Understanding Bounding Boxes in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class | Helen Bradley | Skillshare

Understanding Bounding Boxes in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

Understanding Bounding Boxes in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

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7 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Using and Troubleshooting Bounding Boxes Introduction

      1:31
    • 2. Pt 1 What are bounding boxes

      5:24
    • 3. Pt 2 Make a Brush Paint along a Line

      5:21
    • 4. Pt 3 Make Overlapping Brushes

      4:13
    • 5. Pt 4 Bounding Boxes and Patterns

      5:27
    • 6. Pt 5 Troubleshooting Bounding Boxes

      7:09
    • 7. Project and wrapup

      1:16
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About This Class

Graphic Design for Lunch™ is a series of short video courses you can study in bite size pieces such as at lunchtime. In this course you'll learn to both harness the power of bounding boxes in Illustrator and also to troubleshoot them when they appear unexpectedly. You will learn what a bounding box is, why they are created, and what they are used for. You will learn to make your own bounding boxes when creating patterns and how to control the placement of brushes along a path with bounding boxes. The skills you will learn will be adaptable to a range of illustrative tasks and will help you better control and understand Illustrator in your every day work.

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5 Cool Text Effects in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

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Wreaths & Floral Designs in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Zentangle® Inspired Pattern Brushes in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

Meet Your Teacher

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Helen Bradley

Graphic Design for Lunch™

Top Teacher

Helen teaches the popular Graphic Design for Lunch™ courses which focus on teaching Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator®, Procreate®, and other graphic design and photo editing applications. Each course is short enough to take over a lunch break and is packed with useful and fun techniques. Class projects reinforce what is taught so they too can be easily completed over a lunch hour or two.

