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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.
All right, so I have gone ahead and traced the left side of this creature's formidable head here, his right side of course. As well as the series of four of these spikes or scales or whatever they are and I have gone ahead and saved off my illustration thus far as the Sharp scales.ai found inside the 09 Pen tool folder. Now wouldn't it be nice if we could take some of the scales that we have drawn and go ahead and replicate them in order to create some more of these scales, more of these spikes. And truly we can, there are ways to shortcut things in Illustrator so the shortcut we will take one that we will further our understanding of the program.
So, I'm going to go ahead and armed with my White Arrow tool drag across these scales like so, in order to enclose a bunch of the points. Actually let's go ahead and zoom in so we can see them more closely. Now, I want to copy these spikes and replicate them, but the way I have done it so far you will notice that I got this anchor point in this selection but I did not get this guy and I did get this guy so we would be missing this anchor point connection here. Now one of the things to note about copying and pasting individually selected anchor points like this you should not only will be copying the anchor point themselves but any neighboring segment.
So I would actually copy this segment right here and this segment right here as well as this segment right here. But these two would be disassociated with each other because they didn't get the anchor point. So this is what I'm going to do instead, I'm going to Shift-click on that anchor point to turn it off. So these are the anchor points I have selected this guy, this guy, this guy and so on down the list here all the way to the end. So that means this curving segment that I'm tracing right here will get selected but nothing else will beyond this point anyway. So we will get that anchor point even though it's not selected we will get it because we need that anchor point in order to complete this line segment. So does that make sense even though it's not selected? All right, that's just how Illustrator works. If were we to select this anchor point, if I do Shift-click on it in order to edit to the selection we would now get this anchor point because we have selected this segment and we have to have an anchor point on the end of the segment to make it work. All right, so I'm going to Shift-click on that not to select it, then I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command, I could just as easily press Ctrl+C or Command+C on Mac that copies it, then I would paste and it's not necessary to paste in front or paste in back just do a regular paste Ctrl+V, Command+V on a Mac and there are your points just like I was telling you. We got this anchor point even though it wasn't selected because this line segment was selected. I know I'm belaboring the point here at the anchor point, B point, the larger topic point but that's because I want to make sure you understand now let's go ahead and put that back by Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac.
All right, so I went ahead and pasted this collection of segment at this location here. Now I want to align this anchor point with this anchor point right there. I want to make them snap into alignment with each other, which means to go and drag the selection by that anchor point and drag it over to this location and you will snap into alignment. You can see that because we get the little white arrowhead little snappy arrowhead and then you release in order to complete that drag. Now something else to know by the way. If you find that you accidentally click off the shape or something in it becomes deselected and then you have to click on the shape with a White Arrow tool to select it and so on.
And you want to select the entire path then you would Alt-click on it, Option-click on it on the Mac. So it's a standard method for using a White Arrow tool there, another thing you could do of course is switch over to the Black Arrow tool and then click on the path to select the entire path and drag that point, until it snaps into alignment like so and then release. So you could do that with a Black Arrow tool as well. All right, then what I want to do is I want to go back to the White Arrow tool and I'm going to Marquee these two points, these two end points that should be snapped exactly into alignment with each other and then I'll click on this little joiner icon right there, the connection icon and that will connect those two guys together and I get the join dialog box. Do I want a corner point? Do I want a smooth point? What do you think? Now we know now, right, that we have three different varieties of points, we have got corner points which I was telling you define a corner between two straight segments. We have a smooth point which is a continuous arc with symmetrical control handles and then we have a cusp point so where is my cusp point that's what I want right as a cusp but I want to corner with two asymmetrical order out of alignment control handles, the answer is corner.
Corner falls into that same camp. This is a wondering definition for Illustrator. Some times corner means an absolute corner point other times corner is inclusive of cusp points inside of this dialog box it's inclusive of cusp points you click OK in order to create that nice corner right there. We will see in the next exercise an example of a function where corner means absolute corner. Anyway, I'm going Marquee around these spikes because they are not in alignment with my acrylic painting at all. So we need to modify them so notice I'm selecting all these anchor points not this one because I do want this segment selected but I don't want this segment selected so I leave this anchor point out of this selection equation. Now let's go over to the Rotate tool because you can rotate pieces of a path rotating scale pieces of a path using the Transform tool. So I'm going to grab the rotate tool right here and I'm going to click right on that point there that stationary point in order to lock it down and then I'm going to rotate my scales roughly, looking good I think pretty darn and good. And then let's go ahead and grab that Scale tool from the toolbox.
We still have the origin point at the exact same location it was before so let's just leave it there and I'm going to drag up and to the left from the origin point and then I'm pressing the Shift key as I do it just to constrain the drag so I have got a proportional resizing occurring and this looks great. Now, it doesn't look perfect of course so we need to modify the control handles. Now it's a little bit difficult to modify control handles actually it's now impossible to modify control handles when you have multiple point selected by default but you can change that you can see the control handles that are associated with these of you like. Right now notice we are only seeing this one control handle that's associated with the deselected point of all things. The other control handles are hidden if you want to see all of the control handles that are associated with all the selected segments that's key here. Then you go up to the Control palette and notice this icon right there, Show Handles for Multiple Selected Anchor Points. That's what you want. This guy hide handles for multiple selected anchor points is the default settings this guy though is your optional settings go ahead and turn it on. It gets a little confusing when you are seeing all these anchor points but it's terribly helpful as well in my opinion.
All right I'm going to switch back to the White Arrow tool just by pressing the A key and I'm going to drag this point, this anchor point right there where I want it to be and then I'm going to Shift-click on it to deselect it so then I'm setting it down. Then I'm going to drag this guy where I want him to be Shift-click to set it down, drag this one where I want to be Shift-click to set it down, I accidentally pressed the Shift key for a second though that's why we got that jump. Drag this one it's very important that we make sure to do this in order. Drag this one Shift-click to turn it off drag this Shift-click to set it down.
Drag this one to where ever you wanted Shift-click to set it down, drag this one we are almost done Shift-click to set it down, this guy up here Shift-click and this guy over here like so. And then we can began to adjust this control handles as desired in order to get the shape that we are looking for or the combination of shapes obviously every one of these wants to be a little bit different. We are not trying to create some robo monster. We are trying to create something that's a little bit organic so it is going to have some wandering imperfections here and there, which I think is actually desirable.
Not just ducky but really great. And let's go ahead and drag these to the desired location, this looks pretty good to me. So this gives you a sense of what you can accomplish and by the way just so as know I'll go ahead and select many of these points here and I want you to see that you can drag control handles around and keep your point selected. So this does not change which anchor points are turned on and which are turned off. Which is a really great thing because it insures continuity. It just means that then you could say okay now that I have put the control handles where I want them to be.
I'm going to nudge all these points over a few points inside of my illustration by pressing the left arrow key in my case that's what I just got done doing anyway. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to convert points, you can convert smooth points to cusp points and cusp points to corner points and corner points to smooth points, you will see how if you stay tuned.
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