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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.
So we are just about there. We are ready to jump in and start drawing inside of Illustrator. But before we do so, let's explore one final thing about the user interface. Now in Adobe Illustrator CS4 we have seen how the new user interface really allows us to work with panels and customize the screen the way that we want it to be. However, we also want to have a way to memorize the positions of all those particular layouts, so we can continuously set up our screen the way that we want it to. In fact, there are so many different possible ways to use Illustrator that there many times you will be focused on using certain tools sets or certain panels and so and so forth.
And there maybe other times when you will need a completely other set of panels that are inside of Illustrator. In fact, I find there are times when Illustrator itself serves many different needs. For example, sometimes maybe just editing color; sometimes maybe drawing from scratch. Sometimes maybe doing more of a technical type of a drawing. Each of those requires different types of panels and tools available to me. This is way Adobe created something called the Workspaces. A workspace is a way that captures the way that your layout is actually set up. Not your artwork itself or the document itself, but all the tools and panels around it. In fact, you maybe wondering what this word on the top of the Application Bar is, where it says Essentials.
Well, this is what we call the workspace switcher. It allows us to switch between preset workspaces. Now the Illustrator team over at Adobe has done a wonderful job in CS4 by shipping Illustrator with a variety of already preset workspaces. Not only is this helpful, because some of the workspaces I think are great, more importantly it shows us how we could use workspaces to our own advantage. For example I'm going to click on this word Essentials right now and I see something called Automation. Like Freehand, Like InDesign, Like Photoshop. Let's for example imagine that we were a Freehand user and we just started using Illustrator. Or I could choose the Like Freehand setting and now all the tools and panels are set up in a way that maybe familiar to me, if I were coming from Freehand.
Same thing also for example Like InDesign. For a person who spends a lot of time in InDesign I may choose to set up my Illustrator workspace to match that found inside of InDesign, so that's more comfortable for me to make transitions as I move between these two applications. There are also ways to set up workspaces for a specific task. For example, there is one here called Typography. Well, let's say I'm working on some kind of type treatments. All the settings I would need for texts, characters, styles, layers. All the settings here for example. The Glyphs panel, all these things are now available to me directly when I'm breaking on Typography. Now what's great about this is I could also create my own. There is no reason why you have to use only the ones that ship with Illustrator. You can create your own workspaces that fit well for you and again you may have several workspaces, depending on the kind of work you do.
I'll give you one example of how I wanted to set up my screen. Now that we know about how Illustrator works and we understand the interface, let's build an interface together and save it. I'm going to switch back to Essentials. This is where hard things start out. I'm a big fan of the single row tools. I'm going to set this now to use as the single row tools. Again I like the Application Frame turned on so that's why I have this particular thing, and again this is as that's all encompassed in one frame on the Macintosh here. Now I'll tell you that there are times when I really need to see a lot of information here and this little collapse bar doesn't really do it for me. But if I go ahead and I expand this, there are certain settings here that really are not that important to me. Maybe we can move this over here for a second.
Remember how we discussed to have you have basically the ability to Control panel to choose colors, for Fills and Strokes right here and I can actually access the Stroke panel, the entire Stroke panel here and the entire Opacity panel here. Well, because I can access it from there, I don't need them to be here at all. So I'm going to take that Stroke, just simply drag it out, and then I can go ahead and I can simply close that if I want to. Alternatively, a very easy way for you basically get rid of these here is to take let's say the Transparency panel here, drag that as well and go ahead and turn that off.
Now I'll explain a little bit later why I don't feel the need for the Gradient panel as well. We will get more into Gradient, but I want to get rid of the Gradient as well. Here is a little tip by the way. If you ever want to just pull an entire grouping panel for example, you can simply hold down the Option key or the Alt key and grab it from any of these kind of blank grayed area and that moves both of those Dock panels altogether as one. I'm actually going to move this back over here, put it right back on top where it was. I don't need the Color panel, because I can access that right from here. So I'm going to choose to get rid of this. One of the panels that I like to use a lot is actually the Navigator panel. Now I'll be honest with you I was never really a big fan of the Navigator panel in previous versions of Illustrator, but now in Illustrator where I can have multiple artboards.
Let's say I create an additional artboard here. Note that now when I work with a Navigator I choose Window and then open up the Navigator panel here. The Navigator panel asks me to quickly zoom between these particular areas. So it makes it possible for me to quickly jump and navigate around between multiple artboards as well. So I'm actually going to go ahead and take this right now and bring this in front in center. I want that to be the most important part of my particular layout over here. Now next I think right now that the Swatches, Brushes, and Symbols, those can be kind important as well, but maybe not in the main focus over here. The Color Guide is something that I see when I'm doing color explorations, I'll use that, and then we will go through that later on in the title as well. I'll turn that off right now. I don't need that.
So I have these settings right here, but in my opinion the Appearance panel is extremely important and the Graphics style is kind of a library, just like Swatches, Brushes and Symbols. So I'll kind of group those together here as well. So now all those are combined together. Layers have become important to me. So what I'll do is I'll simply just move my cursor here between them and adjust the size of these. Just like this. In fact I may take the Layers panel out completely and snap it to the bottom of this. Then I'll take this and bring it to the side here. I'll collapse this panel just like this.
So now I have my Appearance panel, my Layers panel here and I bring my Navigator panel actually up on top of each over here. Now I have a layout that I'm pretty happy with. I have my Navigator panel, my Appearance panel, which we'll as well soon see inside of this title is probably one of the most important panel inside of Illustrator. Then I have my Layers panel I can see on my layers on my objects. I have other objects, which I can get too quickly if I need them. Brushes, Swatches so on so and forth. What I'll do now is I'll save this as my own custom workspace. I'll go over here where it says Essentials, click on that little pop up and choose Save Workspace.
Now what I'll do is I'll give a name. Say we call it MORDY. I know. How did I come up with that name, right? I'll click OK, and there you will notice that my name is up here. By the way I love this feature because it's got my name up in light. It's up in the Application Bar. It's great. In fact you may want to put some other words in there. That might make it a little bit interesting as well, but now I'm have that workspace. Very easily I can switch between, for example, the Essentials workspace. I can go to Automation, which are focused on like actions, and variables, and using Illustrator at the most convenient possible way. But then I'll browse this and I'll switch back to my MORDY workspaces and now I get things set up the way I like them. So very easily I can create my own workspaces as needed and remember I can easily manage them as well if I have to decide anytime I want to delete them. I go to Manage Workspaces and I simply highlight and I click Delete.
By the way there is no way to update a workspace. If you want to modify a workspace, you basically bring up a workspace make your changes then just save a brand new workspace and you can Delete the old one. So that's the way that you might want to do that. So that's the Workspaces feature inside of Illustrator. Now that we know how to get around and how to work with our interface, let's get started drawing inside of Illustrator.
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