Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Working with open and closed paths

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Working with open and closed paths

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.

Working with open and closed paths

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 72984 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Illustrator CS6 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.