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Understanding paths

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Understanding paths

So now we understand the difference between vector-based graphics and pixel-based or raster-based graphics. So now let's take a look at more of an understanding of what these vector graphics are, what makes them tick, what are they made of. So you'll notice we're here in this file, and by the way, if you have access to the exercise files, you can follow along by opening up the file called understanding_paths, which you'll find in the Chapter 01 folder. So I have basically these four charts that I have created. I have put these graphics onto them and we're kind of just getting a better understanding of what each of these graphics are now. From a vector standpoint, there are really two classifications or two types of paths; there are what we refer to as open paths, which are the two that we see at the top of my screen right here. Open paths have no enclosed area. Then you have closed paths, which basically have an enclosed area here as well.

Understanding paths

So now we understand the difference between vector-based graphics and pixel-based or raster-based graphics. So now let's take a look at more of an understanding of what these vector graphics are, what makes them tick, what are they made of. So you'll notice we're here in this file, and by the way, if you have access to the exercise files, you can follow along by opening up the file called understanding_paths, which you'll find in the Chapter 01 folder. So I have basically these four charts that I have created. I have put these graphics onto them and we're kind of just getting a better understanding of what each of these graphics are now. From a vector standpoint, there are really two classifications or two types of paths; there are what we refer to as open paths, which are the two that we see at the top of my screen right here. Open paths have no enclosed area. Then you have closed paths, which basically have an enclosed area here as well.

As we learn more about Illustrator, there will be times where there are differences between open and closed paths, especially when we talk about the attributes that those particular paths have. Now a path itself-- let's say we take a very simple case, a straight line. Basically, I have here is two anchor points, one anchor point here, which defines start point, and one anchor point, which determines the end point, and basically when you are working with Illustrator by plotting the anchor points here, this path is automatically created or connecting the two. By default, anchor points themselves are connected by straight lines.

The shortest distance between two points of a straight line; that's kind of what you have there. As we'll learn more about anchor points, we'll talk more about the Pen tool as we learn later on. Other things inside of Illustrator. But just as a basic idea of what's to come, there are also different types of anchor points. Right now this anchor point is what we refer to is a corner anchor point, meaning that the line that emanates or that comes out of that anchor point is a straight line. As you notice over here, this anchor point has a curve line that comes out of it, and that particular anchor point is referred to as a smooth anchor point. So you have corner anchor points and smooth anchor points. We'll talk about the classifications of those as well. But again, that's how you define these particular shapes here.

Now each point that you have has a coordinate on that chart, and obviously when that chart gets enlarged or you make your file size bigger so on and so forth, Illustrator simply remaps that particular point on a particular chart and then draws that new path again. If you look over here at a rectangle, for example, a rectangle is made up of four anchor points, one, two, three and four; they are corner anchor points, which means that they are all connected with straight lines, and that's what creates the rectangle. It's important to note that an oval, circle or any of the kind of shape like this has also four anchor points. But the only difference is that the anchor points are positioned differently inside of the corners to position the top, bottom, left and right.

You'll notice that the lines that connect these anchor points are curved. So let's first focus on this one over here and understand what that means. I have an anchor point but Illustrator also has this curve path that comes out of it. Now what's making that path curved? Remember, the actual coordinates of this anchor point and this anchor point are the exact same coordinates of this anchor point and this one. So what's making this line straight is, in fact, these are corner anchor points. These are smooth anchor points and that allows it to be a curve. Now what controls that curve? We'll notice there is a line over here that's kind of coming out here with little dot. This is what we call a Control Handle.

The Control Handle is what determines that particular curve. Notice that the path itself over here follows that curve. As we'll start to learn inside of Illustrator, I can start to manipulate these control handles in the path, kind of is drawn to almost like a magnet . As I would for example take this particular Control Handle and pull it up higher this part of the curve would also kind of be attracted and move in that particular direction. That's really what's making this particular overwork as well. I have a regular anchor point here, but this Control Handle is pulling out the curve in this direction. At the same time, the Control Handle from this curve from this particular anchor point here is making the curve appear in that particular way.

Now, when you're talking about Vector Graphics as well and you started having control handles, there are coordinates for those control handles as well, which memorize where that part goes. Now, it's important to realize by the way. When I print my files I don't really see the anchor points, I just see the path itself. And again, we'll talk more about how that works, but for now I just realize that these are ways that I can actually work with and edit these particular paths. But the way that I control them or what we call the appearance of these particular paths is what we'll cover now in the next video.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48563 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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