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Illustrator Intro

May 31, 2010

Basic Illustrator (Vector Shapes)

Vector Images vs Raster Images (pixels)

Vector Images can be created in programs like Illustrator and in Photoshop and are composed of Geometric Shapes defined by Math and are therefore Resolution Independent, meaning they are scalable without loss of quality.  Typical Vector image formats are AI (Adobe Illustrator), EPS, CDR (Corel Draw), DXF (AutoCAD)

Raster Images are made up of actual Pixels, for example when you scan an image, the image is converted to pixels and is Resolution Dependent.  You cannot increase the size of your image without some sort of image loss (fuzziness).  Typical Raster image formats are JPG, TGA, TIFF, GIF.

Using Simple Vector Shapes to create an Image

Start up Illustrator and create a new document.  File/New and other than choosing RGB color mode, accept the defaults.  This will give us the workspace that we need to start

**TIP** Holding down the space bar will allow you to drag your workspace around.

We will start by blocking out the Angry Bear Body.  Hold down on the Shape tool and pick the Circle Tool.  Below is the Tool Bar if you don’t have it go to Window/Tools

Now go to the middle of the page and click and drag to create a circle.  If you notice you will see that it does not create a perfect circle, to create a perfect circle hold down the Shift key.  You will also notice that your circle has a black outline with a white fill.  To change this we will use color swatch in the Tool Bar.

Double Click on the Fill Color (Color Swatch above) and choose a color to fill the inside of your circle.  If you want, also change the outline color just double click on the Outline

Next Open up the Stroke Window, go to the top toolbar Window/Stroke and in the tool bar use the arrow next to Weight to increase the outline Size

Next create another Cirlce on top of this one that will be the body of the Bear using the keep the setting you currently have.  Don’t worry about making sure they are perfectly centered we will use the Aling command to center the two Circles.  Go to Window/Align to bring up the Align Window (it might already be on your screen).  Use your Selection Tool (Hotkey V)  Select both circles (you can click and drag to make a marquee selection around both circles.

Then using the Align Window Click on the Icon called Horizontal Align Center.

Next we are going to combine these two shapes the that it is one Shape.  With your Shapes selected go to Window/Pathfinder.  Here you will see that you have a few different Shape Modes.  For our purposes we will use the first Shape Mode(Add to Shape Area), this will make it look like one Shape, but make sure to click on the Expand button to make it into one actual Shape.  Feel free to explore the other Shape Modes to see the different results.

Next we will add the arms and legs.  Make Four circles around the body that will be the arms and legs.  Use the Selection Tool (V) to move them into place, and if you hover the selection tool around the corners of the selection bracket you will see it turns into a circular arrow, when it turns into this arrow you can use the Selection Tool to Rotate the Shape as well.

Using the Pathfinder Window combine all these circles into one piece making sure to Click EXPAND after you are done.  Then go to Filter/Stylize/Round Corners and play around with the size (I used the Default 10px)  then add the ears, you can round them if you’d like

Next we will use a simple line and circle to create the Eyes.  Draw a circle in the face of your bear, making sure to change the color and stroke weight.

Next using the Pen Tool Draw an Eye Brow on the bear.  Click once to start the line, then click and drag to create the curve in the middle and click and let go to create the end of the line.  If your line has a black fill make sure you select the fill color and set its attribute to None.  Also, if you want your line to have a Round Cap, set its Cap attribute to Round Cap under the Stroke Window.  Finish up the eye by creating a White Circle inside of it.

Next with all the different pieces of the eye selected go to Object/Group to group the eye into one piece so you can select the entire eye as one piece.

Next we will duplicate the eye to create the other eye.  Select the eye and go to Edit/Copy and Edit/Paste, then move it into position.  Then with the Duplicated Eye selected go to Object/Transform/Reflect and make sure to choose Vertical and the Angle set to 90

Next we will create the Mouth with the Pen Tool.  Use the Pen Tool to create a jagged mouth, set the Outline to None and the Fill to Black. The Yellow outline shows you where I put my points(Vertices) I also added two small dots for nostrils.

Next we will use the Pen Tool again, but this time make sure the Fill is set to None and the Outline to Black(or whatever color you want) and we will make the stitches from where the Angry bear was stuffed.  Also make sure that your Stroke has Round Cap on so that your lines have a nice rounded tip to them.

We are not done with the Bear, but we should place the Bear in a Frame to give him a more finished look.  Create a Rectangle over your bear with whatever fill color you choose, don’t worry if after you are done it completely covers your bear.   Then insede this rectangle create a rounded rectangle with a different Fill color.

Then with only both these rectangles selected, center them using the Aling Window toolbar we used earlier and lastly with the Rectagles still selected go to Object/Arrange/Send to Back to move the rectangles behind your Image.

Now just add finishing touches until you have an image you are happy with.

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