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Adobe Illustrator CC - Essentials Training

Getting Started with Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to look at getting started with Illustrator. Basically some navigation of the interface, and just getting Illustrator set up, so that we can all work together, and you can follow along with me.

First thing we'll do is, let's open up one of our Exercise Files, let's go up to 'File', 'Open'. In our 'Exercise Files' there is one called 'Getting Started', let's click 'Open'. The first thing we'll do to get everybody kind of lined up together is resetting our Workspace. Now in the top right here, you can see, it says Essentials Online. Yours might say something different from this drop down. What I'd like you to do is pick 'Essentials', and then once it's got that little tick next to it, click on it, then drop it down again, and say 'Reset Essentials'. That will just kind of reset it, and make it look like mine.

The other thing that might look little different between yours and mine is this Tool Bar on the left here. Because my laptop's big enough it allows me to see all of the tools in one big long line, but yours might be smaller you might be using a 13" MacBook Pro, or something. It will show them as a double, like this. See this little double arrow here, this little Chevron? You can decide whether you want to work this way, or this way. I'm going to work this way because that's my default, but you might be seeing it just a little bit differently.

Next thing to do is to deal with your preferences for units and increments. It's a bit strange in Illustrator so it's worth mentioning here at the beginning. I've got a document open, I have nothing selected, by using the Black Arrow, just clicking in the background, nothing selected, you can see, the units in this case are set to centimeters. I can change them here for this document, which will say 'Inches'. That's how to change it for this document.

Now if you've come from other Adobe products you'll know that you can go into 'Preferences' and change your units and increments. It doesn't work that way in Illustrator. What happens is, you create the units and increments as you create a new document or, like we did here, you change it with nothing selected. So say I want to make a new document, and I want to make sure it's inches. So I go to 'Print', and I decide I want a 'Letter'. You'll notice that it's defaulted to 'Points', and it always does that. There is a bit of a hack to go through and change it but we'll just live with points, because that's what Adobe said, even with A4.

So Metric sizings, it still defaults to 'Points'. So what you need to do is pick 'Letter', then go in here, and say, I want it to be in 'Inches'. That will make sure the default sizing for that document is in inches. I'm going to click on 'Create'. Now you might be doing more kind of Web Design so that units could be switched from inches, millimeters to something like pixels. Often I work that way, especially when I'm doing maybe UI Design in Illustrator, but we're going to work in inches for most of this course. Now if you need to change the page size afterwards, a really easy way to do it is, down here, there's a tool, it's called the Artboard tool, if I click on it, it kind of selects the Artboard and I can drag it around, which is kind of strange. You can just make up a size, but often, with it selected over here, you can see, I can give it a Page Size by changing the height and the width.

You can see here also, I can change it to 'Landscape'. Now one thing is, if you're following along with say, something like CS6, quite an older version of Illustrator, 95% of this course will work just fine. The big change for you is you won't have this Properties panel, you'll have something slightly different. Under 'Essentials', you'll have 'Essential Classic'. And you'll have most of these options. Can you see, there's 'Artboard 1', up the top there. But in the later version, the one we're using now, is they just tucked them into this Properties panel. So you can play along just fine with CS6 or earlier versions, but you just have to know that when I'm using the Properties panel you're actually using this kind of Control App bar along the top.

Now a couple of more things just to get us used to Illustrator before we start making things. I've gone back to 'Getting Started', you'll notice these tabs along the top, so this is how to have more than one document open and toggle between the two. So I'm going to go to 'Getting Started'. I'm going to grab my 'Black Arrow'. Black Arrow is your default, this is the one to use all the time. It's your fall back tool because what it does is it just moves things around. If I click on this guy, I can move him around. It physically moves stuff, that's his job, the Selection tool.

Now the Selection tool moves the thing in its entirety. There's another tool in here, called the White Arrow or the Direct Selection tool. What this does is it allows you to pick little parts of that object whereas the Black Arrow moves the whole thing. Watch this, if I click on one of these little dots here, you can see, it's blue, versus all the rest of them that are white. I can move just one part of this little fox here. So we're going to be using both of these tools, mainly the Black Arrow, but the White Arrow will be something that we use as well. Couple of more things that we'll need to work with, is 'Edit', you've got 'Undo' and 'Redo'. So if things go wrong, you can go backwards, you can use the shortcut if you feel like it. It has unlimited undos, so you can go back loads.

The next thing is zooming in and out. There's a tool down the bottom here, the Zoom tool, you can click on it. Hold down the 'Option' key on a Mac, to zoom out, or 'Alt' key on a PC. You can see, the icon changes from a plus, '+' but if I hold down the 'Option' key on a Mac it changes into a minus, '-', and you just click once. Now I never use that, and you'll find that-- we're not going to do too many shortcuts in this Intro class, but a really good shortcut for in and out is holding down the 'Command' key on a Mac, or 'Control on a PC, and just tapping the plus, '+' key and the minus, '-' to zoom out. It's a really quick and easy way to zoom out.

Another really useful tool - I'm going to go back to my 'Black Arrow'. - is when I'm moving around, you can drag these sliders here, and that's fine but you'll find that, just holding down the 'space bar', you'll see, my cursor changes from black Arrow to the Hand. Click, hold, drag around. So 'space bar', and just click, hold your mouse button, it's a really easy way to move around.

Another thing to note in Illustrator is that we've got something called an Artboard. Now Artboard is just like another page. They call them Artboards in Illustrator. I'm going to zoom out a little bit. Now I'm going to go back to my Artboard tool, to my Pages tool. I'm going to click once over here and drag out, and I've got a second page. So with it selected, I can click, hold, drag it across a little bit, give it some room, and then over here, I can switch it to A4. I'm going to zoom out. So you can have more than one page. I've got first page, which is kind of a postcard size, then I've got this A4 page. So just think of them as pages in a document. You can export them as pages in a PDF, or you just might have multiple concepts to work in between the two. So you can have more than one Artboard.

One last thing to quickly discuss before we get into making stuff is the Grouping and Isolation mode. I'll show you this now because everyone gets lost. So I've got this fox here. At the moment it's actually just separate shapes. So what I'm going to do is select it all, so I'm going to hold down 'Shift' key. So with my 'Black Arrow', 'Shift' key, click on these guys. So with them all selected, what I'm going to do is go to 'Object'. I'm going to group them so they're kind of one little unit that I can move around. I missed that little white bit, but that's okay. But he's grouped, now what ends up happening is, when you're new to Illustrator, especially if you love to double click, with my Black Arrow, if I double click him, weird stuff happens. This kind of grays out, and I can't select on it anymore. I can work on these guys individually, what's happened is you've entered something called Isolation mode. And the way I know, is that it's grayed out in the background, and there's this blue line along the top. And you can see here, I'm inside of this group.

Layer 1 is home base, so I can just click on that to come back out. So that's where people often get lost. So we're working fine, working fine… double click, and they get lost in here. and they kind of work on stuff, and things go a bit weird. So if that ever happens, just click on Layer 1. or this big arrow here, up to you, just to come back to home base.

Enough boring navigation, getting setup stuff. Let's start making stuff in the next video. I'll see you over there.