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The difference between open and closed paths

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

Video: The difference between open and closed paths

So we know that we can create type on a path inside of Illustrator, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the difference between applying this setting to both an open path and a closed path, because it really requires an understanding of exactly how type on a path is similar to Area type. So in this movie here I am going to start by creating just a blank document. I will press Command+N or Ctrl+N to get a new document. I am just going to use my default settings here for Print Profile, but I will choose a wide orientation, and then I will click OK. So maybe I just want to create just a simple Type on a Path object.

The difference between open and closed paths

So we know that we can create type on a path inside of Illustrator, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the difference between applying this setting to both an open path and a closed path, because it really requires an understanding of exactly how type on a path is similar to Area type. So in this movie here I am going to start by creating just a blank document. I will press Command+N or Ctrl+N to get a new document. I am just going to use my default settings here for Print Profile, but I will choose a wide orientation, and then I will click OK. So maybe I just want to create just a simple Type on a Path object.

I am going to take my Line tool, click and drag to draw a line across the screen right here, and now I am going to switch to my Type tool, and you will notice that when I mouse over this path, it automatically changes the Type on a Path tool. I am not holding down the Option key or the Alt key on my keyboard right now, and the reason why Illustrator creates this behavior is because it knows that this now is an open path. So there is no area that is enclosed by this shape, so turning this into an Area Type object makes absolutely no sense. I probably want to actually create text along this path.

Now, if I wanted to, I can press the Option key or the Alt key and now I'm basically going in the other direction. I am telling Illustrator, no, I don't want to create a Path Type object. I really do want to create an Area Type object, and that's why now my tool changes to this tool with the parentheses. However, normally when working with an open path, Illustrator assumes that I now want to put Type on a Path when I'm using the Type tool. So I am actually going to click, let's say, right about over here, and I will type in a phrase like maybe, Flowers are wonderful. Now, I want to make this type a little bit bigger, so I am going to press Command+A or Ctrl+A. That selects all of my type. And I can now use the keyboard shortcuts, Command+Shift+> or Ctrl+Shift+> to make my type larger.

And because we've been using Chaparral all along here, I'm simply going to change the Font to be Chaparral Pro as well. So now I'm going to switch to my Direct Selection tool, so I can now see the different parts about the Type on a Path object. Remember that I now have basically a start point, which is right here, and I have an end point. My text can only appear within the bounds of this start and end point. And then of course I have this centerline over here, which allows me to determine which side of the path the type goes along. Now, because I originally clicked on this part of the path right over here in order to create this Type on a Path object, that's where Illustrator defined the start point.

It didn't create the start point at this end of the path. It happens wherever I click the mouse. And then it simply goes ahead and it goes to the other side of the path until it ends and it creates the end point right there. Now, if I were to go to my Paragraph Settings here and I were to make some adjustments--like, for example, I would choose to center this-- it would center it between these two lines. If I choose Align right, it again sticks to this side of that line over here. Because the start and the end point really are just like the two sides of a rectangle when dealing with a type frame.

So if I knew that I really wanted my text to be aligned to the center of the path itself, I'd want to make sure that the start point-- I am going to drag it over here to the left--actually snaps to the anchor point here, so that now I can choose a center alignment and the text now centers itself to the overall path. Now, this is how it works when dealing with an open path. Let me actually take my Selection tool here and simply drag it up over here to the top. And I'm going to create another shape. I am just going to switch to my Ellipse tool. I am going to click and drag to create a circle.

I am actually going to hold down the Option and Shift keys--and if you are on Windows that would be Alt and Shift--to draw a perfect circle out from the center. And maybe I want text to appear across the top part of this circle over here. I am going to press D on my keyboard for Default. That just gives it a regular white fill and a black stroke. It's actually going to change to a Stroke and Fill of None in just a moment, but just so that you can get a better idea of what you're seeing here on the screen, I've just made it a little bit more visible. Next, I'm going to press the T key on my keyboard for the Type tool and, again, because this is now a closed object, the default behavior is that if I mouse over the path, Illustrator gives me the parentheses thinking that I want to turn this into an Area Type object.

So I'm going to hold down the Option key or the Alt key to actually convert this now to the Type on a Path tool. And because I want my text to be centered right here on the top, I'm going to Option+ Click right here on this anchor point. But look what happens: my insertion point is down here on the bottom. Well, that doesn't make any sense. Let's say I type in the word "Flowers are wonderful" here. You can now see that the phrase, Flowers are wonderful are centered along the bottom part of the circle, but I wanted them to be centered along the top of the circle.

