AI Fundamentals: Model 2

In Bitmap vs. Vector, I’ve learned that Bitmap-based images (right) have pixels, loses quality as we zoom in through the screen, and because it’s based on pixels, it has trouble creating curves. Unlike Bitmap-based images, Vector versions have a higher quality, and no matter how much we zoom in, everything is accurate and crisp. I’ve also learned that it’s easy to change whatever word or text into a color when it comes to Vector-based images, I just click on whatever text, go to the options bar, pick a color we want, and the notice that the text is immediately updated. But changing colors on bitmap-based versions is a bit complicated, because we would have to make a selection of all pixels within that text and change the color, and bitmap images create transition pixels between the foreground color and the background color. So it’s easy to understand that Vector-based images have advantages in certain situations than bitmap-based images.

Fills and Strokes

In this section, I’ve learned if you select a line or shape by using a selection tool and go to the control panel and find the color stroke (upper left corner). When we open it up, we’ll find many different color options, but also the option called “none” on the top left corner. When we select it, it looks like a line or a shape has disappeared, because it’s not noticeable. But this doesn’t matter that the path no longer exists, the points are still connected. We eventually find our path if we hover around it using the selection tool, or we can click and drag a marquee around the area if we have trouble finding it and it’ll automatically select the path.

For applying the style and the color, we go and open the stroke color to select whatever color we want. This updates the color of the path. I used the selection tool to select the line, go to the stroke color panel and picked dark blue. I’ve learned that you can change the stroke of the path by clicking on “stroke” in the control panel. This changes the thickness of the path. If you select 6pt, 12pt, or whatever stroke, we’ll notice that the line or a path has become thicker. I’ve also learned there are additional options like “Variable Width Profile” to change the appearance of the stroke on the path, which I did with the line on the top-left corner. Notice that the path looks a bit more of a brushstroke. I did the same thing for the path on the top-right corner, though, I didn’t change the appearance of the stroke.

Changing the strokes and the color of the shapes are very similar, but because they are considered to be “closed paths”, there’s an additional option of changing the fill, which is interior color of the shape. If we go to the control panel, the corner on the top left, notice that there’s “fill color” next to the “stroke color” menu button. If choose any color you want on the fill color menu, notice that fills the interior. Not only you can fill in the colors, I’ve also learned that you can also fill in some radial gradients or linear gradients, and even some patterns as well, which I did on both the rectangle and the oval. I think the patterns which I saw on the fill panel are very unique because I never knew that you can add them on any paths that are closed paths on Illustrator. I’ve also learned that the key concept to know is that a path is separate from its appearance. You can have a path, but you won’t see it in print or onscreen until you apply some type of an appearance to it though stroke properties or fill properties.

Selections and Stacking Order

In this video, I’ve learned using the selection tool or the Direct selection tool, notice that the car itself is comprised of several different parts as we hover the mouse over them. When I create an illustration like this, its not uncommon to want to move all of these elements together. I’ve also learned when I want to move all of elements together after creating all the contents, I select it all and group it. So if I click and drag the car at any direction, it’ll simply move at a different location because the car is been treated as one element.

I use the Direct Selection Tool if needed to select a certain aspect of the car. If I mouse over it, notice that the car has different parts and individual anchor points, which is different from the Selection Tool. Something interesting I’ve learned about the Direct Selection Tool is if I not hovering over a specific anchor point and click it, I’ll select the entire object of a certain path. If we wanted to move the path into a different location, we could click and drag it and we’ll notice that part of the car is removed. Another thing that is interesting is I can easily toggle between the selection tools when we’re working with them. We have to hold down the Ctrl key, which turns the arrow black, and if I click somewhere on the car I’ll select the the entire thing. The other way is clicking and dragging a marquee around the object.

Selecting an anchor point is going to be different than selecting a certain path of an object. If I select an anchor point, its just one anchor point selected. I use the arrow keys or the mouse to move the anchor point at any direction.

