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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 Illustrator's 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.
Depending on the type of project that you're working on, or your comfort level with starting a new creative project, you may be happy to know that Illustrator ships with a variety of pre-built templates. These templates cover a wide range of design needs, including Web site designs, DVD menus, stationary brochures and restaurant menus. Perhaps more importantly, Illustrator also ships with a variety of blank templates. These are templates that don't really have any design elements inside them, but they're already set up with the right page sizes, trim marks, fold marks, and basic guidelines for a specific types of work.
Now, you can access these templates directly from the Welcome screen by clicking on this folder over here called From Template. Doing so navigates you directly on your hard drive to where all these templates are stored. Notice here you have the blank templates, covering things like brochures, business cards, boxes, and then there are several theme-based templates. For example, Club, Film and Tech. There is also a collection of Japanese templates and a collection of FlexSkins for creating user interface elements like buttons and scroll bars, used for building rich Internet applications.
However, the problem with choosing a template in this way is there's really no way to get a quick preview of what that template looks like. For example, if I want to open up this template here for film and maybe to see the web site one, I would just get a generic icon here and the only way for me to view what that looks like would be to be to physically open a file. Instead, I like to use a different method for choosing a template. I'll click Cancel here and then in Illustrator, I want to go to the File menu and choose this option called Browse in Bridge. Choosing this option actually launches Adobe Bridge, which is a file browser application, and once again it takes me directly to that folder that contains all these templates.
Now, if I want to at this point, I can double-click on any folder to view its contents and I can get visual previews of those files. You can use this slider on the bottom of the screen here to enlarge these previews. But let me show you a little trick that I like about working with Bridge. I'm going to click over here where it says Templates to navigate back to this part of the location on my hard drive. Next, I'm going to go to the View menu and I'm going to an option here called Show Items from Subfolders. Even though I have several folders right now and there are multiple files in each of those folders, this setting will allow me to view all the items across all those folders at once.
So I'll choose Show Items from Subfolders and because the folders are getting in the way, I can go back to that View menu and uncheck Show Folders. At this point, I can scroll through and browse through all the templates that ship with Illustrator. Once I found the one that I'm looking for, I could just double-click on it and it opens up right back inside of Illustrator.
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