Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Setting text along an open path


Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

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Video: Setting text along an open path

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.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 1s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 24s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 25m 52s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 18s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Mordy Golding

Setting text along an open path

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
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