Master the Shape Builder Tool! Create Unique Objects and Text. | Lindsay Marsh | Skillshare

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Master the Shape Builder Tool! Create Unique Objects and Text.

teacher avatar Lindsay Marsh, Over 500,000 Design Students & Counting!

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Shape Builder Preview


    • 2.

      Shape Builder Basics


    • 3.

      Practice with the Shape Builder Tool is Fun!


    • 4.

      Let's Experiment with Shapes


    • 5.

      Playing with Font and Text with the Shape Builder Tool


    • 6.

      Let's Design a Logo


    • 7.

      Punching out the Logo


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About This Class

You do not have to be an expert in Adobe illustrator to learn from this class!  We will learn all about the shape builder tool in Adobe Illustrator. We will start off with the basics of the tool, using it to add and subtract basic shapes. We will then create a fake company logo, making a basic type/font our own. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Lindsay Marsh

Over 500,000 Design Students & Counting!


I have had many self-made titles over the years: Brand Manager, Digital Architect, Interactive Designer, Graphic Designer, Web Developer and Social Media Expert, to name a few. My name is Lindsay Marsh and I have been creating brand experiences for my clients for over 12 years. I have worked on a wide variety of projects both digital and print. During those 12 years, I have been a full-time freelancer who made many mistakes along the way, but also realized that there is nothing in the world like being your own boss.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to be able to take classes at some of the top design schools in the world, Parsons at The New School, The Pratt Institute and NYU. I am currently transitioning to coaching and teaching.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Shape Builder Preview: We're gonna learn the shape. Builder Tools, Adobe Illustrator. I largely ignored this tool the 1st 6 years of my career, and that was a big mistake. This is pretty powerful in this class. We're gonna master this tool. This could save you a ton of time. Your design, work flow. I'll even show you how to use this tool to take just ordinary bonds and making the urine. Even if your brand new illustrator you could get a lot of this class. So let's learn together. 2. Shape Builder Basics: All right, so today we're gonna learn about the shape builder tool in Adobe Illustrator. I largely ignored this tool for the 1st 5 years of my level design career, and that was a big mistake because it really improved my workflow and made me create the kind of symbols that you see in logos and much faster. So let me go ahead and get started with the basics. The shape builder tools going to be on your toolbar to the left, and it's gonna have this little shape right here when I hover over it. You're also given some other options, depending on what version of illustrating you have. So I'm gonna go ahead and select this shape builder tool and let me actually draw a few items first. So I'm gonna go here and get my rounded rectangle tool Man is gonna draw simple rectangle. I'm gonna go ahead and select a very different color and copy and paste. I'm actually going Teoh, rotate this 90 degrees. I'm just gonna make kind of a plus sign. I'm going to select both of these elements. I am just going up to my center doing all my center align. So that there It's a perfectly all the spaces air perfect. It's perfect. Plus sign. I'm gonna make this a different color. So you can kind of see the contrast when I start using the shape builder tool. So these air two totally independent shapes I can actually CompUSA shape builder tool to combine to make one solid shape. So I'm gonna go ahead and just drag and select all both of these layers or both of these elements. I'm gonna go the shape builder tool, which is right here. And I'm just going to simply draw over these. I'm just holding the mouse, clicking it down. I'm able to select all of these. I could dislike him. Allah make one solid element. So now I have a perfect plus sign. So I'm gonna go back in time a little bit and selected a little bit differently. You go ahead and select it all. I'm gonna select my shape builder tool. I can actually go like this, and I'm not gonna do the middle section, so I'm just gonna leave that alone. And I actually have all these different shapes created now, so I'm just gonna use my arrow tool. We're gonna shipped it up a little bit, create a little cool spacing. And so you can also subtract elements as well. So let me go back to where it was a solid state. Let me give my shape builder tool again and go ahead and select album Make one solid shape . I can actually cut things as well. I can actually subtract shapes. So let's create a different color. Let's do read and I'm gonna go create. I'm actually gonna cut a circle into this edge here. I'm just copying and pasting and it's got a line these really quickly and sending to these these to the back so I can kind of see all my overlapping layers. I'm gonna go ahead and select everything, Go to my shape, builder tool again. And I can add all these to make one really weird shape or can actually subtract elements. So to subtract, to get a hold down the option key and you'll notice the plus sign by my arrow icon changed to us changes to a subtraction tot sign so I can actually hover over and figure out what I actually went to subtract from my shape. So I want that kind around this out a little bit. So I'm going to subtract this red shape and then I'm going to track their rounded part that that circle created wouldn't overlapped just like that. And I'm just holding down the option key. If you have a windows, I believe it's the altar key. So go ahead, do the same thing here and subtract so you can create some