Whitehead Institute BaRC

Inserting Pictures




Inside WI > BaRC > Graphics > Illustrator CS

Illustrator CS

Illustrator CS is a great software tool, which has become more user friendly in recent versions. Because the interface is similar to Adobe's Photoshop, it is a good choice for someone who is already familiar with Photoshop or who will need to use it often. Because both products are made by Adobe, the integration is seamless. You can even drag and drop files between the programs. Add Adobe's InDesign program (an alternative to QuarkXPress) and you have all the software you need to make slides, edit images and write papers and grants.


Before you begin, you may want to check out the Preferences dialog box, to set such things as units and number of levels of "undo". To do this go to Edit > Preferences.


Tools..............back to top

Selection Tools .............back to top

One of the most noticeable differences between Illustrator and our other programs, Canvas and FreeHand, is that instead of one selection tool, Illustrator has two:

Selection tool: The black arrow is used for selecting objects and groups of objects.

Direct Selection tool: The white arrow is used for selecting points within objects or within groups.

These tools are a bit fussy. When switching from one to the other, make sure to first deselect (by clicking off to the side or choosing Edit > Deselect All) before selecting with the new tool.


Viewing the Work Area ............back to top

Go to View > Fit in Window to see the whole page, or use the Zoom tool to get a closer look at part of the page. Clicking with the zoom tool will magnify the area clicked, or using the zoom tool to draw a box around the desired area will enlarge that area. Hold the option key while clicking to zoom out for a more distant view.


Inserting Pictures ..........back to top

Files from Photoshop can be dragged from the Photoshop window and dropped right into the Illustrator window.

In addition,Illustrator can import files in the following formats using the File>Place command: Photoshop,TIFF, EPS, CorelDraw, FreeHand, GIF, JPEG, PICT, DXF, Adobe PDF, and PostScript Level 1, PNG, Photo CD, and TGA.

Linked vs. Embedded: When you drag and drop or place files into illustrator, they will be either linked or embedded, depending on what you have chosen in the "Place" dialog box.

Linking: placed file remains separate from the Illustrator document. A lower res. image holds its place in Illustrator while you work, but the printer follows the path to the original at print time.

-easier to work in Illustrator because of smaller file size.

- better print quality because the original is used.

-more complicated to keep track of multiple linked files. I recommend putting all linked files and the Illustrator document in one folder, and always moving or copying the entire folder to avoid breaking the link.

Embedding: placed file becomes part of the Illustrator document.

-file size may become large and the program may run slower

-print quality may not be as good as from the Photoshop file, although because they are both Adobe, this might not be true in this case.

-No worries about keeping track of lots of files. They are all included.


Viewing Linked files: Go to Window >Show Linked..............back to top

The palette will show all the images imported from outside. Click the arrow at the top right for more information about the files. You can choose to embed linked files at this point, or link embedded ones. You can also get all the information about the file:


Cropping imported files..............back to top

There is no cropping tool in Illustrator. Instead, you will make a "clipping mask" which hides what you don't want to see.

1. Draw a box (with no fill color) around the area you would like to crop.


2. Select both objects.

3. Choose Object> Clipping Mask > Make.

4. Make the outline disappear by choosing "no color" for line color. See "Color" below.

The white arrow lets you move the image inside the clipping mask to adjust what is visible, and the black arrow lets you move the cropped image or change the size of the frame.

Color ..............back to top

Color Palette:

If you do not see your color palette, go to Window > Show Color.

Fill (color inside a shape) and stroke (color of a line) are represented by a box and an outline of a box. In the palette above, the fill color box has a red diagonal line through it, symbolizing "no color". The stroke box has a pink color. This arrangement refers to the selected circle at the left, which has no fill and a pink stroke. You can tell there is no fill because the other object is visible behind it. You can change a color by moving the CMYK sliders in the palette. When you get a color you like, drag it to the Swatches Palette (below), which you can open by choosing Window > Show Swatches.

When you click on any swatch in this palette, the fill in the Color Palette will take on that color, as will any selected object in the work area. If you click on the stroke box to bring it to the front, then stroke will be the attribute changed when a new swatch is clicked.

Eyedropper tool . You can use this tool to select any color within the image and drag it into the swatches palette.


