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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I want to give you a sense for some of the pitfalls associated with making manual adjustments to your graphs inside of Illustrator. Now these problems are totally the fault of Illustrator's antiquated graphing feature. They are in no way, shape, or form intended to put you off making manual adjustments. You have to make manual adjustments; otherwise, your graphs are going to look absolutely ugly. Rather, I just want you to see what problems can occur, how you correct for them, and how you go about avoiding them in the future. I've saved my progress as More nuanced changes.ai.
I'm going to switch to my Black Arrow tool, which I can do by pressing the V key. I'll click on a graph to make it active, and then I'll right-click someplace inside the illustration window, and I'll choose Data. Here is my problem: Joyful and Peaceful are not parallel to Harmony. I really need Harmonious, but really what I want is Living in Harmony with Nature. That's the text I'm looking for. So I'll go ahead and click in that cell, and I'm just going to type it in, Living in Harmony with Nature. Now I'll go ahead and click the Apply button. But before I do, I want you to notice the legend over here.
Keep an eye on that. So notice, how the words are nicely spaced, and so are the rectangles, and the rectangles are scaled. And notice the position of the numbers associated with the value axis as well. As soon as I click on Apply, the value axis just shifted a little bit, those numbers did, and everything went to heck over here in the legend. That's a disaster. All right! So you might think okay, why not just close that darn Data window, go up to the Edit menu, and choose the Undo command or press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac in order to restore everything so it looks better.
Now let's just grab the Type tool, and I'll just click there in front of the word Harmony, and I'll type in "Living In" like so, and then after to that, I'll say, well, I might as well put this on the next line of type. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, and type "With Nature", so it reads Living In Harmony With Nature, like so. All right! Great! Now I'll click on my Arrow tool in order to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, and of course, accept my changes. I'll click in a graph, and it comes to my attention that some bit of data inside my graph is not exactly right: like the Peaceful index should be a little higher in 2032. All right! So I'll right-click inside my illustration window, choose the Data command.
Let's go ahead and change that Peaceful number from 99 to 100, let's say. We'll just go ahead and max it out. Press the Tab key. But notice Harmony is not aware of Living In Harmony With Nature. In other words, the Illustrator's graph feature is not backward compatible. Any changes you make to the illustration itself are not recorded here inside the Data window. So if I click the check mark in order to apply my changes, not only do I make a mess to my graph, but I also restore the original word Harmony. I've typed this enough times, I don't want to have to type it again, but I guess I'm going to. So I'll tell you what.
What I suggest you do is make sure your data is accurate. Even if it means that you're going to mess up the appearance of your graph inside the illustration window, go ahead and get that data as up to speed as possible, and just hope there are no changes that have to be made in the future. So I'm going to click on Harmony there, and I'm going to type in, once again, if I can get this right, Living in Harmony with Nature. I'll go ahead and also change this value here from 100 to 99, press the Tab key, and then click on the check mark in order to update those changes like so, and then close my Data window, and then fix my problems.
Fixing my problems is not all that easy, as you might imagine, just as nothing has been where graphing is concerned. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here quite a bit, so I can see what I'm doing. So I switch back to my Group Selection tool. The problem is that not only have we lost the dynamic effect that I've applied to the rectangles-- it just totally went away-- but also that very roomy spacing has been reestablished where the text is concerned, but not where the rectangles are concerned. So Illustrator didn't change the spacing that I had customized with the rectangles, but it did switch back the spacing of the text, which is like bizarre.
But that's what it did. So, what I'd like to be able to do is maybe drag these things around and align them, but that doesn't work. For example, let's say I go ahead and marquee these two items here: the blue rectangle and the word Peaceful. Gosh! Here are all my wonderful alignment functions in the control panel. I'll make sure that I am aligning to the selection. I am. I'll click on that icon and choose Align to Selection, just to make sure. Then I'll take advantage of one of these not-dimmed options here in the control panel. So I'll click, for example, Vertical Align Center, which does nothing.
