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Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
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What are vector graphics?


From:

Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: What are vector graphics?

Before we could learn about how to draw vector graphics in Illustrator, we have to first understand what a vector graphic is. In reality, many people don't even know what the term vector graphics means. It's kind of thrown around a lot when discussing different types of graphical applications. For the most part, there are two different types of ways to draw graphics on a computer. Illustrator primarily uses something called vector graphics, while a program like Photoshop uses something called pixels, which are also sometimes called rasters or bitmaps.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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 the Illustrator 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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

What are vector graphics?

Before we could learn about how to draw vector graphics in Illustrator, we have to first understand what a vector graphic is. In reality, many people don't even know what the term vector graphics means. It's kind of thrown around a lot when discussing different types of graphical applications. For the most part, there are two different types of ways to draw graphics on a computer. Illustrator primarily uses something called vector graphics, while a program like Photoshop uses something called pixels, which are also sometimes called rasters or bitmaps.

We're going to use this example here of a flower to understand the differences between pixel-based graphics like Photoshop creates and vector-based graphics, which is what Illustrator creates. To better visualize these concepts, let's first imagine a blank sheet of graph paper. Basically a sheet of paper that's a grid of a whole bunch of little squares. You may have heard of the term called resolution before, or in regard to an image something called DPI or more specifically PPI, which stands for Pixels Per Inch.

Basically, when you create a file in a program like Photoshop, we define first a resolution. A resolution is basically a grid of squares or pixels. If I create an image that's exactly 1 inch x 1 inch in size, I determine a resolution or the number of pixels that appear within that one inch. So, you may have heard, for example, of something called 300 ppi or 300 pixels per inch. That means that if I create a Photoshop file that is 1 inch x 1 inch, there are hundres of these little squares inside of that document.

Obviously, if you try to cram those little squares into a small space like 1 inch x 1 inch, those squares become very small. When you have very, very small squares or small pixels, we refer to that image as being high resolution. However, if I create an image that only has, for example, 10 ppi within that 1 inch x 1 inch space, obviously those pixels are bigger. We refer to images with big pixels as having a low resolution.

The way that Photoshop creates images is that each of these pixels have some kind of a color value applied to them. Currently, on the screen right now, all the pixels are colored white. But if I wanted to create some kind of an image, I could start to color in some of these pixels. In fact, if you can imagine this as a sheet of graph paper and if you had a whole bunch of crayons or Magic Markers, you could start to color in each of these squares. The rule of the game is that you have to fill in each square with only one color.

Meaning two colors can't occupy the same square. Likewise, every square must be fully colored in, meaning you cannot have a partially filled in square inside of your document. So, if I wanted to draw a flower, what I might do is start to fill in these grids with colors. As you can see in this example, this image is set right now to a low resolution. My eye can actually see the individual pixels themselves, because they're big enough for me to see. So, the flower itself, while very pretty, has kind of these jaggy edges to it, and I could really see the differences or the shades of color within it.

In fact, many times inside of Photoshop, you may see that when you zoom in really close to an image, you start to see these pixels. In fact, walk up really close to a TV screen and you also start to see these pixels. Of course, if you wanted to create a sharper version or a cleaner version of this flower, you might start off with a higher resolution, meaning the pixels are much smaller and it will be then difficult to see jagged edges inside of your artwork. However, that would only work at the actual size that you create that artwork.

As soon as you start to enlarge your Photoshop document, what happens is that new pixels are not added to your file. The pixels that exist in your file simply get bigger. At some point as you start to zoom in closer to your document, you're going to see these jagged edges and these pixels. In contrast, Illustrator looks at this sheet of graph paper in a completely different way. It looks at it from a mathematic perspective and actually looks at the graph paper as coordinates. Using these coordinates, you're able to map these things called anchor points.

We'll talk more about anchor points a little bit later. But basically, Illustrator calculates positions for certain anchor points on this grid and then connects each anchor point with a path. Because these paths connect the anchor points, there's really no jagged edges that exist here, because the path themselves are smooth. More importantly, if I now go ahead and enlarge the size of this image, meaning I make the squares a lot bigger, all I'm doing is adjusting the position of these anchor points, but the paths that connect the anchor points still remain smooth and clean and sharp.

These paths can have attributes applied to them. For example, something which we call a fill and again we'll talk more about fills a little bit later on, but basically, I can apply these colors to fill up the regions inside of these paths to create a colorful flower that I'm looking for. Of course, these paths and these anchor points are not things that print. They are only there for me to work with inside of Illustrator. The same thing, of course, the graph paper is not something that I would ever see. I could turn it on to see it inside of Illustrator, but doesn't show up on a printout.

What I would see on a printed sheet of paper is simply a beautiful flower with nice, clean, sharp edges and a smooth appearance. This is the main difference between vector graphics and pixel-based or raster graphics. Once I create something inside of Illustrator, I have the ability to resize or edit that graphic at any time without any loss in quality or detail. As we learn more about using Illustrator, we'll learn how to draw these shapes, so that we get beautiful- looking graphics for any need.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training.


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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
 
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