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Transcripts

1. Using and Troubleshooting Bounding Boxes Introduction: Hello, I'm Helen Bradley. Welcome to this graphic design for lunch class, understanding bounding boxes in Adobe Illustrator. Bounding boxes are not fill, not stroke rectangles that you can create and use in Illustrator. Even if you don't make and use them, quite often Illustrator is going to make them for you. This can make it all the more confusing when they appear and you don't know where they came from or worse still what they are. In this class, I'm going to show you how using these bounding boxes can help you with your Illustrator designs. I'll also help you understand and recognize them when they appear in your illustrations and your workflow. I'll show you a quick way to remove them when they're causing issues. All these explanations and techniques are appropriate for all versions of Illustrator. As you're watching these videos, you will see a prompt which lets you recommend this class to others. Please, if you're enjoying the class do two things for me. Firstly, give it a thumbs-up, and secondly, write in just a few words why you're enjoying this class. These recommendations help other students to see that this is a class that they too might enjoy and learn from. If you'd like to leave me a comment or a question, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments and questions, and I look at and respond to all of your class projects. If you're ready now let's get started using and troubleshooting bounding boxes in Illustrator. 2. Pt 1 What are bounding boxes: Before we go ahead and actually start putting some of these bounding boxes to use, let's have a look and see what they are and see how pervasive they are in Illustrator. Now, I have a watercolor brush here. This is a set of watercolor brushes that I have been using in some of my classes. Like any of these art brushes, you can just drag and drop them out of the brush palette, either this one over here, or if you've got them in an open palette and just drop them into the work space, so you can see what the brush is made up of. Now, if we were to have a look inside the group that is this brush, we'll see a lot of shapes that go together to make up the brush, but at the very end, at the very bottom here, is a bounding box. It's a noFill, noStroke rectangle, you see, I've got it selected, and over here it's showing noFill and noStroke. But it's there at the very bottom of the group of objects that make up this brush. The reason that it's there is that it's just marking out the extremities of this brush. It's always going to surround a brush. It's never going to be inside a brush, it's always going to be all the way around the outside. Now, I have some decorative scatter brushes here. These are shipped with Illustrator. If I take just a simple brush here, I heart. If we go and have a look at that, it comes in a group and it's a heart, this heart-shape in a group here and it's got a bounding box. Here it is, this path when I select it, it's got noFill, noStroke and it's all the way around the edges of this scatter-brush shape. When you have bounding boxes or brushes that are always going to be around the very edge of the brush, there are also bounding boxes in patterns, and they are a little bit different. Some of them are similar, some of them are different. Let's go and grab one of these patterns. Now, this is a very simple pattern. It's going to get rid of my brushes for now so we can just focus on this pattern piece. Here, it comes into Illustrator as a group and if we go all the way down to the end of this, we have this noFill, noStroke rectangle that is around the edges of the pattern. On the face of it, it looks like patterns and brushes work the sane way, but they don't. Let's have a look at this one, it's a floral vines color pattern. I'll drag it into the work space. Now, things are a little bit different. If I scroll to the bottom of the group that is this pattern here, I'm going to find a noFill, noStroke rectangle. But you can see that in this case, it's not on the outside of this shape. It's actually in the middle. When you have a bounding box for a pattern, what the bounding box is doing is marking out the element that is the pattern repeat and quite often, there will be other elements over the edge. But the way that the bounding box works for a pattern is that any of these objects for outside a bounding box just don't appear when we go to use the pattern, they are cut off. It acts as a cut line, if you like, for the pattern. The same is not the case for brushes. In the case of brushes, the noFill, noStroke rectangle that is the bounding box around the edge of this shape is always going to be outside the shape. Now, when you create brushes, you typically want even create the bounding box. The mere fact that you create a brush, Illustrator is going to go ahead and create the bounding box for you. Let's make a brush shape. Just I'm going to make an ellipse here and I'm just going to fill it with a color. I have a filled shape that has no stroke at all. I'm going to make a brush from it, so I'm just going to drag and drop it to the brushes panel over here. I'm going to make it as an art brush. I'll click "Okay" and I'll just click "Okay" again, so it's now an art brush. Let's remove this version from our workspace. Now, let's drag the one out of this brush's palette that Illustrator just created for us. Let's go to the bottom of the group that is this brush that we just created. Here is our ellipse, here is our noFill, noStroke rectangle bounding box around that ellipse that contains the object that is our brush. Even if we don't create that noFill, noStroke rectangle ourselves, Illustrator is going to create it for us. It's always the very last thing inside the group that is either the pattern object or the brush, so you're always going to find it at the very bottom. Now, while most of the time, Illustrator will make bounding boxes for you, you don't have to worry about creating them, sometimes it makes sense to create them yourself, because they give you the ability to do things and control things that you would not otherwise be able to do or control as easily. In the next video, we'll look at how we can use bounding boxes that we create ourselves to put brushes along paths, and also to mark put overlaps for brushes so that you can use negative spacing for pattern brushes for example. 