Why did this happen? Well, let's switch now to the Direct Selection tool and we'll understand why. When I first clicked over here, that defined my start point. Now, remember, Illustrator then goes ahead and travels all the way to the end of the path and puts the end point exactly where that end of the path is. But that's when dealing with an open path. However, this is a closed path. It's a circle. A circle never ends. The same place that you start on a circle is also where you end when drawing a circle. So basically by clicking once here on a closed path, I defined not only a start point, but also an end point to that exact same location.

So then where is the center point? The center point is all the way down over here. And that's why my text is now aligned in the center of this entire text frame area. So now that I know that, there are two ways for me to address this problem. The first way is that I can kind of think ahead. Next time that I want to put type on a path on the top half of the circle, I am going to start clicking on the bottom center of the circle, but that's counterintuitive. I mean really, I am kind of forcing myself to do the opposite. So I can also make a change to my text after I've already created it.

I can take my Direct Selection tool and click on this center point and I can click and drag to actually adjust where that center point goes. And because I have Smart Guides turned on, I can actually rotate the text so that now it's here at the top, and it will snap automatically to that anchor point when it reaches the top. So hopefully this explains some of the behavior that you've been seeing when working with Type on a Path inside of Illustrator. Just keep in mind, again, that Type on a Path inside of Illustrator is very similar to Area type, and it makes a big difference on whether you're working with open paths or closed ones.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text
Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

52 video lessons · 14828 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 6m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. Art, typography, and Illustrator
      4m 23s
    3. Using the exercise files
      26s
  2. 38m 30s
    1. Knowing Illustrator's limitations
      5m 47s
    2. The three type objects in Illustrator
      11m 18s
    3. Area type, point type, and the bounding box
      4m 35s
    4. The difference between type and text
      3m 42s
    5. Unicode: consistent type for all
      4m 23s
    6. Bringing text from Microsoft Word into Illustrator
      8m 45s
  3. 39m 51s
    1. Understanding font types
      6m 28s
    2. Using the Glyphs panel
      8m 30s
    3. OpenType support and automatic glyph replacement
      9m 43s
    4. Previewing fonts as you use them
      5m 0s
    5. Converting text into editable vector paths
      6m 19s
    6. Using the Find Font feature
      3m 51s
  4. 49m 4s
    1. Setting up the document
      12m 26s
    2. Basic character settings and keyboard shortcuts
      7m 28s
    3. Kerning, tracking, and optical kerning
      13m 6s
    4. Using horizontal and vertical scaling
      4m 38s
    5. Using the Baseline Shift and Character Rotation options
      7m 28s
    6. Using underlines and strikethroughs
      2m 5s
    7. Working with small caps, superscript, and subscript
      1m 53s
  5. 46m 36s
    1. Basic paragraph settings and keyboard shortcuts
      6m 47s
    2. Setting tabs and leaders
      11m 51s
    3. Setting indents and spacing
      9m 6s
    4. Understanding hyphenation and justification settings
      10m 28s
    5. Understanding the composers in Illustrator
      8m 24s
  6. 16m 7s
    1. Threading text across multiple objects
      8m 17s
    2. Adding multiple text columns in a single object
      3m 29s
    3. Specifying an inset for area type objects
      4m 21s
  7. 32m 53s
    1. Text styles in Illustrator
      7m 6s
    2. Defining and modifying character styles
      10m 40s
    3. Defining and modifying paragraph styles
      5m 0s
    4. Understanding the style override
      5m 3s
    5. Sharing styles across documents
      2m 10s
    6. Changing default type settings
      2m 54s
  8. 37m 9s
    1. Aligning text margins and indents optically
      3m 53s
    2. Creating non-breaking text
      2m 36s
    3. Changing case
      1m 39s
    4. Using smart punctuation
      5m 12s
    5. Selecting type objects easily
      3m 20s
    6. Understanding hidden text codes
      2m 20s
    7. Checking spelling
      3m 3s
    8. Using language support to your advantage
      3m 41s
    9. Changing text with Find and Replace
      3m 54s
    10. Finding substituted fonts and glyphs
      3m 55s
    11. Wrapping text around objects
      3m 36s
  9. 16m 47s
    1. Setting type along a path
      10m 22s
    2. The difference between open and closed paths
      6m 25s
  10. 10m 57s
    1. Understanding legacy text
      4m 23s
    2. Updating legacy text
      6m 34s
  11. 1m 16s
    1. Next steps
      1m 16s

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