Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Understanding how Live Paint works

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Understanding how Live Paint works

So we've seen how Live Paint can allow us to create artwork inside of Illustrator purely from a visual perspective and allow us to build artwork in a far more intuitive manner. We can use tools like the Live Paint Bucket tool, and also the Live Paint Selection tool to help us as we work within this Live Paint Group structure. However, I wanted to kind of wipe this slate clean here for a moment and really focus on what makes Live Paint tick, how does it work? How can I make sure that when I use it, I use it correctly? Well, let me share with you a few insider tips on how Live Paint works inside of Illustrator.

Understanding how Live Paint works

So we've seen how Live Paint can allow us to create artwork inside of Illustrator purely from a visual perspective and allow us to build artwork in a far more intuitive manner. We can use tools like the Live Paint Bucket tool, and also the Live Paint Selection tool to help us as we work within this Live Paint Group structure. However, I wanted to kind of wipe this slate clean here for a moment and really focus on what makes Live Paint tick, how does it work? How can I make sure that when I use it, I use it correctly? Well, let me share with you a few insider tips on how Live Paint works inside of Illustrator.

More importantly, we'll also discover why things like brushes or variable width strokes can't work with Live Paint, and in this case, we'll kind of get a better idea of when you can use Live Paint and when it might not be such a good idea. I'm going to start off by just creating a couple of lines here on my artboard, maybe like make like a tic-tac-toe board. So I have these four paths. Again, the paths right now are open paths, they aren't closed, but because they all happen to crisscross each other, at some point it creates this visual region here in the middle that looks like it's closed.

So I might be able to fill that area with a color. Again, if I take my Selection tool and I select all four pieces of art and I press Command+Option+X on the Mac, or Ctrl+Alt+X on a PC, I've now combined these four shapes into a Live Paint group. That allows me to use my Live Paint Bucket tool which I'll choose over here to fill this area with color, and I'll just go ahead and use my right-arrow to go over say to yellow which just happens to be my favorite color, and I'll fill that middle area with color.

Because this is a Live Paint Group, I have the ability to take these paths individually with my Direct Selection tool and modify the paths and the area simply updates along as I make these edits. So what makes this work? Well, we know that when we work with Illustrator, in the world of vectors, we had something called an Object Stacking Order. That means that when I create one rectangle, then I draw another rectangle. That rectangle is on top of the previous rectangle, and I can always send rectangles to the back or to the front and adjust their Object Stacking Order.

However, we also know that when I create a group, the group itself has its own stacking order inside of it and if we take a look at the group as an entire container, all the objects within the group are kind of fused together and there really is one level of stacking order for all the elements inside the group and that's kind of how the magic happens inside of a Live Paint Group. A Live Paint Group takes all the objects inside the group and puts them all on the same level from an Object Stacking Order perspective.

So all the pieces of art now suddenly have this ability to kind of fuse together and make a shape. Any area within all these objects that have now been fused together, that appear visually closed or even somewhat visually closed if we have Gap Detection turned on, is what enables me to use the Live Paint Bucket tool, or the Live Paint Selection tool to work within these realms of Live Paint where I work more in a visual way than on how the underlying paths and anchor points are built.

So because all these elements right here are kind of fused together almost as if they were like a Pathfinder unite all together, I don't really have a way to identify a path that I can put for example a variable width stroke on or a brush stroke on. In fact, if I select this path right here, and I go to my Brushes panel, and I try to put this brush on it, you can see that nothing happens. It's only once I expand my Live Paint Group, and then it turns into regular paths, and at that point by the way, you'll notice that in this path here where I have only one anchor point here, and one anchor point here, when I choose to expand all this by clicking on the Expand button here, I now have anchor points here that actually create a physical object right here.

So this does allow me to now select let's say one of these segments and apply a brush attribute to it. But as long as I'm inside a live, Live Paint Group, I don't have the ability to put brushes on my paths. So hopefully, this provides just a little bit more insight onto how Live Paint Groups work. While it does sound like a limitation that I cannot apply brushstrokes in this way, I guess it is based on a perspective of how you look on it and more importantly on the type of art that you need to create because there are certain things that Live Paint Groups can do obviously that we can't do with regular shapes.

I'm going to hit Command+A or Ctrl+A, and just delete all this. I'm just going to draw two paths for a moment here. one this way, and one this way. I'm going to take the two and press Command+Option+X or Ctrl+Alt+X to create a Live Paint Group. Next, I'm going to use my Live Paint Selection tool to just simply select this part of my path and change its stroke way to like maybe 5 points. Next, I'll select this part of the path and I'll change its color to blue and maybe I'll even turn on the Dashed Line setting. Next, I'm going to switch here to my Direct Selection tool and simply deselect this artwork.

Notice if I click on this right now, I have one anchor point here and one anchor point here, yet, along the same exact path, I now have two completely different stroke attributes. That's happening because I'm living inside of a Live Paint Group, and there happens to be another path that kind of crosses over this path to create some kind of separation between them. As I move this path back-and-forth, that's going to adjust where these changes happen. More importantly, I am going to press the Option key and click on this path, if you are on a Windows machine, you would press the Alt key, and that lets me select the entire path including the anchor points and I'll change the stroke here to actually none.

So I can't even see the path right now, yet that path, because it's here, determines where one attribute ends and where one begins. When I'm finished working, I have the ability to select this entire Live Paint Group and expand it, and all I'm left with now are two individual paths. So we see that there are benefits to both sides over here. working with Live Paint Groups lets me do things that are incredible like this, yet, when I work with Live Paint Groups, I cannot apply brushes or variable width strokes. So before you sit down to create your artwork, basically when you're in the sketch stage, you have the ability now to take a look at your artwork and observe it.

Think about what tools you're going to use to build it. Should you be using Pathfinder? Maybe you can use Live Paint to help out, or maybe you can use another tool called the Shape Builder tool and that's something that the next chapter is all about.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.