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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you truly understand how Live Paint groups work, you can really take advantage of them. For example, we already know that Live Paint groups allow us to simply take multiple objects and then any regions that are created by those objects, the way that they overlap, can be magically painted. Well, let's take a really close look at how we create Live Paint groups inside of Illustrator, how they work and how you can take advantage of those particular attributes. Let me create a simple rectangle inside of Illustrator. Then I'll draw some paths that overlap that rectangle. Now I'll go ahead and I'll choose to select all these objects and using the Live Paint Bucket tool covert it to a Live Paint group. Now, I'll apply some color to these areas.
Now that I've applied to colors here, I could simply work with some of the other attributes of the shape as well. Say for example, I don't want any strokes here. I could simply select my entire artwork here and change my stroke setting to None. So now I simply have a rectangle that I would split up into four regions. Remember if I want to create more regions, I could simply double-click on the group to isolate it and now I can draw a new path, which has no fill or stroke attribute, yet by exiting Isolation Mode, I can use my Live Paint Bucket tool to still paint these regions.
Again, the geometry of that path being there creates the region. Let's go ahead and add a Gradient here and maybe a pattern down here as well. Now let's say I want to remove this actual region from this artwork. I could fill it None or I could use my Live Paint Selection tool to just select that particular region and delete it. Now let's say I wanted to add a stroke around the exterior of my artwork. Well, we know that if we have multiple objects, we can actually group those objects together and apply attributes such as a stroke attribute to the group. In doing so, I can easily stroke just the outside of the objects that appear inside of that group.
Well, remember that a Live Paint group is in actuality a group. So I should be able to apply the same concept. So let's see how we can do that. I use my regular Selection tool here. We exit Isolation Mode. I'll select the entire Live Paint group and rather than just apply a regular stroke to the objects in the group, I'm going to apply a stroke just to the group itself. I'll do that to the Appearance panel. I'll go over here and I'll choose to add a new stroke. Now I'll change away to that stroke something significant like maybe 10 points. Now remember we went ahead and we deleted this area here with a Live Paint Selection tool. Notice that right now that area has no stroke applied to it at all.
But if I want the stroke to only apply along the exterior of this, I'm going to change the stacking order of where that stroke applies inside of this particular Live Paint group. To do that, I'll take the stroke and I'll drag it beneath the Contents. This is a really great example of seeing exactly how Live Paint really works. Because as you can see, the path geometry, the actual anchor points in the paths that make up the underlying regions of this particular Live Paint group don't look anything at all the way that it actually appears on my screen. So when you're working with Live Paint inside of Illustrator, you think about the boundaries that you create and the regions that you can actually paint and apply attributes to. When you apply that knowledge to what you already know about groups, you can see how easy it is to create complex artwork inside of Illustrator, without thinking about all the math and underlying path functions that you would normally have to deal with.
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