Pathfinder & Color Tools in Illustrator®
So basic type, there's nothing really unique about doing type in Illustrator. But when it comes to doing it around a shape, we can. Because when we're doing it around this logo here, how do you get that type to go around there? Well, magically, of course. So let's show you the magic, right there. This is text inside a container that we drew with our Type tool. This is point type, we simply clicked on there as well. But now I wanna put type around a shape, or in a shape. So if I wanna put type in a shape, I can draw the shape, and I can take my Type tool. It requires a special Type tool, called the Area Type tool. I draw my area, I take my Area Type tool, I click on it, and I can type inside that shape. OK? Not magic. Don't like that font either, change it to something that's a whole lot better other than that. Sorry, kind of a font snob here, it's gotta be just right. OK, gonna go with a tried-and-true one. There we go. So that's type inside a shape, nothing magic. But what about type ...
around a shape? Yeah, now we're talking. Draw any shape that you want, and it doesn't matter what kind of stroke and fill you put on the shape. It's gonna disappear anyway. I can't actually have a shape with type in it and put a filler stroke on that shape. Once we click on it with the Type tool we lose all the attributes. It simply becomes a container for the type. If I wanna put type around this object too, I can put a fill-in stroke on it, it's gonna disappear, so don't bother doing it. Well you can, it's just gonna disappear. With this, I need a different type tool, and this is called the Type on a Path Tool. Doesn't matter if it's a closed shape or a free-form line, makes no difference whatsoever. So if I use my Type on a Path Tool, I take this, and those little arms that are sticking out there, like one of those little things that are at the car dealership, Mr. Flippy Fan thing, that's exactly what it is. You need to make sure those little arms click right on that path. And once you click on that, all of your attributes disappear, because this now just becomes a shape to do this. And you type. Woo-hoo, look at that. Isn't that awesome? Now the fun part is actually getting it to move around the circle. So I can select my type, and under the Type menu, I've got different options that I can do with this type. I have Type on a Path, and I'm gonna choose my Type on a Path options. So with this, I'm gonna click on my preview here, and I have various types of hideousness. None of it is good, it's just different. Not that I'm opinionated about it, but yeah... Ouch. OK, no. So those are my options. I can also flip this so it goes inside or outside my circle as well, and then I can also go in and set the spacing here. Let's set that back to zero. Shouldn't have clicked OK. Right there. I can space that out a little bit, which gives us more space between each letter. I can also, oh, it helps if I turn the preview on, so there's my spacing. Give me more or less space between my letters, and then I can base this on where I'd like the type to sit around my shape, based on the ascenders or the descenders or simply in the center of my line, right there. So Type on a Path, I can do that. The one trick to this is, when I go in and I would like to manipulate the type on a path here, this is kind of interesting. I can select my type, and there's a really quick way that allows me to move this type around the path and bring it inside or outside. If I select my type on a path, halfway between where it starts, it comes all the way back around, there's a little joystick that comes out here. You won't be able to find it very easily in some cases, but it's gonna be halfway from where your type starts. If you grab that joystick, this allows me to move this all around my shape and grab that. Now if you click and you grab that and you bring it on the inside, it's then gonna go on the inside of the line, and then you gotta find that shape halfway around again, which is right where it is, so it's halfway in between here. Find that, hard to find it. Right there. So drag that around like a little joystick, bring it inside, flips it on the inside, come to the outside, flips it on the outside. That takes a little bit of a practice. But now I can scale this to any size that I want to, and I've got type in a path. By the way, that Type on a Path does not necessarily need to be on a closed path. I could use one of my line tools, or I could go into my pencil tool here, and I could draw a freeform shape. And I could use my Type on a Path tool and type along that path as well. So any type of shape, I can put type on it. Now when I do use type in my document here, and I were to then use this for some purpose, say I go in and I'm making a logo that says, "Bakery" on it... Surprisingly enough... I'm using this for a logo, and I would like to manipulate this type beyond just changing the size or the font or the color here. I wanna break these out into actual shapes, so that I can edit these shapes like I normally would in any other shape. And then what I can do is, I can convert this from type into an actual shape. I can do that by going into my Type menu, and I want to "Create Outlines" from my font. So I convert this from an actual editable font to simply shapes, right there. And I can