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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are often times inside of Illustrator where a regular transformation just isn't good enough. I'm just going to draw a regular ellipse. Let's say I want to actually scale a copy of this ellipse. I have a kind of a flat oval shape over here. So if I were to simply double-click on my Scale tool here and I enlarge this to about say 125% and I'll click on the Copy button. You will notice that yeah it did make the object 125% bigger but because of the way that an oval shape, when it gets scaled it's not necessarily perfectly exact as far as getting the size bigger because you an see that over here the distance between here and here is not the same as it is here and here.
Often whenever you are dealing with shapes that are not perfectly uniform like squares or circles, for example, there are many times when you want, let's say, to create some kind of an outline over the same basic shape but you just want it to be larger. Instead what you need to do is you need to apply a half offset effect inside of Illustrator. The way to do that is I'm just going to delete this object right here. I'm going to select this shape right here. I'm going to go to the Object menu. I'm going to choose Path then I'm going to choose an option here called Offset Path. This is a very powerful feature inside of Illustrator. Click on the Preview button so you can see what's happening. What it basically does is it takes the value that you specify. Then it creates a buffer or basically a space between the shape that you have created and the new shape here. It doesn't scale it up, because again a scale would be wrong, the scale would be like we did so before with Ellipse tool.
But what it does is it creates an offset, an exact copy of that path but offset a different value. It is possible by the way to specify negative values with your offsets as well. So that now it goes to the inside of the path. I am going to cancel that for a moment here because I want to show you that you can also apply those as a live effect inside of Illustrator. If you go to the Effect menu, you will see a Path menu and you will see something called Offset Path and Outline Stroke, which is the same that you will see here. If you go to object and you go to path, you also see the Offset Path and the Outline stroke. But there is something that's different here in the Effect menu, something that's not found elsewhere inside of Illustrator. Under Effect > Path, you have something here called Outline Object. I want to talk about that for a moment here because it's incredibly powerful and it also solves the problem that most people have in a day-to-day basis inside of Illustrator.
So let me explain, I'm going to delete this shape right here, I'm going to just return my view back to this photograph. I have actually embedded this photo here inside of Illustrator but the technique I'm about to show you actually works for linked images as well. Now we know that in order to apply fill and stroke attributes to objects, you can apply them to vector objects inside of Illustrator. But we also know that Illustrator supports the ability to place images into your document as I have done here. But an image is not a vector object. An image is an image. As such it doesn't have the fill and stroke properties that vector objects have.
So there are many times when you place a photograph inside of Illustrator and what you would like to do is you would like to actually place some kind of an outline or what's referred to as a keyline, maybe a border around the photograph itself. Now how would you do that inside of Illustrator? I can't simply go ahead and choose to select image and then apply a stroke. For example, I go to my Swatches panel here or my Color panel, I can't just simply go ahead and highlight this and fill with a color. In fact you can even see that I have a black color applied to my stroke here. But it obviously does not show up on the object itself. That happens because like I said an image doesn't have a fill or stroke attribute. An image is not a vector. It doesn't contain those. There is no path that exists in order for me to apply those attributes.
So what I really need to do is I need to create some kind of a path. What many people do is they go through the extra steps of taking the Rectangle tool, clicking and dragging to define a rectangle and then applying a stroke attribute to that shape which is fine and then maybe you can group these two together but then you are always working with two objects. If you want to scale it, you have to scale both of them together. It just becomes more problematic. On top of that it's extra work for me to do. What I would like to do is I would like to show you how to use the effect that I was just talking about, the Outline Object effect, to actually apply a keyline or an outline or border to an actual photograph here inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to delete this rectangle.
I am simply going to go ahead and click on the photograph. I'll move it to the side a little bit here because I'm going to use the Appearance panel here inside of Illustrator. You will notice that right now, it says here that I have stokes and I have fills and I have a 4 point stroke applied to this object which I have done simply by clicking on this and choosing it from the stroke panel here. But I don't necessarily have any particular path inside of this shape in order to have that particular stroke have effect to it. So let me just kind of back up and show you where we are for now. I'm actually going to hit the D key for default. So right now, my object would have a white fill and a black stroke. But again I don't have an object, so that I have an image selected. So right now you can see over here where it says Image Pixels.
That's what the Appearance panel is saying and these are my attributes that are applied. So the problem though, like I was saying before, I don't have a path to be able to apply the stroke to. I'm going to highlight the stroke right here. I have now targeted the stroke. I'm now going to go to the Effect menu. I'm going to choose Path and then I'm going to choose this here called Outline Object. What this is going to do is it's going to actually in the form of a live effect find the boundaries of the object that I currently have selected and create a path at that particular boundary. So in doing so I now will have a defined path that I can apply the stroke to.
So by choosing Outline Object now, I can see if I deselect the image here that I do now have a keyline here. Just to make it a little bit easier to see, I'll crank that stroke back up to 4.0 without having to create a separate rectangle, I was now able to go ahead and apply a stoke to the image. But again what I had to do is I had to target the stroke and apply the outline object. In doing so Illustrator created a path at the boundary or the border of this particular image here. Now this is important to know because I can apply additional effects as well, specifically the Path effect. With the strokes still targeted in my Appearance panel, let' say I wanted to create the look if there is some kind of a border or kind of a white border like the old fashioned photographs. I can actually reduce the stroke weight down to about 1 point here. Again when the stroke over here is still targeted I'll go to the Effect menu, I'll choose Path and then I'll choose Offset Path effect.
Now again here, instead of me applying it to the Object menu, like I was showing you before with the oval, that was a one-time effect. Once I have applied it the path was created and that's it. But here it's actually being generated as a live effect. Now what path is it offsetting? It's offsetting the path that I created or defined with the Outline Object. I don't see it because it's in the live effect. But if I were to go ahead actually choose to expand the appearance here I would actually see that path. I'm going to click on the Preview button here and specify an Offset of about 0.25 inch. So now what I have done here, if I click OK, is that I have actually taken that stroke and I have applied an outline object, which now defines the path at the border or the boundary of that image. I can now of course apply a stroke attribute to that particular path and then I have applied the Offset Path Here effect, which allows me to then take that particular object or that path that I created and offset it from the object itself to create this wonderful border for this photograph.
So if I close this right now, I can go ahead and move this object around. I can scale it just like any other object and doing so all these things move with it. This is a really useful way to work with, not only embedded images but linked images as well. If you want to add borders or keylines to images, this is the best way to do that here inside of Illustrator.
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