Line Weight .............back to top

Go to Window > Show Strokes

When you select any line in your work area, you can change it's line weight here, specify how corners should look, and choose dashed line, if desired.

Arrowheads: To add arrowheads to any line, select it, then go to Filters > Stylize > Add Arrowheads.


Brushes & pencil .............back to top

Illustrator offers something than no other package does in its selection of natural, artistic-looking brush strokes. To see some of them, choose Window > Show Brush Libraries. There are several libraries to choose from. I show the Artistic Sample here:

When you select any line and then choose a brush stroke, your line takes on the strokes' attributes:

There are also "scatter" and "pattern" brushes. They provide some:


But you can make your own by drawing a shape, selecting it, and choosing "new brush" in the brush palette:

Draw a shape. Group it.

Select it and choose "new brush in the brush palette. This example is a pattern brush.

Draw a line...

choose your new pattern brush


Using the brush and the pencil ..........back to top

To do the actual drawing, there are three choices, the brush, pencil, or pen. Brush and Pencil are very similar in that they are both freehand tools; you use the mouse to draw. The pen is different and will be covered later. It is more precise but has a steeper learning curve.

Smoothing: By double-clicking on these tools, you can set options such as smoothing. This really helps overcome the awkwardness of the mouse.

Correction: If you make a line and it doesn't come out just right, you can select the line, and then draw near it with the pencil or brush to make the correction. The line will automatically correct itself. Because of this, if you want to make a new line very close to another line, make sure to deselect first or the second line will replace the first.

-Alternatively, you can choose the white selection tool and manipulate the points that make up the line. This might be more precise.

Removing a brush effect: go to Window > Show Brushes. At the top right of the palette is an arrow. Click this for a pull-down menu and choose "Remove Brushstroke".


Cutting Objects..............back to top

Slice Command: Go to Object > Path > Slice. Using this command, the object selected becomes a cookie cutter for the objects beneath it:


Knife Tool: The knife tools cuts along a freeform path that you draw. To use it, select the object you wish to cut, and use the knife tool to draw a path:


Scissor Tool:..............back to top



Gradients..............back to top

Now that you know how to make shapes, gradient fills will help you make the shapes appear 3-d.

Make a circle and select it. Next go to the gradient palette and choose "radial" for type. Drag and drop colors onto the gradient bar at the bottom
You can add colors to the middle of the bar as well. In this one, I removed the stroke color.


Gradient Mesh..............back to top

The previous feature is good, but usually works best for round shapes. If you need something a little more complex, try the Gradient Mesh tool.

Here are the rules:

1. Objects must be ungrouped, and no compound paths (shapes like a donut, with a clear middle).

2. Once transforming a shape into a gradient mesh shape, it can't go back to being a path, so you might want to save a copy first.

3. Complex mesh objects can really use a lot of memory and slow down your work, so start small.

Draw a shape Fill the shape. (Note that the stem is not grouped with the pear shape.) Select the object and choose Object > Create Gradient Mesh. The diamond shaped points on the mesh can receive color. The space between the points, "mesh patches", can also receive color . You can use the direct selection tool to move the points on the mesh and reshape your gradient. I just dragged and dropped color from the swatches palette to the mesh points to create this gradient.


Pathfinder..............back to top

Window > Show Pathfinder

This palette has all kinds of ways to combine objects to get the shapes you want quickly and easily. Choose two objects by holding the shift key while selecting. Then click on one of the options in this palette. The icons describe the function of each.


Align Palette ..............back to top

Window > Show Align

To easily align multiple objects on the page, select them, and choose one of the align options, described by their icons.


Rotation, scaling, etc. ..............back to top

To transform objects, you can just select them with the selection tool (black arrow) and move the cursor over the corners of the selection box until you see the right kind of arrow. A diagonal arrow over the corner will let you scale. Hold shift to scale proportionally. A curved arrow over a corner point will let you rotate. A straight arrow over any side points will let you elongate that side.

For precise transformation, use the Transform Palette, (Window > Show Transform)


Text ...........back to top

To place text in illustrator, just click with the text tool and type. Or you can draw a box with the text tool, and when you type, the text will be contained in the box. To change text attributes, go to the Type menu and choose Character:

In this palette, you can choose most text attributes. Click on the Paragraph tab to see paragraph options.


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