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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
This video is for you Macintosh people. If you are working on a PC, if you are using a Windows machine, just mosey on along to the next exercise. If you are working on a Mac, we have sort of two groups of you. All of you are going to be interested in the second part of this video. About half of you are going to be interested in the first part of the video. I want you to watch the entire thing. It's not that long. Because there are parts that all of you have to do. But basically here is the idea. We need to make some changes to the keyboard setup in your system preferences area so that the operating system isn't grabbing all the function key stuff away from the Adobe applications, namely Illustrator. So we want to be able to use the function keys inside the Illustrator is the whole idea.
So here is how it works and I'm working on a PC, so I'm just showing you screenshots of the Mac. First thing you need to do, all of you Macintosh people, go up to the Apple menu and choose the System Preferences command and that will bring up this window except you will see a bunch of icons on it. Click on the icon that says Keyboard & Mouse and you will see this screen right here or at least much of it. Here is the idea. Take a look at your keyboard for me, if you will and you will see a row of function keys along the top of the keyboard. If the function keys are unencumbered, in other words, all they say is F1, F2, F3, F4, and so on, then you won't see these options right here. You will not see them. You will just see these options at the top. In which case you don't need to worry about these options because they don't affect you.
However, if you are looking at the function keys and they little volume icons and little brightness icons and little doohickeys all over them, why then you will see these options down here and you need to change one of them and the option I want to change is this guy right there. Use all F1, F2, etcetera keys as standard function keys, the strangest name for an option ever. Go ahead and turn that checkbox on. What it does is it releases the function keys for use in Illustrator and the other Adobe applications and then if you want to take advantage of things like volume control and brightness control and all that jazz, then you need to press the special Fn key which is either going to be in the lower left corner of your keyboard or the upper right corner of your keyboard, some place in the far nether region. So think it's either down in California if you'tr looking at the keyboard as a map of US or up somewhere near Mish again. That's where the function keys are going to be, this Fn key, and you have to press the Fn along with the function key to change, say, the volume or the brightness that kind of thing. But the function key itself will be opened in Illustrator, Photoshop and so on and that's what we want.
Next, I want you to move on to the next panel that we are going to take a look at inside of this window. So click on this button right there, Keyboard & Shortcuts, click on it and that will advance you to this screen right here and now you can change some of the default keyboard shortcuts, which would otherwise cause problems with Illustrator, Photoshop and the other Adobe applications. So you want to scroll down to this area Dock, Expose and Dashboards, so that you can see all these options. You also want to see the Spotlight options.
So notice that we are scrolled almost to the bottom of the list. Then click on this guy right there. By the way, it should say by default Command+Option+D, so it will be clover leaf and then this weird option symbol and then D. Click on it to highlight it and then if you want to follow along and do things the way I'm doing them, press Ctrl, the Ctrl key. It's actually spelling out Control and D at the same time and you will get this little ^D symbol indicating that now you have to press Ctrl+D to show and hide the dock. Now that's just a recommended setting. If you are having problems getting any of these keys to work, like you try to press Ctrl+D and it doesn't work, you get some kind of weird feedback, try something else. But this way, you are freeing up Command+Option+D to be available inside of the Adobe apps. You also want to change these guys. Normally, they are F9, F10, F11, and F12. You want to go and click on them and change them to Ctrl+F9, again, just a recommended setting.
If you can't get it to work, that's fine. Ctrl+F10, Ctrl+F11, Ctrl+F12. Ctrl+F8 is what I used for spaces, if you have got that turned on. These are very important. By default, the Spotlight stuff is set to Command+Spacebar and Command+Option+Spacebar. That's going to cause you complete and utter havoc inside of Illustrator because it's going to block you from accessing the Zoom tool on the fly and you don't want that. So here is what I recommend, Command+Ctrl+F1 and Command+Ctrl+ Option+F1 and again, those are just my recommended settings. You definitely want to change them away from the defaults however.
Then once you have done all that go ahead and click this Close box and that will not only close the System Preferences but it will save your changes as well and that is it. That's all you need to do. Wasn't that easy? And now Mac and Windows people alike, I invite you to join me in the next exercise where I show you how to install my best workflow color settings for use in Illustrator CS4.
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