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The amazing constraint axes

From: Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

Video: The amazing constraint axes

In this exercise we're going to trace another rectangle, but this time we're going to trace a rectangle at an angle. This guy right here, remember our rectangles? Remember our rectangles tracing layer that is, these two guys right here. We traced this rectangle, the upright rectangle in the previous exercise, so it's done. Now we're going to trace this rectangle right here, along with the rectangles inside of it actually, and we're going to draw them at an angle in the first place. So I'm going to turn that rectangles layer back off and I'm going to zoom in here a little bit. Now, you might say, Well why do that? Why not just draw an upright rectangle and then rotate it into place? Because we're trying to trace a template here and how would we know how big a rectangle should be if we just drew them, you know upright and then rotate them? We wouldn't. Much more effective to be able to draw our rectangles at an angle in the first place, and this is a very forward-thinking function inside of Illustrator and I'll tell you why. Because you've been able to do this inside of Illustrator since version 1.0 and most graphics programs to this day, lo 20 years later still don't allow you to do this. And yet Illustrator did.

The amazing constraint axes

In this exercise we're going to trace another rectangle, but this time we're going to trace a rectangle at an angle. This guy right here, remember our rectangles? Remember our rectangles tracing layer that is, these two guys right here. We traced this rectangle, the upright rectangle in the previous exercise, so it's done. Now we're going to trace this rectangle right here, along with the rectangles inside of it actually, and we're going to draw them at an angle in the first place. So I'm going to turn that rectangles layer back off and I'm going to zoom in here a little bit. Now, you might say, Well why do that? Why not just draw an upright rectangle and then rotate it into place? Because we're trying to trace a template here and how would we know how big a rectangle should be if we just drew them, you know upright and then rotate them? We wouldn't. Much more effective to be able to draw our rectangles at an angle in the first place, and this is a very forward-thinking function inside of Illustrator and I'll tell you why. Because you've been able to do this inside of Illustrator since version 1.0 and most graphics programs to this day, lo 20 years later still don't allow you to do this. And yet Illustrator did.

And bear in mind, Illustrator 1.0 is basically the Pen Tool and the Type Tool and that's it. It was a very limited program and it still allowed you to draw rectangles at an angle. Go figure. And other shapes, by the way. This is not limited to rectangles, what we're about to see. So what we're about to do, I should just tell you what it's called. We're going to rotate the constraint axis. That's what we're going to do, and by rotating the constrain axis everything then gets drawn rotated, even text would get drawn at an angle, would get created an angle. So it's a big deal as you'll see. But before we experience the big deal here, I want you to note your Appearance palette. If you've been working along with me, if you worked along with me in the previous exercise and you fooled around with that live effect that allowed you to round off rectangles, why then it's very possible that you'll see no selection, if nothing's selected on screen, you'll see no selection and still you'll see, here inside your Appearance palette, you'll see a rounded rectangle effect assigned, which means that very possibly the next object you draw will get this rounded rectangle effect on it. You don't want that, so go ahead and throw that little effect away. So drag it down to this little trashcan icon here just to make sure things are all cleared up.

And then I'm going to go ahead and hide my Appearance palette again by clicking in the gray area above it. So that I can focus on my Layers palette. So how do we go about setting up a rotated constraint axis? Well, you press Control+K or Command+K on the Mac, that universal keyboard shortcut for bringing up Preferences across all of the Adobe applications. There's our keyboard increment that I had you reduced to 0.2 back in a previous chapter. Tab, check it out, second option, the second option in Preferences is Constrain Angle.

And this is our guide, this value here, whatever we change it to will rotate the entire constraint axis and I'm going to rotate it to 60 degrees and then I'm going to click OK. Now check it out. Got the Rectangle Tool selected, you should too. Draw yourself a rectangle. It's at an angle. The entire world now, Illustrator's universe is now at an angle. So all your primitive tools, your Rectangle Tool, your Ellipse Tool, your Text Tool. They're all going to create objects at an angle now, at this constraint angle and your constraints, when you Shift drag something, it'll be at an angle too, as I'll demonstrate in just a moment. Let's draw some of the other rectangles. I'll draw this guy here.

And I get it into place, and then I'll draw this rectangle right here. Might as well trace all the rectangles. And how about let's make a rectangle right there, why don't we? Press the spacebar in order to get it into place. Now at this point I want to duplicate this rectangle to this position right here, because they're both identical to each other right? And I'm going to do that by grabbing my black arrow tool. Then I'm going to drag my rectangle like so and notice the cursor is right now just a little black arrowhead. If I press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, I want you to do this along with me, if you're working along with me in the first place, and notice my cursor now, with the Alt or Option key down I get a little double arrowhead cursor and that means that I'm going to clone the shape on the fly. Now this is really cool.

I'm going to also press, keep that Alt or Option key down, I'm going to also press the Shift key and check this out my constraint is at an angle because I've rotated the constraint axis. Now when I have the Shift key down I'm dragging this at some 60 degree increment, who knows what, but you know still, it's in keeping with everything else that I'm drawing inside of this little rectangular ornamental cluster here. So I've got Shift and Alt down, or Shift and Option down on the Mac, now I release my mouse button and now I release the keys. Is that not awesome? Illustrator 1.0 feature available 20 years now, that's how awesome it is.

I'm going to Shift-click on some of these other items right here. This rectangle and this rectangle here. So these three rectangles are selected and the reason I'm doing this is their strokes are little thinner than the other guys and so I just want to make sure that they're stroked properly, so we can get at least a vague sense of what we're doing inside this illustration is we're tracing it. And there you have it. Now it's very important, once you get done drawing your various rotated shapes that you rotate the constraint axis back into place. Very important, or otherwise you're going to grab your Type Tool, you're going to click someplace, you're going to enter some type and it's going to be a crazy angle and you're going to go, What in the world happened to Illustrator? Oh, better throw it away.

Done with that program. Not really but you know. Let's go ahead and make sure that we don't run into that trouble in the future. So that our future selves are not bothered by the behavior of our past selves, at least in this regard. All right, so press Control+K or Command+K on the Mac to revisit the Preferences dialog box. Change to Constrain Angles value back to 0 degrees. Click OK. All is well again. So you're back to normal world where if you start clicking and typing everything would be hunky Dory. All right so that's that. In the next exercise we're going to take this cluster of rectangles right here, and we're going to flip it down here, and then we're going to take those two and we're going to flip them over here.

Get psyched.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

114 video lessons · 37003 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59m 53s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 35s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 51s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      55s
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 56s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 10s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 17s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 45s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 58s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      7m 0s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 16s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 36s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
      33s
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 6s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 39s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 14s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 58s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 16s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 35s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 15s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 16s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 30s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 25s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 50s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 32s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 56s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 4s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 31s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 42s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 28s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 8s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 8s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 21s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 39s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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