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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 take an object, namely this guy right there, this group of objects, and duplicated over-and-over again in order to create a pattern of those objects throughout this illustration, and this is alternatively known as Series Rotation or if you prefer Power Duplication. Now the latter, Power Duplication, sounds far sexier, but Series Rotation is more accurate as we will see. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Power duplication so as to keep it sexy, there inside the edit_transform folder.
If you are still working along inside that Tonalpohualli document, why then stick with it. All right, then using the Black Arrow tool click inside of this group of objects here in order to select it. And we want to rotate a second version of this object into this location right there, and in order to see what I'm talking about, Ctrl-click or Command- click on the eyeball in front of the progress layer so that you switch that layer to the keyline mode and you can see through to the grayscale calendar layer there and there is that object as well as several other pairs of these objects around the perimeter of the calendar.
Next, I want you to go up to the Window menu and I want you to choose the Info command or you can press Ctrl+F8, Command+F8 on the Mac in order to bring up the Info palette, and the reason I'm having you bring up this palette is this is the palette that allows you to track a transformation as it's occurring inside Illustrator. So why don't we actually take these two palettes right there and drag them into this list, and this is my one-on-one workspace by the way. And I'm going even update my Workspace, I'm going to go up to the words One-on-One, choose Save Workspace, and then I'll call this One-on-One once again, and click OK, it will ask me, hey, do you want to overwrite the original? And I say yes, and that's how you update a workspace in Illustrator, interesting! All right, so I'm going to click on the eye so that my Info palette is up on screen. I'm going to switch over to the Rotate tool. I'm going to click to position the origin point, right now it's right there in the center of the group, I don't want that, I want to click at the intersection of the two guidelines in order to set the origin point there, and I'm not sure I've got it right. So I'm going to Ctrl+Shift+ Drag or Command+Shift+Drag around this location, and sure enough I don't have the transformation origin in the right location. I'm going to go up and make sure under the View menu that Snap to Point is turned on, and it is. All right, so I'll go ahead and escape out of there.
I need to change the position of this origin and it's not an easy thing to do because basically Illustrator is now setup ready to rotate. If I were to drag or click with this tool I would end up running the risk of rotating those objects that are far far away now. So I'll just click in order to say all right, forget about the rotation I want to go back to being able to change the transformation origin and now click again, I know that doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense, but that's the way it works. If you get this Arrow cursor right there that Arrow-head cursor and you don't want to take advantage of it, in other words you don't want to rotate, you want to reset that transformation origin instead, then click and you are back to transformation origin mode then click and you are back to rotate mode. I know, it's weird, but again it's from Illustrator 1.0. It's all right, so sometimes may be the 1.0 way of working isn't the best way, but it's pretty good.
All right, now I'm going to go ahead and drag in order to rotate this group of objects and keep your eye on the Info palette. We want to of course align the objects with those similar objects inside the Calendar template. However, I also want to make sure my rotate angle is about 15 degrees, so the closer you can get to 15 degrees the better. And notice, if you drag really close to the origin it's hard to do very subtle fine- tuned rotations. It's better if you are far away from the origin, so the farther you get away the smaller differences that larger movements make. In other words the more accuracy you can achieve, and you can even move the cursor outside of the illustration window in order to invoke an auto-scroll like I just did, and give yourself even more room for accuracy.
So anyway I'm just going to get as close as I can to 15 degrees, just for the sake of doing it, just for the sake of testing out how much accuracy you can achieve here inside of Illustrator, and I have gone pretty close a couple of times and then missed it actually, so I'll go farther away and see if I can get very close, there we are, at 15.02 degrees or really actually -15.0 degrees, same def, and then press-and-hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then release in order to create a clone. All right, now you can put the Info palette away, we are done with it. I just wanted you to see how that works for the sake of the exercise of course.
Now go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift or Command+Shift on the Mac and click on this original group right here in order to select it as well, so now we have both of these items selected. I also want you to Ctrl+Shift-click on each one of these squares right here, that's a Command+ Shift-click on each of the squares on the Mac, and of course we are pressing the Control or Command key in order to get that Black Arrow tool on the fly and we're pressing Shift in order to add objects to the selection. Now with these four objects selected, that is, two groups and then the two rectangles, two squares actually. I want you to go to the Object menu and choose Group or press Ctrl+G, Command +G on the Mac in order to group them together so that they stick with each other as we rotate these objects around the Calendar.
Now zoom out, like so, in order to take in more of the Calendar at a time. I'm also going to press Ctrl+Y or Command +Y on the Mac to switch back to the Preview Mode so that we can see what we are doing in living color here. And I'm going to click at the intersection of the guides to once again reset that origin point, and then I'm going to drag with Rotate tool and press the Shift key in order to rotate the objects exactly 45 degrees. I'm also going to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to clone the object. So I have Shift+Alt+Down on the PC, Shift+ Option+Down on the Mac, release, and we create another set of these objects.
Now I want one, two, three, four, five, six more sets of these objects, so what do we do? Well, now that we have defined the angle of rotation and the fact that we are cloning these objects I want you to go up to the Objects menu, choose Transform, and choose Transform again, or press Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac and there is our next group. Then Ctrl+D or Command+D again, Ctrl+D, Ctrl+D, Ctrl+D, Ctrl+D. That would be Command+D, Command+D, Command+D, Command+D on the Mac in order to complete this series rotation. And you can see why people call it Power Duplication because it is indeed powerful and it does allow you to fill out a symmetrical piece of artwork in record time.
In the next exercise I'm going to show you how to rotate by the numbers.
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