Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Touring the interface


Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

with Justin Seeley

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Video: Touring the interface

An essential part to learning any new piece of software is to get familiar with the interface. In this movie, I'll take you through the entire Adobe Illustrator interface, so that you have a better idea of where to go as I direct you to various places, throughout this course. I'll start at the top and I'll work my way down. So let's go up here to the top and take a look at the menu bar. This is this area that extends all the way across the top, just like this. You'll find things like, File, Edit, Object, Type, et cetera. Anytime throughout the course that I tell you to go to a specific menu, this is the area I'm talking about.
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  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 27s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 7s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 28s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 18s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 37s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 32s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 57s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 9s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 34s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 12s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 22s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 6s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 8s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 19s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
8h 48m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adobe Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks, from illustration to app development. This course demonstrates core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow—for print, the web, or building assets that will find their way into other applications. Author Justin Seeley explains the elements that make up vector graphics (paths, strokes, and fills) while showing how to use each of the drawing tools, and demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths and organize them into groups and layers. The course also covers text editing, working with color, effects, and much more.

Topics include:
  • Understanding vector graphics
  • Creating and setting up files for print or web destinations
  • Selecting and transforming objects on the page
  • Creating spot colors
  • Applying fills, strokes, and gradients to artwork
  • Adjusting appearances and effects
  • Working with anchor points and paths
  • Drawing with the Pen tool
  • Creating text
  • Managing layers
  • Creating and using symbols
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Justin Seeley

Touring the interface

An essential part to learning any new piece of software is to get familiar with the interface. In this movie, I'll take you through the entire Adobe Illustrator interface, so that you have a better idea of where to go as I direct you to various places, throughout this course. I'll start at the top and I'll work my way down. So let's go up here to the top and take a look at the menu bar. This is this area that extends all the way across the top, just like this. You'll find things like, File, Edit, Object, Type, et cetera. Anytime throughout the course that I tell you to go to a specific menu, this is the area I'm talking about.

So for instance, if I said we need to go to the Object menu, I'm talking about this area here, and you would simply click the word Object. Same thing if I told you to go to the Type menu, you would just navigate to the next menu option called Type. Each time you click on these, they drop down with a list of options. Inside of that list of options you'll also find links with little black triangles next to them. This indicates that there is a submenu inside of that menu. And you can see that that continues throughout the entire menu system. If you want to close one of these menus, you can simply navigate away from it and click away.

Once you click away the menu should close and you can continue working here inside of Illustrator. To the right-hand side of the menu bar you'll also find two quick links. One that allows you to access the Adobe Bridge and another which allows you to arrange various documents that you have opened into different configurations. We'll discuss this a little bit later. Now let's move down and talk about this area here. This area is known as the Control panel. The Control panel is a context- sensitive area that allows you to view several different tools and options based upon what tool or object you have selected at any given time inside of Illustrator.

Some of the more common features like Fill, Stroke, Point Size, Paragraph Options and things like that will appear, depending on what type of tool you have selected in any given time. You'll also find various links, like for instance, the link to the Stroke panel here or the Opacity panel here. These links will show up based upon your screen size. If you have a larger screen size, chances are you won't see these links. A smaller screen size means you'll even more links. For instance, if I take this window and shrink it down, as I start to resize, the links either disappear or they get stuck in this little side menu here.

When you click on this little Menu button here, you'll be able to see all of the options that are available to you inside of the Control panel, whether they are present or not. Clicking away from this, closes it right back up. Now I'll resize my window back to its normal size. And you can see that most of those options come right back. Now let's move on and talk about the Tools panel. The Tools panel inside of Illustrator is located here on the left hand side of your screen. I've also included inside of your ai_ cheats.pdf a breakdown of the Tools panel as well, let's take a look.

As you can see the Tools panel has several different things inside of it and it's broken down into small groups as well. You'll notice in the Tools panel they have these little separator lines in between the groups of tools. These are because these tools have something to do with one another. For instance here at the top you have your Selection tools, things that allow you click on things and select them or make selections with something like the Lasso tool or the Magic Wand tool. Directly underneath that you're going to find various tools that allow you to create things like the Pen tool, the Brush tool, the Pencil tool, the Type tool, et cetera.

Directly underneath that you're going to find some things that allow you to modify different things like the Rotate tool, the Free Transform tool, the Perspective Grid tool and also the Shape Builder tool. Underneath that you'll find some more options for things like the Mesh tool, creating gradients, Eyedropper, et cetera. Now let's move back over into Illustrator for a moment and actually take a look at the real Tool panel. Inside of the Tools panel when you hover over one of these tools, you'll see a Tool Tip that appears telling you exactly what that tool is, and then in parentheses you'll also see a letter.