pretty cool shapes just by subtracting and adding some shapes. So now that we know the basics, we're going to keep going. Let me just go ahead and do these for you real quick. And we're gonna learn how to create some pretty cool symbols for logos. Let me make that a little more dramatic. Let's do this one more time or to subtract. Got a select all my elements first. If you do not select all your elements at the shape belittles builder tool not activate for you. So select all your elements. I had the plus key. I wanna hold down option or the old key and I'm gonna start subtracting elements attract Been There we go 3. Practice with the Shape Builder Tool is Fun!: All right, so practice makes perfect. So let's keep going with a few examples. So I just drew a simple green circle and a blue circle. I'm gonna go ahead and select all of my elements. My mistake for a while was not selecting anything going straight to the shape builder tool and going Hey, well, let me click on anything. You'll want to go ahead and highlight everything, and then it will know how to create it. Shapes. Let's go to the shape builder tool again and we can add or subtract. I'd actually want to subtract this overlapping area. So I'm gonna hold down the option key. Or if you're on a windows the old key and click once and boom just like that, I have created my unique shape. This actually created two different shapes. If I wanted toe mess around with that a little bit, but actually want to combine this until one solid object, so once again select all select my tool when I want to add these. So I'm gonna click on this and I'm gonna draw my line and select that as well. And now I have one solid element now, um, one mistake you could do is let's go and select him all and click on the shape builder to want to get a straw line saying I want to select these two. But there's this little shape in the middle that counts is a shape. So if I select all of them, it'll create this really strange object as well. It'll actually dis combine the two original circles. So let's go ahead and try that one more time. Gonna select him all shape, a little medical, select this green shape, and I'm gonna skip that middle shape and select this one and boot. That's how I'm able to keep that center part removed. 4. Let's Experiment with Shapes: So now that we know the basics of the shapes tool, we know how to add objects and subtract objects. Let's practice a little bit, have some fun and start creating some potential symbols that we can use for logos. So I'm just gonna draw Simple star. And I haven't planned any of this out ahead of times. I have no clue what we're gonna create. So I went ahead and created a simple star. Well, good And copy and paste that star. And let's do a different color so we can see where our shapes overlap. I'm actually gonna hold down the shift button a little bit, make the star little smaller, and I would like to punch this star out to make it transparent on the inside, so I need to get to where I like it. I'm highlighting both elements. I'm just going up here. This is my own preference. I'm just clicking all the center line options to make sure everything is center align nicely. I might have to optically adjust that a little bit. Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and select all, and I won't punch that blue part out, so I'm gonna take my shape, builder tool and I'm going to select option or Ault. If you're on a windows, get my subtraction sign and click once. Boom! So now I have the school transparent, punched out kind of star with the border. I can keep going. I can kind of, um, let's see. Let's create. I could punch out anything, actually, is a subtraction. Subtract part more than the addition part with shape builder Tool So I could do like a cool line that cuts through it if I wanted to make it kind of thick, make it a different color, so I can better see the overlapping shapes. I'm actually gonna put this in the front when you go ahead and select both of these objects and let's see, let's select that option key to get my subtraction sign. I can subtract this little area where the shape is overlaying are overlapping and go ahead and subtract the shape. I don't need that anymore, And so now you could see how I can add kind of some dynamic elements here. Made this angle that put that on this side. Make that a different color, that it's always helps me and then always deceive the throat to the back. There we go. Take my shape, older tool, hold down, option our all and let's attract. And then we don't longer need that original shape anymore. So I could see how you great some pretty cool stuff. So let's go ahead and slide the shape over here and make that smaller, actually, like it when I just had one punched out like that. So we're just gonna keep that shape and put it over to the side. Here. Let's create some other shapes. Let's go ahead and get a, uh, how about a rounded rectangle tool? Okay, let me do a different color. Oops. I'm a copy and paste and then select a different color. It's too, like a lighter blue. I'm just going to transform, and I'm just gonna rotate it. So it's perfectly 90 degrees perpendicular. I'm trying to make a plus sign here. I'm gonna subtract. All are a select all. I'm just gonna line everything. Center line, center line, center line. Okay, so everything's nicely lined up. I can go ahead and select all and get my shape builder tool And I could make the plus sign if I want to have selected every single element, or I could do something like subtraction. Hold down my option key, get my subtraction sign punched that middle out. What's cool about this? I punched that middle out, but also made these separate elements because I haven't joined them all together yet. So I could actually push these apart a little bit if I wanted to make that not look so connected. That's one option. I can actually, uh, make these all the same color. Let's see, trying