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One feature in Illustrator that benefits your vector building are Smart Guides. These help you align your points and shapes as you create them. That said, you'll need to toggle the guides on and off as you build your vector art. Let me show you how this works. If we go into this file, you can see here just to demonstrate in a nutshell, what Smart Guides are all about is if you select any vector art and you toggle over a path, it will give you on screen annotation, such as this, telling you you're over the path.
If you hover over an anchor point, it will tell you that you're over an anchor point, and it will actually give you the X, Y coordinates of that anchor point if you need to be that precise. You can also use it like for example if you're rotating some artwork, it will tell you what degree you're rotating it, so on and so forth. These on screen annotations will change based upon whatever tool you might be using, they apply to every tool.
So, it just depends on what you're building. Now, how these benefit vector building? In this case, you can see this design of mine here, I created a book of ornaments, and this was one of the designs I created for that set of ornaments. And I drew out everything ahead of time, like I'm reinforcing in this entire course, and it's no different here. You can see all the vector shapes I built already, and we're going to build this little flair at the top of this one.
The nice thing about Smart Guides is we want to start right where this anchor point is on the other shape, and this is telling us where they are. So, that's how Smart Guides can help you as you build. We don't need to zoom in and make sure and eyeball it to determine if we're over that anchor point, it's telling us you're over it, so we can click. Then, as I will explain in another movie in this course, anywhere your art comes to a point, gets a point, and now we're going to come down here, and place our next point.
Now, this is where you'll run in some difficulties with Smart Guides as you're building. Right now, it won't allow us to place an anchor point in between these two paths, it wants to snap to one path or the other. And that's where you'll want to toggle off Smart Guides as you build. So, to do that, we'll just go Cmd+U, that's how you toggle Smart Guides off, and we'll just continue where we left off. Now, we'll be able to place our anchor point right where we want, and finish the rough build shape of this vector shape.
And from this point, we can zoom in and finesse our design, and align our paths exactly the way we want to, to build the shape we need for this specific design. Smart Guides will help you as you build different types of vector shapes, but at times, you will have to toggle it on and off in order to make your building go faster, and once again, to toggle smart guides on and off, it's Cmd+U.
Now, another aspect of building that we cover in this course is shape building. So, I'm going to demonstrate how Smart Guides will assist you in shape building. So we're going to zoom in on a detail of this design to demonstrate that, and we're going to toggle Smart Guides back on, so Cmd+U. So now, we'll select this shape. We now know we're over the anchor point because it's telling us we are. Select that shape, drag it. And as we drag it over, as soon as it's over this path, we know that's exactly where we want and we'll let go.
That's how Smart Guides is going to help you build. If we didn't have Smart Guides on, so we'll toggle it off again, and you drag it over, it's just going to be eyeballing it. You don't know exactly if you're right where the edge of the path is. So that's how Smart Guides will benefit your building. So, if you do have Smart Guides turned on, Cmd+U, and you drag it over, then you're able to build faster because you know exactly where it's going to be.
In this case, we're going to now click right on our anchor point. We know where they are because Smart Guides is telling us we are. Click, and then we can rotate this into the position we want. We're now going to use another thing we cover in this course which is one of our function keys, the F3 key to clone. We'll clone this shape. We'll want to open up the Pathfinder Palette. So, we'll go up to Window>Pathfinder.
Now, using the Minus Front, we'll cookie-cut it, and now we have our shape for the ornament we're going to create. So, that's how Smart Guides can be used to assist your building, in this case, an ornament design. And just to kind of show you how this ornament was ultimately used, I do have this to bring up. And you can find a whole selection of sample ornaments I've included in the Exercise Files with this course. Using Smart Guides is a balancing act.
You'll love them when they enable your creative work, making the task at hand easier, and you'll curse them when they get in the way.
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