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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Using adjustment tools


From:

Animated Character Design with Illustrator

with Angie Taylor

Video: Using adjustment tools

Okay, so here we are in the adjustment tools dot ai file, which you can find in the creating complex shapes folder. And I'm just going to toggle to the space bar tool. Just clicking on spacebar will toggle to the hand tool, which allows me to move the view down so that we can see what we're dealing with. And we're going to focus on the right upper arm. Create a new arm, focusing on the adjustment tools in order to do so. Now the first thing I'm going to do is select this shape here, and you'll notice a bounding box appears around it. If you don't see the bounding box just make sure in the view menu that you don't have hide banding box deselected.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator
2h 33m Intermediate Jan 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This workshop from author and animator Angie Taylor teaches how to use Illustrator's tools and features to prepare 2D files for animation in Adobe After Effects. Discover how to make the most of Illustrator's drawing tools and Autotrace feature, and to how use Live Paint and Kuler to recolor artwork. Plus, get a ton of tips and tricks for giving artwork a hand-drawn look and find out how to set up layers, aspect ratios, and transparency options for importing into After Effects. The lessons are focused and solution-oriented, and all the project files are included.

Topics include:
  • Setting up the work area
  • Bringing artwork into Illustrator
  • Tracing artwork manually
  • Creating complex shapes
  • Working with paths
  • Using Live Trace
  • Coloring artwork
  • Applying 3D effects
  • Exporting artboards
  • Options for saving files
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design Illustration Character Animation video2brain
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Angie Taylor

Using adjustment tools

Okay, so here we are in the adjustment tools dot ai file, which you can find in the creating complex shapes folder. And I'm just going to toggle to the space bar tool. Just clicking on spacebar will toggle to the hand tool, which allows me to move the view down so that we can see what we're dealing with. And we're going to focus on the right upper arm. Create a new arm, focusing on the adjustment tools in order to do so. Now the first thing I'm going to do is select this shape here, and you'll notice a bounding box appears around it. If you don't see the bounding box just make sure in the view menu that you don't have hide banding box deselected.

If you do it will say show banding box. So you need to make sure that this is active and you'll see that if I toggle between them it changes from show banding box to hide banding box. So make sure you can see your banding box before we proceed. Now, Illustrator offers so many tools for different purposes, and when you first encounter some of these tools, some of them may appear to share the same purpose and in many cases that true. Particularly, in the case of adjustment tools, for example I can scale this using the selection tool here. So I can scale this layer quite easily using the selection tool. I can also rotate and move it using the selection tool. Now, I can also do that using the free transformed tool. And that gives me the same options, I can scale, I can rotate and I can move using free transform.

I can also scale using the scale tool, and I can either click on it and use it to scale the layer, or the object rather, or I can double-click it and enter values, to scale it by predefined numbers. If I want to scale it to say, 60%, it's very easy for me to be able to see how that's going to effect my layer. I can also do non uniform scales and preview that, and create copies. Now I can also scale using the transform panel down here, entering numeric values. I can also access those same controls in the control panel by clicking on this little hyperlink here.

So, lot's of different ways to scale. Which one should you use? Well, as my grandmother used to say, there's more than one way to skin a cat. There's not right or wrong way to work when using this software. That's what they saying means, it basically means there's no right or wrong way and any method is fine if it gets you to your end goal. Now, you should never feel pressurized into feeling that you have to do things in a certain predefined way. By working your own way you're more likely to develop a unique style and it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get there. If it gets you to where you want to go and you feel comfortable using those techniques, by all means use them.

However, there are pros and cons for each of the adjustment tools I'd like to share with you so that you know which of these tools are best suited for each of the tasks. Now if we start with the scale tools, the tree trunks form tool is great for most things or the selection tool, I'm using the selection tool. But either, it's really nice because you can do lots of different transformations using one tool. You see that I hold the cursor over the corner and it becomes the rotate tool. If I hold it over the edge I can scale non-uniformly, either horizontally or vertically and if I hold it over the corners and scale I can scale it uniformly and of course, holding down Shift will allow me to keep the horizontal and vertical scale identical, lock the aspect ratio. And holding down the Alt key while scaling will allow me to scale from the center point rather than from one corner to another, which is the default. So holding down the Alt key allows you to scale from the center. But there are times that I might like to scale from a different anchor point, and free transform doesn't allow me just to drag that anchor point, but scale does. If I click on the scale tool, I can determine a new anchor point just by clicking.

And you see that it moves the anchor point to there and now when I scale, it's going to scale around that point and also rotate and skew around that point. Now, that's another nice thing about using the scale tool, it allows you to skew the object if you drag around as well. So, that's another benefit to using that above the transformed tool. Now, if I don't want it to distort as I drag it around, like it does when I'm using the scale tool, we get a kind of skew kind of effect as it scales non-uniformly around that point, what you can do is use the rotator, and and the rotator also allows you to set an anchor point.

And you'll notice it remembered the anchor point from scale to rotate there. So if I pick that up and move it, you'll notice that now it's rotating without any distortion at all. Now, underneath the rotate tool is the reflect tool. And what I want to do before I use the reflect tool is select both of these objects. Now if I click on both of them with the reflect tool selected, I'm just going to reflect the object. So I need to toggle, temporarily, to the selection tool by holding down the command key, or control key on PC, and then holding down shift to add this to the selection.

So I've now got two objects selected. Now, I can release my modifier keys and with the reflection tool selected I can click in the center of where I want the reflection to occur around. And that creates an anchor point here in the middle. Now, if I just drag those, you'll see it moves them over to the other side. But I'm just going to undo that because instead of dragging, what I want to do is actually create a copy of those. So I just need to hover over the shape and hold down the Alt key until I see the copy icon. And then I can click and drag a reflected copy of the arm over to this side. And then it's just a case of using the arrow keys on the keyboard, Up and Down arrow keys and Left and Right arrow keys, just to nudge it into place. And there I have two arms instead of just one arm. Now obviously, the arms should be underneath the body. So, I can also just go to my layers panel and just drag the body layer up to the top of the stack so that the T-shirt is on top of the arm layers.

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