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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
Okay so I'm still inside the Five fingers.ai document that I opened in a previous exercise and I've moved my fingers around a little bit. I'm now ready to take this clumsy spiral and turn it into a visually pleasing spiral, and by visually pleasing, I mean one that has consistent sort of distance inside of it, consistent spacing between one looping line and the next here. And you might say, Well Deke, why didn't you just draw it right in the first place? And the reason is because I used the Spiral Tool which refuses to draw anything but clumsy spirals, quite frankly.
You frequently have this problem where the spiral starts wide and then gets really thin, and then gets all wide again and that sort of stuff. So thankfully we've got this tool called the Reshape Tool that allows us to adjust spirals and other shapes to make them look better. Unfortunately the Reshape Tool takes a little bit of patience to deal with, as we'll see, but it's great that it's there. I've got to say. So here I am. I'm going to take this elements layer and I'm going to move it above the big unite layer and the reason is I want to be able the see the big unite layer in the background, so I'm sure that I'm making the right modifications here. Now I'll turn on the big unite layer and guess what I want you to do to it? That's right. Turn it into a template. So let's go ahead and meatball that layer by clicking on this little circle right there next the layer name. And then let's change the opacity value to 50% and then say okey-dokey by pressing the Enter key on the keyboard, or the Return key of course on the Mac.
And then I'm going to switch back to the elements layer here and I'm going to lockdown my big unite layer by clicking in this lock column. So let's go ahead and grab the spiral, which is still a line, it's still a stroked line, while the fingers are all now filled shapes. And I'm going to go ahead and drag this endpoint upward until it looks like it's in more or less the right position. I might arrow it a couple times. Go ahead and press the up arrow key a few times just to make sure it's where it wants to be, or where I want it to be, more accurately I suppose.
Now I could just set about grabbing the white arrow tool and moving my anchor points around and stretching the shape and modifying control handles and all this other stuff, all this really complex stuff, or I could go over here to the Scale Tool, click and hold on it and choose this guy right here the Reshape Tool from the flyout menu. Notice my tools. The Scale Tool allows me to scale an object of course, and we'll see it later. The Sheer Tool doesn't have a thing to do with sheep. It allows you to skew objects, slant them.
And then finally we've got the Reshape Tool, which, well kind of difficult to describe what the Reshape Tool does. It's better just to show you here. Now, it really is in all fairness, a tool designed by monkeys. It's just the weirdest tool, but I have to say these were very skilled monkeys, some sort of Planet of the Ape monkeys, and it becomes therefore a useful tool. So now check this out. I'm going to drag this endpoint right here and notice as I do, I'm moving all of the lines of more or less relative to their placement, to their location around this endpoint. The other endpoint no matter what, stays in place.
It stays fiercely locked down. So I'm doing this sort of weird taffy pull right here and it ends up being pretty helpful. So I'm just going to go put this endpoint where it wants to be and that might take a couple of drags. I might have to, oh notice by the way, if you do that number where you start drawing a little marquee, just start drawing again. It just means you missed the point. It should be a little more sensitive to where the point is, but it's the Reshape Tool, you've got to give it a break, cause there's a lot of stuff that it does that you might find a little bitconfusing.
So now I'm going to go ahead and drag up here and notice when I'm dragging the midpoints inside of the line that both endpoints now fiercely stay where they were, they remain in place that is, they remain fixed in place. The other points are all moving all over the place. Now ostensibly, you're able to say, Okay I just want to select this point and its neighbor up here by Shift-clicking on it and that will keep these points relatively placed, that is their relative placement will stay the same, but everything else will stretch around them, and that can be moderately useful on rare occasions but really your best bet is to just start dragging things around, and you just have to kind of drag back-and-forth with this tool. That is to say you drag one point and then you go back to the point you just dragged a moment ago and drag it, and then you go back to the point you just dragged a moment ago and drag it, and you keep dragging at these points until you get the spiral looking the way you want it to look, but notice, despite the fact that I'm just dragging at this thing a million times here, it's doing pretty good actually. We're getting some pretty decent modifications going to this spiral and it is definitely becoming a better looking spiral for my meticulous and painstaking modifications here, if I may call them that, because I am using a monkey tool after all.
Okay, so, pretty good, I think. Pretty good given that I really don't think it's pretty good. I keep playing with it. I want to get it exactly right is what I'm saying, and so I am going to keep playing with it until it gets more or less exactly right. And as I go of course the longer I work with this tool, the more flexible my definition of exactly gets. I'm sort of thinking by now, this is exactly right. Earlier I would have said, No, I'm still off. I still want to play with this some more. But now I'm thinking after making these sorts of modifications and noticing it keeps not doing exactly what I want it to, that this does happen to be exactly what I wanted after all. So this looks pretty darn good, I think. Yeah. It does.
Here I'll play with it just some more to just basically masochistically ensure that it does look the way I want it to look. And it does. Awesome. Very nice Reshape Tool. I take back everything I about you, except the fact that you are designed by monkeys. That's it. That is my better looking, I think more pleasing spiral that I've created using the Reshape Tool of course. In the next exercise we're going to move the fingers into alignment with the spiral and make some more fine-tuned modifications so that fingers and spiral are one.
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