Introduction to Illustrator
I'm so excited to dive in headfirst to Illustrator. We are gonna start from the very, very basics and go to the advanced by day three. So I just want to throw out a quick definition to Illustrator. So the unique thing about Illustrator is that it's all vector based and what that means is that instead of pixels that you're used to. So if you are working with a photograph or a JPEG, if you blow it up really big, you get to see all those little squares and so it looks pixelated. Illustrator works with anchor points and lines so that it is endlessly scalable and it doesn't lose any of its integrity. We are gonna be working with that while we draw and that gives us our end product as something that is applicable to mediums of all kinds of different things. So there are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts that come installed on Illustrator. These are the ones I use most often and I will also be talking you through them during the course but if you have any questions just refer back to this printa...
ble. I'm gonna hit Command + N to open a new document. So you can title your document if you want to. I'll call this CreativeLive. You can also decide how many artboards that you would like to work with. So usually it's one but if you're creating a multi page PDF document then you'll put in or how many ever documents you want. You can also create artboards after you get started and I'll show you how to do that in a little bit. You can choose whether this is for the print or the web. I'll choose Print and the size letter is standard eight and a half by 11 inch or you can choose something else or you can put in custom width and height here. This is in points. Points and pixels are similar but I like to work in pixels. You can also work in inches, millimeters and centimeters and a couple of other things. So we will stick with this, it's a letter page in pixels. Here's where you add your bleed. I don't usually have to do this. But if you are working for a print and this is something that a printer will usually tell you ahead of time that we need 0.125 inches of a bleed all around. This is where you add that. If you click down here on Advanced, you get to choose your color mode, either CMYK or RGB. You can change this later on, but it's best to know what your project is for now. So CMYK is for print and RGB is for web. So I am gonna stick with CMYK and click OK. So here's our new document. What I want to begin with today is... Probably everybody's workspace looks differently and if you're comfortable with your workspace, you can keep it as it is but if you're new, I'm gonna get us all on the same page so that all of our tools are right in the same place. The first thing I'm gonna do though is, Illustrator lets you change the color of the workspace here and I am just gonna get mine to what I'm used to working with at home. It's under Illustrator preferences and I believe it's user interface. So right now it's all the way light and I like to bring this down to the dark and have my canvas color be white. You don't have to do that, if you want to do it, that's where you find it. I'll hit OK. Now I want to build up my workspace. Maybe I'll just close out everything and build from the beginning. So you're gonna find all these tools under Windows and I'm gonna start with clicking on color and this is gonna bring up my color panel over here. Swatches are as also in under view and just make sure that you click on swatches. Mine's already up but yours may not be so make sure you select Swatches and that there's a check mark beside that. So what I'm gonna do with this is if you click, hold it and drag it, you can bring it over here, and that turns into a blue line right there. Can you see that line. So when you drop it, it goes right in between there. These are kind of magnetic if that makes sense. So you can really build out your workspace over here to the right. I'm just gonna close this so I can show you how to get that to go to View. Sorry, window and make sure that stroke is checked. I'm gonna do the same thing with that. Just grab the stroke and bring it over here until it kind of magnets to that bottom one. And then the other way I like to work is kind of keep some small icons over here that I use frequently. So I'm gonna start with Image Trace. So this little icon looks like this and a couple of other things have popped up here too but I'm gonna show you how to get those. And you can move this around by just clicking and dragging and taking it down or up, wherever you want to do this. And if you click on that Image Trace, it's gonna expand out to the left, it's gonna have this fly out menu. and we'll get into how to use all these tools later. But that's where you'll find that. Next I like to have the aligned tools. I'm not sure why all these are out... I'm gonna close them all so I can really walk you through how to open them all up. The only thing that I have opened so far is Image Trace. So I'm gonna grab the align tools and just grab this and bring it right there. Next, I'm gonna build in my artboards, grab that artboard and drag and drop it over here. Next, I want my Pathfinder, same thing and my layers panel. I'm gonna drag that and drop it over here. Okay, so we'll get into the nitty gritty on those a little later. I wanted you to have a workspace that feels comfortable and has all the essential tools that we'll be using over the next few days. So if there's something that you use that's not on here now, you can add it and you can always find them up here in the window panel. There's some things I don't use very frequently that will be coming up here to grab but this is the essentials. So once you have your artboard the way that you want it, you're happy with it. You come up to window, go to Workspace and create a New Workspace. So I'm going to name this BonnieLive and click OK. So it is saved now. So if you mess it up, move things around and you ever want to get back to this, all you have to go is Window, Workspace and now you can see I'm on BonnieLive so you can switch through. If you're brand new to Illustrator, you can also run through these that are built into Illustrator to see if any of those, look appealing to you and how they have them set up. I have for this first segment, created a little activity file just to show you some things, so I'm gonna go ahead and open that. I have some existing artwork