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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 select and scale independent segments inside of Illustrator. It's pretty easy to do and you can accomplish some amazing effects as you are about to see. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Merged strokes.ai found inside the 10_select_enhance folder and here is what I would like you to do. Go ahead and for now turn off this All objects layer in order to hide it and we're going to want to be able to see this Final Lace layer and the Circles layer, the Just circles layer at the same time, except this is pretty confusing to see them both on top of each other.
So make sure Just circles is turned on and then let's convert Final lace into a tracing template by unlocking it for the moment, meatballing the entire layer by clicking on that circle right there and then I'm going to go on to the Control palette and change the Opacity to 25%. Now we can tell the difference and then go ahead and lock the layer back down once again. All right, I have got my Black Arrow tool active. You should too. Go ahead and select this central circle right here and I must have hidden my selection edges. So I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+ H on the Mac so that I can view those selection edges once again and I have got that central circle selected, we are going to need two versions of this circle.
So let's go ahead and copy it by going up to the Edit menu and choosing the Copy command or you could press Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac. Then I want to be able to select the segments independently of the anchor points because I want to scale those segments without moving the anchor points which is something you can do and to select just the segments in the shape, nothing more, you go up to the Select menu, you choose Object and you choose Direction Handles. Now why Direction Handles? Because it's Illustrator's way of saying control handles right now inside this specific sub-menu.
Illustrator calls control handles quite a few things, I think a total of three things throughout the program but it's not really true, right? You can't select control handles. You can't actually select and scale control handles. You can however select and scale segments and so that's what it really means here. So just go ahead and select the curving segments. So choose that command. You will see the control handles and the anchor points will disappear thereby indicating that each one of these segments is active. Now, I want you to go ahead and grab the Scale tool and the origin point is set to the center by default. That's a good thing.
Move your cursor so that its 45 degrees out from the center point. I'm going to move mine up into the right but yours could be up into the left or wherever you want it and then click and drag in that direction. So in other words, I'm going to drag up into the right, farther up into the right, then press the Shift key in order to constrain your scaling so that it's proportional, and once you're matching that loop to loop in the background there in the tracing template, as I'm here, then release your mouse button and then release the Shift key and notice how far those direction handles, those control handles -- oh, no I'm adopting the language of Illustrator's Object sub-menu there.
Notice, how far the control handles are extending outside the illustration window. So it totally violates that rule. I was telling you of that one-third rule where each of the control handles should extend about a third the length of the segment. These control handles are extending like twice the length of the segment in the case of each one of them. That's okay. It looks great and the shape sort of resembles that cloverleaf pattern of the Command key on a Macintosh keyboard and now what we're going to do is press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to reinstate that central circle. Now, we're done with it, go back to the Black Arrow tool. I'm going to click on this next circle out to select it. I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac to copy it to the clipboard, very important because we're going to need it again.
Now, I want to create this looping line right here that I'm tracing with my cursor for you. See how it goes around and down and then over to the left, up and then over to the right. Now, when you are stretching segments, they are going to go in the direction of the segment. So if we were to try to create the shape by scaling the segments, we would once again scale them up into the right and down into the right and so on. So we need to rotate these segments 45 degrees in order to get the proper effect and you can do that using of course, the Rotate tool. So make sure you see the Rotate tool there in the toolbox, double-click on it in order to bring up the Rotate Dialog box and then enter a value of 45 degrees.
You can see that doesn't change the shape of the circle at all. It just moves the anchor points. So watch these anchor points right here. This is before. If I turn off Preview, this is where they were and then when I turned on Preview, they just shift to different locations that also puts the segments in different locations which is exactly what we need. Click OK to accept that modification. Now, go to the Select menu, choose Object and choose Direction Handles once again. Illustrator deselects the anchor points and selects the segments. Now I want you to get that Scale tool. Now you might think you should drag up or over to the right or something along those lines. So let's try that. If you were to drag up while pressing the Shift key, you would create an Up loop and a down loop but you wouldn't create any loops over on the left hand and right hand sides of this shape. So you will get this effect, which is mighty cool, but it's not what we're looking for here.
So I'll go ahead and undo that modification, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, instead do that same drag you did just a moment ago. In my case, I started up into the right from the central origin point and then I drag even farther up into the right while pressing the Shift key. When your path outline matches the loops of the template as mine do right here, then go ahead and release the mouse button and then release the Shift key and you will get the effect you are seeing here on my screen. All right, so much for that one, press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to reinstate that original middle circle. Now what I would like to do is something even more ambitious here. I want to actually take these segments and instead of scaling them out which increases their size, I want to reduce them so far that they flip around on each other and then we enlarge them in the other direction.
So let's say I'll go ahead and try this out here. Go to Select menu, choose Object and choose Direction Handles once again and I still have my Scale tool active. So I'm going to start up into the right as I want to do and I'm going to drag down into the left like so. So pass the center, all the way to the other side while pressing the Shift key and then I'll release my mouse button in order to get this effect. Now that's pretty nifty but I want just this amazing network of different paths that are going on in the background here in a template and that means I need more segments to work with.
So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+ Z on the Mac to undo that modification. If you want twice as many segments which is what I want, then you want twice as many anchor points as well and you can automatically add anchor points in the middle of each and every segment by going up to the Object menu, choosing the Path command and choosing this command right there, Add Anchor Points. I just love this command. It allows you to add greater complexity to a path thereby giving you more segments and a lot of different commands, a lot of different effect functions respond quite positively to having more segments to work with inside Illustrator.
So go ahead and choose that command, you will double the number of anchor points from 4 to 8 now. So we have an anchor point at every 45 degrees inside of this circle. Now, go up to the Select menu, choose Object and choose Direction Handles to deselect the anchor points and only select the handles. I still have my Scale tool active. So I'll start up into the right. I'll drag all the way across like so down into left and I'll press the Shift key in order to constrain my scaling. Once I get this shape right there, you can see how the blue path outline matches the template in the background. Once you get that effect, then go ahead and release your mouse button and then release the Shift key and you'll end up with this effect here. I'll press Ctrl+ Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect my illustration.
All that's left are the scalloped edges right here in the background. We're going to make those from the outer circle in the next exercise.
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