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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
All right now that those of you who watched the previous exercise are appropriately convinced that circles are not for babies, and if you just popped in and you're going, Hey, what ho? Circles are not for babies? Tell me more. Well watch the previous exercise. Circles are not for babies. They're really, they take a lot of finessing and there's a lot of cool stuff you can do when drawing circles. Anyway, here we are in this exercise. I'm still working inside the Circles.ai document. You may be working along with me inside the Tonalpohualli illustration. I have added three circles in the previous exercise, and I'm going to now add two more and you are too if you're going to work along with me here. And we're going to see not only how to draw these two circles, that's pretty easy by now, we know what's going on there, we're also going to snap them into alignment, snap them and align them so that all five of the circles are concentric and upon hearing that, upon hearing the word concentric, you may say, Hey speaking of which, why didn't we use the Polar Grid Tool to create out concentric circles the way that we did with the iris of horus, back in the previous chapter? And the reason is that the Polar Grid Tool, even though you can draw multiple concentric circles with it, those circles have to be evenly spaced, or they have to have a continuous decay, meaning each circle gets even closer to its neighbor than the last one or something along those lines. And these circles are all sort of haphazardly spaced, that is to say, there's a big space between this little circle and the next bigger circle and then a small space, small space, another big space, and the Polar Grid Tool can't accommodate us there.
So we need to draw the other two circles. And we're going to draw these shapes using the Ellipse Tool, so go ahead and select the Ellipse Tool, whether by clicking on it or pressing the L key and then I'm going to set about drawing this outer shape here, just by dragging from corner to corner, just by dragging haphazardly and I'll press the Shift key to make sure that I'm creating a circle and then I'll spacebar drag around here to make sure things are aligned, and I'll go ahead and release the spacebar and I'll try to make sure that my circle that I'm drawing is the right size, and then let's say that right at the end, for no good reason I press the spacebar and move the shape to the wrong location and release.
So I've got a properly sized shape here but it's in the wrong location. And you may not make this specific mistake, because this is a ridiculous mistake, but you will definitely find yourself in situations where you put a shape in the wrong location. To move this shape into the proper location of course you would grab your Move Tool, your Selection Tool which you can get by pressing V key, if you want, and then you could drag the shape around by its path outline, like so. But notice in the center of the shape, because it's a simple geometric shape, we have a center point right there and you can also drag by that center point in order to snap the shape at the guide intersection, at the intersection of these two guidelines here and then release. And that puts the shape exactly where it needs to be.
Next, let's go ahead and grab the Ellipse Tool once again, and I'm going to click right here in the center, and I know that this outer shape is 420 points, and I want it to be circular, so I'll click on the word Height in order to lift that Width value so that Height and Width are the same, and then I'll click OK and oops, I made that same mistake again, I forgot to press the Alt or Option key in order to create the shape from the center outward. No problem. In fact, let's make a bigger mess of this. Let's just start dragging some of these shapes around to completely the wrong locations like this right here. They're everywhere right? They're all over the place just to make things perfectly clear, I'm going to move this guy over to the wrong side so that even the average of all these shapes would be in the wrong location here.
Now I'm going to go ahead and select all of these circles here, all of these circles, all five of the circles that I've drawn knowing that I only have one of the circles in the right location. Notice that the central circle is still in the proper location here, that's essential. Now I want to select all five of these circles and I could do that by pressing Control+A or Command+A in order to do a Select All, but if I do that I'll grab my guidelines as well because they're on an unlocked layer and my guides are unlocked. So I'll just click off in order to deselect everything. Here's a little trick that you might want to be aware of. You can select everything on a layer, not by meatballing it because if you meatball it, then you're going to activate the layer, not the objects on the layer but the layer itself. So rather than doing that because you want to select the items on the layer press the Alt key or the Option key and click in this portion of the layer. Anywhere inside of the layer here in the Layers palette. So you Alt or Option-click. Alt-click on the PC, Option-click on the Mac and notice now if I twirl open layer you can see that each one of the independent paths, which are the circles themselves, each one of them is meatballed and selected.
So now I want align them all. If I go up to the align function up here in the Control palette and click on it, I'll bring up my Align Objects palette. And I could say okay I first want to horizontally center align the shapes so I'll click here. And then I want to vertically center align the shapes, so I'll click here, and if I do that, great, they're all concentric now, but they're in totally the wrong location, and I would have to move them to the proper location. How do I say, No, no, no. This central circle was in the right location. Align everybody to it. Well let's backstep a couple of operations here by pressing Control+Z, Control+Z or Command+Z, Command+Z. So Control+Z twice in a row Command+Z twice in a row on a Mac, in order to get things back where they were.
Inside of a program like FreeHand, what you do, and I mention this because it makes a lot more sense, I have to say inside FreeHand, is you go ahead and lock down the path that's in the proper location. So I would click the lock in front of this bottom path right here inside the My drawing layer to lock it down, but that just deselects it inside of Illustrator. So you can't select a locked item inside of Illustrator. So don't do it. Don't lock down that item. Instead, here's what you do. You just click on that circle, just give it a click. It's not going to look any different at all but you want to click it.
Now go up to Align, click on align by the horizontal centers and then align by the vertical centers. That's what you do. See I told you, at the outset of the previous exercise, I told you that you were going to learn something that you never knew and you were going to go, Oh I was wondering how you did that in Illustrator. You remember? And you just said it, didn't you? You just said it. Well, or maybe you didn't, but anyway, still it's a really good trick. If you didn't know about, it's a really great thing to know. So once again, just so that we're all on the same page, what you do is before you start your alignment, so I just backstepped a couple of steps there, you click on the item that needs to stay in place then you go, don't double-click or anything like that, just click on it. Then go to the Align palette, center align, center align them like so.
So that's it. We now have five concentric circles here inside of our calendar illustration. We are going to begin drawing stars in the very next exercise.
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