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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
So we see how the Shape Builder tool allows us to apply both the Add and the Subtract Pathfinder Functions in a visual way by simply dragging across artwork. However, we also discussed that many people often use the Divide function which is also a Pathfinder function. Let's see how we can use the Shape Builder tool to also help us apply the Divide function again in the same visual manner. So I'm working in this document here called Stripes5 and I have my Shape Builder tool selected.
I'm going to press my Command key, I'm on a Mac, but if you're on Windows, that will be the Ctrl key, and click-and- drag to select these two shapes right here. I already know that if I click across these two objects and drag across them, because I'm holding down no keys I just have to shape other tool here, I would now combine or unite all those shapes together. I also know that if I were to hold down the Option key or the Alt key and I would drag, then I would remove shapes or these regions from my artwork. However, I see that even if I don't hold any keys down, but I simply position my cursor over these shapes, the Shape Builder tool will highlight any areas that are these distinct regions that are created by the overlapping objects.
If I were to simply position my cursor over any region, let's say this middle one right here, and then simply click and release the mouse. So I have it actually drag with the mouse, but I just clicked and released, then what Illustrator does is it performs the Divide function. Just to show you by the way, if I now switch to my Direct Selection tool, and I'm going to deselect my artwork, but I'm now just going to select this shape and this shape, and this shape, you can see that now just by clicking once in that region, I've now divided that shape into the individual regions.
In other words, if I want to add, I simply click-and-drag with the Shape Builder tool, if I want to subtract, I Option or Alt+Drag with the Shape Builder tool, and if I want to divide, I simply click on a region and that will now go ahead and divide the artwork into individual objects. So now that we see how that works, let's again focus here on the bottom of Mister Zee and see how we might use that as well. So I'm going to zoom in over here just part right down here. I'm actually going to select all of these elements right here, so all the ovals, and also the line here because I want you to see how this works.
I'm now going to switch to my Shape Builder tool, and if I just click once right over here, then you can see that if I switch to my Direct Selection tool, and I'm just going to Option+Click or Alt+ Click right over here, you can see that now that got turned into its own shape. The other parts of the shapes here have not been divided because I didn't ask for it to do that. But I was able to just click in one region, and I'm telling Illustrator, you know what, I really need right now this region to be its own shape. So simply by clicking on that region with my Shape Builder tool, I'm able to perform a divide locally to that area that's right there, and turn it into its own shape.
So now we're really starting to see how the Shape Builder tool is taking the most common use Pathfinder functions and allowing us to apply them in a far more intuitive manner. In fact, I've heard some people refer to the Shape Builder tool as the Pathfinder Brush, because it allows us to quickly apply these Pathfinder functions but in a visual way just by clicking or dragging across the artwork on the screen. We discussed also that the Shape Builder tool also combines some functions that came from Live Paint. The most obvious is that I'm able to actually apply these functions in a far more visual manner, so my focus is not really on the underlying anchor points or paths, my focus is on the art that I'm trying to create.
However, there were other things that Live Paint allowed us to do like even coloring objects using the Paint Bucket tool. Is that functionality found inside the Shape Builder tool as well? The answer is yes, and we'll cover it in the next movie.
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