3. Pt 2 Make a Brush Paint along a Line: We're going to look here at one of the situations where you may want to use a bounding box to control a brush. I have two paths here, I've got one path that has text on it, and I have another version of the path that I want to add a banner flag to. I'm going to create my flag. Right now, I'm working in a document that's 1,000 pixels by 1,000 pixels in size, its RGB color mode, but it doesn't really matter what size document you work in. That's not critical to what we're doing. I'm going to choose here the polygon tool. I'm going to click once in my document, I'm going to make a three-sided figure and I'm using a radius of 50 pixels. This is the shape I've got, it's actually created using the same color as the text. I'm going to put a border on it. So let's go and put a orange border on it and I'm going to increase the stroke a little bit as well. I'm going to rotate this whole thing, the Shift key as I rotate it. So it's rotated a 180 degrees, just going to bring the sides in so we get this banner like shape. I don't want it to be very big, so this size is pretty good. To make a pattern brush out of it, I'm going to select over the shape and I'm going to the brushes panel. I can click here on New Brush or I can click the flyout menu and choose New Brush. I'll select Pattern Brush, I'll click Okay. I don't need auto-generated corner tiles because we're just going to be painting along a flowing line. In earlier versions of Illustrator, you won't have that tool. So don't worry because you don't need it anyway. But you can say that we've got our little flag banner here. I'm just going to click. Okay. Let's go and apply this brush to a shape. I've got this line here. It's not the one with the text on it, it's like a spare version of this line. Let's go and find our flag brush, I'm just going to click once to apply it to the line. Let's put our text back and let say what our problem is. Well, that's pretty obvious what the problem is. When we create a pattern brush, the pattern brush paints across the line, and you can see here that it's centered nicely across the line, except that it's causing us stress because we had texts there as well. Rather than moving the line, let's just redefine our pattern brush. I'm going to bring back this shape that we were working with and I'm going to zoom in. Now, the way that I can control this brush better is using a no fill, no stroke rectangle. So I'm going to select the Rectangle Tool and I'm going to turn off the fill and the stroke. Now, the size of this rectangle is critical, right now this shape, when it's turned into a pattern brush and it's placed along a line, the line is going through the middle of the shape. We want the line to go through the top of the shape, and we can force it to do that if we add something to the top here that is going to force this to be the middle of the shape instead of this to be the middle of the shape, and the thing that we need to do is to create a rectangle that is twice as high as this triangle and that's placed over the top of it. I'm going to start about here. That's where I want this brush to be lined up with if you like. I'm going to hold the option key on the mark and I'm just going to drag out here, and I'm going to drag outwards using the Alt or Option key, ensures that the point that I start to draw at becomes the center point. I'm making this rectangle as wide as the triangle is but you can see it's twice as high. I'm going to let go the left mouse button and then let go the Alt or Option key. So I have this banner shape and then I have a rectangle that is as wide as it twice as high. Let's place it here in the last panel behind the triangle because we already know that there's no fill or no stroke rectangles always appear at the bottom of the group, so we're going to place at this. Illustrator recognizes that we've created the no fill, no stroke rectangle so it doesn't have to. We're going to select both pieces, the no fill, no stroke rectangle and the shape that we want to be our brush will go to the brushes panel. Now, if we want to simply update this brush because it wasn't working the way we wanted it to anyway, we're going to take the Selection tool, select over the shapes, and then just drag and drop it over this holding the Alt or Option key as we do so it replaces this brush. When the pattern brush options dialog opens all the settings that we had set up previously are in place and all we need to do is to click Okay. We're going to apply it to our stroke. So let's go back and have a look at our line. Well, now things are working the way we wanted them to. The pattern brush is painting along the line, not over the line and so our text is in exactly the right place. We've done that by creating this bounding boxes no fill, no strike rectangle that Illustrator would have created for us had we not done it, but by us doing it instead of leaving Illustrator to do it, we get more control over how the brush paints. 