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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Setting up your workspace


From:

Animated Character Design with Illustrator

with Angie Taylor

Video: Setting up your workspace

Okay. I've got the Workspace.ai file open and you can find that in the Setting Up Work Area folder. Now, what we're going to do is just set up our workspace and optimize it for the job in hand. Now, we're doing animation. So, I want to create an animation workspace. If we have a look in the Essentials menu here in the task bar, you'll notice that there's no animation workspace. These are provided as a default by Illustrator. So, if you prefer to have Illustrator looking like Photoshop, if you're familiar with Photoshop, you can choose like Photoshop and it will open up all the palettes. There are ten to be available when you open up Photoshop, give you a nice, familiar workspace.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
2h 33m Intermediate Jan 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This workshop from author and animator Angie Taylor teaches how to use Illustrator's tools and features to prepare 2D files for animation in Adobe After Effects. Discover how to make the most of Illustrator's drawing tools and Autotrace feature, and to how use Live Paint and Kuler to recolor artwork. Plus, get a ton of tips and tricks for giving artwork a hand-drawn look and find out how to set up layers, aspect ratios, and transparency options for importing into After Effects. The lessons are focused and solution-oriented, and all the project files are included.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the work area
  • Bringing artwork into Illustrator
  • Tracing artwork manually
  • Creating complex shapes
  • Working with paths
  • Using Live Trace
  • Coloring artwork
  • Applying 3D effects
  • Exporting artboards
  • Options for saving files
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design Illustration Character Animation video2brain
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Angie Taylor

Setting up your workspace

Okay. I've got the Workspace.ai file open and you can find that in the Setting Up Work Area folder. Now, what we're going to do is just set up our workspace and optimize it for the job in hand. Now, we're doing animation. So, I want to create an animation workspace. If we have a look in the Essentials menu here in the task bar, you'll notice that there's no animation workspace. These are provided as a default by Illustrator. So, if you prefer to have Illustrator looking like Photoshop, if you're familiar with Photoshop, you can choose like Photoshop and it will open up all the palettes. There are ten to be available when you open up Photoshop, give you a nice, familiar workspace.

Even if you're coming from freehand, you can choose to have it look more like freehand to make you feel more comfortable within the application. There are also preset work spaces for things like painting, which will open up all your color and swatches and brushes panels, making it easier to do paint jobs. There are also ones for typography and also the web. Now, the web workspace opens up quite a few of the pallets that I would want to work with whilst animating. But what I'm going to do is just customize it a little bit. So, you can customize it just by closing panels.

So, I could choose to close this flash text panel, which I'm not going to use. I could also maybe, close the Art Boards panel or bring the Layers panel forward. Or, I could choose to have the Layers panel more prominent. So, I may want to drag out the Layers panel, and just place it up here, so that it appears at the edge between the two sets of panels. You can see here, it will basically drop the panel wherever I have highlighted in blue. If I drop it here, it will place it at this left edge of my buttons.

If I drag it in between the buttons and the panels, it will place it in between and my buttons will be here at the edge. So, I quiet like that set up so I'm going to keep that. But I'm also going to open up another panel which isn't currently visible, and that is the navigator panel. Now, I love the navigator panel. It's very useful. It gives you and overview of your document, so if you're zoomed in, and you can also zoom in and out using the navigator panel. If I'm zoomed in, it gives me a quick way of being able to move around that zoomed in document. And of course, I can zoom in and out incrementally using that as well. Or, I can type in a value.

Anyway, it's very useful. It gives you an overview. So, I'm going to drag that above the layers panel. So, if I place the panel at the top of the layers panel it will place it here. So, now I've got an overview of my document where I can very quickly center things. And I've got my layers panel underneath. Finally, I'm just going to drop the info panel up above the color guide. So that, that appears there, 'cause I also quite like to have my info panels showing. Once I'm happy with this, I could delete other panels.

Maybe I don't need the links panel, for example. They can all be deleted if necessary. But I'm just going to save that for now. So, I'm going to go to Window > Workspace > Save Workspace, and I'm going to call it Animation. Click on OK. And now if I go into my workspace menus, I have the choice of my own preset workspace, as well as the ones provided to me by Illustrator. So, that's how to set up, a workspace for animation.

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