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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Horus displeased.ai and in this exercise, I'm going to show you how to fix an art brush that's assigned to a path, if one I have showed you so far doesn't work. So here is the idea. I want you to go ahead and select this purple eyeliner using the Black Arrow tool and then I'm going to switch over to my Brushes palette and I want you to assign the final art brush, which happens to be this Japanese calligraphy brush here. Go ahead and click on it to assign that brush to the shape. I'll press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac. What you get is this beveled edge right there on the interior corner of that eye. And if I switch over to the Stroke palette, you can see I already have a round join going on. So that hasn't helped me out in the least.
Now what I could do is I could try to round off that corner. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac so I can see those points again. I'll press the A key to get my White Arrow tool. I'll click off the shape in order to deselect it, then click on that point in order to select it again. And I could convert that corner point to a smooth point by clicking on the Smooth point icon up here in the Control palette, but if I do, even though that it does smooth off the transition, it also ruins the effect. So I really need that acute corner is going on there. So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification.
How do I fix this effect? Well the first thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and scale the art brush in a different way than we have seen so far. I'm going to change the weight value from one point to two points there inside of the Stroke palette and that goes ahead and makes the art brush thicker. It doesn't in any way, shape, or form solve the problem. What is going to solve the problem is if I bust up this path outline into two separate open paths. So convert it from a close path, like we have now, to two open paths so that this point is not joining this segment down here to this segment up there.
And we are going to do that by splitting up the selected point which is this one here using this little Cut icon up here in the Control palette and that goes ahead and cuts that point in twain. Now we have the beveled corner problem on the right hand side of the shape. So go ahead and select that right hand point, go up to the Cut icon and click on it again and we now have established two independent open paths. All right, I want you to go ahead and get the Black Arrow tool and I want you to click on the top path to select it. That should also cause the bottom path to become deselected and you should see just the top path selected and nothing more.
Now we need to change the appearance of the art brush on this one and only one path. So drop down to this icon, Options of Selected Object, click on it, and we need to experiment with the Flip Along checkboxes. I'm going to move the dialog box over a little bit so we can see what we are doing. I will go ahead and click Flip Along. Obviously, we need to do that but we still have this weird intersection of the two strokes at this location. So I'm going to try Flip Across, and lo and behold, it solves the problem. So we now have two strokes on either side of the eyeliner and they look absolutely great.
So go ahead and click OK to accept that modification. I am also going to make one more change. I'm going to grab my White Arrow tool and I'm going to search for this bottom point which I think is right there because when I highlight over it, I'm seeing it. I'll go ahead and click and see if I have got it. That does appear to be it. If I press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac, I'll see that my keyboard increment here inside the Preferences dialog box is set to 0.2. As I recommended way back in the fundamentals portions of the series, that's a good way to work, because that means you have very fine tuned control. I'll go ahead and click OK.
But I want to move this point by larger increments. So I'll press Shift+Down arrow twice in order to move that guy just slightly downward like so, and this is the effect I'm looking for. The only thing I'm unhappy with at this point is this white fill in the background doesn't look right, because it doesn't match with the art brush strokes. So I'm going to get rid of it. I want to actually just make it transparent. However, I recall in creating this artwork that I believe there is some sort of clipping mask going on here. So I'm going to switch to the Layers palette just so that I don't make any unwinning mistakes here.
I am going to collapse the Stroke palette just to get myself more room to work, drag this guy upward, expand Horus by twirling him open, and then let's go ahead and scroll down and sure enough there is this eye item right there, which happens to be a group I believe. Yes, it is a group. I can tell that up here in the Control palette and right there we have a clipping mask. I am going to going to go ahead and meatball it to make it active and I'm going to change the fill, which is active, to None by pressing the Slash key and I have now gotten rid of that fill. Even though we are still using this shape in order to mass the hypno rings below, and that is the effect I'm looking for now.
So remember, if you are having problems with your art brushes, properly tracing acute corners, as we had in this illustration, then just go ahead and cut those corners into separate path outlines.
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