Mastering Illustrator: 1 – Alignment | Peter Bone | Skillshare

Mastering Illustrator: 1 – Alignment

Peter Bone, Designer, Author, Teacher

Mastering Illustrator: 1 – Alignment

Peter Bone, Designer, Author, Teacher

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14 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. About this class

    • 2. Start here: Setup, Essentials, Defaults

    • 3. Aligning with certainty

    • 4. Specifying gap size with the Align Panel

    • 5. Specifying gap size with a second object

    • 6. Repeating gaps with Transform Again

    • 7. Grid: flexible, accurate alignment

    • 8. Rectangular Grid: flexible, accurate spacing

    • 9. Polar Grid: flexible, accurate spacing

    • 10. Creating a custom (triangular) grid

    • 11. Offset Path: creating an aligned copy

    • 12. Blends: more creative alignments

    • 13. Blends: more complex alignments

    • 14. Aligning with dashed lines

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About This Class

Want to master Adobe Illustrator? In this mini series you'll do just that – one key skill at a time. By focusing on just one area and by building skills one on another you'll really start to master the program. 

This is a fast paced, skill based course that will teach you a dozen creative ways to align things in Illustrator. If you're a curious intermediate user it's perfect for you, but not for a complete beginner. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Peter Bone

Designer, Author, Teacher


Peter Bone has worked in graphic design for 25 years. During that time he has taught thousands of people to use Quark Xpress, Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop - at every level from complete beginners through to experts in their field. He has taught designers, marketing people, creative directors, writers, editors, illustrators, fashion designers and photographers for companies as varied as the BBC, the British Museum, Cond? Nast, Paul Smith, Price Waterhouse Coopers and The Designers Guild.

