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Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials is the first installment in a series of courses designed to show experienced Illustrator users to how master core features and build art more efficiently. Adobe Illustrator has evolved dramatically over the years, and many creative professionals may be missing out on features that have been added to the latest versions. This course takes a fresh approach to core concepts, such as paths, attributes, object hierarchy, groups, and layers. Advanced techniques such as combining multiple effects and customizing textures are also included. Exercise files and a free worksheet are included with the course.
So we know that in Illustrator our artwork has both structure and presentation. In this movie, I want to focus on how we actually define those two things--which is by drawing paths and applying attributes to them. First, let's talk about paths. As we discussed, paths define the structure of our artwork, and Illustrator features many different tools that we can use to create or draw these paths; for example, Illustrator has the Pen tool, the Pencil tool. But I am going to focus here on just one of the primitive drawing tools; for example, the Ellipse tool.
I am going to click and drag to draw out a path right here. Now, as you can see, the path itself has being created, and there are these anchor points that are here, and if I switch to my Direct Selection tool and I select one of those anchor points, you'll see that these control handles appear as well. Now, the default setting inside of Illustrator for this document was set to a white fill on a black stroke--something which we'll cover in just a moment--but for now I am actually going to come over here to the Color panel and I am actually going to set my Fill to None, and I'll set my Stroke to None as well. I'm doing this because I want you to understand that the actual structure of my document does not contain any visual attributes; it's simply the anchor points, the control handles, and the path themselves.
So while paths do define the structure of our artwork, paths themselves are defined by both anchor points and control handles. However, if I were to deselect this piece of artwork, I would see nothing at all on my screen, and if I were to print this page, a blank sheet of paper would come out of my printer. That's because I have not applied any attributes to these paths; the presentation is blank. So I'll use my regular Selection tool here to actually select the shape on my artboard, and now I can actually apply attributes to my object.
Now, remember that attributes define the presentation of our artwork, but what actually is an attribute? Well, in Illustrator we have two basic kinds of attributes that you can apply to any object: one is called a fill, which is attribute that you can apply to the inside or interior area of your path, and the other type of attribute that you can apply is something called a stroke. The stroke is the appearance that you may apply to the actual path itself. So fills and strokes are two kinds of attributes that you can apply inside of Illustrator.
Let's focus on fills here for moment. I am actually going to bring the fill into focus here inside of the Color panel, because there are actually three types of fills that you can apply inside of Illustrator: we have solid colors, we have gradients and we also have patterns. Some of you may also be familiar with some other features inside of Illustrator, like Gradient Mesh for example, and those aren't fill attributes, those are actually completely different kind of construct, which we are not dealing with right now. Let me actually reset the fill color here to yellow, which just happens to be my favorite color, and lets focus now on strokes from a moment.
Now again, the stroke is the attribute that you apply to the actual path itself. For example, I'll go to the stroke indicator right over here and change the stroke color of this particular path to black. Now as you can see, a thin black line now appeared around the perimeter of the object. However, there are variety of different settings that you can apply to stroke attributes. For example, with my object selected here, I can focus on the Stroke panel, and the first setting that I could change is actually the stroke weight. That is the thickness of the stroke, so for example, I could change that to about 10 point, and you can see now the stroke has become much wider in its appearance.
There are other adjustments that you can make to stroke attributes, which are all found inside of the Stroke panel. For example, you can specify a dashed line. That's simply a stroke that's broken up into multiple pieces. You'll see values that appear directly over here inside of the Stroke panel. A dash means that the stroke is actually on, and the gap means that the stroke is off. We'll learn more about all there specific stroke attribute settings later on inside of this course. But for now it's just important to know that we can use fills and strokes as attributes to apply them to our path to give our structures some presentation.
Now, there is actually one more thing that we can do to change the presentation of our artwork, and that's apply something called an effect. An effect--and you'll find all those here inside of the Effect menu inside of Illustrator-- will actually modify the appearance of either a fill or a stroke attribute. For example, if I wanted to make it look like this object it was actually drawn or rendered in 3D, I can apply an Effect over here called 3D > Extrude & Bevel. Let's click on the Preview button right here, and click OK. And now I have added a 3D look or appearance to my artwork.
Remember, the underlying structure hasn't changed, but I've taken my attributes and I've modify their appearance by applying an effect. So now we know that we can actually use Illustrator's drawing tools to create paths to define structure on our document, and we can apply attributes like fills, strokes, and even effects, to define the presentation of our artwork.
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