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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are certain times in working with paths that you need to create an offset of that path. Let me explain exactly what I mean. I'm actually working with a file here, if you do have access to the exercise files, go ahead and open up from Chapter 05 the offset_path file. So what I'm doing now is I have this surfboard that I have created and may be I also want to may be on the inside over here create some kind of a design with like a border around it, to kind of comes out to the border just a little bit. So what I really need to do is kind of make a smaller version of the surfboard. However, you may know that when you chart a scale object that is not necessarily uniform in shape, the scale attributes are different from width and height.
So what do I mean by that? Well, if I want to make let's say a smaller version, the surfboard, and we will talk more about how I'm going to do this later on. We are going to learn about the Transformation tools. I'm actually going to use the Scale tool inside of Illustrator to make this a smaller version. I'll make a copy of it as I do that. So notice that I have not the same amount of space between here as I do on the ends. So because again, the surfboard itself is not at uniform kind of shape. Like for example, it started out, it's kind of close to an oval. So as I scale it, the scale is actually in proportion. But I don't necessarily get that exact same dimension that I might want in a particular design case. What I really want is I want the same amount of space to appear all the way around the inside of this and I can do the same thing may be if I wanted to have something along the outside as far as I border that way.
So I'm going to press Command+Z or Ctrl+ Z just to undo that. What I'm going to do right now is I'm going to take this, I'm going to use the Offset Path command to get the exact result that I want. I'm going to go over here to the Object menu, I'm going to choose Path and then I'm going to choose Offset Path, I'm going to get a dialog box, because Illustrator needs to know how much I want to offset by what amount. And what's great is this little Preview button. So for example I type-in preview, see how now I get basically the path itself is offset, I'm not getting an enlargement to that, it's not doing some kind of a scale, proportional scale. It's actually offsetting the path so that it's completely even on all sides around that. And for example right now it's at the 10 point, but I can do that may be 20 point, if I wanted a bigger one. But I actually want it to be on the inside, and the way that I can do that is basically specifying negative numbers. Let's say I do -10 and I hit the Tab key, I can see now that the Preview shows that I can now offset that path towards the inside of the path again because I use a negative number. When I click OK, I now have that shape that I'm working with. Now I can maybe fill this with a color and I'm good to go.
So that way I get the exact look that I'm looking for, and again I can do this as many times I want to. Offset Path is also-- I mean it's great to work on in outline type. Basically it gives you the ability to create these outlines that are perfect on all edges of the particular path and it's not the same as if you had scaled it. So whenever you need it, Offset Path is there for you.
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