take these, and now these just become shapes. They're just outlines, and cool stuff like this, where I could go in and select my shape here. Oh my gosh, I have corner widgets, and I could go in and edit those shapes just like I can any other shape. There's nothing magic to these shapes. These now are just basic shapes. A really good word of advice: whenever you do any type in Illustrator, when you save the file and you send it out, that's still active type, so if somebody doesn't have the typeface on their end and they open it up, they won't be able to edit it. One way of getting around that is taking your type that you've done, creating outlines. It still looks like the type, but it's no longer editable like type. But now, wherever you send it, the end person does not need that typeface. A lot of beginning designers, they type it in, and they never think that the end user doesn't have that typeface. If they don't have that typeface, what are they gonna do with it? It looks great on your computer. So creating outlines from your type, very valuable asset to have, so that when anybody gets it, it's now just shapes and it reproduces as such. So keep that in mind as we go. So now if I wanna add color, I have my standard set of colors here in my color panel, and I can use these colors. There's nothing magical to them. This is just the set of default colors. If you would like to create new colors, very easy to do. You can click on your drop-down menu here, and either your fill or your stroke, it's the exact same swatch panel here. It's no different, it's just segregated out for your fill or your stroke. If I click on these panels, I can come over to my cheese grater right there. Yes that's the cheese grater. I can click on that, and these are all the options for this swatch panel. First option that I have there is to create a new color swatch. I click on New Swatch, and it calls up my color swatch and I can go in and I can change my colors here using my sliders, and create these however I'd like, and pick the color. And I can add that to my swatch panel. One of the features I have is, if I create this color in Illustrator and I would like to use it in InDesign, or Photoshop, I can add it to my Creative Cloud Library, which is a library that I can open across any Adobe application. A lot of these features or swatches or graphics that I create can reside in my library for use in any of my other Adobe applications. By doing this, I'll call up and I'll have to log into my Creative Cloud, and I can pull these from anywhere. I'm not actually logged in, so I'm not gonna add that to my library. But I'm gonna click OK, and it's then going to add those colors to my swatch panel, in which I could then select my content with my selection tool, go to my swatch panel and click on that swatch, and be able to use that swatch for anything, a stroke or a fill. I can create any number of swatches that I want to, any colors that I want to create. You can just go under here and create that. If I'm not very good at choosing color and I just kind of choose it randomly, under the cheese grater panel, I have Swatch Libraries that are built into Illustrator. So there's hundreds of them that I could use that are pre-done colors. If I don't want to worry about color, not a problem. So I can say, "I wanna go in and do Kids Stuff." So I open it up, and here's a whole bunch of colors that are labeled as Kids Stuff. What does that mean? Have no idea, but they look like kids' colors. So with this, I can go in and use any of these colors for my fill or my stroke here, and just click on those. There's a whole bunch of pre-made colors. There's nothing magic to it, they're built in. So if you don't feel comfortable making colors, or you want pre-made colors, not a problem. Just go under your fill or your stroke, click on the cheese grater, choose your Swatch Library. Maybe you want some scientific colors that are complimentary. There you go, complimentary colors. Why, thank you very much. So any type of color that you want. But, there's a lot of times where you'll open an Illustrator file and you'll see a color being used in your document, and you don't see it in your color panel. You're like, "Yeah, I'm not seeing that color. "Where is it?" A really cool attribute with Illustrator is being able to pick up the colors of an object and apply them to something else. So maybe I have my graphics layer turned on here, and I've got my bakery type, and I would like to use that orange from this, but I can't really find that in my swatch panel. I can select my content and, with my awesome eyedropper tool over here in my toolbar, I can sample the color of other objects. It will sample the fill and/or stroke, and put it right in my object, which is awesome. If I were to take an object here, and I were to put a stroke around it as well, I could then select an object and, with this object selected, I could then use my eyedropper tool and be able to select another object here. There's my object. Use the eyedropper tool. Eyedropper that, and it picks up all the attributes as well as the colors. Pretty sweet, isn't it? Yeah, so a lot of great stuff you can do with colors. So if you're not great with colors, no problem. Go in, grab a Swatch Library there. There's thousands of 'em. Have yourself a whole bunch of fun. Got a question?