on this page. I don't want you to worry about that. It's just for me to show you some techniques and tools but we're gonna get to how to create this actual artwork in the days to come. So the first thing I want to do is zoom in a little bit and to do that I hit the Command and Spacebar and then I drag my marquee over what I want to zoom into. So I just want to zoom in a little bit here and if you do too far, you can zoom out by hitting Option + Command + Space bar and I want to talk about that for just a second. When I got here yesterday, the Option + Command + Space bar was bringing up a spotlight for me, the spotlight finder on a Mac. And so I just want to in case you're at home and you're getting really frustrated because spotlight's coming up, I want to show you how to turn that off, because if you're on a Mac, those keyboard shortcuts do two things and so if you want to use the Option + Command + Space bar like I'm doing for this course, you need to turn that keyboard shortcut off in your Mac and I'm gonna show you how to do it right now. Go to your Finder and you need to open System Preferences. Then you're gonna go to Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts and then I believe it's under Spotlight and you can see here this show spotlight window is Option + Command + Space bar and yesterday was checked. So that brings up this. Let's see right here. And so I want to uncheck that and your zoom out will work. I'm just gonna close out of here. So what I want to start with is just going through our tools panel over here to the left. This black arrow tool is called the direct selection tool and it is what is going to allow us to just move things around. It selects the whole object and the keyboard shortcut for that is V and I remember that because V looks like an arrow, upside down, pointy arrow, okay. Let me make sure two other things so that your application looks the same as mine does, if you are under View, make sure that your Smart Guides are checked. We'll get into that a little later and make sure that right here it says Show Bounding Box. If yours says Hide Bounding Box, go ahead and hit that. So that will hide the bounding box so that you can see our direct selection a little easier. I can show you what that looks like. If Show Bounding Box is on it puts a whole box around the entire Illustration. And what we're gonna be doing is so detail oriented that I prefer not to see the box so I choose Hide Bounding Box. The white arrow tool is called the direct selection tool and it's keyboard shortcut is A. So if I hit A, the arrow turns white and what that allows me to do, I'm gonna zoom in, is grab a single point and move just the single point, so I can turn that square into a rectangle. I could not do that with the black arrow tool. So if I come down here to this little bird and I want to just make his beak a little different, I use my white arrow tool and I can just come in and manipulate these little anchor points all the way around. The other thing that the white arrow tool gives you is if I zoom way way in. This is what I was talking about. This is how Illustrator works with these anchor points and then lines in between them. So with the direct selection tool, you can click on these little tiny anchor points, these handles will show up for you. So you can grab this handle and change the curvature of the line between the anchor point that you're on and its partner anchor point. So if you just hold it down, the blue lines are gonna show you where if you let go of your mouse, where this line is gonna drop. So you can change that, come over here and change this one and just keep changing these anchor points. So this takes a little bit of time to get used to, but you'll get the hang of it. Both sides of an anchor point have a handle on them and you can see that it kind of turns it into an S-shape as you go about this. So I'm just gonna move this down a little bit and make that look a little more natural. That's the difference in the direct and the indirect selection tool. If you want to go back and forth between the two, it's V and A. Another keyboard shortcut that I use all the time is Command + 0 and that brings us up to our full page. It makes your art space zoom out to where you see the full artboard that you're working on. So this is our the artboard that is selected, you can see it's a little darker of a line than its sister artboard over here, but if I click over here, then that one turns to darker. So I'm gonna go back over here. Next up on our tools that I want to share with you is the lasso tool. Another way to select things in Illustrator is to just draw a marquee around them. So that selects the bird. If I want this bird, it selects this bird but if I'm down here and I want to select this bird, drawing a marquee is not happening. It's not great and it would not be easy to go in here, if you hold the shift button. You can click on these to deselect them, but that's a ton of work. The other problem is that I haven't grouped these together. So these are all little tiny bits that make up these birds. So the easiest way to go about that is to use the lasso tool. The keyboard shortcut is Q and you can remember that because it kind of looks like a lasso. And what it allows you to do is it's basically the direct selection tool, so the white arrow tool, but you can draw around it. So I'm gonna just hold my mouse down and start drawing around this bird and get in there and then if I release, it'll select everything that I've drawn the lasso around. At this point, I can hit Command + G to group those little bits together. I am going to do that to all of these using the lasso tool, just holding it down and getting in there and back up and I'm gonna hit Command + G to group that. And I'll come in here, hit Command + G to group that and then this is the last one Command + G. So now if I have the direct selection tool, I can grab these guys in their group together and move them independently from each other. If you need to ungroup those, you can right click and select Ungroup and that will take you back to all the little bits. So I'll go ahead and explain that. When you are using a tool, something that's great in Illustrator is that if you hit the Command key, it will take you back to either the direct or the indirect tool, depending on which one you last used. So I have the lasso tool selected now, if I hit Command, you see my