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In the lesson, we will cover creating geometric objects and manipulating them in Adobe Illustrator CS3.
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Creating the basic building blocks of any image is one of the key skills you will master in Illustrator. We are going to start at the very beginning and create some rectangles and ovals. The first thing that we are going to do is turn-off our grid lines because we do not need them for this next couple of topics. Again, we go up to the view menu, pull down and hide grid. One thing I want you to notice though is there is a check mark next to snap to grid. Whether the grid is visible or not, the snap to grid command will hold its way until we need to turn that off as well. Let us go ahead and turn off snap to grid, go back up to view and then hide the grid.
Very common mistake for beginning users is not to turn off this snap to grid option. Go ahead and hold down the space bar which gives you the grabber hand, drag down a little bit so we can see our whole document. You can also just double-click on the hand tool, that is shortcut to fit in window, it make the entire document fit within the visible document window. We are going to be working with fills and strokes so I want to be able see the bottom part of my toolbox, therefore I am going to go up to the very top of the toolbox, click the double arrow one time that expands the toolbox into a two column mode so that I can see the whole thing. If you are working on a Macintosh, you may already be in the two column mode regardless of which mode you are in now, remember that double arrow at the top of the toolbox is just a toggle back and forth between one column and two column. Looking down at the bottom of my toolbox, I can see that I currently have no fill and no strokes. That is what these red lines indicate. This icon here changes the fills to the default fill in stroke, which is a white fill, and a black stroke, which is going to be perfect for what we are doing next. So I click on that one time, now I can go to the rectangle tool and start drawing some rectangles. When you are creating rectangles and ovals, you draw from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner. We already have one rectangle drawn, go ahead and position your cursor anywhere inside of that rectangle, press on hold, drag down into the right and then let go of the mouse button. Do that a couple more times.
Creating ovals works exactly the same way. You just have to choose a different tool. If you go back to the rectangle tool and press on hold, you get a pop up menu, choose the ellipse tool and then press and drag to create a couple of ellipses. There are two modifier keys that you can hold down while you are drawing rectangles and ovals that change the behavior of the tool so instead of dragging from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner, you can drag from the center outward or instead of drawing rectangles and ellipses, it draws perfect squares and perfect circles. Let us go and select what we have drawn and delete it to give us a little bit more room to work. The easiest way to do this is to go up to the select menu and choose all or hit CTRL+A, CMD+A on the Macintosh, that selects everything then you can hit the delete key to get rid of it. Let us go back to out rectangle tool, press and hold, select rectangle, move somewhere in the middle of your document.
And this time, what I would like you to do is hold down the shift key while you press and drag. So you hold down the shift key, press the mouse, drag diagonally, down in to the right and notice that the shape of your drawing does not exactly follow your cursor anymore because you are holding down the shift key, it constrains the proportions to make it a perfect square. Drag however, you want to drag it and when you are done, release the mouse button first and then release the shift key. If you release the shift key first at the last second, it will pop into rectangle instead of being a perfect square. Go ahead and do that a couple more times. And ovals work the same way, holding down the shift key constrains an oval to become a perfect circle. Go and move to an unused area of your document and this time, instead of holding down the shift key, I would like you to hold down the ALT key, which on the Macintosh is going to be the option key. Holding down alter option changes how you draw your rectangle instead of drawing from one corner to the diagonally opposite corner, you drag from the center outward so with the alter option key held down, press and hold, drag down into the right or up into the left, it really does not matter. And you will see that your rectangle is expanding in all directions from its center point. Again, let go of the mouse button first then let go of the alter option key and you are done drawing from the center outward.
The last technique that I want to show you for drawing rectangles and ellipses is using a dialog box method. To do this instead of pressing and dragging, you simply select the tool you want, we have been using rectangle so let us go ahead and look at the ellipse tool, moving to an unused part of your document and simply click one time. With certain tools when you just click, you get a dialog box and you can just enter the dimension you want. Let us make this three inches wide by two inches high and then click Okay. That is probably the easiest way to get an object that has specific dimensions. Go and use that method to create one more ellipse, click, enter whatever values you want and click Okay.