to avoid using the pin talks. I really want to show how powerful the shapes tool is. No, let's select the polygon tool safe, wickedest. Get some random shapes punched out of here just playing around. It may not work out, but were just experimenting. I'm selecting all the new shapes I just made and make it in a different color. And then this sitting with the backers so I know where they overlap. It's lists like this whole mess right here. All these shapes and let's do our shape, Builder tool and let's subtract some things. So I'm gonna start track where this overlaps and I'm gonna strip track the original shape. I made. Since I don't need that, you could see how I can create all sorts of crazy stuff. So, yeah, that looks like a mass footage. Kind of continuing to practice and seeing what we could do. So let's kind of go back to the step we were at right here. Let's go ahead and select all. I'm gonna make this one shape. So I'm just gonna do do, do not select that middle shape boom. So I'm gonna actually rotate this. So instead of, ah, addition sign it's now gonna be rotated 45 degrees. I have a cool little cross here. X mm would say I want to add circle to it. What if I did this? I'm actually gonna make this a stroke. I'm going over here making it a stroke. And let's add a little weight toe are stroke. Make it really sick. I'm gonna go to path. I'm just outlining the stroke. I'm not sure if that's required, but I just do it anyway. So now it's basically a circle. An outline circle. I'm selecting my elements once again. I always love to center. Align everything. So that's a center line. That one's warm. That one's one, and that was one. Okay, so everything is perfectly center aligned. Let's make that a different shape. Let's see what we can make here. Selecting everything Shape, older tool, hold down. Option. We could subtract diesel elements to make a shape just like that. We could make all of that one color we wanted to. And there's kind of your cool shape. And let's see what else we could do. No, well, down option. We could subtract this as well. Almost like the X men. That could be cool, Actually. Kind of like those. Keep rolling with that. Okay, Select all. See what else we could do? Insist experimenting so I can add shapes, Track shapes. Mm. Let's subtract thes little inside sections. We don't really need that. What if I did this and now I can select all of these? I'm gonna make this all one. I'm pretty happy with that. We're gonna do this shape, builder, tool, and I'm just gonna select all that I like, which is everything. Do do, do, do, do do do steps. I take that back. Select this one. This one. This one. This one hand the shape. Ah, that's tricky. Let's try that again. We select all Get the shape builder tool. Let's see if it'll let us select this object. I wonder if I can hold down shift select. Well, downshift. Hold down shift. It's gonna manually select all that great that worked. So if you have kind of something tricky where you have a circle, it's really hard to get this inside elements selected. Hold down shift and you're able to click on the elements and you can avoid adding that as a shape. Okay, so there's kind of a neat shape. I actually make this a different color. If I wanted to, they'll know what. But that could be used as a logo of some sort. Put that to the side. And in the next video, we're gonna continue to create symbols and logos 5. Playing with Font and Text with the Shape Builder Tool: you can actually use fonts and the shape builder tool to create kind of a unique font for your logo. So let's go ahead and say our company starts with the letter M. I'm just just picking kind of a standard, bold, fought to kind of play with, and all you have to do is right. Click and create outlines, and it's a shape. So now I can do anything I want with it. Now that it's it's it's own shape. So let's go ahead and do. It's to a rectangle shape and kind of see if we can cut out a cool angle. A lot of times, I'll flip it. Two strokes, a kind of see where it's going, overlap in the potential where I can cut out the shape. I'm just doing like, an angle. I got a copy and paste. This is gonna be the same angle, and I'm gonna cut it down here as well. We could see what this looks like. It's gonna make that solid boxes select everything into a shape builder tool, Hold down option or Ault, and let's start subtracting some things here, subtract the overlapping elements, and then the original shape I don't need that anymore. Do you see how I've created kind of a cool angled M? That's my own. Um So if I wanted to draw a little background around that kind of make a symbol out of it, I can easily do that. Make that a lighter color. Sending that to the back just kind of created something here. Like it bright, whatever you want. So just kind of experimenting here. 6. Let's Design a Logo: So we're going to practice a little bit more with fonts, and we're gonna create a little fake logo for a bait up company I created called a B printing. Just kind of something generic. