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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to set the position of the origin point, so that you can precisely control the center of a given transformation. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Enough circles.ai. After all, we have had enough of the circles already. I am going to go ahead and zoom in on the square. We want to create a couple of additional squares. I'll show you what they look like by clicking on the eyeball in front of the progress layer, so that we can see the template in the background. So we have this larger square right here that I'm tracing with my no can draw icon, because we can't affect this locked layer. Then we have a couple of smaller squares that are aligned with the bottom-left corner of the larger square. So that's where we are going to set our transformation origin, right there in that bottom-left corner.
All right, so turn back on the progress layer, and my Scale tool is still active as you can see here, but I want to go ahead and select the square. So I'm going to press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac in order to get my last used Arrow tool on the fly, and that would be the Black Arrow tool in my case. Then I'll click with Ctrl or Command down, this path in order to select it. You can see it has a double stroke effect. If you want to figure out what's going on there, you switch over to the Appearance palette, and you can see that we have got two strokes. One is a black stroke, this guy right there, which is 2 points thick, and it's centered on the path outline. The other is the 1.5 point stroke. I'll go ahead and make this palette a little wider so you can see that. It's set inside of the path boundary. So that's what's going on.
By the way, this is a great thing in Illustrator CS4 that we are going to be exploring over and over throughout this series. You finally have eyeballs inside of the Appearance palette. It used to be if you wanted to see the way an object looked without a given attribute, you had to take that attribute and throw it in a trash. That would give you sense what it would look like without it; and then you would press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that trashing of the attribute. Now you have what you would expect to have, which is an eyeball. So if I wanted to see what this rectangle looked like without the top stroke, I would just turn off that eyeball. Then I would say oh, it's just a standard black stroke, and this is what things would look like with that inner stroke, and without the larger stroke.
So just so you know that is an option that's available to you, and you can save, if I were to go ahead and save this graphic in the Illustrator CS4 format, then I could say which attributes are turned off and which are turned on. If I were to save to earlier format, CS3, CS2, and so on, then Illustrator would just go ahead and throw away the hidden attributes; just FYI. Anyway, I'm going to turn that back on. So having gone ahead and selected this rectangle, let's set the origin point. So notice the origin point, if you look very carefully, you will be able to see this on your screen pretty easily. It's a little harder to see in video, but there is this kind of green on green target icon right there. That shows you the transformation origin. If you want to move it, you can click on it and drag it, or you can just click at a point in order to set the transformation origin there.
I want it to be in the bottom-right corner, on that corner point. So I'll click, and now we have the target right there. It's really hard to see now, but it is there. Okay, now I want to go ahead and drag this square down in order to scale it down, but we can't really see what we are doing, because we are hiding the templates. So let's go back to the Layers palette and Ctrl-click or Command-click on that eyeball, so that we are getting our results exactly right, in case you are interested in doing that. I'll now move my cursor 45 degrees away from that transformation origin point. I can even move it down here, it doesn't matter, but it's sort of more intuitive if you put your cursor near the object.
I will go ahead and drag downward, like so. So down and to the left toward the transformation origin, which is now a little bit easier to see than it was before. I'll press the Shift key in order to constrain my square to a square. Then I'll press the Alt key as well in order to ensure that I'm getting a clone; that would be the Option key on the Mac. So you have got Shift+Alt down, or Shift+Option down, go ahead and release your mouse button and you now have a new square. You can safely release the keys. Let's go ahead and switch back to the Preview mode by pressing Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac, and I'll go to the Appearance palette. This time I just don't want this inner stroke anymore. If you are not sure that you want to throw it away, you could just turn it off, you can just hide it from view; or if you decide, yes, I actually do want it to go away, then you can move down to the trash can. You can either drag it to the trashcan incidentally, or you can go down to the trashcan and click on it, and that item will disappear.
I want to change these attributes a little bit, the Fill and the Stroke, of course. So I'll go to the Fill icon up here in the Control palette, click, and this time around I'm going to choose Aztec gold as the color. Then for the stroke, I'll go ahead and click on the Stroke icon, and I'll change it to darkness. I'm happy, by the way, with the 2-point stroke. So that works just fine. Return to the Layers palette, so we can see what we are dong. Ctrl-click, Command-click on that eyeball in order to switch just this one layer to the key-line mode. The Scale tool is still active, but the transformation origin has gone ahead and reset itself. Darn it, it shouldn't be doing that kind of thing. Click in the lower-left corner to reposition that origin point where it goes.
Then dragging from about here, drag downward toward the origin point in order to reduce the size of the object. Press and hold Shift+Alt on the PC, Shift+Option on the Mac, release your mouse button, release the keys, press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on the Mac. I'm not trying to go too fast for you here, by the way I hope I'm not? I'm just trying to give you a sense of, sort of, how you work through an illustration. It's just a lot of it's kind of these wrote things that you do over and over again, applied creatively, of course. All right, so I'll go back up to the Control palette or heck, I can switch over to the Appearance palette if I wanted to. I could have done this before too, I could abort from the Appearance palette right here. I'll do it this time. I'll click on that Stroke attribute a couple of times in order to make it active.
Then in order to switch over to this guy, Rich Black, and then I'll move down to the Fill attribute. Click on it, and I'll change it to this swatch, Plains grass. That's our fill. We also want to reduce the stroke weight to 1 point. If you want everything to align properly, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here to show you what I mean. Notice that the black stroke of the forward rectangle is sitting a little bit above, and to the left of the brown stroke. That's because both of the strokes are aligned to their paths, and the brown stroke is thicker than the black stroke.
If that bothers you, if you want to try and get them both exactly aligned to each other, then you go and click on the Word Stroke here inside the Appearance palette, or up in the Control palette would work too. You would switch to this guy right there, Align Stroke to Outside. And because this black stroke is exactly half as thick as the brown stroke, the two will exactly align to each other. So just another way to work. I mean that's not what I did actually in the template, but that's what I'm doing this time around in the exercise. All right, looking good? In the next exercise we are going to switch away from the Scale tool, and we are going to grab these three objects here, and we are going to rotate them into alignment with each of the points of this purple star right here. Join me.
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