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Using Live Paint with open paths

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Using Live Paint with open paths

So we're starting to get a better idea of what makes Live Paint work and how we can use it. We know that we can take all of these shapes and we can kind of overlap them and instead of using Pathfinder turn them into a group, a special kind of a group called the Live Paint Group. And then use the Live Paint Bucket tool to be able to apply fill colors to regions that are visually apparent, but maybe the underlying path themselves aren't actual physical objects, but I'll be honest with you my background is in art production and I care very much about building files that I know that are always going to print correctly, and then it going to live on and have other people work on them and kind of not cause any problems down the line.

Using Live Paint with open paths

So we're starting to get a better idea of what makes Live Paint work and how we can use it. We know that we can take all of these shapes and we can kind of overlap them and instead of using Pathfinder turn them into a group, a special kind of a group called the Live Paint Group. And then use the Live Paint Bucket tool to be able to apply fill colors to regions that are visually apparent, but maybe the underlying path themselves aren't actual physical objects, but I'll be honest with you my background is in art production and I care very much about building files that I know that are always going to print correctly, and then it going to live on and have other people work on them and kind of not cause any problems down the line.

So when I first start to taking a look at what Live Paint was doing I was very concern, because I'll even have an object that I can click on to select that might have this fill colors applied to it. These are just fill colors that are applied to regions that are visual aspects of my document. So kind of approaching it from the technical side of things which is what I maybe used to doing inside of Illustrative because I'm usually so focused on paths and anchor points. I may have some trouble accepting all these things. To be honest with you I care very much about what makes all this work, how does this happen inside of Illustrator, what rules allow this to occur? We'll actually get to the bottom of all that throughout the rest of this chapter, but for now, I'll tell you that when I first started looking at this feature and I kind of saw those two overlapping rectangles like we had discussed earlier, even here in this case where the mane is made up of all these overlapping oval shapes.

I was able to start understanding that maybe Adobe is kind of pulled some kind of magic in. They were doing like a smoke and mirrors thing where, you know what there's probably some kind of Live Pathfinder Effect going on in the background that I just don't see. And I am able to apply fills because somehow there is a divide that's happening just out of my sight. However, when I started using more and more of this Live Paint feature, I realize that it goes beyond just overlapping objects. Take this ear of Mister Zee for example. It's made up right now of individual open paths.

If I click on this shape right here, this is one path, if I click on this shape this is another path here. This is its own path right here as well, and then I have another path for this part of the head. So these are four individual paths. There is no closed shape in theory at all right now inside of my document, at least not in this part of the ear that I would be able to apply a fill to. Illustrator allows me to apply fills to closed objects. Now I could apply a fill to a shape and Illustrator will kind of automatically kind of connect the two paths and make it appear as if there is a fill there.

But in reality I've open paths, we don't really assign fill colors to open paths inside of Illustrator. So I was wondering can I actually use Live Paint when I'm working with these paths as well, the answer is absolutely. In fact, there is a tremendous amount of depth to what we can do with Live Paint inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to start off by first selecting all these four individual paths and then going to the Object menu and choosing Live Paints>Make, so I've just turned those areas now into a Live Paint Group.

If I look here at my artwork and I see that I've a Live Paint Group this one right now is the Live Paint Group that makes up the mane which is currently locked, so I just don't accidentally selected it or gets in the way, but I've now another Live Paint Group that I just selected that contains the four paths that make up the shapes for this ear. Now I don't even have any shapes that have any kind of a fill, so even if I kind of extrapolated my head that there's some kind of Live Pathfinder kind of happening in the background here with some kind of smoke and mirrors trick. I don't even have filled paths that I might want to be able to apply a fill attribute to, to begin with.

I just have four open paths which just happen to intersect each other, but because I've turned them now into a Live Paint Group they kind of get brought into this world and you'll notice now if I do use my Live Paint Bucket tool and again I'll press the K key on my keyboard to select it. When I mouse over these regions you can see that they do highlight in red, meaning I can fill those areas, but I'll tell you something else. If we take a closer look now towards the bottom this area isn't even visually closed. You can see over here that it's open yet when I use my Live Paint Bucket tool, Illustrator allows me to fill those areas with color.

Now we just spent some time talking about how we've the ability with Live Paint to treat artwork based on its visual aspects not on its underlying vector aspects. In other words, it kind of matches somewhat like we were familiar with inside of Photoshop where I can actually takes some areas and flood fill them with paint, but we also know if we've ever done that inside of Photoshop, if I flood fill an area but there's a gap somewhere then that paint actually escapes through that area and fills up my entire document. So how was it possible that I'm able to apply fill colors to these open regions without even the regions being visually closed? Well, that's a great mystery.

It's actually one of the most powerful parts about working with Live Paint Groups and we'll discover it in the next movie.

Show transcript

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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