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1. About this class: I'm Peter Bone. I'm a graphic designer. I've written books and illustrator and I've taught it for many years. So not only in my use of it, but in particular my teaching of it. All kinds of questions have come my way. About what? How would you do this? And what about that? And what about in this context? So over the years, I've accumulated a whole load of information and I thought, It's time to put all that in one place. So here is a series of courses which will get you into the nitty gritty details of illustrator pretty obscure areas. So this is not for beginners. This is for people who are really interested in Or are there other ways you could align things, select things and someone? So this course is all about how to align things in different ways in illustrator. So if that sounds like it's got your name on it, let's get started 2. Start here: Setup, Essentials, Defaults: so welcome. Thanks for signing up. We'll get going in just a second. But there's just two things you need to know before we get started about my set up. Firstly, I'm using the essentials classic workspace rather than essentials. I'm using Illustrator CC 2018. That doesn't particularly matter because most of these features are not new ones but essentials. Classic gives you the screen that I'm using. And secondly, and more importantly, I'm using a print document rather than a Web docking. Now that's important, because in a Web document, by default, you have this thing called Snap the pixel is switched on, which is great in that it aligns you up with a so called pixel grid. But that could be really confusing if you don't know, is there? So for that reason, I'm not using a Web document I haven't got snapped pixel on. So if you are using a Web document, just turn that off. So really briefly. If I was to do a new Web documents, whatever size in the menu snapped, a pixel is on. I would uncheck that, and he might have noticed that that was all north. That's another way of doing it. Okay. Okay. So the absolute basics. I'm expecting you to know this, but by the fault in Illustrator, the bounding box should be switched off. The smart guys will be switched on. So the way that we generally aligned things is just by drinking objects like that. So I'm making the black ones look like the red ones in the corner. And you know, this works fine. Generally, of course, we will see what happens when they don't quite line. So, for example, that doesn't quite line. They just push it a bit further and hopefully it will. But when it doesn't work in the next exercise will look at how we fix that, but just one other way of aligning. If I select all of these objects like that with my selection tool and group them, this icon here aligned our board. That's on by default. That means if I press these two buttons, then my group will be aligned to the center of the art board. Okay, so that's my set up. That's the kind of basic essentials on that's aligning to the outboard. Let's get going 3. Aligning with certainty: a problem that you might run into yourself. We're trying to line things up just with the smart guys. Sometimes it's really less obvious what it is you're lining up with, particularly got other things that are nearby. That a sort of close or similar sizes or shapes. So as you might have seen, a whole bunch of things flashed, but I'm not really sure what I've lined up with. In fact, I think I've lined up with these shapes underneath. But to be absolutely sure, in the view menu, if you choose outline, you can probably see as we zoom in that things are close. But they're no absolutely lined up as the kind of thing you might get away with on a quick graphic for Twitter or something. But if that was gonna be blown up and put on a war, that would be really obvious. So how can you be absolutely sure when things line up well, bizarrely, what you do? I could just get back to pre V. I would suggest you do that, turn off small guides and turn off the bounding box. I know that seems crazy, but watch what happens as I try and line the shapes up clearly is giving us no visual clues . But notice what happens when I move my cursor over Anchor point. It goes white. Okay, that's one of the two bits of things you need. Secondly, my cursor has a little white square next to it when I got over an anchor point. So if you combine those two things, when you if you pick up your shape from an anchor point and then when your cursor goes white when it's next to another one, that is basically the way you can tell things are lined up for certain. So see the White Square, drag it over like that. I would put all sorts of money that that is lined up and we can do a command control. Why? To get in and out of preview mode and you can see that's absolutely right. I should say that Illustrated here is using a default future called Snap The point that should be on. But if that's not working for you, look in the view menu near the bottom snapped a point. It needs to be switched on. Now you don't have to have Thea smart guys off for that toe work. It still works with smart guys on. I will put them back on again, but you do have to have the bounding box off to the bounding box is wonderful at re sizing things quickly, but as it hides the anchor point, it hides some of the functionality of illustrator. So do yourself a favor and get used to turn those off. You can always turn it back on again, learn the cable, chalk up if you want to make it even quicker. 4. Specifying gap size with the Align Panel: There's an approach you can use if you have several shapes where you want to give them an equal space between them. So, firstly, select all the shapes. Secondly, go to the align option here if it shows up. If no window on the line and then you may need toe, show the options to get these ones at the bottom. So wait a minute, we're gonna you distribute spicing. Before that. We want to align to a key object, so that means you click on one of the objects. Notice. It's got a slightly heavier blue border. We positioned spacing. We want, let's say three millimeters, and then you just press the distribute spacing and you now have the number you put in. That's the space between all the other objects on centered around the K object 5. Specifying gap size with a second object: The numerical approach we used in the previous example works quite well, but sometimes is good to do another way, so you can see I've created this blue object A. So you can see it's 20 millimeters wide. That's what I'm telling you there. But I got that by clicking on Transform and just 19.999 If I just press the up arrow there , make it 20. So 20 millimeters and using that little trick you learned a little while ago with a bounding box switched off. I can pick it up by that anchor point line up with that anchor point. And then if I pick this shape up by this anchor point, given the OK down mike a copy. So long as I line up with that anchor point, this would be needed if I'd turned smart guides off. But I can see that still working because I got a pair of white curses. There we go. That's exactly 20 millimeters between those two objects, so that can work quite well, too. 6. Repeating gaps with Transform Again: okay, you might be thinking, What if I got load of those? That's gonna be a right hopeful Alberto. Keep repeating that. So let's show you a way that will work better than that. So I'm gonna turn the smart guys off this time to make it easier. It's important to this to work that I do it in one go in one move. I've done that. So now I can do command or control D. And every time I do that, repeat the exact last transformation, as in object transform transform again. So so long as you do that in one move, which again you can only really do. If you're accurate using the alignment technique you learned earlier that will work really well for you. 7. Grid: flexible, accurate alignment: now again, the previous technique we just learned using command or control day. It's fine, but it doesn't leave unlawful of room for creativity. You just repeat the previous thing. What if you want something like this where there's a kind of nice arrangement, you can choose how things are