arrow turn black, it took me back to the black, but I'm holding down the command key. If I let go, I go right back to the tool I was using. This is incredibly helpful. Because you'll use the direct and indirect selection tools more than anything in Illustrator. So you're constantly having to go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. So no matter what tool you're using, if you need to get back to one to select something, hit Command, move this around and then as soon as you let go of command, you're back to the lasso tool. And that will make more and more sense as we start going and these keyboard shortcuts I know that they can be a little overwhelming, they're super overwhelming to me when I was learning, but if you just hang in there and get the hang of them, they will make your work experience so much smoother. Next, I want to talk about artboards. So I'm gonna hit Command + to zoom out to the artboard that I'm currently on. You can find your artboards in a couple of different places. I already put them in our tools over here on the right. If you hit that Artboards, you will see all the artboards that I have open in this document, which is kind of a lot, seven or a little more. You can double click on these to enter a name for them. This is incredibly helpful if you are working on certain projects, you'll just want to name your artboards especially if you have, I would say if you have more than six, it's great to name them. This one is groups in isolation mode. I don't really need to name them for our application today. And then the other thing that happens if you double click on it is that it takes you to that artboard. Once again, if you have them named, I can double click on that one and it'll take me to that page. I have a couple of blank ones down here. If I click on the artboard and select it, you can tell it's selected because it's a little dark around the edges. It'll also become highlighted over here in your artboard's panel. If you're done with that artboard, you can just click it, hold it and drag it to the trash. And I think six is empty too. So I'll just drag that into the trash. If you need a duplicate of an artboard you can select one and drag and drop it over here to... Let me tell you what that's called, new artboard. You can click and drag it over to the new artboard and it will create a duplicate. I believe I probably put it up here though. So it created an exact duplicate of whatever I had on that artboard. So my text is not super important. Say this comes in handy if you are building a portfolio and you have something you want aligned on every single page, like a page number at the bottom, you don't want to have to mess with aligning it, you can just duplicate your pages. I'm gonna hit Command + Z to undo that cause we don't really need it. The other thing that you can do is make custom artboards in your document by drawing a square or rectangle of any size. So that takes us right on into the next tool, which is the rectangle tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is M. If you click on the rectangle tool, you have two options, you can either start dragging and dropping a rectangle or a square. I'm gonna hit Command + Undo or if you just click once, it'll bring up the rectangle tool panel and you can insert the width and height that you want that rectangle to be or square to be. And the other really great thing in Illustrator is that even though my document is set up in points, it will register any measurement that you put in there. So if I want this to be eight and a half inches, I can put in eight and a half and when I hit the tab button, it converts it to points. So I don't have to know how many points eight and a half inches is. If I want eight and a half by 11 inches, tab and it automatically changes it to whatever I have the document set up to be. So I click OK. And as long as this is a solid color box, it doesn't matter what it is, you can convert it to a artboard by going to Object, Artboards, Convert to Artboards. Something I use all the time. I don't even worry about what my beginning artboard size usually is, unless I know for sure what I'm working on because I'll just create the artboard that I want to once I'm in the document. The next thing I want to talk about is the Pathfinder. This is something I use all the time and it makes creating shapes... Kind of unique shapes, incredibly easy. I am gonna run down, let's see. I'm gonna run over here to my blank artboard. Under the rectangle tool, if you hold your mouse down and drag to the right, it'll bring out the fly out menu. And you'll see that you can draw a rectangle, a rounded corner rectangle, circles, polygons, stars and flares, if you so feel like you want to flare. So I'm gonna start with a rectangle. When I start drawing a square. If I keep my mouse down, I have complete freedom over what size this draws. If I want it to be an exact square, I need to hold down the shift key. The shift key constrains my proportions to make it a perfect square. This is true with everything in Illustrator. So if you're drawing a line and you want it straight, hold down the shift key. If you're doing rotation and you want 90, 45, 180 degrees, hold down the shift key and it will constrain that for you. So I'll be talking you through that and I'll be using it all the time, but the shift key is your best friend. So if I have a square here. I'm gonna come grab the ellipse tool and draw a circle. And so the same deal with this, it's kind of an oval but if I hold down the shift key, it'll make it an exact circle. And I'm gonna just change the color, we're gonna get to color in a second. But for my purposes, I just want to show you this. Say for some reason I wanted this shape to be one solid shape. This would be a little difficult to make using the pin tool, which we'll get into in a minute. But if I select both of those, I can come over to my Pathfinder and select Unite and so that just united both of those shapes. You can build all kinds of shapes taking basic shapes, squares, stars, rectangles, circles, ovals, and making big shapes without having to go in and really being meticulous about your pin points. I'm gonna Command + Z to undo that action. And then the other thing I want to show you is if you have that selected and you select Minus Front, it's gonna delete the shape that's on top from the shape on the bottom, incredibly handy tool as well.