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Using the Eraser tool

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Using the Eraser tool

In Illustrator CS4 Adobe added not only the Blob Brush tool, but also the Eraser tool. Now this is different than the Path Eraser tool which focuses on just deleting paths inside of your document. The Eraser tool is really meant to be used more as a visual aspect, meaning it erases things that you see on your screen. It's more of the appearance side of things rather than the structure side of them. That's why it happens to be a perfect match for the Blob Brush tool. Let's take a look for example at the Eraser tool itself.

Using the Eraser tool

In Illustrator CS4 Adobe added not only the Blob Brush tool, but also the Eraser tool. Now this is different than the Path Eraser tool which focuses on just deleting paths inside of your document. The Eraser tool is really meant to be used more as a visual aspect, meaning it erases things that you see on your screen. It's more of the appearance side of things rather than the structure side of them. That's why it happens to be a perfect match for the Blob Brush tool. Let's take a look for example at the Eraser tool itself.

I am actually going to double-click on it and you'll see that the settings look almost identical to what we saw inside of the Calligraphic Brush and also the Blob Brush tool. I can actually specify a Diameter, have it based on Pressure, and give it a Variation. So for example, let's right now leave it set as a default setting of 10 points and let's have it based on Pressure and set a Variation of 10 points as well. This way we are going to get a lot of thick and thins. If I hit the Tab key, I will see the difference here that I can get and I click OK. Next, I am going to go to my Blob Brush tool and double-click on that and do the same.

Let's set the Size here at 10 and the Variation at 10 and then click OK. So I'll lay down a few strokes here with a Blob Brush tool. Of course, first I am going to change my stroke color to something that I'll probably see instead of white. Let's do red, and then I'll go ahead and now I will click-and-drag to get some paths here. Remember that I can always just continue to add to this and kind of fill this in if I wanted to, and these all get joined together. But now I want to erase parts of this. So what I could do is switch now to my Eraser tool and then click-and-drag and then starts to erase that path as well.

Sure, I can go ahead and erase parts of it like this, but it's really intended that I can actually just go over and adjust the paths as I'm working. A very fun tool to use, but the interesting dichotomy that exists between these two tools over here is that if you're using a pressure-sensitive pen that has both a tip and also an eraser on it, Illustrator can automatically sense when you switch between them. So for example, right now I have the Blob Brush tool selected. So if I click-and-drag I am going to start to see paths.

But if I flip the pen over in my hand so that now the eraser is pointing down as I click-and-drag Illustrator erases the path. So I am able to mimic the paradigm of real pencil on paper. As I put the pen back over again I can start to draw paths that way and connect them. So when using the Blob Brush tool, the Eraser tool is kind of its partner in crime. Just by a quick flip of the pen on my tablet I have the ability to add paths and also remove parts of paths as well. One interesting thing to note about how the behavior of the Eraser tool can really help when you're working is that you have the ability to control which objects do get erased and which ones don't.

Let me explain what I mean. I currently right now have two objects in my document. I am going to press the Command key to switch back to my Selection tool. If you are on Windows that would be the Ctrl key. I am going to select just this one object right here. Now I have one object that's not selected and one that is selected. So if I now switch to my Eraser tool and I am just flipping my pen over in my hand right now, even though I start dragging from here when I go across that path that I go across this path, when I release the mouse you will see that only this path was deleted, but this remains untouched.

That's because when you have a selection present, the Eraser tool only works on the selected path. If you, however, have nothing selected, so for example I am going to Command+Click over here just to deselect everything, now nothing at all is selected. Now if I click-and-drag then all paths are affected. So in this way you can really control how the Eraser tool works as you are creating your drawing.

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This video is part of

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  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

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