Yeah, we have a couple questions from Sheila on colors. The first one is, "Why does the gradient tool always revert to grayscale instead of the color model of the file?"
(laughs) So, gradients are always a fun thing to do. We can call up our gradient panel, go in under Window, and call up our gradient panel. And the default is always black and white. It always goes from black to white, because that's just the default gradient. If you want to create a new gradient, not a problem. You can, but if I click on this and I click on my gradient, it always goes from black to white. I can go and create a new gradient swatch, if I were to go into my swatch panel. I can create a new swatch, and I can create a new gradient swatch if I want to. Someplace in here. I'm just gonna do it over here. That's in InDesign. I get these confused when I'm doing this. You do it long enough. So a great way, if you wanna create a different gradient swatch here, you can go into your gradient, and put your fill or your stroke, and with your gradient slider here, you can double-click on any one of your little gradient stops right there. When you double-click, this is what she's saying, is that it always reverts back to the grayscale. And it's like, "Boy, I'd like to use "all those swatches that I've created." I have my swatch panel right here that I can click on, and I can access all of my colors right from there. I click on any one of my gradient stops, and I can access my color picker, or my swatches, and apply the colors, grab a color from my swatch panel, right there. If I do wanna use my color picker, and I don't have colors in my swatch panel, and I use that, then I can always go under my cheese grater here and convert it from grayscale, which is what the person was questioning about there. And I can always go back to the working space that I'm working on, and pick a color randomly from there. We've got a question from the audience here?
Can we copy and paste RGB or lab colors?
When you create colors here in Illustrator, it's a little bit unique. Because when we start this up, we start up a new file here, we set our color mode that we want based on our profile or intent. So if we're going for print, it's normally gonna use cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which is what we use for print. If we do it for web or devices, anything that's gonna be displayed on a light-emitting device, we're gonna have it be in RGB. When we create documents in either CMYK or RGB, when we go in and we create new color swatches, it's going to be in the default mode that we do here. So new color swatch, I don't wanna create a new gradient swatch, I wanna create a new color swatch. This will allow me to go in and create the color in the mode that we're in. But that doesn't mean that we have to create a color in that mode that we're in, it just defaults to that mode that we're in. If I wanna go in and do an RGB color, or I wanna do a web color, I certainly can. Or a hex color, I can do it right there. It does not necessarily mean that I can't do a different color, it's just gonna default to that color mode. So yes, you can do any type of color mode that you want to, regardless of what color mode the file is actually in. We have a question?
The second question from Sheila was, "Why do the default swatches sometimes disappear?" And this was again, she was asking about the gradient tool.
(laughs) Yeah, so within the gradient tool, the default swatches disappear, or where you open up a file and all the swatches are gone?
She had asked them together, so I'm not sure exactly.