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to start with the letter A with a really nice bold font. Primetime regular is what I'm using. And so, with any live font, we want to make sure we create outlines so we'll be able to edit the font. So perfect. So what I want to do is I want to make this font a little bit unique. Add some extra shape to it. So I decided I might add a little bit of an extra arm or tail that comes off the A. Let's go ahead and do the rectangle tool, and I'm just gonna add a little bit of a tail. I can always trim the tail later. Go ahead and make it just like that. And I'm gonna add my shapes together, using the shape Boulder tool and adding all my shapes. And just like that, I created a little tail and sometimes you have a little bit of extra left over, so Okay, so now what I want to do is I want to cut this tale right here along the same angle is the A. So how do we do that without using the pin tool? Well, it's going to take the rectangle tool, make that a different color and a lot of time to do path to help me figure out where it's overlapping. So I'm gonna try to find the right angle here that this is going in. Yeah, that's pretty good. So I'm gonna go back, and this is where it's gonna be. Cut. Is this line right here? So when we move this over here, I'd like to cut it may be here we go back to a Phil select all get our tool here, and let's subtract holding down the option or old key, subtract the tail and I'm also going to subtract the original shape I no longer need. And to top it all off, I'm gonna make both of these a shape cause sometimes it'll cut, but also make a separate shape. So no problem. You just add those elements together again. Look at that. We made a really unique A Let's do the same thing with the letter B it's gonna be. And we could, of course, make this a different color. But for right now, we gotta create outlines. What I want to do is I want to create a separate element. Let's see. Let's make sure this be an air lined up. There we go. Perfect. I'm gonna send the B to the back, so I'm going to arrange and send it to back. So I want to create a little tail here too. So let me go ahead and do the rectangle tool. I'm gonna combine these shapes, and I'm actually gonna make the tail right up to the where that ends. Add these two shapes. Oh, that's my mistake for not selecting and then clicking on the shape older tool. I'm gonna add this shape or sorry, this shape, the shape in the shape and I send it to the back. Oh, looks I could cut my little bit of a neigh there. Let's try that again. And sometimes it helps let me do my rectangle again. This is good that I leave these errors in here because he could kind of see what happens. So what I needed to do is let me actually send this to the back and let me see if I can get the shaped older tool. And just I wonder if I can actually select thes two objects, not even select the A. And I'm gonna do my Schapelle of tool and then I'm able to do this. Perfect. So I didn't select the A before I selected the shape older tool, So it's not gonna be accidentally selected. Perfect. So now I have my B. And now I have may a separate objects. So now you can play around here. I wonder if if I move this out, you can kind of see where it has a tail. That could be something cool that we could work with. Of course, we could play around with colors, but I just love the shape older tool. That's how quick you can make things unique and make it your own. So she when it comes to fonts selecting something quick here. Perfect. Now I can reduce this. I can use that same bond. Um woo, that was large. Let's go ahead and bring that down to a lower fund using the same font that I'm using for a B. And let's put a little more spacing here. We could do that where I know that, Zaveri blocky time to cut this and paste company. And I'm actually gonna find another font railway thin that will just make it break up the blocking nous of all that. So it's have a nice, thin letter. Maybe make this either bring out the coloring or make it like a light gray Perfect. Make that little smaller. Kind of like a bigger. So just like that, we've created something unique. I can actually go back in here. If I had more time, I'd actually add some shadowing into the A and b to make it look like that is on top of and over this part to make it look a little three d 7. Punching out the Logo: So let's continue to refine this little logo we came up with. So I'm gonna go ahead and copy this A and B, and I'm gonna come up with a different variation. So I'm gonna go ahead and just do a solid colored circle, and I'm actually gonna drag my A B over this circle. I thought it would be neat, and I haven't tried this out yet. And bring this all of the front. I thought of the need to punch out the A in the circle so you can see through the A. But the B remains intact, so it can easily do this. We have a as a separate shape, so I'm actually gonna punch this out. Um, let me actually make this a different color. I can see the difference. I'm gonna punch the a out, so I'm gonna select both of these objects. I don't need to select the B right now, and I'm just gonna punch it out. So I'm just gonna punch out the A and I'm guessing we should just go ahead and trim. This is Well, punch that out. And I wonder. I really want to trim that as well. Let me actually take this a again. And since we have the shape builder tool, we can do this very easily. Let's go and make this a different color. Make that pink. And I'm actually gonna select both of these objects, and I'm gonna trim this. Be by using this pink a me trim, subtract. Perfect. So now it's cool about this, And I really wanna, um, fine tune this a little bit, but I think innately see what we got going on. So now if I put this on a solid colored background, let's do like a a light gray. You'll be able to see that it's transparent underneath, so this will adapt Whatever is behind it. Of course, this be can also change as well. Um, that could be maybe darker version of this purple or a lighter version. Maybe like this didn't want to make him both punched out because it can't really see the definition between the two letters if they were to be the same color. So just playing around course this objects has been trend Just playing around here a lot of times. If I'm not happy with color, I just convert everything to gray scale, and you can kind of see it with more clarity. I wonder if I add a little separation with that look cool. Maybe that What if I made that B a little smaller? Maybe like that. Like a look date that that was an entire background. What's need is you can actually do maybe, like, an ad campaign where you could actually put a picture within the A. Ah, since that's punched out transparent that that you have potential to do that as well.