what I'm talking about? Align Stroke Inside that guy? Just FYI, that's all that's about. Now let's go ahead and scale and clone this rectangle. I'm going to go ahead and grab the Scale Tool right here, inside the toolbox, and notice right there in the center, it's a little bit hard to see because it's sort of green on green for some reason, but there's a little target. It's sort of a cross with a circle in the center of it.

You'll be able to see it better on your screen, and that shows you the center of the transformation, which as I say is called the transformation origin. I'm going to move that centerpoint by clicking in the lower left corner of my rectangle. So if you click before you start using the Scale Tool that sets the location of the transformation origin. I just moved it down there. Again it's very, very difficult to see on screen here, but I did move it. Might be able to see it better in that outline mode. If I press Control+Y or Command+Y on the Mac. There it is, see the green thing.

I don't know why Illustrator's choosing to make it green so that we can barely see it, but still Illustrator works in mysterious ways. Having put the transformation origin right there, now I'm going to start dragging at about this position, notice where my black arrowhead is. And I'm going to drag thusly, and notice as I drag toward the transformation origin I make the shape smaller. As I drag away if I were to drag away, I'd make it bigger. I'm pressing the Shift key by the way, while I do this so that I'm getting a proportional resize, or you can also get a width only resize or a height only resize, when you have the Shift key down. That's why that shape's snapping around there. So I want the shape to be about that big there, I think.

And I'll go ahead and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then I'll release in order to create a new version of that shape. And we need to assign some different strokes and fills. Now make sure that your Appearance palette is up on screen, cause see that drop shadow right there, I need you to get rid of it, by grabbing the drop shadow item and dropping it on the trash can just to delete it, and let's throw one of the strokes away too. Your call, you can throw either stroke away. It doesn't matter which one because we're going to replace both the stroke and the fill. So here's what I want you to do with the stroke. I want you to make, let's see if the stroke is active, it is inside of the toolbox. You can also make the stroke active just by clicking on it here inside the Appearance palette.

And I'm going to make the stroke 1 point, and I'm going to go ahead and change it to one of the swatches here inside the Swatches palette, this guy right there, which is known as Darkness. It's a very dark brown. And then I'm going to switch to the fill either by pressing the X key or I could click on this fill item here inside the Appearance palette, as long as we're doing Appearance palette stuff. And now we're going to switch this guy to Aztec gold, because the marauders thought the Aztecs had gold anyway. So I'm going to go ahead and apply that gold to this doohickey here, to this square. I've still got the Scale Tool active. I'm going to click once again just to make sure the transformation origin, which notice has been reset. Illustrator thoughtfully reset it to the center. Thank you, very not Illustrator.

I don't appreciate when programs do things when I'm not looking. Anyway, I went ahead and clicked in the bottom left corner, because I want to keep the transformation origin at that point, then I'm going to drag, press and hold the Shift key and the Alt key and release, and the new attributes that we're going to assign here. I'm going to assign, for fill I'm going to assign this guy: Plains grass. And then for the stroke, I'm going to go ahead and switch it out by pressing the X key and I'm going to apply good old Rich black, Richie Rich Black, there we go. Very nice, and that's it, that's really all that I'm going to do to this shape, but because I have that transformation origin control, I can do the scaling and the alignment all at once.

I don't have to scale and then drag the shapes into place and so on. Now I'm going to go ahead and select these three items by clicking on one and Shift-clicking on the other two, and I'm going to group them together by pressing Control+G or Command+G and a Mac, might as well use the keyboard shortcut. And now I'll zoom out so that we can take in our artwork from a little bit of the distance here. That's it. That is that little square ornament over here, group of squares ornament over here on the left hand side. In the next exercise we'll go ahead and replicate this squares ornament to the other points on the star here and we'll do that using the Rotation Tool.

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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