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In this installment of Illustrator Insider Training, author Mordy Golding shows how to create type that’s both beautiful and communicative, whether it’s destined for logos, brochures, signs, infographics, or simple documents. This course covers core typography concepts, such as working with Unicode and OpenType fonts, applying character and paragraph settings, managing text with styles and text threads, placing text along a path, and wrapping text around graphics.
If we take a closer look at the Character panel where we saw both the Horizontal and the Vertical Scaling, we'll see two additional options: one called Baseline Shift and one called Character Rotation. These are both very, very useful functions, although we may not think about it initially. Now Baseline Shift is something that just allows us to adjust where a particular character sits on the baseline of type, which usually is referred to when you click on, let's say, any object, in this case it's a Point Text object, where I see these lines over here.
This represents the baseline, and I may want one of the characters to sit above or below that baseline. For example, if I take my Type tool here and I highlight let's say just this letter A over here. I could adjust the Baseline Shift by either raising it above that baseline or giving a negative value, so drop it below the baseline, so you can see the A sits on a different baseline than the rest of the letters here in that entire word or in an entire text string. Let me actually go ahead and highlight that and set it back to zero.
Now, of course you can do that for special effects where you have certain characters and you maybe want to make it look like some letters are above or below the baseline, just for stylistic reasons. But let's take a look at some other important uses for Baseline Shift. We spoke about this bullet character that we used here in the beginning. I'm actually going to go ahead now and highlight one of these. Maybe I want this bullet to be much larger, so I'm going to increase the Point Size. I'm using Command+Shift+> on my keyboard to do so, and I'll make it like 24 point. It looks great. It's nice and big, just the size that I wanted. Maybe you can see that because it's bigger now and because bullets usually sit on the center of the slug--you can see the entire slug right here-- the circle itself does not aligning correctly with the rest of the text that's over here, although I'm using my keyboard here to kind of navigate throughout my text.
When I know that my text cursor is already blinking inside of a text object, it's a lot easier for me to use the keyboard to select that than to try to use the mouse to select that. So, for example, I could click and drag to select it this way or if I have my blinking cursor here, I can just let go of my mouse, hold down the Shift key on my keyboard, and then use the right arrow and then as I keep hitting the right arrow, it adds more and more characters to my selection. I can use the left arrow to remove characters from my selection. So now with this character selected, I can use the baseline shift to bring that bullet character down just a little bit, and I want to show you that I can use a keyboard shortcut for that.
I don't need to actually come over here to the Character panel and start adding values and seeing what that looks like. I can do it very quickly by eye by focusing purely on the actual bullet itself. I'm going to hold down the Option and the Shift keys on my keyboard. If you're on Windows that will be the Alt and the Shift keys. And then I'm going to use the down arrow to add a negative baseline shift, or the up arrow to add positive baseline shift. I kind of see it goes by two at a time, and I can see here probably 3 is the right value, -3, so I'm now just going top go ahead and change that 4 to a 3 and that sits perfectly just where I wanted.
Now, it's easy for me to just simply select this, copy it, hit the down arrow to come down here, highlight this, and then paste that into place, and I can do that with the others as well. So that's an example of where Baseline Shift comes into play. Later on inside of this training, we're going to focus on something called Type on a Path and we'll find out that in those cases, Baseline Shift is going to be integral in making sure that our text aligns correctly to the path the way that we want it to appear. However, you may think that this Character Rotation setting, which is right over here, may seem kind of silly at first glance.
For example, what I can do is I can highlight this G right over here to select it and then adjust its Character Rotation, maybe rotate it in a 45 degree angle. Now, you might ask yourself, why would that be useful? I mean just the G itself now is rotated independently from the other characters inside of that text string. But again, if we think about applying this to graphics or to characters that I might use as some kind of graphic, then this could be quite useful. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Sometimes people use interesting characters to simulate things like, for example, maybe filling out a form, and they want people to fill in their credit card or date of birth or maybe their Social Security Number, which is three numbers, two numbers, and then four numbers.
So you might want to have like these areas that are clearly defined, so people know what to put into those spaces. Now, sometimes people go through a tremendous amount of work by using the Pen tool and drawing lines, but then as soon as you want to move your text around, you have to work with all those elements. If you want to make things bigger or smaller or adjust them, it can be very difficult. Well, as an alternative, you might want to consider using text. Let's see how we can do that. I'm just going to put my cursor here at the end of this exclamation point and I'll hit Return to get a new line here.
And maybe I'll type in here Social Security. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to use the open square bracket key. I'll actually select this here. I don't want it to be bold, so I'm going to set it back to let's say be Regular, so it's a little bit thinner. And now I'm going to go to the Character Rotation. I am going to set it to a value of -90. Actually, I see that it should be flipped the other way around. Let's actually rotate it 90 degrees. So you see what I've done now is I've actually taken that bracket and I've turned it on its side, so now it looks like a spot where I might want to fill in the number.
So I could take this right now, but the problem though with it, right, is that it's sitting much too high in the baseline. So I'm going to take that, select just that one character, hold down Option and Shift, or Ctrl+Shift, then hit the down arrow key maybe two times. So now it has a Baseline Shift of -4 and a Character Rotation of 90 degrees, and you see now it has this lovely little setting right here. I can actually take this and copy it and then simply paste it right next to it. So now I would have the space for entering three different numbers. Then maybe I will do two more for two more numbers and then one, two, three, four.
So now I have the numbers that I need. I'm simply going to come here and put a hyphen right here. The reason why I'm typing a hyphen here just for now is because I want to be able to make sure that this hyphen does not have any Baseline Shift or Character Rotation applied to it. So I'm simply going to take this and I'm going to hit Command+X or Ctrl+X to cut it. Then I'll move over here and after the first three I'll paste one here, and then I'll paste one here. And then I can add a little bit of kerning here to just simply adjust them. I'm adding positive kerning by using Option+right arrow, and I've kind of moved it over now a little bit so I can see.
Let me scroll over just a little bit here so you can see what we have created. I've now created spots where I have three characters, two characters, and then four characters, where I might enter now in a Social Security Number. But you can easily see that as I put this together, I was using a lot of the keyboard shortcuts and the settings that we've learned so far in this chapter. We've been using kerning, character rotation, baseline shift. Once you become familiar with these, they all just fall into place as you kind of work with them. You just simply nudge or put the characters where they belong. Now, remember, we also learned about using the different scaling options.
So, if I wanted to have a wider area for people to add numbers, I can simply take these right now and choose to scale these maybe 150%. Now that gives me wider slots for me to put the numbers in. So again, it's just another way to look about using text inside of Illustrator. More importantly, it's also a way that you can use these additional features to use text as graphics, so that they are easier to work with.
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