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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.
I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Three-pronged hook.ai. So called because we have assembled the first of our three-pronged hooks. Now if you take a look at the template, I'll go ahead and turn it on for a moment so that we can take it in and all of its blunder. Notice that things aren't exactly aligning to the template. That's okay as long as everything aligns to itself, to the new design that we are creating. That's what matters. We don't care if new objects are scaled exactly to our template objects. That is of no never mind to us.
So anyway you can see though what does count is we've got this three-pronged hook right there and then we have one, two, three, four, five more for a total of six, all of which are rotated around the star. So if that's the effect we want to achieve, it's pretty easy to do as long as we know where the exact center of the star is and currently we don't know. If I click in the star, there is no center point associated with it. So what we need to do is to go to the Window menu and choose the Attributes command to bring up the good old, weird old Attributes palette here. And then turn on the Center point. Now because this is a six -pointed star this is the exact center of the shape. If it were a five- pointed star we would not be seeing the exact center, but we have a point across from every point inside of the star.
So there's absolute symmetry where this star is concerned. Now then I'm going to click on this three-pronged guy right there and I'm going to turn off the template so that we are not cheating again. Now I've lost sight of my center point, because the star is no longer selected. So I need to press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y to switch to the Outline mode so that I can see that center point right there. Now I'll go grab my Rotate tool and I'll go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on that center point. And this time I know that again a circle is 360 degrees and I have a total of six of these three -pronged hooks that I have to address.
So I'll just say 360/6 and press Tab, and it will tell me it's 60 degrees. Pretty simple math, actually. But if you want to let Illustrator do it, great! Click Copy and you'll create the copy right at that location. Then press Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac and then Ctrl+D, Ctrl+D, Ctrl+D. That's Command+D, Command+D, Command+D on a Mac. And you have done it! You now have all of your three-pronged hooks ready and waiting for you to color them. So I'm going to click off the shapes to deselect them. I can press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on a Mac to switch back to the Preview mode.
Now comes the job of figuring out how you're going to color your shapes. You could just leave them black-and- white and what was interesting is I did actually find this design on the web and it was rendered just as we are seeing it here. Black lines, white fills nothing more. So it becomes another puzzle. How do we go about coloring these objects so that everything is going to flow properly? Which prong should be colored the same and which should be colored differently? Well, we are going to have to do a little bit of assembling. We're going to have to figure it out how this puzzle goes together in order to make that decision and we'll begin assembling the puzzle in the next exercise.
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