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Snapping and aligning shapes

From: Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

Video: Snapping and aligning shapes

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.

Snapping and aligning shapes

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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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

114 video lessons · 37123 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59m 53s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 35s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 51s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      55s
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 56s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 10s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 17s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 45s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 58s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      7m 0s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 16s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 36s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
      33s
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 6s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 39s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 14s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 58s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 16s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 35s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 15s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 16s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 30s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 25s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 50s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 32s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 56s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 4s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 31s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 42s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 28s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 8s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 8s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 21s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 39s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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