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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to the Divide operation. One of the most useful Pathfinder operations here inside of Illustrator. I've gone ahead and saved off my progress so far as Post donuts.ai found inside the 13_pathfinder_ops folder. So called, because we were creating donuts and now we are done. Hence, post. I am going to zoom into the mouth, and notice that the mouth is a combination of fairly easily to draw path outline. I do them all using the Pen tool, but they don't have many points associate with him, just four points each, I believe. And what I really want to have happened, I've got one path upstairs for the top dentures and then down here, I've got the bottom dentures, but I want the top and bottom dentures to be inside the mouth, not out here in the nether regions.
And that's not something I'm going to be able to do. I can't just somehow take these three paths to manufacture a mouth using the Unite option or Minus Front or Intersect or Exclude or even Minus Back. So what we need to do instead is take advantage of a different Pathfinder operation, and here is my rule of thumb, if you know a Pathfinder operation is going to do what you want it to do, but you don't know which one is going to do it. Because it's obviously not an add or subtract or something like that. Then when in doubt, try out Divide, and that's what we are going to do.
So I'm going to go ahead and select all three of these shapes like so and then go to the very first icon in the bottom row and that's Divide, and it really is truly a wonderful function. When I click on it. It's not going to look like anything happened, we sort of saw some new anchor points form on screen there. But what's really happened is Illustrator has divided the paths according to where they intersect. So any point where paths intersect they are now divided into independent paths, and I'm going to show you something here. Let's go ahead and scroll to the top of the list here inside of the Layers palette and I'm going to collapse this Compound Shape right there and I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+Right Bracket or Command+ Shift+Right Bracket to bring this group of shapes to the top, and you'll see that it is a group. It's not a Compound Path this time or a Compound Shape or anything like that. It's simply a group that contains a bunch of different paths as you'll see right there.
All right, now what we need to do is get rid of the paths we don't want. And you do that by going to the White Arrow tool, then I'll click off the Paths to deselect them. I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click on this bottom path right here. I don't want it. Notice that it is an independent path that you can see. It goes ahead and curves around the mouth outline there. I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it, then I'll Alt-click or Option-click on this leftover bit of path. It would be covered up by the lips of course, this portion of the teeth. So I could drag it to a different location, if I want to just to see what it looks like, but really what I want to do is press Backspace or Delete to get rid of it.
Then there is one more path that we need to care of, and it's this guy right here that has this very thin outline associate with this. It lives right there. Notice if I hover my cursor over this location, I can see there is a path outline there. It does not have a fill and it does not have a stroke as you can see, because both Fill and Stroke are set to None. But it is an artifact of the Divide operation, because it's an area of intersection, don't you know? So I'll go ahead and Alt-click on it or Option-click on the Mac and press Backspace or Delete to get rid of it, and we now have the mouth that we're looking for, which if looked at properly looks like a very short guy with a bellybutton up here and two those stumpy legs wearing bicycle pants, and speaking of which, I want those bicycle pants to be a different color.
So I'm going to go ahead and Alt-click or Option-click on this outline here. I'll press the I key to get the Eyedropper, and I'm going to click on the outline of this elliptical shape right there in order to fill those bicycle pants or the mouth area of course with blue. Now if he was the human being, I'd fill with pink or red or something like that, but he is a robot, God bless him! So his interior is blue. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to combine Divide along with Unite to create still more Pathfinder wonders.
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