Well, anyway, they all do nothing because you can't use alignment options inside of a graph. What a big surprise that is. You can't use anything inside of a graph where just common, everyday, average design features are concerned. So instead, what you've have to do is this number. You have to be very careful, too. I'll click off of the items to deselect them. I'll click on this point text here in order to select it. I'll go ahead and drag by the point, and snap it into alignment with the rectangle. Then I'll do the same thing with the others. I say you have to be careful, because you really got to center your cursor inside of that point and then do the snap in.
Because if you're a little sloppy with where you start dragging, then you'll snap to that sloppy point, and you won't get proper alignment. If you have any concern, like that doesn't look aligned properly to me, then you can just sort of nudge the text down a little bit or something along those lines. Feel free to sort of fudge if you need to. Then I'm going to go ahead and grab all of these guys, the text elements, and I'll press Shift+Right Arrow a couple of times and Shift+Up Arrow a few times as well in order to nudge that text upward. Go ahead and marquee all of the rectangles, and then go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, choose the Transform command.
If you loaded Dekekeys, press Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac. Then let's change both the Horizontal and Vertical scale values to 50%. Select the right-hand reference point right there. Turn on the Preview check box. Make sure everything is working out. It more or less is. Click OK. I'll just go ahead and nudge these rectangles up a bit, so that they're more or less aligned, and grab everybody and nudge them down and to the left in order to get this effect here. Now let's zoom out a little bit. At this point, let's say that I no longer want these value lines-- in other words, these guys right here.
I'll click, and click again in order to select all the value lines. I don't want them in my graph. Well, what you're supposed to do is this number here. You're supposed to get the Black Arrow tool and then click someplace in the graph and then right-click and choose the Type command. Or, remember the Type command brings up the Graph Type dialog box. Here is another way to get to it, by the way. If you want a shortcut, you drop down to whatever Graph tool is active in the toolbox, and you double- click on it, and that brings up the Graph Type dialog box as well. I'm going to go ahead and switch to Value Axis, and I'll say you know what, I don't want any tick marks at all.
So I'll set the Length value, of all things, to None. Have no length, you darn on tick marks. Then I'll click OK in order to get rid of them, which of course has the wonderful repercussion of messing up my legend that I just spent so much time on. So I ain't doing that one. No way. I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac, in order to undo that. There must be a way just to delete these guys. So I'll go ahead and grab that Group Selection tool again, click off the graph, and click, click in order to select all of those value lines right there. I'll press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on a Mac.
I am told that I can't clear the objects. Of course, I can't clear the objects. Objects within certain groups, inside graphs can not be removed from the graph. I don't know why it keeps telling me within certain groups, like I have any idea what it's talking about. It's telling me that this is a group here, because I had to click in it twice to select the entire thing. But how do I know that there is no place inside of the illustration where it tells me that inside the interface-- that is, notice it's just telling me a path that's selected up here in the control panel, and here inside the Appearance panel. Anyway, whatever, dumb error message. Click OK.
All right, so I can't obviously delete it. Well, here is something I can do. I can either just go ahead and set the stroke to none so that it's hidden. Or even better, I can go to the Object menu, and choose the Hide command, and then choose Selection, or press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+3, Command+3 on the Mac. That will go ahead and hide those items. Then you can go ahead and save your illustration, and those lines will remain hidden as long as you never ever go back to the Object menu and choose Show All. Just make sure you don't do that, or else it'll end up coming back along with whatever else you've hidden inside the illustration. All right! So just a few things to give you an idea of some of the pitfalls that might await you, how you go ahead and account for them as well.
Notice these guys are still out of whack, so I'll go ahead and marquee these values here, and I'm just going to nudge them over a little bit to the right, and then down a little bit as well, so we get this effect here. That is my graph thus far. In the exercise, I'm going to show you how to further customize your graph by creating a graph design.
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