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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 Painted pony.ai and now the question for this exercise is how do you go about adding to a rear object in the stacking order with the Blob Brush? How do you add paint to that object at the back of the stack? The answer is to select the object but we have to do a little upfront work. The first thing I'm going to do is select this little this path that I painted in front of the shoulder blade, and I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key to get rid off it. Then I'm going to select the larger brown shape like so.
Let's go over to the Blob Brush and double-click on it to bring up the Blob Brush tool Options dialog box and then I want you to turn on Selection Limits Merge, which is really going to do us a lot of good. Thanks to the fact that this path is selected we'll be able to add to it. Now it's going to get deselected every time we get down painting on it. So it's tempting to turn On Keep Selected, but if you turn on the Keep Selected checkboxes, you turn Off Selection Limits Merge, which is insane. I don't know why they do that. But anyway, I'm going to go ahead and turn Off Keep Selected turn On Selection Limits Merge and click OK.
Now, I'm going to ahead and paint and you'll see this time around here, if I paint down into the shoulder blade and the over the tummy a little bit, and I want to paint over that little extra doohickey right there and this guy as well. Then I release. I have gone ahead and added to the rearmost path because what I just painted went to the back of the stacking order. Let's check out the Layers palette. And we'll see, if we scroll all the way down here that there is a path that's no longer a Compound Path because I painted away the holes, right there at the bottom of the stack. Now, if I want to continue adding to it, I would have to press the Ctrl key or Command key on the Mac and click on that path outline to select it, because every single time it gets deselected and then I would paint some more.
Now, let's imagine that I want to go ahead and erase into this path and I'll show you a little trick that's actually pretty cool here after I get done painting this area right there and just a little bit more, I think. All right then I'll release, then it becomes deselected. All right, let's say that you want to erase some areas in this background path and you don't want to erase everything, because if you just start erasing, and you know what I'm doing, I'm turning my Wacom Stylus upside down. It's got an eraser on the end it. The default stylus that comes with the Intuos3 tablet and that automatically switches you over. It doesn't show you it in the toolbox but it automatically switches you over to the Eraser tool inside of Illustrator. That's just an Illustrator thing that the program does automatically.
But if I paint like that, I'm going to paint through everything, I erase through all the paths, unless however, I go ahead and select the path outline that I want to modify. So I'm going to get my Black arrow tool, I'm going to click on this path that I want to erase and then using my eraser on my stylus here, and you a can switch over to the Eraser tools if you prefer. No you can see how I'm just going to erase -- well, you can't actually tell so far that I'm just going to erase the brown. It looks like I'm going to erase everything. But when I release, I only affect that brown shape and nothing more.
So you may find it very, very helpful when working inside of Illustrator to use selections to mitigate exactly which objects you are adding to with the Blob Brush and which objects your which objects with the Eraser tool.
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