lined up and you know they're accurate as you're doing it. Well, if you don't know about this, your likeness in the View menu we have a grid and also in the view menu. We have snap to grid. So if both those features are on, and when you draw your initial shape, it will snap to the nearest great point, as you might say that and then you just hold down the okay, count the number of squares between things and just I could alignment like that, nice and easy, so or down the okay, just drag becomes really intuitive, so that's going to be many. Show grid on snap to grid. And by the way, if you need to change the distance between the grid elements, that's preferences. So on the Mac. Illustrated preferences, guides and grid on a PC head It Preferences Guide in grade 8. Rectangular Grid: flexible, accurate spacing: As you can see, with each approach I'm introducing, I'm tryingto improve it in one way or another. On this is a more flexible version of what you just saw so hidden under the line. Segmental is the rectangular grid toe. When I click and drag with that, I get a grid, as you can see, making any size and shape. Want the shift key held down? I can make it perfectly square on 11 mouse is still down. I can press the right arrow well, the left arrow, and that's changing number of columns or compress the up or down arrow. That's changing the number of rows. But sometimes, like keeping with the same, I can end up with a bunch of squares. So this creditor, relatively complex object complexity is not great. But what is good is that it's flexible. So, for example, I can increase the stroke weight like that or Jesus Or I can flip the colors over like that . Give it a white stroke, and again, I just the strike. Quite so. It's not so flexible if you want toe, cover them individually or anything like that. But if you do want a uniform grid, where you can easily change the gap effectively. It's not really a gap. It's bit of a cheat, but against a white background, any right that is nice and flexible. So they got that is the rectangular ready to? 9. Polar Grid: flexible, accurate spacing: If you have a circle and you want to create Siris of circles with an exact gap between them like we have here, that could be pretty challenging. The way you do it is know how something I did it for years, which is you select one on the use, one of the techniques we use previously. Nor do you double click on the scale tool as good as that is, and scale it down 60% or whatever. You know, that could work fine. But you end up even if you use command. E controlled the you end it with some nice circles but no equally spaced. So a good approach is actually to not use a circle. That'll you use the polar grid, you simply click and drag. And as you can see, it's a bit like the rectangular grid. This time, the left and right arrows had lines, so keep going left to get rid of those. And then, as you can see, you've got a series of circles. If you want more circles, press the up arrow What fewer circles press the down arrow, press the shift key to keep it nice and uniform. When you let go, they have it, there's your circles, and then all you gotta do is just the struck way 10. Creating a custom (triangular) grid: We're already seeing a regular grid that you get an illustrator. But look at this. This is a much more flexible grid you can do in the triangles, circles, hexagons, whatever you like. So the way you do that is you create your shapes in this case, a triangle. To get a copy like that, I simply double clicked on the rotate to rotated at 180 degrees and copied. And I got to shapes like that on. Then Basically, I did some of the techniques you seen before, so transform again and so on. Ultimately, when I finished, I selected them. It just might be made of that one. How the wife selected them on did view guides make guides on. There they are. So I'm using a short cut to 10 hours off, but that's on the guides and show guides. Good. Short cut. That one is, uh, command semi capital. So as you can see, these are not dies. What I should've done is kept the originals, kept some spare. One said that then I can play around with them. So here you can see we got all these separate triangles on. We can do all kinds of creative things. They'll always line up, and you can create all kinds of interesting stuff. So if you want the isometric graphics, do a Google search on that and basically you can create. So when I symmetric great using a similar technique toe this 11. Offset Path: creating an aligned copy: if you've got an object and you want a smaller version of the object inside, but you want a very specific distance between the inner and the outer. This is commonly a problem in fashion and in packaging. So I've got this one on all to make it a bit like this one. What you do is he seemed to go object path, offset path, and then you would have a positive or a negative value turn on the previous and you can see that's year five millimeter gap. And not only that, but you can control what the joints are. So my miter joins round joins and so that when you press OK, you've got a copy, which you can then do whatever you like with including change the color. 12. Blends: more creative alignments: we previously seen how you can use command or control day to create something like this from an original shape. But what if you don't know the exact distance you want to kind of play it by ear? Or but I What you do is you take a copy of your original shape. You select both shapes, and you say Object, blend Mike, get something like that and then you go object. Blend blend options, and you can specify smooth colors. Good when you got different colors, but I'm gonna say it specified distance. Turn on Previ, and then I can have a tiny distance so that overlap so you can see fewer or greater. So blends a useful for all kinds of things. You'll definitely have fun with those. If you haven't described those before, haven't described them haven't played with those before. What I should say is, they are. Technically, there's only two objects that these in the middle of these are all sort of generated automatically. If you want access to those, you've gotta go object, blend and expand. They may be grouped, so you may need to uncorrupt them. That's blend 13. Blends: more complex alignments: taking blends a little bit further. I would do command or control why? That shows me an outline mode that these are in fact two blends to the top one straightforward. The bottom one goes around a curve. Now you might notice this is actually slightly flawed. The gap isn't exactly the same. So in terms of alignment, it's not 100% but it's still worth. You know, Agnes, I think so. We'll take our original blend great shape. So I'm gonna creator sir Call that Say so. Like both shapes object blend, replace spine as you can see and then replaces the blend. And it goes around that shape that could work really well in some context, less well than others. But afterwards you still got blend options so you can adjust the distance not quite as precise as other methods, and the final one will look at is a is more precise, but that is still pretty interesting. So that's more about a blend 14. Aligning with dashed lines: So in the final example, in this course, I'm gonna take the black shapes above and make them like the red shapes below again. This is really flexible, because all I'm doing here is I'm going to the stroke panel and I'm turning on dashed line on. The trick is here I'm using an end cap which is rounded. And then if I make the dash zero and I make the gap the same as the way to the stroke, you can see I've got identical circles. If I then want more of a gap, I just put my cursor in there. And Christie are para got now one point gap between as you can see, that works really, really well. This button here makes it. It makes it a line up in a way that this one doesn't say. That's yet more options for alignment. So there we go. That concludes a whole bunch of ways that you can line shapes and objects or create the appearance of alignment or spacing it all kind of way. So we have a lot of fun without Bill. I love to hear what you come up with. So do get in touch and showing what you've done. All that