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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
I am here now in this file called mane2 and we've gotten to this point now we already have our shapes created and on top of that we've turned all these shapes into something called a Live Paint group. In fact, if I use my selection tool and then I click on this, because I've my bounding box turned on I can now see that there is a little star at each of a little handles here indicating that I currently now have a Live Paint group selected. Of course, we can always look at the Appearance panel and it will identify to us that we've a Live Paint group selected as well.
Other than the fact that is now a Life Paint group in our minds, we can just think of this as a regular group and a little bit later on inside of this chapter we'll see why that it can add so much more power to this feature. But for now we want to focus on using the Live Paint Bucket tool to start applying some attributes to this shape. Now if we think about the shape itself, all we really care about are these boundaries right over here that make up the actual mane. So you can see over here at this region over here and just to the top of the head right over here all of these other areas are extraneous and they were just created, because they are parts of the ovals that we use, but we don't need them for our artwork at all.
In fact, just to kind to show you how different this concept of working with Live Paint is I am actually going to come here to my Stroke settings turn all of my Stroke settings to None. So now I just simply have these paths in my document, but they don't have any fill apply to them and they don't have any strokes as well. Let's go a step further. I am actually going to deselect this by clicking on a blank area. So I don't even see anything at all inside of my document. I know if I go into Outline mode by pressing Command+Y or Ctrl+Y that I can see that all those shapes are there, but normally right now in my Preview mode I don't see any of the shapes, because they don't have an appearance applied to them just yet.
So now I am going to switch to my Paint Bucket tool, and again my Live Paint Bucket tool, the keyboard shortcut is the K key on my keyboard and you'll notice that just above the Paint Bucket tool right now I've these three little squares or the three boxes. If you don't see them then just go ahead now and double-click on the tool itself and make sure that the Cursor Swatch Preview setting is checked. I am going to click OK and I have these little setting here and you'll notice that as I move the Paint Bucket tool over this artwork even though that my Live Paint group is not selected these areas are highlighting in Red indicated that they can be filled with the fill color.
This is actually a very interesting behavior that exists within the world of Live Paint, because Live Paint is a special kind of object or more specifically a special kind of a group, Illustrator will automatically highlight these paintable regions. Meaning, I can actually apply attributes, meaning fills and strokes to artwork without having to select it at all. Like I said, the whole concept that Live Paint kind of breaks the rules of the way that we think about working with vector graphics. As long as I first turned it into a Live Paint group it now has this whole new set of rules that apply to it.
One of them is that I now have the ability to apply paint to this object or apply fills to these areas or these regions even though the artwork is not selected. The way that I would normally do this is I would first need to put some kind of a color or load some kind of color into my paint bucket so what I am going to do is I am go to my Swatches panel and I'll click on let's say just Red now. Let's say I want to make his mane Red. So I am choosing this option here called CMYK Red a regular plain process swatch and when I move over here to this area I'm going to just click once and that's now going to fill that region with a color.
Now another way to use the Live Paint Bucket tool is to click and then drag and as I drag across any region those regions will automatically get filled. So I can click over here. Let's fill that little region up over here. Let's click here, here, and here and I've now applied to fill to the part of the mane that I would like to have inside of this piece of artwork. So just like that even though right now if I go in to Outline mode there are all of these circles and paths that exist in my file. I'm not really focused on that, I am focused on the visual aspect of my file, which right now is exactly the way that appears in my document.
I just see that nice little spiky kind of mane that I have for the top of his head. So when I said it earlier before that the whole concept of Live Paint is really focusing on the visual aspects of my file is that I don't really care necessarily about the underlying paths. They're there and they provide structure for me, but I don't need to be actively thinking about that structure when I want to define the appearance that artwork. Now let's take a closer look at the actual Paint Bucket tool itself. As we discussed right on top of the paint bucket I have three boxes.
I've big box that appears directly on top of the icon and then just to the left of it I've a Black box and just to the right of it I've a Yellow box. So let's once again just memorize the order here. I've a Red box in the center, I've a Black box to the left, and a Yellow box to the right. Let take a closer look at the Swatches panel. Right now my selected swatch is Red and then just to the left of it it's Black and just to the right of it is Yellow. What I am actually seeing here on top of my Paint Bucket tool is a miniature snapshot of my Swatches panel and I can actually change colors or fill my paint bucket with a different color paint simply by using the Arrow keys on my keyboard.
So if I tap the Right arrow on my keyboard just once you can now see the color that is filled inside of the big box that appears on top of my icon for the Live Paint Bucket tool is now filled with Yellow. That means if I now click on a region it's going to paint that region with Yellow. If I hit the Left arrow I go back to Red and if I hit the Left arrow again now Black is my Fill color. If I now click-and-drag inside of my Live Paint group with this option right now I'll be filling my areas with Black.
The whole purpose of this is that I can actually keep my Swatches panel closed and as I'm working with this piece of artwork if I decide I want to Fill this with Yellow I can just tab two times right now on the right arrow, move over to Yellow and now click-and-drag and start to add these colors and fill this with Yellow instead of filling it with Red. The benefit here is that again I'm not focused on selecting any artwork because only the areas that show up as highlighted in Red are the regions that are going to be painted and on top of that I have the ability to quickly switch between different colors.
Now by the way if you also want to apply colors to the strokes not only fills, you can now click on that Live Paint Bucket tool in the Tools panel and you can choose this option here called Paint Strokes, but for now we're going to leave this turned off. We are simply going to click OK with the options that we've here and we can start to see how much fun we might actually have using the Live Paint Bucket tool with Live Paint groups inside of Illustrator.
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