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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you scale artwork you want to make sure that you get the results that you expect. In fact, sometimes if you want to create like an outline around an object, scaling artwork itself is the wrong method to use. Let me demonstrate by focusing on this icon here in the middle of this document. I'm going to zoom in a little bit closer here and say I want to create some kind of an outline around just the perimeter of this artwork. You'll notice that when I select it, I can scale it by double-clicking on the Scale tool here inside of the Tools panel. Let me move it over here just to this side so we could see the artwork and I'll click on the Preview button.
Now that's way too big, but let's say I scale it for about 125%. I'll click Copy and then I'll press D for Default and I'll also set my fill here to None. This is where you could compare the new shape that I just created to the shape that was there before. Notice that while the artwork itself is 125% larger, I don't really get that outline that I'm looking for. What I'd really like to have here is a uniform amount of space that appears around the entire artwork. So to get that kind of effect I need to use a different type of path function.
Something called Offset Path. So I'm going to press Delete to remove this object right now. And once again I'm going to select this artwork, but this time I'll go to the Object menu, I'll choose Path and then I'll choose Offset Path. Let's move this over here just to this side and I'll click on the Preview button. Now right away you can start to see that I'm getting the results that I'm looking for. A path that's uniformly larger around the entire parameter of my object. The Offset amount is quite large here. I can even reduce that to something like 4 point, or note that you could even use negative values, for example -2,to have the new path be inset or offset on the inside of my artwork.
But I'll choose 4 point here just for this example. And if you have really sharp or acute corners in your artwork you may want to increase the value for the Miter limit, but for most cases 4 is probably going to be okay. And I'll click OK to apply it. Once again I'll press D for Default and I'll fill my object with None so we can see the result. Getting exactly what I wanted, I now have a path that's offset at a uniform amount from my original artwork. I think that as you work more and more with Illustrator, you'll find yourself coming back to the Offset Path feature again and again.
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