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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 follow up on what I promised to do in the previous exercise. I'm going to show you how to keep paths separate from each other and how to close open paths effectively, using the Pen tool. I'm working inside of the document called No more strays.ai found inside the 09_pen_tool folder. So called, of course, because I think I got rid of all the stray anchor points inside of this illustration. Now I'm going to zoom in on the animal, the fearsome animal's head right here.
This is what I want to do. I want to grab my Pen tool of course, and let's say I want to trace around his forehead here. His angry forehead and then I want to trace down along his nose and then I'm thinking of coming up this other side, but if I do that, I'll give him like this droopy floppy nose right there. That looks just plain dorky. So I'm going to go ahead and undo the addition of that point by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. But notice my Pen tool cursor, it's still right ready to add more anchor points to my path. So if I do the same thing I did a moment ago, I'm going to get another droopy nose. No surprise there. So, I need to somehow tell Illustrator enough already with this side of my path.
I'm done with it. And you do that by either going up to the Select menu and choosing the Deselect command or of course much easier, just go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac. That deselects the path and deselecting a path does deactivate it every single time. So we are back to a Pen tool cursor with an X. Now you would just go ahead and begin dragging to draw the other side of the creature's head like so. And then if you are done with that, and I'm of course, I'll go ahead and press the Ctrl key or the Command key on Mac and click on this first point, because I want a little more curvature right there on that part of the nose in order to make it look like this. I think, actually this is looking pretty good anyway.
Now, if I go back to my Pen tool, however, it's still active. So if I were to do this number right there, if I want to drag the inside of the ear, I'm going to create a strange loop. I don't want that, so I would press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect that path and then I would start creating this nicely floppy ear right there. We do want floppy things, like ears. We just don't want floppy noses. And again, Ctrl+Shift+A and Command+ Shift+A on the Mac and then draw this ear in order to add that little bit of lineage. Now then, let's say that I want to take this path down here, the leg path which is the back most of the rear legs here. Let's say that I want to close off the top of it, just because I might want to fill it or do something different with it and presumably the larger path would be in front of it here, the big closed path.
But for whatever reason, I want to close it with cusp points. I don't want to just clip it, straight along the top here, because I'm worried if I clip it straight there is a chance that a little bit of a gap might show up down here. So I want to give it a nice arching segment like so, but that's going to involve the cusp point for each of the endpoints. How do I make them happen? Well, first thing I'll do is I'll drag from this point. Ops! That's not going to work at all. All right, what I did? The famous mistake actually inside of Illustrator, I just got done connecting one open path to another open path. If I were to zoom out, I'll show you why that happened. Because this ear was still active up here. Illustrator thought, presumably because that was an active point going right there that I wanted to connect it to this endpoint right there. So very helpfully it did that for me.
Of course, that's not what I want. So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Notice the Pen tool cursor, it's still alive. It doesn't have an X next to it or anything like that. So if I do it again, it's going to happen again. So I need to press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+ Shift+A on the Mac to regain my little X next to the Pen tool cursor. Good. I'll go ahead and zoom in once again. If I drag from this point, as I was demonstrating, I'm going to make it a smooth point, which is what it already was. If I want it to be a cusp point instead, then I need to of course Alt+ Drag from it. And I could do that in a couple of different ways. I'll go ahead and undo the fact that I ever touched that point in the first place. Let's just go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on the Mac.
I could either set right in Alt+ Dragging or Option+Dragging from that endpoint like so, in order to establish an independent control handle and thereby create a cusp point or I'll go ahead and undo that modification. I could drag with the Pen tool like this to get things started and then I press the Alt or Option key and move this handle independently of the other one. So a couple of different ways to work. When you are thinking of closing the path, as I'm thinking of doing right now, you don't want to click because then that would just clip away any control handle of this location and you would have this weird cusp point that has the control handle on one side and no control handle on the other side.
So we don't want that. Undo. You could drag, but that will give you a smooth point. So I don't want that either. Undo. I would instead, press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag from that point and notice which direction I'm dragging. My cursor is down into the right. The control handle that I'm affecting is up and to the left. And that's just the way it works. You always have to work in a common direction, when you are tracing things with the Pen tool. So a few different things going on there. We were able to keep paths separate from each other. We were able to join one path to another open path inside of our illustration. We didn't mean to do it, but you can see it's possible and then we went ahead and closed an open path using a couple of cusp points.
In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to fill these shapes here. We are going to color the shapes using colors that we find that are natural to the Tracing Template in the background. So we are going to actually lift color from that Acrylic Painting. Join me.
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