So there is this unique thing in Illustrator which frustrates people to no end, and Illustrator can open anything, so I can actually open up an image in Illustrator. Not that I can do anything with an image in Illustrator, but I can open it up. And this is a very common thing that happens. Somebody will have a file, and they'll go under File > Open, and they will actually end up opening, say, a screenshot here in Illustrator, and this is just an image, OK? This is an actual screenshot that I've done. And I can't really do much with it because it's a photograph, and Illustrator doesn't really do anything with a photograph. I can scale it, that's it. But the unique thing is that once I go into my swatch panel, I have no colors, none whatsoever. So if you ever open up an image in Illustrator, you go to your swatch panel, it's empty, 'cause it doesn't know what to do with that as well. People always get frustrated. They're like, "Why does it do that?" Well I tell ya, it's you that did it, but anyway. It's one of those weird things in Illustrator, so if you do that and you don't wanna lose your color panel here, don't actually open the file in Illustrator. Go under the File menu and place that image into that file, so that it doesn't mess up your entire color panel, and then I can go in and place that image there as a placed graphic rather than opening it up. But that's one of the reasons why you lose your color swatches in Illustrator. A lot of people'd be like, "Well, I'm never gonna run into that." But when you do, now you know. If you're ever on that game show, where they ask you those questions, now you have that. Absolutely. So we can do type, we can do fills, strokes, change our basic shapes here, but when it actually comes time to create something, we need a little bit more robust tools. So what I'm gonna do is start off here with the PathFinder tool. The PathFinder tool is fantastic. Window > PathFinder. This is where we're going to be able to go in and actually create shapes here, beyond just going in and drawing them. And if you've taken any of my Infographics classes, one of the main things is that in Illustrator, when you're doing infographics, we don't draw. We actually go in and create all the shapes here using the basic tools and the basic shapes, or using the PathFinder tool. And this allows us to do amazing things, because people feel when they get in, they have to get in here and they have to draw what it is that they see. No, go to my blog, and I'm gonna show you hundreds of ways to create things. You do not have to be an illustrator, you do not need to know how to draw in order to do this, because it's all using basic shapes and the PathFinder is what does this. So the PathFinder, just gonna get rid of some of my stuff on the page here. The PathFinder allows me to go in and very quickly and easily get my content and be able to do other types of creations with it. I'm gonna start off with a circle here, and I'm gonna fill it with orange, just because it's a great color. And I would like to go in and duplicate these objects. I could copy and paste, but that requires two steps, copy and paste. Then paste is gonna paste right in the middle of my screen. If I hold down my Option or my Alt key, and I click and drag, this will allow me to duplicate anything. There I have it. Now the PathFinder is going to allow me to put two or more shapes together, or take them apart, or subtract them, whatever it is. If I would like to put these two shapes together to form something, I can create two or more shapes, select those shapes, and in the PathFinder, I can unite them together, creating one basic shape. So whatever I wanted to create, I could certainly do that. If I wanted to create a little house and I had no idea how to do that, it's really difficult to do. I start with my foundation, and then I take my object and I duplicate it, I rotate it like so, I drag it back down on there, and make it a little bit smaller like that so it fits. I take those two objects, I merge them together, there's my house. Yes, it's that easy. No, I'm not going to draw the house. I can, too much time. So the PathFinder, take two or more shapes and I can put them together, but I can also go in and, with those two shapes, I can also subtract the front. The front is the object that I last drew. And this ends up with another type of shape. So I could go in here and create some type of moon, where I use my overlapping shapes, I subtract the front one, I now have the moon. I'm not gonna draw the moon, 'cause you'll get the first half of the curve right, the second half of the curve you're gonna go off like a train wreck. Don't draw these shapes. Just create them. So I could have my moon. I could also take these two shapes and use the overlap, so I could get some kind of leaf. Make that green, oh my gosh, I've got myself a little petal. Turn that at a 45-degree angle, put a stem in there, I now have a plant. Sure, absolutely. Great ways to do it. Sure you could try to draw this stuff. Don't bother, this is a whole lot more fun. The last one is a great effect here. I'm going to use two circles, and I'm going to take the one circle and I need to make this a donut color, because this is what I call my donut effect. Take this other one, and I'm going to scale that down. Put those right on top of each other. I'm going to select both of those, and use