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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So until now we have been using shapes such as rectangles and ovals and ellipses those are great, but when it comes time to using Illustrator for the graphics that you want to create that may not always cut it. So Illustrator has a tool called the Pen tool and the Pen tool is basically the defining vector graphics creations tool. As we will soon see the Pen tool itself allows you to pot anchor points and create the path that we have been learning about until now. From an Adobe Product prospective, the Pen tool is not only found inside of Illustrator it is also found inside of applications like Photoshop, InDesign and Flash. So the great thing about the Pen tool is that when you learn it in one of those applications it really works the same way in all the other applications.
Now admittedly the Pen tool can be a little bit difficult to learn how to use. So in this particular movie we are going to focus on creating very simple shapes using the Pen tool. I'm working in this file called pen_tool.ai, if you have access to the exercise files you will find this in Chapter 04. I'm going to go over to the toolbar and click on the Pen tool. Now you will notice by the way that there are some other tools hidden behind the Pen tools as well. We will deal with those later not right now. For now we are just going to focus on using the Pen tool itself. Now what I have here in this file, if I go to the Layers panel you will see that I have created some Instructions that are kind of graded out in the background here and then I have the Drawing layer, which is now active right now.
So that we are going to draw on top of this, in fact we don't really need to have this Smart Guides turned on right now. Let's say I should turn that off I'm going to go to the View menu, I'm going to choose to turn of the Smart Guides for now, just so that we can focus on seeing exactly what's happening here, I don't want you to get confused. It actually is a good thing to use Smart Guide, it does help you draw but for now, right now I want to focus on the basic premise of what the Pen tool is doing. So you will notice by the way that I have this Pen tool and just to the bottom right of the Pen tool itself is little x. So as we start drawing with the Pen tool it is going to be important to pay attention to the cursor itself because the cursor changes base in the different state what the Pen tool is in.
As we will soon see when you start drawing a graphic when you are in the middle of drawing a graphic, when you are about the end drawing a graphic, that little icon will change. Sometimes that x would be an o, sometimes that x would be an inverted v, sometimes it will be something else, plus sign or a minus sign. As we pay attention to those little icons those will give us little hints to let us know what Illustrator is about to do. Now admittedly the fist time the people use the Pen tool, they think about using a regular pen on a paper and they start to draw with it, so they will click with the mouse and they will kind of draw out and they get this and then they will click and draw again and they see these lines, it just drives people crazy what they usually do then is they just say, I'm never using a Pen tool again, Illustrator is not worth of use and so on and so forth.
I'm just going to tap the Delete key so I can get rid of those particular anchors right now and let's first understand what the Pen tool does. The Pen tool itself is really not a tool that you draw with, it really allows you to create graphics again from a vector standpoint and allows you do draw shapes that already exists inside of your mind. It is very hard to sketch or draw in accounts with the Pen tool. You have to know what you want to create, then what you by knowing what you want to create, what you also want to be doing is plot anchor points. Remember how we went back to that original example, the Surfboard with that Graph Paper Grid and what we did was we saw that well Photoshop just basically colored in the squares, but with Illustrator we had these anchor points that we plotted in this path that connect the anchor points to each other.
Well what the Pen tool does is it allows us to plot where those anchor points go and the interesting thing about the Pen tool is that it creates the path that connect those anchor points by itself, we don't draw those paths, we just draw the anchor points and then everything else gets automatically. So the easiest way to show you this, is to just start of by creating a very simple shape that uses straight lines and what I have here in this particular example here, which is drawing a rectangle. So we are going to start of for us by going to where it says, Step1 click here, so I'm going to go right here and just click once, it is not exactly on it don't worry about it. The concept is still going to be the same, just wanted to get you to click once and then immediately release the mouse. So now I'm going to move little Pen tool away, notice how that x is gone. What we have done is we have created an anchor point that's right there but if I move my mouse away right now, I have no mouse button down at all. I have already released my mouse button.
You can see that now Illustrator is ready for the next step, what I basically did right now is I defined the first anchor point of a path. Remember every path usually has two anchor points at least at the minimum and I basically click to create one or the starting point of that particular path. Now wherever I click again it's is going to define where the endpoint is. Now that Illustrator has the information, the starting point and the endpoint, it has the information to connect those two with a path. So let's see how we do that, I'm now going to move my cursor all the way down to here, because I want to have this be the bottom right end of the triangle, I'm not going to drag with the mouse I'm just going to click and release the mouse.
Notice now that the path was already created, here is the key about the Pen tool. You don't draw the paths, again this isn't mean that a lot of people don't realize but when it comes to using Illustrator, that is the key thing, I think in a way when using the Pen tool. The Pen tool allows you to plot the anchor points and it draws the paths for you automatically. So now I want to create the next part of my triangle, I'm going to move my cursor again over here remember there is no mouse button down right now. I'm going to come over here to this part here and click again. By the way the way it should have work that once you start drawing a path, it continues to draw that path until you tell it otherwise, which it will do within a minute.
In fact you see that now the line isn't that straight, well what I could do is press undo. Move my cursor right over here at this part here, hold down the Shift key and then click with the mouse and that's going to basically constrain it so that when I go ahead and I draw my shape right now I know its exactly the same. Now by the way, it's important to realize that if I have Smart Guides on I would have seen a line to help me identify that as well but I just wanted to turn it off for now, so we can focus on this. So now I have basically three points that I have created, and the points are created by path, I still have an open path though. This whole area is open right now, I need to close this, so why that you close it, is as I'm going to move my cursor back to the original point where I started from, what is alright. Notice what happens to my cursor, as I move my cursor really, really close to that point, a little circle, a little o appears to the bottom right hand corner of that cursor. That identifies to me that right now that the Pen tool is about to close the path.
Remember before an x means that it's about to start drawing a new path, if there is nothing on it whatsoever it means that I'm middle of right now I'm drawing a path and then if I move my cursor close enough to the start point right now. If I click now Illustrator is going to end it and I'm going to close that particular path. Remember circle has no opening so that's just the icon that's being used. And I'll just click once again right on that particular point that I have now completed my triangle. So now basically I was able to click once here, click once here, click once here and I click again here and that's how it created my particular triangle and again I do this using the Pen tool inside of Illustrator. Now it is important to realize, by the way that you see now that I close the path, I now have the x again, which indicates Illustrator is not ready to start drawing a new path.
So remember when I click over here and I hold on the Shift key and click once again to create a line, remember I did not draw that path. I plotted to anchor points and Illustrator connected them with the path for me automatically, that's how the Pen tool works. Now that we have that concept done, we can focus on moving more into more complex pieces of art. For example remember we had discussed way back that there were two types of anchor points inside of Illustrator, there is a corner anchor point, which has straight lines that connect them, but then we had certain shapes that had curved lines connecting them. Well in anchor point that is connect by curved lines are called Smooth anchor points. So in the next video we will talk about how to create more of complex shapes with the Pen tool and we will learn how to create Smooth anchor points to create those curves.
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