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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Throughout this chapter, we are going to explore the Brush tools available inside of Illustrator. These tools are different than the Pen and Pencil tools that we have used until now. Perhaps the most significant difference is the fact that the Brush tools are pressure sensitive. However in order to take advantage of the pressure sensitivity, you must have a pressure sensitive tablet attached to your computer. Illustrator has full support for pressure sensitive tablets including the Wacom tablets. So just want to make sure that you have the latest tablet driver installed on your computer, and make sure that your preferences are set up correctly in your system Control panel. It's important to realize that you don't need to have a pressure sensitive table in order to use the brushes, however you do get a significant benefit when you do have one.
I'll illustrate this quickly by opening up some of the preloaded brushes that come with Illustrator. I'll go here to the Brushes panel, and then from this little pop up over here, I'll choose Wacom 6D Brushes, and choose this particular library. Let me click on this one over here called 6D Art Brush: heavy 27pt. I'm just going to quickly go ahead and draw one particular stroke using my pressure sensitive Wacom tablet, and then I'll draw the same stroke using a mouse, and you can see the differences between them. For example, if I start off pressing very lightly with a paint brush tool, and then I start to press heavier and heavier, I get a line that starts off being thin, but that gradually gets thicker. However, I'm going to use my mouse now to draw that same stroke, but you will see that the stroke is consistent in width throughout the entire length. As we go through the chapter, I'll point out specifically where certain brushes have pressure settings.
As we go through the rest of this chapter, I'll point that the areas where you can specify pressure settings for each of the brushes. If you don't have a pressure sensitive tablet, that's okay, as I described over here, you still can use the brushes as well.
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