That letter corresponds to a key on your keyboard which you can press to instantly access that tool. So for instance, if I wanted to access the Type tool, I would simply hit the letter T on my keyboard, instantly the Type tool becomes active and ready to use. If I wanted to use something like the Pen tool, I can hit the letter P and it would automatically activate and allow me to start using it. Depending on which tools you use most often, you may want to commit these letters to memory that way you can quickly switch between tools without having to go find it inside the Tools panel.

Another great thing about the Tools panel are these little white arrows at the bottom right corner of certain tools. This indicates to you that there are sub-tools inside of this toolbox. So for instance, inside the Type tool, I can click and hold and you'll see all of the different Type tools that are available to you, like Area Type, Type on a Path, Vertical Type, et cetera. The same holds true for things like the Pencil tool. If I click and hold on the Pencil tool you'll see that I get the Pencil tool, the Smooth tool and also the Path Eraser tool.

So remember, anytime you see that little white triangle in the bottom right-hand corner of a toolbox that indicates there are more tools available to you. So just take some time and explore those and get to know them as you work throughout Illustrator. To close these submenus, simply click away and it will close the box for you. Now I'll simply click on my Selection tool again, that's the default tool here inside of Illustrator, and I can continue working. Let's go back down here to the bottom of the Tools panel; there's a few more things that I didn't explain, for instance, this area here. These aren't exactly tools, but they're a part of the Tools panel.

This is the area that determines both your Fill color and your Stroke color and there are some built-in shortcuts for this as well. If you want to toggle, whether or not you're working on the Fill and Stroke, simply hit this little arrow right here and they flip. Directly underneath there you'll see things like adding Color, adding Gradients, or filling with None. When we talk about Fills and Strokes in a later chapter, you'll get a little bit more in-depth explanation of what these do. But for now I just want to make you aware of where they are. Finally, underneath you'll see links to the Drawing Modes, which we'll also cover in a future movie, and changing your Screen Mode as well.

Screen Mode is a great way to cycle through different ways of presenting your work, either to yourself or to your client as they're looking over your shoulder. Now that we've covered the Tools panel let's move down to the bottom of the Document Window. The Document Window is this big thing right here in the middle, it holds your document. At the bottom of the Document Window you are going to see pretty helpful controls. Like for instance, the Magnification Level. This allows you to easily jump to a zoom level on your document, anything from 6400%, which is really zoomed in, all the way down to 3.13%, which is really zoomed out.

Now let's click back here and I can return back to 100% and it goes back to normal. You'll also notice here that you get a little jump menu for Artboard Navigation. If you happen to open up a file that contains more than one artboard, or if you've created a file that contains more than one artboard, you can easily jump to another artboard by clicking here and choosing the artboard from the dropdown list. In this case I only have one artboard, so I only get to jump to this one. You can also see here that I can navigate and reveal this file in the Bridge, or I can show either the Current Tool, Date and Time, Number of Undos or the Artboard Name.

This is all information that will be displayed right here in this little section, so depending on what you actually have selected there you'll see different information here every time. Right now I have the current tool selected to show here. So if I switch tools to the Type tool, you notice that it instantly changes to Type. So if you're not sure exactly what tool you've clicked on, you can also check down here and it'll tell you exactly what you're using. Now let's move over here to the right-hand side. We're going to cover these in-depth, but I wanted to let you know exactly where the panel system was inside of Illustrator.

The panel system are all of these little icons that you see over here by default. They can be expanded, as you see here, so that you can see everything that's going on inside of them or they can be collapsed like you saw there by default. The panels are where you do all of the heavy lifting inside of Illustrator. To where you find things like Swatches, Brushes and Symbols, Stroke Controls, Gradient Options, the Appearance panel and also the ever important Layers panel as well. As I said, we'll be covering the panels in-depth in their own movie later on, but I wanted to make sure you knew exactly where they were, so if at anytime I said, hey, let's go to the Color panel; you could open this up and easily find your way there.

The last thing we're going to talk about inside of the interface is the Workspace Jump menu. Anytime you want to change workspaces in Illustrator, based upon a certain task that you might be trying to perform, you can do so directly from the interface right here. This little jump menu allows you to go between several different workspaces, like Automation, Essentials, Layout, Painting, Printing and Proofing, Tracing, Typography and Web. So depending on exactly what you're working on in Illustrator, you can actually pick one of these options and Illustrator will automatically rework its interface to suit the needs of that particular project.

Now it should be noted that these workspaces are only the recommended workspaces for those particular tasks, and you may find that you need to customize the workspace even further. I'll cover exactly how to do that in a future movie as well. To close this, simply click on it and it will automatically collapse back. Well this pretty much wraps up our tour of the Illustrator Interface. By now hopefully you have a good understanding of where the main components of Illustrator are located and what purpose they serve in your workflow. Now we are ready to move on and see how we can tweak the interface to make it work a little bit more like we wanted to.

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