4. Pt 3 Make Overlapping Brushes: Another situation where being able to create your own bounding box will help you in Illustrator is in spacing brushes in overlapping the patterns and pattern brush. In this case, this allows you to do something that you can't otherwise do in Illustrator nearly as easily. I'm going to create a simple brush. I'm going to select the ellipse tool. I'm going to hold the Shift key down as I draw out a small circle, I'm going to increase the stroke here because I'm going to make something that looks like a chain. It has no fill, but it has a black stroke. Now I'm going to select the line segment tool. I'm going to hold down the Shift key as I drag out a short line. Now this already has its ends rounded. If yours isn't rounding, go to the Stroke panel here and click here on round cap, and that will give it a nice round. This is going to be my brush. Just think this is probably a little bit long, so let's bring it in. We are going to select either both these objects. I'm going to create a new pattern brush. Now again, we don't need the auto-generated corner tasks. We're just going to paint this along a nice flowing stroke, but you can see here that these brush objects, they sort of pattern objects, and overlapping. Well, what you might think to do is to create a negative space amount. I'm going to type mine as 25 percent and tab away and illustrator just resetting that to zero percent. The problem is you can't set a negative spacing amount. I'll just click okay. Let's go and save this brush in action, and you can see it's not looking like a chain because the pieces aren't joining together. They're not overlapping. Well, using a bounding box that we create ourselves, we can overcome that problem. I am going to select the Rectangle tool. I'm going to set this to no fill and no stroke. Let's zoom into the pace in questions so that we can see clearly what we're doing. What I'm going to do is I'm going to drag out a bounding box this time. It doesn't matter if it's not the exact height or depth of this shape. What it does matter is that it's over the end of this shape and I've missed that by a little bit, and that it comes out to where I want the overlap to begin. I'm just eyeballing that. I'm looking at this distance being about the same as this distance, but I do need to make this a bit longer. This is going to be the element that's going to control the overlap. What I'm saying the illustrator is when you create your second brushstroke, put this piece here and you can butt it up against this line here. Let's go to the last pallet. We're going to take this no fill, no stroke rectangle. We're going to make sure that's behind all the elements that go to create our brush. If we don't put it at the very back, illustrator is not going to say it. It's going to say, well, you didn't give me a no fill, no strike rectangle cause that wasn't where I expected it to be. So I'm just going to give you one and that's going to defeat the purpose. You need to put yours at the very back, because that's where illustrator going to expect to find it. Now I've got all these objects here selected. I'm going to replace this brush, I'm going to make sure I have the Select tool selected. I'm going to select and drag these objects into the brushes palette. If I encode the Alt or Option key, I can drop this over the top of the existing brush to replace it. All the settings that I had said are still in place this time, you can say that this looks like a chain. The overlap is being built into the brush because of that no fill, no stroke rectangle. I'll click okay, and I'm going to click yes to apply it to the strokes. We can go and have a look at our stroke which has now been updated so that the pattern brush paces or overlap each other. Now if you need to fine tune the overlap, that's going to be easy or just come in here and adjust the placement of the no fill, no stroke rectangle so that you get the overlap looking the way you want it to. 5. Pt 4 Bounding Boxes and Patterns: It's time now to have a look and see how we can use bounding boxes to control the way patterns are created in Illustrator. To do this, I'm actually going to borrow some elements that come from an Illustrator pattern. I'm just going to break them out of there. I'm going to click the fly out menu on the swatches panel here, Open swatch library, go to Patterns, Nature and Nature foliage, because I want these very simple leaves graphic. Because it's just a nice little set of pattern elements that I can borrow. I'm going to open up the last panel and I'm going to go here and remove the existing no fill, no stroke rectangle. Now all I've got is these elements that go together to make up these leaves. I want to take just one of these leaves so I can make a pattern out of it. Now it's currently inside a group. Now either I could break it out of the group or I could go and select the group selection tool. This allows me to select objects from within a group, so I can select just these two shapes. I'm going to choose Edit Copy, and come outside the group and I'm going to choose Edit, Paste. Now these shapes are located, I've made a copy of them, and they're located outside the group. Let's just go to the selection tool and let's resize this a little bit larger so that we can see what we're doing. Don't need these shapes anymore, I can just delete them. I want to make a pattern piece out of just this shape here. Now one of the ways of doing that is just to select this shape and just drag and drop it into the swatches panel. Now if it doesn't go in the swatches panel will be because you're trying to put it in a color group and it won't go into color groups. You want to make sure