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Now that we have a better understanding of paths inside of Illustrator, let's go ahead and start drawing some very basic paths. I'm going to create a new document just by hitting Command+N or Ctrl+N on my keyboard, or you can go to File > New, and just hit OK to accept the defaults. Once I get my new document created, I'm ready to start adding some paths. You can create two types of paths in Illustrator: open and closed. I'm going to first start off with the closed paths. In Illustrator there are several built-in shape tools that provide you with closed paths. They're located right here in the toolbar.
If you click and hold, you'll see that the closed paths include the Rectangle tool, the Rounded Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, the Polygon tool, the Star tool, and the Flare tool. Let's see how some of these work. I'm just going to grab the Rectangle tool and I'm going to click and drag out a rectangle like so. You'll notice this is a closed path, and by closed path I mean there are no open points in the path whatsoever. The path follows from anchor point to anchor point and there's no open end. However, if I were to grab let's say the Line Segment tool and click and drag, this one is considered to be an open path, because there is technically nothing connecting it. It's still open.
The same holds true for something like the Spiral tool. If I click and drag this open, you can see there's no closing point. It starts here, wraps all the way around and goes here. There's no connection between these two points whatsoever. So as you draw these out, you'll have to learn that the behaviors are quite different as well. For instance, if I select the rectangle by using my Selection tool and I fill it with a different color like let's say red, you'll notice that the color fills evenly all across the shape. Why? Because it's a closed path. Here on the other hand on the Spiral tool, it has no fill.
It has no fill, because if I were to apply a fill, it would look somewhat different, almost like a seashell. But if I happen to add another point to this path or modify it in a way that connected it a different way, the fill would be totally different. The same holds true for the Line tool. I can add a fill to the Line tool by clicking, bit it doesn't really do anything, because this is an open path, there's nothing in there for me to fill, so I'll just set that back to None. Now there are some cool things that you can do with some of these tools. Let me back this up and I'll delete the artwork that we've got on screen.
Let's grab one of the closed shaped tools like the Star tool. As you draw some of these shapes, hold on to your mouse as you're drawing them out and then utilize your Arrow keys to see what kind of changes you can make on the fly. For instance, to this closed path here of the star, I can start drawing it out like this. If I tap the Up Arrow key on my keyboard, I actually get more points on the star, and then I can finish drawing. When I'm ready, I can release my mouse and I get that star that looks like this.
The Spiral tool works much the same way. If I start to draw out a spiral and I hit the Up Arrow key, it continues to spiral inward. If I hit the Down Arrow key, it reduces the amount of segments in my spiral. When I release, it draws it out. Let's go back in here and grab the Arc tool. When I start to draw the arc, you'll notice that it just draws a simple arc. However, using my Arrow keys, I'm able to control how much this segment arcs.
When I get it like I like it, I can release the mouse. Most of these tools have the ability to make changes on the fly like this. Some of them are static though, like the Rectangle tool or the Ellipse tool. The ones that have options like this available to them are ones that you would normally change things, like the Rounded Rectangle tool, you can change the corner radius of how far the corners are rounded. The Polygon tool, you can change how many sides there are in the polygon. You've already seen the Star tool in action and the Flare tool works much the same way. Over in this segment, the open paths; the Line Segment Tool, pretty straightforward there.
There's nothing really to change with the line segment tool. You've seen the Arc tool in action as well as the Spiral tool, but let's check out the Rectangular Grid and Polar Grid tools as well. If I select this and start to draw out a grid, watch what happens when I hit the Arrow keys on my keyboard. I can actually increase or decrease the number of rows and columns that are in this grid. Tapping my Up Arrow key changes the number of rows. Tapping my Down Arrow key reduces the number of rows. If I hit my Right Arrow key, it increases the number of columns.
Tapping my Left Arrow key decreases the number of columns. Once I get that like I like it, I can release my mouse and it creates a grid. After you've created these shapes, you lose the ability to make those on the fly changes. So get them right before you release your mouse. Finally, let's go in and look at the Polar Grid tool. If I start to draw this out, you'll notice that it has a hard time constraining itself. Anytime you want to draw a perfect shape, just hold down the Shift key and it'll automatically draw a perfect circle, a perfect square, or whatever it is you might be trying to draw.
Once you get that, you can actually hold down the Shift key and tap your Arrow keys to change what goes on in here. So tapping the Up Arrow key changes the rings; tapping the Right or Left Arrow key changes the pie segments. Once you get that finished like you like it, in this case, it looks almost like a spider web, I can release that and there we go. So as you can see, there are ton of options when it comes to drawing both open and closed paths inside of Illustrator. They all behave differently, but they all create a very nice and unique look.
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