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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.
Until this point our discussion around using the Live Paint groups has revolved around this tool called the Live Paint Bucket tool. It allows us to simply apply fills to visible regions within a Live Paint group. However, I can't really see using that so often inside of Illustrator, because many times when I want to work with building artwork I am focusing more on the actual structure of the paths. Yes, I want to be able to forget about anchor points and paths, but I care about the shapes that I'm building.
So I want to focus on those shapes. Well, it happens to be that there's another part of Live Paint, which I feel is perhaps the most powerful part about Live Paint and unfortunately just because of the way that it works it's also one of the most overlooked features about Live Paint. For example, let's take a look at this file that we have right here on the screen. I am working in a file called mane6. And if I click on this ear region over here, I have all of these elements right over here that make up a Live Paint group, all these are made up by individual paths.
They don't have any fill regions, but these are open paths and you can see that an obviously in many cases the path goes beyond where I need it to go. Now if all I am really focused on is on the fill itself, I could simply set my Stroke to none like what I've done with this part of the mane and simply give it a fill. But if I also want to apply some kind of appearance to the stroke itself, how might I do that? And more importantly how would I cut off the parts of the paths that I don't need? We really want to get away from thinking about anchor points and we want to get away from all of the things that bog us down around there, rules of vector graphics.
One of the really nice things about working with Live Paint is that it allowed us to live in this all most fantasy world inside of Illustrator where we can just go by the way things look, not necessarily by the way that they're built. Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of way for us to be able to actually do that with paths themselves? It turns out there actually is. Using another tool inside of the Tools panel not called the Live Paint Bucket tool which works with filling regions inside of Live Paint groups, but instead using a tool called the Live Paint Selection tool.
This is a fabulous tool that allows us to make selections inside of Illustrator not based on the regular rules of vector artwork meaning what paths and anchor points are. Instead, this selection tool allows you to select things inside of Illustrator based on their visual appearance. It's fabulous. Let's take a look at it. I am going to go to my Tools panel I am going to click-and-hold my mouse button down on the Live Paint Bucket tool to reveal the Live Paint Selection tool. I'll be honest with you, when you took a look at Illustrator there are so many different selection tools.
We have the Black arrow, we have the White Arrow, we have the White Arrow with the plus sign next to it. Then we have the Magic Wand tool and the Lasso tool. Do we really need another Selection tool? Well, when we're working with Live Paint, this selection tool is simply great. Watch what happens when I take my Live Paint Selection tool and I simply mouse it over to this part of the path right here. Do you see how only this bottom part of the path highlights? Let me switch to my regular Selection tool for a second here. I am just going to click just this path right here.
This path is made up of two anchor points: one all the way over here and one all the way over here. There are no anchor points in these areas over here even though I do have the ability to fill these regions here with the color. All I have is one anchor point, another anchor point, and a path that connects them. Yet if I use my Live Paint Selection tool I have the ability to just select this one region or part of that path and watch what happens now if I press Delete to remove that, it's simply deletes that part.
I didn't need to erase the path, I didn't need to use my Scissor tool to cut the path, I didn't need to zoom in really close and make sure that I cut it in the right spot, because the path has been severed exactly by the point where the other path comes across from it. That's because the Live Paint Selection tool allows me to make selections based on how things look, not on how the underlying anchor points actually are. It's a great way to work inside of Illustrator, because if I want to get rid of a few more elements, I could simply click-and-drag to create a marquee, select both of these areas, and with one action delete those areas.
It's also a way where I can actually select regions to be able to fill them with color if I don't want to use the Live Paint Bucket tool. So for example if I now click on this region over here, this region has now becomes selected and I can give it a fill color anyway that I want. Likewise if I click this area I can do so. What's really cool about working with the Live Paint Selection tool is that if I just really wanted to get out that shape, I can select this region, which is purely a visible region. there is no shape here that exists of that yellow area.
But if I press Command+C or Ctrl+C to copy and then press Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste, I now get a physical shape based on that visual region. If you want to think about in this way it can steal the shape just by taking something that looks like it's a shape and turn it into a real one. Let me press Delete here to delete that shape that's there, and we start to see a tremendous feature that is now part of Live Paint almost to the point where I think that Live Paint is somewhat deceiving as a name of the feature, because I'll use the Live Paint Selection tool far more often for editing paths than I would ever think about painting paths, because even if I take a step back and I think about it for a moment, do I really paint inside of Illustrator? I don't.
I mean I draw inside of Illustrator. I build art inside of Illustrator. So why would I ever want to use a Live Paint tool inside of Illustrator? However, when I use the Live Paint Selection tool I really have a tremendous amount of power over all my vector artwork. It's really a great way to work. The only caveat is I need to first create a Live Paint group in order to be able to take advantage of the functionality of the Live Paint Selection tool. You know a little later in this chapter we are going to discuss a few other ways how we can use this Live Paint Selection tool to really have control over all of our artwork and be able to focus more on the visual aspects to the art that we want to create instead of spending hours and hours of time worrying about underlying the anchor points and paths.
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