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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
We're now looking at the shapes that I united in the previous exercise and if you want to catch up with me I'm working inside of the document called United shapes.ai that's found inside the 06_Edit_transform folder, and I'm still viewing the shapes, and I'm still viewing this one continuous path here inside of the outline mode. If I wanted to see it in the preview mode I would Control or Command click on the Little Orphan Annie eyeball over there in the Layers palette. And there it is. Now, it strikes me at this point that my fingers are too thin and I need to thicken them up a little bit and one way to thicken them up would be to go ahead and select this shape and give it a stroke. Notice that there's no stroke assigned to this shape right now. So I could go to the Stroke palette and I would say, Hey I want 6 points of stroke, give it to me. And then it would go and thicken up those lines, would it not, by stroking the outlines and recall that when you're applying a stroke, by default Illustrator goes ahead and puts one half of the stroke on the inside of the shape and the other half of the stroke on the outside of the shape. So we're bulking up the fingers in the spiral by three points outwards, so we're expanding 3 points outward.
Compare that to another way of working. I'm going to go ahead and undo the addition of the stroke there. The other thing we could do is go up to the Object menu and choose the Path command and then choose this guy right there, Offset Path, which goes ahead and bulks up the path by actually moving it outward by actually tracing new lines outward. So I'll go ahead and choose the Offset Path command. By default Illustrator wants to go ahead and assign an Offset value of 10 points, which is way too much if you turn on the Preview checkbox, you'll see. Wow it goes way too far there. Even a value of 6 is too high, and why is that too high? Because it's actually going outward 6 points, and I was telling you with a 6-point stroke, it's going out 3 points.
So what we want is to offset by 3 points in order to get the same effect we got with the strokes just a moment ago. And that is what I want. So I'll go ahead and click OK at this point, in order to go ahead and expand that path 3 points outward. Now notice that I've got two paths. The offset path command always creates a clone of your original path. So notice if I were to return to the outline mode by Control or Command-clicking on the eyeball, that we do indeed have two versions of the path, one on the outside, that's the new offset version, and one on the inside that's the original. Well that's actually really great in a way. It's not something I need long-term. I'm not going to need this path long-term, but I am going to need it in order to create the beveled edge. See how there's this light beveled edge going around the hand in the background here inside of the big unite template. Well that's something I need to create as well and I might as well expand it outward from the original path definition here.
So I'll select that inside path once again. Then I'll go up to the Object menu and I'll choose the Path command, and I'll choose Offset Path once again and this time I'm going to enter an Offset value of 8 points and I'm going to turn on Preview, so I can see that I'm doing the right thing and I am, isn't that wonderful? Yes it is. I'll click OK. Again it goes ahead and creates a clone of the path and leaves the original behind. All right fine. I don't need that original anymore so I'm going to click off the paths. Then I'm going to click on the original and I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac in order to get rid of it.
So now we have these versions of the paths here. I'm going to select the outer one, the one that's serving as the beveled edge, and I want to offset it, and by offset it, I mean I want to nudge it over. I don't want to apply the Offset Path command. I want to nudge it into a different position. And I'll do that, assuming by the way that you set your keyboard increment to 0.2 point, here inside the Preferences dialog box, as I asked you to do, way back in Chapter 2. Then in that case, you can press Shift+right arrow and then Shift+down arrow. That's all you have to do. Just press Shift+right arrow and Shift+down arrow and you'll have nudged the path into the proper location.
And now we have two versions of the path, the interior version of the path that we'll fill with a darker brown, and the outer version here that we'll fill with a lighter brown that will serve as our beveled edge.
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