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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
I am still working inside the Stars. ai file, albeit a heavily modified version of that file and I have drawn a single star and if you check out the thumbnail, if you can make it out here at the top of Layers palette, the My drawing thumbnail. You can see that we have a series of concentric circles that have black outlines, and then this star that has a green outline, and the reason it has a green outline is the last thing we have selected before drawing that star were the stars themselves, the stars on the star's layer here, and they all have green outline. So Illustrator decided that that's what we wanted.
It always adopts the attributes from the last selected shape. All right, which is fine. Green stars are great for our purposes; it helps to distinguish stars from the circles. Not like you can't tell the shapes apart, but anyway, let's say what we want to do next is we want to do the star numerically by the numbers, but we have to figure out what those numbers are, and you can do that, you can measure your illustration using this guide right here. If you go to Eyedropper tool, click and hold, you will get a flyout menu. You can choose the Measure tool. And I want you to use this Measure tool to draw from the center the calendar to one of the inner points on this second outermost star. And notice this value right here. This distance value, the D value, it says 72.716. I'm going to write that down, 72.716. That's the value we are interested in, because that's the direct distance.
The width value would be how far we dragged horizontally, and the height value's how far we dragged vertically, which is downward, so it's negative. And then the angle value tells us the angle of our drag. We don't care about any of that stuff; it's the distance that we want. Here inside the Info palette, by the way, which comes up automatically when you use the Measure tool, and you can get the Info palette at other times as you work inside of Illustrator by going up to the Window menu and choosing Info. You also have a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F8, Command+ F8 on the Mac. All right, now we want to draw from the center out to one of these points in the outer parameter of the star, like so, and then I would check out this value 153, 443. Okay, that's interesting. 143, 443. Now we are ready to use the Star tool, so I'm going to go ahead and close the Info palette, and those keyboard shortcuts, incidentally, that I just showed you like Ctrl+F8 for Info, they work for hiding and showing. So if I press Ctrl+F8 right now, Command+F8 on the Mac, I would hide that palette, just so as you know.
All right, let's go back up to the Star tool here and let's click in the center of calendar, and Radius 1 represents the outer point, because it's a larger value. So let's go ahead and take that value, and change it to 153.443 Tab. Notice it has full accuracy, keeps tracks of all three numbers after the decimal point. Now I'll change the inner radius value to 72 point, what do we have, 716 is what I just saw recorded, press the Tab key, for some reason it rounds after two digits, go figure.
So 8 Points, that's fine, click OK, there it is. Perfect alignment, nice, and now I'm going to change the stroke from two points to one point like so. And finally let's draw the inner shape, we will just go ahead and draw it manually. I'm going to draw outward like this. It's of course an 8 Point of star; because that's the last shape we drew, down, down, down, down, down arrow, in order to reduce the number of points right there. Let's get the inner star points aligned like so. Ctrl, now press the Ctrl or the Command key, in order to drag the outer points outward, then we now have good alignment, if not exactly right, it's good enough. And I'm going to change that stroke from one point to two point, and we have finished drawing our stars, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to a wonderful Serendipity combination of Measure tool and the Star tool working together in perfect harmony here inside Illustrator.
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