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In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to finesse the behavior of the Blob Brush and the Eraser tools here inside the Illustrator CS4. I'm looking at a fairly blobular red hand. If for some reason, you want to be seeing that exact same red hand on your computer screen, then you can open this illustration called a hand named blob.ai found inside the 07_edit_transform folder. Now to give you a sense of where we are going, I'm going to turn off my blobs here inside the Layers palette and I'm going to turn on blobs and you can see after we get done creating a reasonably good hand which we have, we will fill it in stroke in the moment. Then we need to paint the spinning vortex in the background. Fair enough, let's do that.
So I'll turn off blobs, turn back on my blobs and I'll go grab my Blob Brush and then I'll begin painting said vortex. And as I paint it occurs to me, wait a sec. What's to prevent this red brush stroke from merging with my hand and making a complete mess of things? And sure enough, I notice that I have made a complete mess of things. It did get merged. So I'll press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac in order to see the selection outlines. Yes, it's all one big globular blobular mess.
So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac because obviously that's not what I want. What I want is to tell Illustrator that I want to paint a different path and that is as simple as switching colors. So I'll go up to the Swatches palette and I'll switch to this color right there, clay, and that's all it takes. Now if I paint something with the tool and I'll just go ahead and start painting here from the center outward like so, this becomes a separate path. Now then, I want this to look a little different than it's looking. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac and I'm going to double click on the Blob Brush tool icon and let's say that I wanted to have this brush stroke that is I wanted to have a calligraphic feel to it.
So I'm going to go ahead and change my Pen Nib from circular to elliptical by dragging one of these top or bottom circles here and notice that's changing the roundness and I have gone ahead and switched my Roundness to 48% at this point. You might get something totally different and then you can drag the point here of this arrow in order to change the Angle of the brush, as you see right there. And you can link Angle and Roundness to your Stylus if you want to, for example, to the Tilt if you wanted to, the angle of the stylus as it relates to the tablet.
But I'm not going to do anything that fancy. I just want this calligraphic nib and then I'll click OK and now I'm going to set in painting once again and you can see that I'm going to get a calligraphic stroke now. You may also notice if we go too far in one brush stroke that Illustrator is going to cut you off, right there it happened to me and that's because things have gotten too complicated for it to track after that point. All you have to do to start things up again is continue painting. So it's not really that big of an issue as you might imagine. All right, so let's say at this point I think fair enough, this is all very well and good. It looks like a big mess but I really can't gage it until it's in back of the hand.
So I'm going to Ctrl-click or Command- click on that path outline in order to select the path. Then I'll press that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Left bracket or Command+Shift+Left bracket on the Mac in order to send that object to back. If you don't like that keyboard shortcut you can right-click or Ctrl-click on the Mac, choose Arrange and then choose Send to Back. That works as well. All right, I'm just going to escape out of there and now let's say I decide to paint some more. I want to add a little bit of sort of a weird edge over here for example to this background item and it appears to be going in front of the hand, so it can't be part of that same object. If I Ctrl-click or Command-click on it, sure enough it's a completely different brush stroke. And why is that? Why didn't it merge? Well, it's because the Blob Brush tool is sensitive to stacking order as well as color.
So I have got to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of that. You can override that though, you can override that behavior by double clicking on the Blob Brush tool icon in the toolbox and turning on Selection Limits Merge which goes ahead and tells Illustrator, any time I have a path selected and its color matches the current color, I want you to bond with it. And so now you click OK and you want to Ctrl-click or Command-click on that path outline to make sure it's active. Now if I were to add a little bit of a brush stroke like so, it would paint in the background, which is really a great thing.
All right, now let's say I want to do a little bit of erasing for, fairly obvious reasons I think. So I'll grab my Eraser tool and then I'll erase some of this garbage out of the way here just some random erases like this and it appears that I'm erasing both the hand and the background vortex and again, sure enough, I am. So Illustrator is previewing things properly. So I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. The Eraser tool, if you double click on it, it's got that Angle value and the Roundness value that you can modify if you wanted to as well as Diameter, but it doesn't have any checkbox for that Selection Limits Merge thing. It just works that way automatically as it turns out.
So cancel out. Ctrl-click or Command- click on the thing that you want to erase and then go ahead and erase into it and notice now you are going to see the same thing you saw before but it's not going to behave the same, so that's good and the shape remains selected which is totally awesome. So I can paint in here a little more to accomplish something like this right there. So I'm just painting strokes here and there to add a little bit of random variation that I think is going to offset the hand nicely or strangely or what have you.
All right, I think this looks good enough for my crude rendering. Even though, I'm still painting but I do think it look good enough. All right, let's finish things off here. I'm going to click off the shape with the Black Arrow tool. I could do some additional work if I wanted to, to some of this stuff that's going on in the background but I say good, good, good. I am going to click on the hand in order to select it and I actually want the hand to be filled with black and have a red stroke. So I'm going to press Shift+X in order to swap the fill and stroke, then I'll change the Stroke Weight to 4 point and I'm going to click on the word Stroke up here in the Control palette and switch over to a Round Join, so that I don't get any terribly sharp points. And then with the Fill attribute active as it is for me, I'm going to go up to the Swatches palette and click on the swatch called Rich Black in order to finish off this illustration.
So this is the crude rendering of the Anasazi stop sign, thanks to my employment of a combination of the new Blob Brush tool and the Eraser tool here inside Illustrator CS4. In the next exercise, we will begin our more deliberate approach to the geometric Anasazi stop sign and we will take a look at how to clone and duplicate objects. Stay tuned.
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