Stacking order is important to know and understand when working with objects in Illustrator. I click on the layers panel (on the right side) to take a look at the stacking order. I’ll notice that each of these objects has its own level within the stacking order, and there are multiple of them depending on how many objects there are in Illustrator. If I don’t have the layers panel, I can go to the Window menu and click on “layers”, which I’ve already learned when working on the previous projects. Like I said, there are multiple objects, so even through I can see that I have only layer titled “Cars”, there’s a stacking order associated within this layer. I expand by clicking on the triangle, and see the three paths (colored squares) and three “groups” which are the cars. I expand the groups to see the individual elements that make up with it. Something interesting that I’ve learned when selecting and moving the sub-layer over the other sublayers will make that object or shape appear on top the other objects, which I did with the yellow square. The other way is I can go to the Object menu, go to Arrange>, and select “Send Backward” the object will be behind the other, but above the other object. Or if I click on “Send to Back” the object will be beneath all the other objects and becomes the most bottom sublayer.

Isolation Mode

Some things that I’ve learned about the Isolation Mode that it enters when I double click on object using the selection tool. When I’m in the Isolation Mode in Illustrator, I notice there’ a left arrow, “logo”, and “<group>” at the top left corner of the window. I’m inside the group when the isolation mode is on, it means with the selection tool I can select any individual components of the artwork. But when I double-click it, the entire artwork goes blank except the one that I selected, which indicates that I’m isolated just with that object. To get back to the original document, which I’ve learned, I click on the left arrow known as the Back one level down. I click it again to get back to the main document. Double-clicking on the object is another option if I wanted to get back to the main document, and also clicking on the “logo”. Something that I’ve learned which is very important is new users will be confused by this new structure, because they’ll double-click by accident. If they start creating additional artwork thinking that they’re within the document they’ll cause problems because they’re in isolation mode within the group. I thought isolation mode was really weird because I thought I went to a different window when I double-clicked on an object. So when I’m working with groups objects in isolation mode, I have to be extremely careful to be aware of where I am inside of the document and make sure that I’m not drilled down into a group if your intention is to create artwork within the main document.

Creating New Documents

I’ve learned different options in this section when working with Illustrator. When I select different profiles (such as Print, Web, Devices), it changes the default size including the unit of measurement. I’ve also learned there Advanced options, Color Mode, Raster Effects, and Preview Mode. These options update depending on what profile I choose. The profile itself will also update if I did select different units of measurement. For example, if I switch from points to inches, the profile will switch from Print to Custom, or other profiles if it’s possible.

I’ve learned there are also bleed options, and a bleed is essentially values that control the width of the print area for items that extend beyond the artboard. I’d be using the bleed options if I’m working with a professional printer. When working with Web profile, I’ve learned that it’s important to click “Align New Objects to Pixel Grid”, including on Mobile Device or an onscreen delivery profile because it will ensure that your content lands on a whole value within the pixel grid to avoid any blurring when you export out the content. And very important thing to do with creating a new document is to make sure that I’ve selected the right option and default size of the art board because if I didn’t, and I clicked “Ok”, the size of the art board or other components may not be of what I’d expected.

Anatomy of a Document

I’ve learned in this section that if you want to hide or open an artboard, I go to to <View> and click “Hide Artboards”. When I click it, the whole window turns white; but I notice the 3 dotted lines around the edge of the artboard. The innermost set of lines represent the actual printable area, it takes into the account the printer’s non-printable margins at the edge of the paper. And it is also controlled by the specifications set up in the Print Setup dialong box. The second dotted line, which I’ve learned, represents the paper size. The third dotted line, which is the only red line, defines the bleed region. I would typically get these from the print shop, and they can be modified in the Document Setup dialog box, and the Print dialong box. When I want to turn the art board back on, I go to <View> and select “Show Artboards”. When clicked, the artboard is back to normal.

Multiple Artboards

I’ve already learned that there are multiple artboards on Illustrator, but what I’ve learned in this video is when you create a new document choosing multiple artboards, you have the arrangement options available. The options are Grid by Row, Grid by Column, Arrange by Row, and Arrange by Column. There’s also “spacing”. I can control that to adjust the spacing between the artboards. The Bleed options – and this is very important – that bleed will apply all the 4 artboards I selected because individual artboards can’t have individual bleed values. So the best option is to leave it alone unless it is necessary to use it.

