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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 demonstrate Snapping to you. It's a small topic, but it's a very important one inside of Illustrator. So the notion is that just as objects snap to guides, as you would expect, as you are drawing and dragging objects around inside of Illustrator, guides also snap to objects, and object snap to objects and guide snap to guides, and everybody is aligning with everybody else. When you go up to the View menu, assuming this guy right here is turned on, Snap to Point. So it's very important that Snap to Point is turned on so that everybody snap into each other.
Sometimes we need to get objects very close to each other without snapping and you want to be able go back and forth, you might want to remember this keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+", Command+Option+" on the Mac. But its not one that I have assigned to memory, and I just leave Snap to Point turned on. All right. So, let's go ahead and set up a couple of guides that are going to snap to the objects that are already in this illustration. In case you are just sitting there thinking, okay, if objects snap to guides and guides snap to objects and objects snap to objects and guides snap to guides, if all that stuff is true, why do we even need guides, why don't we just work with the fact that object snap to other objects? The reason is guides are invisible for one thing. Guides do not print, of course, not really part of the illustration.
Then also, an object is going to snap to the entire length of a guide, whereas objects only snap to each other's anchor points, to the ends and the corners and the other points that make up the path. All right. So I'm going to go ahead and click on this path right here. I'm still working inside of Horus.ai by the way. The only difference between the file we are seeing on screen and the file that's actually saved to disk, that I provided to you, is that I have added this upper left quadrant of a square guide here. So I went ahead and clicked on this dude, and notice that it has a bounding box around it. So not only can we see this path running sort of through the center of the stroke in blue, we can also see a bounding box.
The bounding box is a convenience feature. If you drag one of these corner handles, you can scale the item, as you see right there. If you move your cursor close to one of those corner handles, you will get this Rotate cursor. Then you can rotate the path. So with such a wonderful, convenience feature, you may be surprised that I hate the bounding box. I just hate this darn thing. I'm going to press Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, two times in a row there. The reason I hate it is because it really gets intrusive. It gets in a way of your access to the points, and there is just better ways to work. You are better off scaling a shape using the Scale tool. You are better off rotating using the Rotate tool. There are just much better tools for that purpose, as we will see in a future chapter.
Anyway, what I would like you to do right now is just turn the bounding box off, on a leap of faith, just imagine that I'm right. Go up to the View menu and choose Hide Bounding Box. You can always bring it back by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B or Command+Shift+B on the Mac. Notice, in case you are sitting there going, "Well, it doesn't say Ctrl+ Shift+B, it says Shift+Ctrl+B." Many of the Adobe applications talk in opposite order. The way of expressing keyboard shortcuts throughout the industry is to say Ctrl or Command first, Shift second, and then Alt or Option third. That's the way everybody does it, except for the Adobe applications. Anyway, just so you know why I'm speaking differently.
I am going to choose that command to make the bounding box go away. Those tiny squares are anchor points, so we have access to all of the anchor points, all three of them. Those blue lines in between, those are the segments that represent the path inside of this thick stroke. So what we are seeing here, this path is really the skeleton of the object. All right. I'm now going to go up to my Horizontal Ruler. I'm going to drag out a Ruler Guide, like so. Notice the appearance of my cursor right there, looks like a black arrow. As soon as I move it over the point, it changes to a white arrowhead, and that shows me that I have a snap. That snap means I'm exactly locked down on that point. There is no wiggle room whatsoever. I'm exactly locked on to it. Then I release and I create a new guide.
It's important, by the way, that your guides are not locked so that you can see them here selected. If you want to check on that, if you have any concern about that, you can go down here and locate Guides in the View menu, and then make sure that Lock Guides is turned off, as it is for me. All right. Next, I'm going to create another guideline that's going to snap into alignment with this anchor point down here, so that we have guidelines marking the top and the bottom of these lines. I'll go to that Horizontal Ruler once again, drag all the way down, and snap it into alignment, like so. We now have a series of six guides inside of this illustration.
Now, I'm going to show you one other way that you can make a guide, just in case you are curious. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that guide that I just added there. You can also duplicate a guide. So if you have got one and you want to clone it, click on it to select it, and then go ahead and drag it, like so. Midway into the drag, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then snap that guy into alignment. Now, you can see the cursor, while you have Alt or Option down, it says double cursor, showing you that you are going to clone it. It doesn't look like you are going to clone it, because the old one's gone, but you are.
Then as soon as you snap into alignment, look at that. You get a double white arrowhead. Then release the mouse button and then release Alt or Option, and notice you went ahead and cloned that guide. So just another way to work, just in case you are curious. We now have a series of guides going on inside of this illustration, six guides altogether, two Ruler Guides and four Custom Guides. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to select all these guides, and then we are going to relegate them to an independent layer, really great way to work inside Illustrator.
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