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Setup and preparation are very important with any type of project. After all you wouldn't expect an architect to start building a house without blueprints now would you? In this movie, I'll walk you through creating your own set of blueprints utilizing rulers, guides and grids inside of Illustrator. But first of all let's take a look at what these features actually are by looking at this document here. I've got the Grids and Guides document open and as you can see there are already some guides out on screen. These guides indicate exactly where the artwork is supposed to be in my document.
Think of these in terms of boundaries that you want to constrain your art work within. Creating these guides is actually very easy. You simply find the rulers, which you can turn on by going to View and selecting Rulers and then saying Hide or Show Rulers or you can simply use Ctrl+R or Command+R on your keyboard, and once you have the Rulers open, you simply click and drag out a new guide like you see here. If you want to get rid of a guide, drag it up and drop it back on the ruler.
Same holds true for these rulers. Click, drag out, drag back to release. In addition to these basic guides, you can also turn on a grid so that you can easily align your objects here inside of Illustrator. If you go to View and then go down to Show Grid, you will automatically see a grid appear on your document. Now it maybe sort of hard to see in different areas, but you can always change the appearance of the grid inside of your Preferences panel, and I actually encourage you to do that because changing your preferences goes a long way to making sure this works the way you want it to.
So for instance, if you're working on something where the background is always blue, you wouldn't want blue guides necessarily now would you? So you would have to find a way to get in there in the Preferences and change that. And again that's in the Edit menu on PC, the Illustrator menu on Mac, and go down to Preferences and then you can find the Guides & Grid feature. Inside of Guides & Grid, you can change the color of the guides and you can also change the color of the grid as well. So if I want to come in here and change this to something like a dark gray I can do that and now my grid is more easily identified here on screen.
Now you will also notice that you have something called a Smart Guide available to you inside of Illustrator as well. Smart Guides enable you to align objects with other objects really easily. So for instance, let me jump over here into another piece of artwork really quick and I will grab my Selection tool. With my selection tool selected, I will start moving this piece of artwork around. Let me zoom in down here in the bottom so you can actually see what I am doing. As I move this around, you will notice that little green line that extends indicating different areas that I'm snapping to, so those are intersection points with that other piece of artwork down here at the bottom and you can see the different points that it snaps to each and every time I move it.
This is a great way to align objects to the edges of other objects inside of Illustrator. Now it can also be kind of a pain because it automatically snaps to these areas, making it hard to kind of nudge the artwork into a different position. So you may want to turn these off. If you want to turn Smart Guides off, you go into the View menu, go down to Smart Guides and uncheck the box, or simply hit Commmand+U or Ctrl+U on your keyboard. Once I turn them off, you will notice I can move this artwork independently and it does not snap to anything.
Now let's walk through how I can actually use these Guides & Grids and all these different features to set up a brand new document here inside of Illustrator and blueprint out where I need to go. So I will just go up and create a new file and I'm going to actually use the Web preset. Let's pretend that I am creating a web banner. In my web banner I want it to be about a 1000 pixels wide by 400 pixels tall. We will go and hit OK to create that banner and there we go.
Now I'm going to turn on the Grid feature for alignment purposes because when you're dealing with graphics that are going out to the web, they need to be what we call "pixel perfect" and pixel perfect means they are really sharp and really clean even on raster-based output. By turning on the grid and then also turning on the align or snap to pixel grid feature, you allow yourself to line objects up and eliminate anti-aliasing which just means jagged edges around things like curves and circles. So I am going to go up to the View menu and I am going to turn on the Grid, just like so, so there is my grid, making it very easy for me to line objects up on screen.
I'm also going to turn on my Rulers by going to View and selecting Rulers and selecting Show Rulers. I am also going to draw out some guides. I want to draw some guides here so that I have a 30 pixel margin around all sides of my document. So let's go ahead and do that now. One of the tricks that I use, because I'm not that good at math and I really don't like to use math all that often, is I bring up the Window menu and find the Info panel. This little guy is amazing because it allows me to tell where I am in any given time in my document.
See how I move my mouse around and it's automatically telling me the X and Y coordinates right there? It does the same thing when you are positioning guides inside of Illustrator. So if I come over here and drag out a guide, you will notice when I drop the guide on the canvas, it automatically tells me exactly where it is. Right now it's at the x-coordinate of 46 pixels. Remember I wanted it to be 30 pixels. So I'm just going to drag that until it gets right around 30, just like so, 30 pixels. Now I am going to drag out a guide to the other side.
Since this is 1000 pixels wide, I need to go until I reach 970 pixels, theoretically on the ruler right. So let's drag that out, drop it close to where I think it could be. Right now it's at 953. So I will just take that and use the Info panel to drag it the rest of the way, 970. Same thing here, I will drag down, drop that in. You can see my Y coordinate is 18 pixels, I will drag that down until I hit 30, just like that, and now I made this 400 pixels tall.
So I need to go down until I hit 370. So I will drag that down and I will reposition it all the way to 370, just like so. And so now I've got my guides out there which have created a nice 30 pixel margin all the way around my document. Now if I want that to be easier to see, I can temporary turn off my Grid by going to View > Hide Grid, and there you can see my nice 30 pixel margins all the way around the outside. So now that we have got our blueprints, we are ready to start building our project. You should take comfort in the fact to know that you've got a solid foundation on which to build your masterpiece here inside of Illustrator.
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