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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are many designers who prefer to do their pencil sketches on graph paper. In fact, many times when working inside of Illustrator it may be helpful to use a grid to assist in laying out your artwork. To view your grid you would go to the View menu and choose this option here called Show Grid. The grid itself is made up of larger squares with smaller subdivisions inside of it. Going back to the View menu for a moment here, you'll see there's a setting here called Snap to Grid. When this setting is turned on, as you move objects around on your artboard, it will snap to these squares on the grid.
This can be very helpful in different types of design, but perhaps more importantly is getting the grid to be set up so that it represents exactly what you need it to. To do that, we'll go to Preferences. I'll press Command+K on a Mac or Control+K on Windows to bring up the Preferences dialog box and then from the pop-up menu, I'll go to where it says Guides and Grid. If we take a look on my artwork, you can see that my artwork hides the grid. In other words, the grid appears behind my artwork. That's because this setting, Grids In Back is turned on. If I turn this option off, I'll actually see my grid as if it were overlaid on top of my artwork, which sometimes is helpful but when I've been working, it kind of gets in the way.
The main setting that you care about though is how many gridlines you set and how many subdivisions each gridline has. The gridline refers to the darker lines that appear over here. Currently my document is set up so that each of these gridlines appears every inch in my document. And then that's split up further into eight subdivisions. You might notice for a minute though that on my screen, you only see four subdivisions. That's because the level the zoom level that I'm currently at in my document only displays half of the subdivisions. For example, I'm going to click OK, and if I zoom in a little bit closer on my document, you'll now see that there are eight subdivisions between each of my gridlines.
Just to give you a basic idea about how I use grids, if I'm working in Web design, I do care very much about pixel dimensions. So I like to set a gridline every 10 pixels. That way as I'm working, I can quickly count off 10, 20, 30, 40 and see how big an object is. I'll then specify 10 subdivisions, which means that every square on my artboard will reference one pixel. Another way that you might use guides is when trying to layout a room. For example, if you're trying to do interior design and you want to make sure that furniture or other elements inside of that room will fit perfectly, you might set it up so that your gridlines represent the foot with 12 subdivisions and each subdivision references an inch.
In reality, there are many reasons why you might want to use a grid inside of Illustrator. Just know that it's there and that you can control it. I'll zoom back out again and remember to hide your grid, you can go back to the View menu and then choose Hide Grid. It's important to realize that all of these settings that Illustrator has that help you align up your artwork, be it the guides that we spoke about in the previous movie or the grid here in this movie. You will always have complete control over them. So I can turn off the grid here if I don't need to see it, and if you also want to hide the guides that you've created, that can also be controlled from the View menu.
Simply go to View, choose Guides, and choose to hide your guides.
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