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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.
By default, Illustrator has a certain setting turned on, which is called bounding box. The bounding box itself allows you to perform certain types of transformations in a more easier and accessible fashion. Let me explain. So I have two surfboards here and let's say I wanted to maybe rotate one of the surfboards. If I go ahead and I click on that surfboard, you'll see that while the actual path itself is highlighted along the edges over here, I also see that a box appears and the box has these handles that appear on the corner. If you're familiar with applications like Photoshop and there is a Free Transform kind of command, program like InDesign that we select something to have these handles, the handles allow you to do certain things, or different functions.
For example, by moving my cursor just outside the edge over here, it turns into a bent arrow, which indicates rotation. If I click and drag, I'm able to now rotate that. That rotates exactly from the center of that particular object. We'll talk more about how to go through the aspects of doing far more sophisticated transformations. But that's a basic Rotate command. I'm going to go ahead and press Command+Z to undo that, and I can also click on the handles themselves and either choose to scale it this way, or I can hold on the Shift key, and then scale it in proportion as well that way. I can do so by dragging on these handles.
Now the bounding box is great, although sometimes a bounding box might get in the way. For example, if I have now let's say just a rectangle, I'll draw quickly on my screen, when the bounding box is turned on, I can click and drag and resize that rectangle. But there maybe times when I want to go ahead and just click and drag that particular object, but grabbing it from the corner, which would allow me to snap it to particular other part as well. So I would need to switch to the Direct Selection tool, and then grab it by its corner, and then go ahead and I would snap to let say an object there. Now notice how my cursor turns white as soon as that point snaps to another point that's right there. That happens because in the View menu, my Snap to Point option is turned on inside of Illustrator.
Now we'll talk about other ways of doing that as well, but there are sometimes though that people get confused, because sometimes they see the bounding box, and sometimes they don't. So here is basically the rule. The bounding box only shows up when you're using the black arrow, or the Regular Selection tool. It also only shows up when the bounding box option is turned on. In the View menu, there is a setting here called Hide Bounding Box. If I turn off the bounding box right now, I won't see it. For example, if I click on this surfboard right now, the surfboard itself gets highlighted. But notice that, that bounding box is no longer here right now. Let me delete this particular shape right here. If I do want to go back to that functionality, go to the View menu, and then choose Show Bounding Box, and now that particular object is there.
Again, one of the reasons why that bounding box exists is that if I have, let's say two objects selected, notice that my bounding box grows, and now I can rotate both of these objects again from the center of that rotation. We'll see later that the bounding box itself is great for making quick edits as we're working inside of a file, but there maybe times when we need to perform very precise transformations, like rotation from a certain point, or scaling from a certain point. We will use these specific rotate and scale tools only to happen, and in that case we will not be using the bounding box.
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