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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
I believe that the Live Paint feature inside of Illustrator really brings a whole new exciting dimension to working with vector graphics inside of Illustrator. But one of the key reasons why I believe that is because of the feature I'm about to show you. We've already seen that when working with Live Paint groups, I have the ability to apply paint attributes to regions that appear inside of my screen that are not necessarily physical objects. That these regions of color don't even need to be completely closed. There can be gaps. And they can be made of either close paths, open paths or a combination of that.
But when you're working inside of Illustrator, applying fill and stroke attributes which is only part of the game. After all, creating those underlying paths is important too. So let's focus on another part of Live Paint that most people don't even realize is inside of Illustrator. I'll create a very simple Live Paint group. I'll draw let's say a circle on my screen, now I'll take two paths and basically cross them to the circle. I'll select all of them and I'll hit Command+Option+X or Ctrl+Alt+X on my keyboard to create a Live Paint group. I'll use the Live Paint Bucket tool to apply some colors to these areas that appear inside of the circle. Now what you're seeing here is really nothing new because you already know how to apply all this. However, let's focus on an aspect that we hadn't really touched on before. Let's focus on one of these paths that kind of go right to the circle itself.
This particular path right there has an anchor point on one end and an anchor point on the other end, yet because this path is part of a Live Paint group, it's able to help me intersect different regions of color inside of the circle. But let's say I don't want to see this particular part of the path that's right here. I don't want to see that part that extends beyond the circle, I just want the path define a boundary for color inside the circle. Now those with traditional Illustrator backgrounds might once again look towards the Pathfinder Filters or maybe use a Scissor tool to cut a particular path right here and then delete this part of the path. But let's take a moment to really understand what a Live Paint group is. Until now, we know that a Live Paint group allows us to make edits or to apply attributes to objects, based on their appearance, not based on the way that those paths were actually built.
So if we can apply attributes to these objects based on how they appear, can we perhaps modify the paths themselves based on how they appear? Is Live Paint powerful enough to do that? And the answer is surprisingly yes. Let's take a look at the toolbar over here and you can see that it has a Live Paint Bucket tool. But just to the right of it is the Live Paint Selection tool. The Live Paint Selection tool allows you to make selections based on the same rules of Live Paint, and those rules are bound by the appearance of objects, not by the underlying path. So I'll select the Live Paint Selection tool, I'll come over to this part of the path and click once on it and you can see that what I've done is I've now selected just this segment of the path. There is no anchor point right over here.
There is one anchor point here and one anchor point at the end. But when you're using Live Paint you don't think about anchor points at all, all you think about is how it looks or appears on your screen. What it looks like here is that the boundary, the circle, creates a separation between this part of the path and the rest of it. Now that I have just this part of this path selected, I can tap the Delete key on my keyboard to actually remove it. So without using any Pen tools or any Scissor tools or any path-cutting functions at all I simply selected a portion of a path that looks like I wanted to remove it and I got rid of it by hitting the Delete key. I can do the same for this area as well. Simply click on it to select it and press Delete to remove it.
But I have other options available to me as well. For example, say I want to keep this path here, for whatever reason. I could simply go ahead and select that portion of the path and change its stroke Color to None. I don't see the path here, but it does exist. What have I done? I've actually taken the path right now that again has one anchor point in this end. The other anchor point that appears in this path is all the way down over here. But on one single path, I was able to have part of the path have a Black attribute and part of the path has a stroke attribute set to None. If you think about it, it's quite incredible. In fact, I'll show you a simple example. I'll take my Line Segment tool and create a simple crisscrossing pattern. I'll select both of these paths and give them the regular default White fill and Black stroke. Let me change the stroke weight here to about 5 points and I'll zoom a little bit so we can see this a little bit closer.
I'll turn this into a Live Paint group again using the keyboard shortcut, Command+Option+X or Ctrl+Alt+X, and now I'll use my Live Paint Selection tool to select just one portion of this path. Again, what's creating the boundary between this area and this area is this path that crisscrosses that area. So with this portion of the path selected, I can actually go to my stroke panel and turn on the Dash Line setting. What I have now basically is one path that is half-dashed and half solid. I can even choose to select this area of the path and change its stroke Color to completely something else.
If I go into Outline Mode, I still see that I have two regular paths that I've created. Yet I've been able to apply different attributes by using the Live Paint Selection tool. I'll go one step further. I'll use the Direct Selection tool to select just this one path right here and I'll change its stroke to None. Now, I can actually see that this particular path that exists, again, one anchor point here, one anchor point here, two stroke attributes applied to that single path and that is simply made possible because of this path right here. If I were to move this path, Live Paint would simply go ahead and update that attribute of that particular stroke.
So many times, if you really think about how Live Paint works, you can create shapes or paths to define geometry that will ultimately allow you to adjust the appearance of that particular object. So at the end of the day, one thing is clear. Live Paint allows completely smashed barriers of how you think about working with Vector artwork inside of Illustrator. Rather than focus on the anchor points and then the line paths, you can ship your focus to the appearance of those paths. All in all, the Live Paint feature inside of Illustrator makes you think completely different about how you draw your graphic. Hopefully, this feature alone will save lots of time and frustration.
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