my last PathFinder mode, which is gonna be the Exclude, or what I call the donut feature. Because when you do that, you get a donut. It actually knocks out the middle so it's completely transparent. Not just a white circle over the top. That's the equivalent of using White-Out on your screen. No, if you actually want it to be gone, we use the exclude, or the donut, feature. So now, I have this shape that literally has it knocked out. Works really well, so anything it overlaps, I can knock out over itself. If you have two shapes that you knock out that are over each other like this and you use the exclude feature, then what it does is it knocks a hole out with that as well. Couple interesting things can happen. Depending on where you draw your objects, if something is behind or something is in front, I can always select my objects, go under the Object menu. Nice little hint in Illustrator, it's usually type or it's an object. If it's an object, you're gonna find your solution under the Object menu. If it's type, you're gonna find it under the Type menu. I say that, people laugh. But the reality of it is, people are like, "Oh my gosh, that's so much easier to understand." Yeah, so I would like to bring an object to the front or send it to the back. So I have my leaf, I'm gonna go under my Object > Arrange, and I can bring this to the front. Something unique happens here, and I'm going to put a border around my house here, like this. And I'm gonna try to merge these two together using the PathFinder tool, and with this I'm going to select those two objects. So what's gonna happen with this? I have a fill, a stroke, and a different color, and I wanna bring these all together. If I use the Add or the Unite tool, whatever is in front wins. The leaf was in front, those attributes win. Do a Command+Z to undo. If I bring my house to the front and I select those two objects, and I use that, the house wins. Whatever is there, the attributes of the object in front get applied to the entire shape. That's how it works. So if I use the Minus Front feature as well, it just takes what's in front, makes it disappear. If I use the Unite feature, what's ever in front wins. Very simple. Now the key to this is, everything that I'm doing is a shape: circle, square, triangle, star, or whatever, they're all closed shapes. What doesn't work, and people try this all the time, is they take an object and then they try to do something with a path. They take a path here, and they go in with this path, and they say, "OK, I wanna do something like this, "and here's what I'd like to do, "and I would like to put this together "so I've got this bar going through here." This is not a shape, this is a path. These are shape modes. Shapes are going to be completely enclosed shapes. Full-on, all sides together. So if I take a stroke and a shape and I use the shape mode, it no work. So I do that, and all of a sudden it's like, "Well that's not what I wanted." The stroke was in front, it inherited the stroke. It's like, "But I wanted the bar knocked out." No, that's not what these do. These are just for shapes. The PathFinder is where you can introduce shapes and fills together, and your PathFinder mode then will allow you to Divide or Trim or Merge these together, based on things that may be shapes, things that may be strokes, or combinations thereof. So if I use my PathFinder and I use the Divide here, where that line was going across, it actually went in and it divided my shapes into separate shapes. It acted like a slice right there. So there's a lot of ways that we can go in and create very unique and interesting objects here that could be quite interesting to use. Case in point, I would love to go in and make part of my leaf darker. Great way to do it. I'm gonna take my rectangle, and I'm gonna draw over my leaf, and I'm gonna choose a darker green. I'm gonna choose both my objects, I'm gonna use my Divide feature. Whenever you do this, it always groups them all together. So you have to Ungroup them, something that whenever you do the PathFinder or the shape modes, it always groups them together. Always. So I ungroup them, and if I take that apart, I now have a leaf that has a lighter and a darker side to it. Am I gonna draw that? No, not at all. That's what I'm gonna use the PathFinder for. Fantastic, you can build anything. See all those shapes? That's the PathFinder. Putting all those shapes together, I didn't draw a single one of those. It's all basic composition of shapes. Oh my gosh, the potatoes. Two circles, there you go folks, you just made yourself a potato. And we have a little circle, oh, look at the one with the little hot-dog dens there, oh my gosh. Wow, how do you do this? Well, check this out. Because we have shapes, and if I were to take any shape here and put a border around it as well, got that border around there, one of the interesting things that I can do with my direct selection tool is, if I have a closed shape, I can actually select any point or any line segment, and I can get rid of one of those segments around my shape. So I could literally have a shape that is not closed, but it's open, so my path only goes around three sides, and I can fill that. Or I could not fill that if I wanted to. And I could actually have an open shape if I felt like it, but I could have a closed shape. Lot of things you can do with shape creation here.