that you place it some way next to an existing pattern, because obviously patterns can go there or just dump it up the top here and it'll go in just fine. Let's smooth that out of the way and let's look and see what it looks like as a pattern. Let's just draw out a rectangle, target the fill here, and let's just drop our leaf into it and that's what that pattern looks like. Because the bounding box around the leaf is really tight around the leaf, the bounding box will have been created by Illustrator because we didn't create one. Let's just move this rectangle out of the way, and if we drag the pattern piece back out and have a look at it, you can see we've got our two shapes and a bounding box that is just right around those two shapes. Well, if we want to give this leave a bit more breathing room, we can go to this bounding box that Illustrator has given us and we can re-size it. I'm just going to hold the Alt and Shift keys so that it's scale from the middle outwards and I've given it more space around it. Let's take those component pieces, the two shapes and the new much larger bounding box, and let's make a pattern out of that. Again, I'm going to drag and drop it into the swatches panel. Let's have a look and see how different this rectangle will look when we fill it with our new pattern. I'm just going to select it and click this pattern piece. Now you can see the pattern's much more separated, much further apart and the reason for this is that we added the extra space around the pattern piece to add this extra breathing room in. The bounding box that way created is different to the one that Illustrator would have created and the result is that our pattern pieces are further apart from each other. Now this bounding box situation can also work in reverse. Let's now have a look at the situation where we take this bounding box and we make it smaller than the object that we're working with. I'm again going to locate just the bounding box. I'm going to hold the Alt and the Shift key as I drag in on the bounding box and I'm going to put it inside the shape. It's still behind the pieces that go to make up a group of shapes, but this time it's much smaller than they are. Let's select over all of these shapes and let's just drag and drop this into the swatches panel to make a different pattern. Going back to my rectangle here to make sure that the fill is targeted, open up my swatches panel and let's apply this new pattern swatch. In this case, things look very different. The bounding box that we created around this shape has ended up cropping the paces that fall outside the bounding box away so that they're not even used in the pattern, we don't see them at all. Of course, this bounding box behavior when you're talking about patterns is different to when you're talking about brushes. When you use a bounding box that's smaller than the shape in a brush situation, that's just telling Illustrator where it can [inaudible] the next brush piece up next to. When you use it as patterns, it's actually doing a crop. We've ended up with a whole series of different patterns and what's different about each of this pattern pieces is only the shape of the bounding box. In this case, it's a bounding box that Illustrator gave us. In this case, we created one that's bigger than the shape we were working with. In this case, we created one that was much smaller inside the shape that we were working with that's ended up cropping pieces away. 6. Pt 5 Troubleshooting Bounding Boxes: Now it's time to have a look at a situation where these bounding boxes could work against us and where they could actually get in our way. I'm going to show you how they're going to look, how are we going to get rid of them, and how we can get around a recoloring problem that they're going to cause us. I have a scatter brush open here. Now, what I did was I went to the collection that is shipped with Illustrator. I clicked the flyout menu on the brushes panel, open brush library. I went to Decorative and chose Decorative Scatter. Really doesn't matter what you use, but I did want a scatter brush. I'm going to select the brush tool and I'm just going to draw a wiggly line and I'm going to have applied because I had this brush selected, the scatter brush to this line. Now if I select this line here, you can say that the stroke for the line was black, but it is having no effect at all on this scatter brush, so we can't re-color the brush that way. Now there is a way of recoloring the brush using the brushes panel. We can go to the scatter brush itself, double-click on it, and we could set it to tints and shades. In that case, if we set it to tints and shades, it's going to recolor according to the color that we have selected here. If we wanted our flower to be blue then we could select a blue for it. This is not going to help us. For example, if we don't want to tone on tone look, if we wanted this to be yellow, then we're going to need to do something about our brush. The obvious solution is to expand this, so I'm going to select this and choose object expand appearance. Now if I select over these objects and try to recolor them, things are going to start going crazy really quickly. I'm going to select a stroke color, so I'm just going to make this green. You may say that the shapes here have all got green around them, but starting to say a box around all of these flowers, and that's the no fill no stroke rectangle now has a green border on it. If we target the fill and try and apply a fill color to it, it's just going to go from bad to worse really, really quickly. This is what we get. It's no wonder a lot of people get really frustrated when they expand out these scatter brushes when this thing