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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.
As we have seen until now, when you apply a brush stroke to any particular path, the path itself remains a single path, but you get the appearance of whatever that is that stroke is. For example, I'll go ahead and choose a Regular Calligraphic brush right here, and as I go ahead and I paint with this, I see that the path itself underlying is a simple path, but there is the appearance of this that has been applied to it. I also know by the way that if I have selected this path, I have similar functionality that I found with the Pencil tool, meaning that if I start clicking and dragging on it, I can modify that path as I do so.
You can change that setting by double -clicking on the Paintbrush tool and changing their Preference, to not Edit Selected Paths. I happen to like having it turned on, and remember, by turning the Keep Selected option turned off, that means that I'm ensured that there will only have that functionality available to me when the path is selected. However, when I'm not working with the selected path, then I could simply branch out and create other ones as well. But I want to focus on another important aspect about the paintbrush tool. When you use the paintbrush tool to create the strokes, for example, this one over here is an Art brush. It has a tapered edge on both ends over here, but remember again, if I look into Outline mode, Ctrl+Y or Command+Y, as a single path. Let's say I actually want to adjust or tweak the settings of this.
Well, the same way that I worked with patterns before, I have the ability to expand the appearance of this. By going to the Object menu, I could choose Expand Appearance, and now I get Anchor Points, and a fully editable path that I can work with. In fact, when you are working with artwork, you may decide that you always want to do this, so that you can make small adjustments to your strokes. Especially if you don't have access to a Pressure Sensitive Tablet, and you want to have those beautiful Thick and Thins, you can do this manually by expanding your brush stroke, and then making adjustments to that particular path.
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