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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.
When it comes to performing path calculations like subtracting objects from each other or adding them to each other, we find that the Pathfinder functions are incredibly helpful. But you may also notice that if you go to the Effect menu inside of Illustrator you will see that the Pathfinder functions also appear as live effects. And you may ask yourself, when would I ever want to apply a Pathfinder effect as a live effect? Well, let me show you an example of where that might come handy. I actually have some artwork here. It's the Groundswell logo and just a regular group of objects here and maybe I want to create some kind of an outline around this.
Now we have already explored some of the functions like for example Offset Path that would help us to create such an outline. Let's perform all these as live effects and see how they can be applied. I'm going to click on this logo right here, this group, move it over just to the side here and we can open up the all-important Appearance panel. What I'm going to do over here immediately is simply add a new stroke to this particular group. Now this stroke sits right here above the contents of my file. And right now it set to a 1 point stroke. Well I'm going to change it to 2 point just to get a little bit more of that kind of beefier look to it.
And I'm now going to choose to apply that Offset Path command. Instead of doing it as a regular Path command, I'm actually going to apply as Live Effect. So I go over here to the Effects over here. Let's go down to Path and then choose Offset Path. We have got a little Preview button here and let's offset it about an eighth of an inch. There we go. So now I see automatically that I have created an Offset Path but look. Even though I have your group that I have created, each of the shapes themselves do have their own offset and their path. So what I get is an appearance that may not be the one I'm trying to get. I really want to get like one continuous stroke that kind of outlines the entire object.
So I'm now going to go ahead and click OK just to apply this Offset Path. And another thing that I'm also somewhat concerned about. How you always try to get hooked up in the details here. The little corners that are here are pretty sharp and I might want to round those to soften up the look of that outline effect. So I'm going to apply a Rounded Corners effect. So again, with my strokes still targeted in my Appearance panel, I'm going to go to the Effect menu, choose Stylize and then I'll go ahead and now choose Round Corners. And here I'll just use a value of an eighth of an inch. Click on the Preview button and see how that kind of rounds that off, makes it look a little bit more pleasing to the eye. Click OK.
But I still haven't really addressed the problem that I have here which is that each of the individual shape of my group got their own Offset Path applied. Therefore I have all these overlapping shapes and all these overlapping areas. Well, let's forget about the Appearance panel for a moment. If I were working with regular shapes and a I have whole bunch of overlapping shapes, and I wanted to combine them altogether into one shape, I could use the Pathfinder Add effect, and that will actually combine all the shapes into one. Well, because I'm working here with all these appearances, the stroke that I have here I can't actually select it. It's all applied as an appearance through the use of the Offset Path and the Rounded Corners effect. I could now add a Pathfinder live effect to instruct Illustrator to combine all the shapes into one.
So I'm going to do that, again with the stroke here still targeted in my Appearance panel. I can now go to the Effect menu, I could choose Pathfinder, then I could choose the Add effect right there. Now I get the effect I'm looking for. I get all those combined into one shape, which I think is incredibly useful. Again this is really where the Pathfinder effects as live effects really come into play when you start working with multiple objects like multiple strokes and fills and a single appearance. Now what I'll also do here is show you a few of the other ones that I think might be interesting. So I'll click on Add to edit that and I can actually click on the Preview button here and see what some of the other Pathfinder effects do. For example, Trim does a very intersecting effect that actually makes like each of the letters are stack in front of each other. But it basically gets rid of the effect that I see through them. So I get this really nice looking effect.
I have notice that here for this example the Add one and the Trim one really give me some great results. But that's the way that you might edit or kind of play around with and experiment with the different Pathfinder effects that you can apply through the Appearance panel. Now finally because of the shapes that we are dealing with over here, notice that some areas here still exist. There is really no way for me to select those and delete them because right now my appearance is a live appearance. I could in theory choose to go to the Object menu here and choose to expand my appearance and delete those regions manually or what I might decide to do is simply go over here to the Offset Path command and increase that somewhat, maybe to 0.2 inches. And basically make it large enough so that I don't see those particular areas anymore.
And again that's just an experimentation thing to kind of go through. See what works well and then see how the Pathfinder effects can really make a big difference on some of the artwork that you are creating.
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