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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.
In this exercise I'm going to show you yet another way to create a tracing template inside of Illustrator. This time as opposed to taking a collection of vector objects that I drew inside of Illustrator and then making them a tracing template, we're going to take a scanned image, essentially a Photoshop file, and turn that into a tracing template, which tends to be a very common way to work because after all it's easier to draw on a piece of paper with a pencil or a pen or something along those lines, sketch out your idea, then scan it or take a digital photograph and then go ahead and trace that image inside Illustrator, than to create something from scratch inside the program.
So here's what I want you to do. I want you to go the File menu and choose the Browse command or you can click on this little Bridge icon over here. Either way, that'll take you to the Adobe Bridge, and I'm working inside of this Horizontal Filmstrip mode right here. And if you choose Horizontal Filmstrip it'll take you to the Favorites panel. You'll need to switch over to the Folders panel, then navigate your way into the exercise_files folder that's on your desktop, then go to the pen_tool folder. Go ahead and twirl it open by clicking the little twirly triangle. Therein you'll find a folder called Mishipizheu. Now, what is a Mishipizheu, you might wonder.
Well, it's not a Mitsubishi. It's a Mishipizheu and basically what we got going here, this is a monster from the Ojibwe culture this time around, so yet another Native American group. Thank you very much. And this guy is a great- horned lynx also known as an underwater panther, something of a snake charmer as well, oh they say. So here I am back inside the Adobe Bridge and I'm going to go ahead and make my thumbnails a bit bigger down here at the bottom of the screen and notice this progression of four different files.
We'll start with 1-Mishipizheu and this is a photograph that I shot actually in Batchawana Bay in Ontario, and it's a petroglyph that's on the side of a sheer wall. Basically you have to go out on this very slippery cliff and you hold the rope, they actually give you a rope to hold onto because otherwise you would fall off into the water that's directly in back of you here, big lake right in back of you, and you would of course fall to your icy death. Were it cold, it was summer when I shot this photograph, but you can see that it is some sort of scary monster, great-horned lynx as I say, the snakes and so on, a boat full of guys chasing it? Not so sure, might be a comb, can't tell.
So I went ahead and took this photograph, and I was really fascinated by it. I wanted to make a painting for our living room, and so I did this treatment inside of Photoshop, a very low resolution treatment here, where I just kind of traced over some of the elements here and added this fancy background, and added a spiral as well to match some furniture in our house. That's the kind of artistic decisions I make. And then finally I started in painting it. Now this is more of a high-resolution shot here, this is an acrylic painting that I did, it was an under- painting actually, this third file, and I went ahead and improved the quality of the monster a little bit.
I kept these primitive snakes or water formations or whatever they are, and of course the comb/boatful of skinny guys, got them too. After you this point essentially, I made a total mess of this painting. So I got this nice under-painting going and then I started sort of experimenting with a few over- painting techniques and absolutely made a disaster of this painting. It's still hanging up, but I want to basically burn it every time I see it. I'm not very happy with it at this point. I liked it better during this phase of the cycle here. So I decided, you know what? Scrap it. The painting's over with.
I'm going to take advantage of a more traditional technique. I'm going to go ahead and trace this artwork inside Illustrator and convert it to vectors. So that's what I want you to do along with me here inside of the final file, which is 4-Mishi drawing.ai. Go ahead and open it up by double-clicking on its thumbnail, and that will open the file of course inside of Illustrator. Now it looked like a blank page inside of the Bridge, but it's actually a blank document with a tracing template underneath, and I'm going to show you how I created that tracing template and you're going to create it along with me inside the next exercise.
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