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Adobe Illustrator has long been the most popular and viable vector-drawing program on the market but, for many, the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials , author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland teaches the key features of Illustrator in a way that anyone can understand. He also goes beyond that, showing users how to get into the Illustrator "mindset" to make mastering Illustrator simple and easy. The training covers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text and gradients, and color management and printing features. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this time it is going to make sense. Exercise files accompany the training.
In this exercise I'm going to give you a very broad sense of what Illustrator is all about. What is the program's core mission, especially when compared to that of its better-known sibling, Photoshop. So what I'd like you to do, you can go ahead and leave the illustrations that you have open so far up onscreen. In fact, go ahead and do that. If you have multiple files open already, that's fine because later on as we work through these exercises, I'm going to show you how to close all of your illustrations in one fell swoop. Very cool technique, and it also makes the point if you can have multiple illustrations open inside of Illustrator no problem. So I'm going to go up to the File menu, and I'm going to choose the Open command or I could press Control+O or Command+O on the Mac and I'm going to navigate to the 01_hello_illustrator folder that's included inside the exercise files folder, and that's available to you along with this series.
Go ahead and select the illustration called Playful violin.ai and then I want you to go ahead and click the Open button in order to open it up on screen, and because I'm working on a relatively small screen here, I'm working on a 1024x768 pixel screen, I'm going to go ahead and hide these palettes on the right-hand side of the interface by clicking on this dark bar right here at the top. This is the title bar for the docking panel as it turns out. And just one click will go ahead and reduce those palettes to icons, to a column of icons. Now your palettes may already appear as icons, that's fine. I'm going to be explaining everything you need to know about the Illustrator interface, about managing the interface, in the next chapter.
So here we're looking at a piece of poster art. This is obviously a work of graphic art, and I've made some minor modifications to this artwork here and there and organized some layers and so on, just to make the illustration easier to navigate, but the core illustration comes to us from a fellow named Aliaksandr Stsiazhyn. who works with iStockphoto.com, which is a really great group that basically licenses pieces from artists and photographers all over the world for a very reasonable fee. So something you might want to check out. Once again iStockphoto.com.
And this guy has done a terrific job, I think. I just love this sort of fanciful violin that we have going here and I'm zooming in on this illustration using the Zoom tool and you can get to the Zoom tool by clicking on the Zoom tool here at the bottom of the Illustrator toolbox. You can also use this Hand tool. Notice it right there. You can use the Hand tool to move the illustration around on screen. All right so you can see how this is a hand-drawn piece of artwork with all kinds of filigrees and stuff going on, very cartoony, sketchy looking illustration. Very nice indeed, I think. I'm going to press Alt+Tab.
On the Macintosh side you could press Command+Tab to switch over to Photoshop, which I have running. So Alt+Tab or Command+Tab will allow you to switch between running applications, and I have open onscreen here, an image called Violin photograph.jpg. And this comes to us from photographer Kevin Russ again via iStockphoto.com. And this is obviously a photograph, which is what Photoshop brokers in. So Illustrator is for hand-drawn artwork and Photoshop is for photographs. Now that's an oversimplification, because really you can bring a photograph into Illustrator, if you want to, as we will throughout future exercises, and you can create hand-drawn graphics inside Photoshop if you want to, but their core missions once again, is photographs inside Photoshop and illustrations inside Illustrator, hence their names, what a big surprise that is.
So what's the difference on sort of this molecular level, what's the difference? Well, Photoshop works in pixels. Right now I'm seeing this image at the 100% view size. That is to say I'm seeing the image as big as it is, one screen pixel devoted to one image pixel, making this a fairly low resolution image. All right, so I'm going to zoom in on it and as I do, once again I'm using the Zoom tool at the bottom this time of Photoshop's toolbox, and as I zoom in beyond the 100% zoom ratio, I'm seeing bigger and bigger pixels, not greater clarity but bigger pixels, and regardless of what the resolution of your image is, you're going to run into the same thing. Photoshop ultimately tops out and starts showing you big pixels. Compare that, let's go back to Illustrator right here.
Compare that to zooming in on this illustration. As we zoom in, I'm going to zoom in on the bridge of the violin. As we zoom and we gain greater and greater clarity. The lines remain very smooth. Now they may have little jagged ends and spikes and so on, but they are smooth lines, because illustrations are made up of these mathematical objects called paths. So a shape or a line inside of Illustrator is called a path and you can zoom in as far as 6400%, that is 64 times the actual size of the artwork, the printed size of the artwork, mas o menos.
And at this point, I can see that my lines which represent the strings of the violin, they don't quite line up with each other. Now, they're not very far off of each other, but they don't quite exactly lineup, but truth be told I'm so far zoomed in, if I was a scientist with a microscope right now., I'm so far zoomed in that I could actually see a large bacterium. No kidding that is the truth. All right I'm going to zoom back out by Option clicking on the Mac or Alt clicking on the PC with my Zoom tool. That will take you back out from the illustration.
And I'll be telling you all kinds of stuff about Zooming and scrolling and navigation in general, when we look at navigation in the next chapter. But for now, you get it, right? We've got a core mission of illustrations inside Illustrator. We have a core mission of photographs inside Photoshop. Illustrator obviously delivers smoother graphics and that means they're more flexible graphics, you can do a heck of a lot of editing to them, but Illustrator demands it's pound of flesh in the form of lots of work. All right so Illustrator tends to be pretty labor-intensive, because you actually have to draw all of this information as opposed to photograph it. Not that photography is easy or any less demanding, but you are going to spend a fair amount of time making your artwork inside of Illustrator. Of course one of my missions throughout this series is going to be sharing with you ways to save time.
And of course elevate the quality of your artwork. In the next exercise we're going to take this illustration right here, this Playful violin.ai file and we're going to pick it apart and see what makes it tick.
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