Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up angular construction guides, part of Illustrator CC 2013 One-on-One: Mastery.
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In this movie, I'll show you how to work with construction guides. Which are a variety of smart guides that allow you to create lines at very specific angles. So, inside of this art work we have these diagonal lines that are running at 60 degree angles and then we have the vertical lines which are 90 degrees. And both 60 and 90 are multiples of 30 degrees. So sometimes you have to use a little bit of math. I don't think it's that hard, but, you do have to think it through. I'll go ahead and switch over to this Start guides.ai file.
Which contains a few horizontal guidelines as well as this big guide structure in the center here that'll just help us keep better track of what's going on. Then you want to press Ctrl+K, or Cmd+K on a Mac, to bring up the Preferences dialog box, and click on Smart Guides here inside the left-hand list. And now, notice this option right there, construction guides. By default, it's set to 90 and 45 degree angles. I'm going to go ahead and switch it to 30 degree angles. Now, the thing about 30 degrees, if you decide to switch to it, is you're ruling out 45 degrees.
Because straight diagonal lines are 45 degrees, which is to say, not multiple of 30 degrees. So you're going to skip from 0, to 30, to 60, to 90, and so forth. If you also want to incorporate 45 degrees, then you want this guy right here, 90 degrees and 15 degrees, because after all, 45 and 30 are both multiples of 15. Anyway, I'm going to switch over to this guy, 30 degree angles. And then you've got to turn on this check box, it doesn't turn on automatically, so go ahead and turn on construction guides. Notice that now the only check box that's off is transform tools, you can turn it on if you want to, but it's not going to make any difference for our purposes.
And then I recommend you change the color from green, which is a little bit hard to see, especially in video. I'm going to switch it over to light red, which is going to be a lot more obvious. Also, it will stand in stark contrast to our our artwork, which we will be coloring in shades of yellow, green and blue. Alright, so now I'll go ahead and click OK. And then, what you want to do is, go up to the View menu and either confirm that the Smart Guides command is turned on or if it's not, go ahead and choose the command. Or of course, you can press that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+U or Cmd+U on the Mac. Now the best way to draw these lines at 60 and 90% angles is to use the Pen tool because it's going to give you the best feedback.
Then you want to click right about there on this guide, really anywhere along this horizontal guide here. And then bring your cursor up until you see that you've got this slightly diagonal line. And you can also see down in the lower-left region of the screen, a line 60 degrees. Which is telling me that I'm creating a line that is 60 degrees rotated upward from the horizontal. I can also see that I'm intersecting with the top guideline, which is what I want. So I'll go ahead and click right there. And then I'll move my cursor straight down like so. You don't have to press the shift keys when you're working with smart guides like this.
You can create 90 degree angles just like so, just by dropping down, clicking at the point where you see intersect. Then move your cursor back up so you see intersect at the top guideline. You also should see a line 60 degrees at the bottom guideline. Then go ahead and click there, drop down to this point. You should see align 90 degrees at the top guideline and intersect at the bottom guideline, in which case click. And then move your cursor up until you see intersect at the top, align 60 degrees at the bottom. Click at that point and then drop down to the bottom guideline again until you see align 90 degrees at the top and intersect at the bottom.
And it's very important that you see both words. If I move cursor slightly over, I can see the word guide. So it tells me I'm intersecting with the guide, but it does not tell me that I have an exactly vertical line. I only have a vertical line, if I see a line 90 degree up there at the top. Then you want to go ahead and click to set that final point. Alright, we want to make a few additional modifications here. Go ahead and switch to the Black-arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the v key. And drag this anchor point right there, the bottom right one. Until it snaps into alignment with the intersection of these vertical and horizontal guides.
Then go up to the Control panel, change the first swatch, the fill swatch to none. And go ahead and click on the word stroke, and we'll change the weight to 20 points in this case. And I do want miter corners. Nice, sharp mitered corners like you see here. And I also want to extend the caps. So we want projecting caps through this particular artwork. And that way we can clip off the caps without having any gaps in our artwork. Now we want to go ahead and scoot the letters over. Half of their current line weight. So, line weighs 20 points, obviously.
So we want to move the artwork over ten points. And I'm doing so, just actually accidentally, by pressing the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to bring up the Move dialog box. And I'll change that horizontal value to negative ten points like so. Which will scoot the selected path over to the left. And then I'll click the OK button, in order to make that change. And that, friends, is how you create exactly angled lines, using construction guides here inside Illustrator.
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