happens. I'm going to press Control or Command Z twice to just undo those changes. We're back to expanded scatter brush. Well, if we go to the layers palette, not unsurprisingly, we're going to find that every single one of these little flower or star shapes has a group of objects and a no fill no stroke path in it. We need to get rid of these no fill no stroke paths so that they don't get filled with color when we select these objects. The way that we do this, because there's lots of them to select, is we just go and find one of them. I have one of them selected here. Now I'm going to choose, Select, Same and I'm going to choose Fill & Stroke. I'm looking for all the objects that have the same fill and stroke as the one I have selected, which is effectively no fill and no stroke. I'm going to open up these groups and just make sure that Illustrator is consistently picking just the no fill no stroke rectangle, which it is. Now that they're selected, I can just press the Backspace key or the Delete key to remove them. That's got rid of all of those no fill no stroke rectangles. Now if I select over these shapes and try to apply a new filler color to them, well, this problem's still there, but it's not quite as bad as it was. Let's press Control or Command Z to undo this. Let's go and see what makes up one of these stars. I'm going to close down all these other groups and let's just focus on one of them. Inside this group is a circle for the middle of the shape. There are few star shapes and a few extras. Let's go and select just this middle one. I'm going to choose Select, Same, Fill Color and I'm hoping that's going to select all the circles within the shapes and it does look as if Illustrator is only selecting this middle circle, so I'm going to color it. Let's color this entire shape, a range of pink. I'm going to set the middle to a pink color. Let's choose this one. Now we've selected and colored the pink middle. Now it looks like there is two colors of rays here. Let's go back to a shape here. Let's go and click on this group here and see if I can pick up the other groups that have the same appearance, so I'm going to choose, Select, Same. Let's try Fill & Stroke. Well, that's selecting two within this group, but it's not selecting them within another group. That's obviously not the one that's going to work for us. Let's select it again and let's try select Same, and let's just do Fill Color. Well, here it's selected these two groups, but it's also selected these two. It's selecting consistently throughout these shapes. I'm just going to check one or two to make sure that things are working as I expect them to. It's going to be really important that you have the layers panel open and you're looking inside these groups. It's just too hard otherwise to make sure that what is being selected is what you actually want to be selected. I'm going to color that with a red color. That leaves us a set of blue shapes still to deal with. Here's one of them, so I'm going to select it. I'm going to choose, Select, Same and let's try Fill Color and check. Here, it's selecting all the remaining blue shapes in this one shape and it's doing the same through the next group and then the next group. That's telling me I've got the right selection here. Now I'm going to select a different color for that and just click away. Now I've been successfully able to recolor the elements that came out of that scatter brush. I've only changed the fill, but I could have changed the stroke at the same time had I wanted to. Let's just do that. I'm going to select this shape and do select Same, Fill Color, also has this blue stroke color, so if I wanted to change the stroke color, I could do so. Let's just make it a purple color, and that'll be changed throughout that shape. We've been able to bursty shapes out of a path that has been painted using a scatter brush but before we could do anything in terms of recoloring, we had to isolate those no fill no stroke rectangles and delete them. They just weren't in the way of the work that we had to do. Of course, you're going to find these no fill no stroke rectangles are going to be in every single brush that you're able to get access to in Illustrator, and to be able to work with the contents of that brush, you're going to need to be able to locate and remove that no fill no stroke rectangles so that you can get to the what's inside there to do with it, whatever it is that you want to do. 7. Project and wrapup: Your project for this class will obey to do some work with bounding boxes in Illustrator, you may want to create a chain or a pattern brush that has some overlapping elements in it. You may want to just create some simple patterns, but use variations of the bounding box size to change how the pattern looks. Just create a small assemblage of examples and post those as your class project. I hope that you've enjoyed this class and that you've learned something about working in illustrator that you didn't know before. If you did enjoy this class and learn something from it when you're prompted, if you would recommend it to others, please do two things for me. Firstly, answer yes that you would recommend the class. And secondly, write just a few words about why you enjoyed the class. These recommendations help other students to say that this is a class that they too might enjoy and learn from. If you'd like to leave me a comment or a question, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments and questions, and I look at and respond to all of your class projects. My name's Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of graphic design for Lunch, and I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming episode soon.