When the new document is created, the artboards are in the same size, in the same row, and space out equally. I didn’t have the Artboards panel in the document, so I went to the Window menu, select it, and move it to the other panels on the right side of the document. When I opened the panel, I noticed that there had the names of the artboards, four of them. Artboard 1, Artboard 2, something like that. I double-clicked “Artboard 1” and named it to “Harley Artboard”.

I’ve learned the different options available in the Artboards panel located at the bottom. If I wanted to delete an artboard, I would click on the trash can (Delete Artboard), or if I want to create a new one, I click on the paper with a point folded (New Artboard), which is next to the trash can on the left side. I could also move the artboard layer up or down between the artboards with it selected, by clicking on the down arrow icon next to the “new artboard” icon (on the left side). If I wanted to move back up, I click on the up arrow icon, next to the down arrow on the left.

The Artboard tool is a useful tool to select and adjust the size of the artboard. However, if I’m on selection tool, I can select an artboard, but I can’t move or change it’s size. When I select it with the selection tool, there black highlights around the artboard and the selection is reflected in the Artboards panel. But the highlight on the Artboard tool is different – it’s like a bounding box, I can move the artboard, and adjust it’s size on the tiny boxes on the corners of the artboards. I could also delete it by clicking on the little box with the X, on the right top corner of the artboard. If I want to create a new one with the artboard tool, easy to learn, I simply click and drag from one direction to the other. The new artboard layer appears on the Artboards panel.

I’ve learned some of the additional properties of the artboard selected. I go to the control panel, at the top, and click on the icon that says “Artboard Options”. This opens up the Artboard options dialog box. I can name the artboard, set it’s width and height, X and Y coordinate, and it’s reference point. I can also change the orientation and constrain proportions if I wanted to. All these options, except constrain proportions, are also located on the control panel on the left side, including the new & delete artboard icons. There are some display options that I can choose, when I’m creating a title for the video production, I can make make sure that I’m to stay safe within the safe region of the video. I can also duplicate an artboard, clicking and dragging it and holding down the Alt key. It can be very helpful when I have artwork inside of the artboard. I wanted to create an another business card, I’ll simply duplicate it to make a copy, and make some modifications. I didn’t do anything with it, I just duplicated to test it.

Illustrator Templates

I never done Templates on my document because I never knew how useful it can be. But one thing that I’ve learned about Illustrator templates it can used for creating smaller artworks based on the template I choose. It’s slightly different from the artwork that I create on project. To open a illustrator temple, I go to “File> New form Template…”. The document folder is opened, I click “Blank Templates”, and choose whatever template to work with. I chose “Banner Ads”. When the template is selected, and I click “New”, the new document is created based on that template. Important to know that the extension is “.ait” for Adobe Illustrator Template. When looking at the document template, notice it has several different artboards, in different sizes. I click and drag the canvas using the Hand tool if I wanted see the other artboards. This will be great for graphic designers who want to create letters, envelopes, or small images. It can be very helpful too, because you have all the artboards predefined to the appropriate dimensions if you had a campaign you had to put together.

Saving Documents

This is something I’ve always did when I took a moment to stop working on my document to do other activities or when it’s time to move on to the next class. What I saw on the video was this site, basically talking how to save a document his way. When saving a document, I go to File> Save As> and rename the document, and place the document into the correct file so I won’t have any trouble finding it. But this one is different – it’s how to save matadata with your document. To open it, I go to File> File Info, and I notice that the dialog box has several different tabs. The description tab can be very helpful because it has useful options for adding matadata to a particular document. By adding this matadata, I make this document more searchable by programs like Adobe Bridge. Description tab is useful, not only can I contain the document title and information about the author, but more importantly I can provide keywords for this document. Image yourself as if you were working with client. A client needs you to find a particular document and make a small modification to it. Though I’m not probably going to remember the file name when working with matadata, but if I put some type of description inside of the dialog box, along with keywords, I’ll increase my chances of finding this in programs like Bridge so when I need to find it, I have more options of searching it easier. And another thing to learn is the matadata file is into an XML-based file, and it’s part of the illustrator document because it’s attached to the headers of the .ai file.

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