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Adobe Illustrator Tutorials and Notes

Tutorials and How Tos for leading graphic design software Adobe Illustrator.

Open Brush Library

Window / Brushes / Options Menu / Open Brush Library

Paintbrush Tool Options

Double click on paintbrush symbol in toolbar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P4-QIj0B2o 1:55

Fidelity allows you to smooth out your lines.

Keep Selected checkbox is very useful, because will keep what you've just drawn selected when you release mouse. You can then easily continue pick up the line again.

Image Trace

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIaNSI_J36Q

File / Place

Select object

An image trace button will appear above, select the option you want from the dropdown, e.g. 3 colour.

Then click Expand button to get paths with anchor points.

Select all and ungroup.



How to Create an Animated gif with Illustrator and Photoshop

How to fill an area in Illustrator

Undo and History in Adobe Illustrator

Create a circular 3 segment logo with 3d appearance from shading

Global Edit

Properties / Start Global Edit button, will allow you to identify all occurrences of an entity and edit them at once.

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnJByIkcUS0 at 24:04



Symbols panel.

Trace a Texture for Use in Illustrator

Get an image of the texture from the internet.

Object / Image Trace

3D Text

Effect / 3D / Extrude & Bevel

Convert Text into Object You Can Fill

Object / Expand

Warp Text

Object / Envelope Distort / Make with Warp

Slicing Through a Circle or Other Shape - Scissor Tool

See https://youtu.be/YycxaAK2MZ4 at 49:25.

Draw the circle.

Select the Scissors Tool, underneath the Eraser Tool in the Tool Box.

Click on the circumference of the circle, which will create a new anchor point. Click again elsewhere on the circumference to make a second point.

You can then use the Selection Tool to select the segment between the points and drag it away.

Global Swatches

In Swatches panel, double click on a Swatch, and then select the Global checkbox.

Now, modifying the colour of this Swatch will update the colour of any shape that uses it.

Fix Missing Options Bar

Window menu / Control

Cut a Shape in Two

Cutting a shape in two in Illustrator

Use Line Tool to draw a line through the shape.

Select both the line and the shape.

Window menu / Pathfinder / Select Divide icon.

Use Direct Selection Tool (A) to select segments.

Colour the Intersection Between Shapes

Draw overlapping shapes.

Select them both.

Window menu / Pathfinder / Click the Divide icon.

Use Direct Selection tool (A) to select and colour each segment.

Blob Brush Tool

The blob brush tool paints in shapes, i.e. with a stroke and a fill. This makes it different from the standard brush tool, which just paints as a stroke.

Borders / How to Apply a Patterned Border to a Shape in Adobe Illustrator

Select the shape.

Open the Brushes window (Window / Brushes)

Click the Brush Libraries icon in the lower left corner of the Brushes window.

Go to the Borders menu item and select one of the submenus, e.g. Borders_Decorative and then you will have various border choices to select from.

How to Change a Straight Line Anchor Point into a Curved Anchor Point in Adobe Illustrator

Select the Anchor Point Tool as follows:

Click on the straight line anchor point and drag it to change it into a curved anchor point.

How to Fill Text with a Gradient in Adobe Illustrator

See how to fill text with a gradient in Adobe Illustrator.

How to Duplicate Objects Around a Circle in Adobe Illustrator

How to Duplicate Objects Around a Circle (YouTube Video)

Follow these steps:

Create a circle as a guide. 

Add whatever shape you want to duplicate above the circle guide on a new layer. 

Select both shapes. 

Press R to use the Rotate Tool, or select the Rotate Tool from the Tools panel. 

Hold the Alt key and click on the centre point of the guide circle. 

In the dialogue, specify a rotation in degrees, using a number that divides 360 into equal parts, e.g. 36.

Click the copy button.  Then click Ctrl+D to duplicate the shape all around the circle.    

How to Split a Circle into Arcs in Adobe Illustrator

Draw a circle.

Draw a line across it horizontally.

Select the line and double click on the rotate tool. Enter an angle, e.g. 60 degrees, then click on the copy button.

Select the circle and all sections.

Go to Window / Pathfinder and click on the Divide button.

Ungroup using Object / Ungroup, and you now have segments.

You can drag out one of the segments, and then use the Scissors Tool (under the Eraser Tool) to click on the points to separate the arc from the segment.

How to Divide a Circle into Segments in Adobe Illustrator

Use the Polar Grid Tool, which is found in the Line Tool menu.


Use the pie graph tool! It's a bit of a hack but it works.

Example: Creating a 30° angle.

  1. Create a pie graph with the dimensions you want.
  2. Calculate the angle in terms of revolutions of a full circle. 30°/360° = 1/12 revolutions.
  3. Create a pie graph with the values 1 and 11 (1/12 + 11/12 = 1 or 100%)
  4. Ungroup the graph object and select the wedge that corresponds the angle.

Shine Effect in Adobe Illustrator

See tutorials on how to create a shine effect in Adobe Illustrator.

Switch Off Text Hyphenation in Illustrator

Go to the Paragraph window and uncheck hyphenate.

Transparency in Adobe Illustrator

Clipping Mask

Place a photo.

Draw the objects that you want to act as the mask above the photo, e.g. a number of hexagons. Select all the objects, then go to:

Object / Compound Path / Make

Select all the objects, including the photo, then go to:

Object / Clipping Path / Make

See also https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/illustrator/using/clipping-masks.html

Other Adobe Illustrator Video Tutorials

10 Essential Adobe Illustrator 2017 Tips from JuiceFoozle. This tutorial covers:

  • Use of the spacebar to move a point on the fly whilst using the pen tool.
  • Use of the curvature tool as an alternative to the pen tool.
  • Using the width tool to make pen lines look inky and hand drawn.
  • Rounding corners on shapes.
  • An easy way to reduce the weight of all the lines in your design.

Flyer Design

A5 dimensions: 148 x 210 mm. Would add a 3 mm bleed to that.

To print:

Save as pdf

Use Adode pdf preset High Quality Print

Marks and Bleeds / check Add Trim Marks

Check Use Document Bleed Settings

Turn a Rectangle into a Guide

Right Click on it / Make Guides

Create a Background from a Photo using a Gradient Mesh

Letterhead Design

Use A4, and a 3mm bleed.

Wrap Text Around a Circle / Type Around a Circle

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