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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
While it's certainly true that Illustrator has two main ways of creating text, either point text objects or area text objects, there is a third type of text object, something called type on a path. However as we are about to find out type on a path and area text are really very much the same. Let's take a look. As you can see in this artwork over here, I have the word Bermuda Buttercup which appears, but the shape of the card itself is really kind of a little bit of a curved shape and I may want to have the text itself match somewhat along that curve.
We can have text follow this curve by creating a type on a path object. In this movie we are going to focus specifically on creating these type on a path objects, but with using open paths. Once we get a feel for how this works we can move on and create type on a path objects with closed paths. Now for this example here, I am just going to start by creating a new path and to do that I'm going to use the Pen tool. Normally, if I wanted to match this exact same curve here, I might actually copy and paste and cut a small portion of that path to work with. But for now so that we can just focus on understanding how this type on a path feature works, I am going to start by clicking over here, maybe I will add anchor point here by dragging to make some kind of a curve, and then I will end it off somewhere over here.
It doesn't need to be perfect and in fact at this point I don't want it to be perfect because I want you to be able to see how you can still edit the path even after you've added type to it. So I have defined the path here. It's an open path and I'll go ahead now and I will switch to the Type tool. Note by the way that if you press and hold your mouse button down here, you could reveal additional type tools, for example something here called the Type on a Path tool. However we are not going to specifically use that tool because I think that as you are working, it's a little bit silly to have to continuously jump between different text tools.
By learning a few keyboard modifier keys, we could stick to just using one type tool inside of Illustrator and we'll become that much more efficient. In the current state right now, if I were to click somewhere I would be defining a new text object. If I click once with the mouse, I will create a point text object and if I click and drag with the mouse, I'll be drawing a shape that defines an area text object. If you move your cursor onto any other kind of the path, in this case here an open path, you'll see that the cursor changes directly to the Type on a Path tool. This wouldn't be the case by the way if I moved over to a closed path.
We will deal with that in the next movie but for now if I want to define a type on a path object, all I need to do is just click once on this path. At this point right now Illustrator actually removes the stroke attribute from the path, assuming that I don't want to see the stroke, I just want to see some text. and I now see a blinking insertion point on the path itself. I can now start to add some text. So I will type in Bermuda Buttercup. I can make my text little bit bigger by pressing Command+A to select all my text and then I will use the keyboard shortcuts Command+Shift+> to actually increase the point size.
Now, I mentioned earlier that working with type on a path is very similar to working with area text and let me explain why. I'm going to switch now to my Direct Selection tool and you could see now that I have several user interface elements that appear on this object. Besides the path itself and the anchor points that I created in order to define that path, I now have a line that appears over here, a line that appears over here and one in the middle as well. I also have two boxes. If you remember what it was like working with area text objects and I'll go ahead now and I will click over here to select one of them, you'll see now that the bounds of the path itself define where the text falls inside of it and I also have the in and the out ports.
Let's go back to our path in a text object now and I'll click on the text itself so I can now see these user interface elements. The lines that I see on the far left and on the far right actually establish a boundary from where that text can flow inside of it. It's the same thing as actual rectangle that I may have used when creating an area text object. To describe what I mean, if I were to now actually click on this line right here and drag to the left, you'll see that Illustrator no longer has room to display the word Buttercup. Even though the path is definitely long enough to show that word, I've only told Illustrator that I want text to appear within this point, and this point on that path.
So you might think about these lines as the start and end points or the boundaries for where this text can now live on the path itself. The line that appears in the middle is actually the center point and if I click and drag, I can move the entire text elements along the path. But this line that appears in the middle also serves a second purpose. Right now I have an open path and my text appears along the top part of the path. However, if I take this line now and I click on it and I drag down so that my cursor now falls on the other side of the path, I can flip the text so that it now appears along the other side of the path,. Likewise, I can click and drag to adjust things along this side of the path. Just by moving my cursor to the other side of the path flips the text back to this side.
Now we also have these squares or the ports in a type on a path object as well. Remember that this is the in port or where my text starts and this is the out port. Noticed that I now have an overset icon. That's because the word Buttercup cannot fit within this area. Remember that with area text objects I can create threads, meaning I can start text inside of one frame and have it flow into another. Well, when you working with type on a path objects, you can also has text start on one path and then flow to completely different path, using the same methods and working with both the in and the out ports.
Now in this case I would like Bermuda Buttercup to sit nice and centered on the path itself, so I will drag out the end toward somewhere over here. I can actually have it snap to the anchor point and I can do the same thing over here on the left side, have it snapped to this anchor point. I can now choose my paragraph settings to align my text to the center. Now I know my text is exactly centered on the path itself. Now when working with the Direct Selection tool, I have the ability to still make modifications to the path itself. I am going to deselect my text right now by click and a blank area of my artboard and you will notice that if I click on the text itself, I see all the text user interface elements.
However, I'm going to deselect once again and come back here. If I click just on the path itself and if I have smart guides turned on, it's that much more easier for me to do this. I can now click on just the path and edit the path the same way that I would edit any other anchor points inside of Illustrator.
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