Comprehensive Guides For Understanding The Basic Fundamentals Of Illustrator
TimothyBlake • October 11th, 2010
This is a guide aimed more at beginners in order to understand the fundamental aspects of illustrator. These tutorials are simple tutorials which will teach you how to master the basics of illustrator, to help build your confidence familrise you with some tools features as well as what can be accomplished using illustrator. This is a essential resource for any keen designers looking to learn illustrator a fantastic vector software.
Understanding The basic Tools
This a collection of tutorials which will teach you how to use the basic tools available in illustrator.
You may know about RGB and CMYK, but how about LAB or HSB? With all these color choices and ways to use them it’s often easy to get confused. In this introduction to Illustrators color tools you will learn about the different color spaces, how they work and what tools you can use to get the most out of them. Let’s get familiar with the powerful color tools that Illustrator offers!
Here are 26 Illustrator shortcuts that can help you to speed up productivity. I use most of them (in fact, I can’t work without them). Most of shortcuts listed in this article aren’t documented in the software, so keep reading and you’re sure to find at least one new trick to put up your sleeve.
In Adobe Illustrator, the Blend Tool can help you create impressive color blends. But there is more to it than you might know. This comprehensive guide can help you unlock your creative potential and teaches the features, shortcuts, and in depth methods that the Blend Tool has to offer.
If you aren’t familiar with Illustrator’s extremely handy “Pathfinder” palette, you might sit down for a few moments to play with it, because it is a true time saver, and an excellent tool for manipulating paths. First, of all let me say that “Pathfinder” is a horrible name for this palette. It doesn’t actually “find” paths. It makes it easy to combine paths, divide objects, subtract shapes, etc.
I’m not that great at math, but luckily, Illustrator is. Illustrator uses points, lines, curves, and shapes all based on mathematical equations to create artwork. Even with its complicated computations on the back-end, Illustrator also has some basic mathematical functionality to adjust objects within panels and dialogs.
Type is an essential part of Illustrator; whether you’re desktop publishing, designing logos, or using type for image building, you’ll be reaching for the Type Tool. This guide comprehensively covers the essentials of what is a huge amount of Illustrator functionality, which is type.
When ever I would install a new version of Illustrator, I would quickly turn off the Smart Guides. They always seemed confusing to me, but after working with Illustrator for a while, I have become reliant on Illustrator’s Smart Guides. If you don’t use Smart Guides, you should! It will help you create cleaner files, speed up productivity, and be more precise when creating artwork in Illustrator.
I like to work efficiently, so I get a little annoyed when something slows me down in Illustrator. Have you ever been cruising right along and accidently added a color to the Stroke of an object when you meant to add it to the Fill? Now you have to go back and do it all over again, wasting time. Luckily, there are a few useful keyboard shortcuts to help with Fills and Strokes.
One of the most amazing and confounding tools in Adobe Illustrator is probably the Gradient Mesh tool. Working with this feature allows the user to divide almost any shape into a mesh. Each intersection of two lines (horizontal/vertical) can be colored with a solid color. This tutorial takes a different format than some of our other tuts, and will help you work with the Mesh tool better.
I have been using a 6×8 Wacom Intuos3 for the past 4 months, and can’t live without it. It has become a important tool in my Illustrator work. Not only is it more natural using the Wacom compared to a mouse, Illustrator has some tool features you can only use with a pen tablet. With some tools you can set how the tool responds to the Pressure, Stylus Wheel, Tilt, Bearing, and Rotation of the pen.
An opacity mask is essentially like a mixture of a clipping mask and a layer mask at the same time. in other words, you can use an opacity mask to control the appearance (transparency of a shape) using, in most cases, a black to white gradient. Because you can’t fill an object in Illustrator with a gradient that has transparency, we can use a mask to take away all of the areas covered by the black part of the gradient (or gray in some cases). There are many uses, which I’m sure you will discover rapidly on your own, and soft opacity gives illustrator a whole other dimension to work with.
I love coming across a plugin or script I haven’t used before that really solves a problem for me. I figure if I get frustrated with something in Illustrator, there is probably someone else out there that has the same problem. A recent frustration of mine was selecting Effects in Illustrator. Luckily I stumbled across the Select Effects Plugin from Worker 72a.
You may or may or may not know/use this Illustrator feature, but Layer Masking is a very under-used feature of the Adobe Illustrator series of software. I’m not talking about making a clipping mask. This is entirely different altogether. By making a “layer mask,” you can save precious time by not having to release and reapply clipping masks, and even better – there’s a toggle button in the Layers Palette! Tutorial below.
The Perspective Grid Feature is a nice addition to Illustrator CS5. With any new feature, it’s a good idea to get familiar with keyboard shortcuts so you can use the new feature more efficiently and cut down the learning curve. One tip that is helpful when using a perspective grid is to quickly toggle a perspective grid’s visibility.
If you use Adobe Illustrator, then it’s almost certain that you use the Pen tool when creating your paths. This comprehensive guide aims to introduce or remind you of features, shortcuts, and methods for working with what is arguably Adobe’s most essential tool.