Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween, and, if you're in California, Vote YES on Prop 2

If you're registered to vote in California, and are not familiar with Proposition 2, you can read all about it.

It's very simple. All Proposition 2 would do is make it lawful for factory farm animals to have enough room to move and stretch their limbs in the crates they're in. That's all there is to it. Nothing else. Nada.

But there are those out there that are making excuses against it. Here is its response to them.

Anyway, I also wish all of you Happy Halloween, and a Feliz Dia De Los Muertos (hope mi espanol is correct). I will be going to festivals of both. The ancient Celts believed that the time of Samhain, where Halloween comes from, was a very powerful time of year. I agree with them.

El Dia De Los Muertos was originally celebrated during August, but after the Spanish came to Mexico, they moved it to November 2, All Souls' Day.

Halloween and El Dia De Los Muertos are two of my favorite holidays, and October is one of my favorite months of the year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vector Artwork Editing Using Adobe Illustrator's Pathfinder Tools

 

If you want an efficient, time-saving way to create vector artwork using Adobe Illustrator, I highly recommend that you use Illustrator's Pathfinder tools if you don't already.


When you create artwork using this program, chances are that you are going to draw a lot of vector shapes that overlap each other.


At times, you may prefer that your vector shapes stay that way. But there will be other times when you want to combine them into one shape, or create new shapes out of them.


The Pathfinder palette allows you to do these things using any of its following tools:



  • The Combine tool, which combines at least two overlapping vector shapes into one shape.

  • The Divide tool, which divides at least two overlapping vector shapes into separate shapes.

  • The Intersect tool, which intersect at least two overlapping shapes.

  • The Subtract tool, which subtract the top shape from the bottom shape.

  • The Exclude tool, which exclude overlapping shape areas.

  • The Trim tool, which removes hidden hidden shapes and all shapes' strokes.

  • The Merge tool, which removes hidden shapes and all shapes' strokes like the Trim tool, and combines all overlapping shapes of the same fill color.

  • The Crop tool, which divides all overlapping shapes, and then deletes all the parts of the shapes that fall outside the boundary of the topmost shape.

  • The Outline tool, which divides all overlapping shapes, remove each shape's fill colors, and stroke each shape with its fill color. This tool is good if your vector graphics are for print work and you need make "traps" for them.

  • The Minus Back tool, which subtract the bottom shape from the top shape.


Here is a rundown on using all these tools:


How to use the Combine tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

combine0


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Add to Shape button. This button's colors will change when your mouse is over it:

combine1


3) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Expand button, which should now be activated:

combine2


Voilà! Your overlapping shapes are now one shape. This is what it should look like:

combine3


A faster way to combine your shapes:



  1. Repeat Step 1.

  2. In the Pathfinder palette, option-click the Add to Shape button if you're using a Mac, or alt-click if you're using Windows.

Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Divide tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

divide1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Divide button. This button's colors will change when your mouse is over it:

divide2


3) Select Ungroup in the Object menu at the top of the screen:


divide3


To make sure your shapes are now divided into different shapes, deselect all by clicking in an empty area outside of them or select Deselect in the Select menu at the top of the screen. Then click each shape and move it:

divide4


If all your shapes are still selected, repeat steps 2 and 3.


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Intersect tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

intersect1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Intersect button. This button's colors will change when your mouse is over it:

intersect2


3) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Expand button, which should now be activated:

intersect3


Now you only have one shape:

intersect4


A faster way to intersect your shapes:



  1. Repeat Step 1.

  2. In the Pathfinder palette, option-click the Intersect button if you're using a Mac, or alt-click if you're using Windows.


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Exclude tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

exclude1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Exclude button. Its colors will change when your mouse is over it:

exclude2


Now you have a "hole" in your shapes, which are now one shape.

exclude3


A faster way to intersect your shapes:



  1. Repeat Step 1.

  2. In the Pathfinder palette, option-click the Exclude button if you're using a Mac, or alt-click if you're using Windows.


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Subtract tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

subtract1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Subtract From Shape Area button, which should turn into different colors when your mouse is over it:

subtract2


3) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Expand button, which should now be activated:

subtract3


Now you should only have a piece of the bottom shape:

subtract4


A faster way to subtract your shapes:



  1. Repeat Step 1.

  2. In the Pathfinder palette, option-click the Subtract button if you're using a Mac, or alt-click if you're using Windows.


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Minus Back tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

mb1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Minus Back button, which should be in colors when your mouse is over it:

mb2


Now you should only have a piece of the top shape:

mb3


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Trim tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

trim1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Trim button, which should be in colors when your mouse/cursor is on it:

trim2


Your shapes should now have no outlines, and "hidden" shapes should be removed. This is what it should look like:

trim3


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Merge tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

trim1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Merge button, which should be in colors when your mouse/cursor is on it:

merge2


Your shapes should now have no outlines, and "hidden" shapes should be removed. All overlapping shapes of the same fill color should also now be one shape:

merge3


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Crop tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

crop1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Crop button, which should change colors when the mouse is over it:

crop2


3) Select Ungroup in the Object menu at the top of the screen:


crop3


Deselect all shapes. Then click one of the shapes and move it:

crop4


If this still selects all of them, repeat steps 2 and 3.


Return to Pathfinder tools


How to use the Outline tool:


1) Select all of your overlapping shapes. You can do this by pressing Command-A if you're using a Mac, Control-A if you're using Windows, or draw a marquee around the shapes you want to combine using your arrow selection tool:

outline1


2) In the Pathfinder palette, click the Outline button, which should change colors if your mouse is over it:

outline2


3) With the shapes still selected, look at your Stroke palette (you can get it by selecting Stroke in the Window menu at the top of the screen if it is not already visible). Due to a glitch in the program, the shapes' outlines will each have a 0 point thickness:outline3


4) Click the triangle on the right side of the field that says "0 pt." A pulldown menu should appear. Select any number/thickness you wish. Let's say you chose 7 pt:

outline4


Assuming you chose a thickness over 0 pt, your shapes' outlines should now be visible. Each shape's outline should be the same color as the shape's fill color was in Step 1:

outline5


Return to Pathfinder tools