10 Amazing Illustrator Tips
We have put together a list of the 10 Amazing Illustrator Tips. Hopefully you’ll learn a few new techniques too that will completely transform your every day workflow. Hope you enjoy reading.
Let’s get started!
Scale Strokes and Effects
Illustrator is all about vector artwork that allows for infinite scalability without loss of quality, so it always leaves you puzzled when your design gets super fat or thin when you alter its size.
By default, when you resize an object, the stroke weight remains the same. At times, you may wish to scale the stroke weight with proportion to the shape. This can be achieved by turning on Scaling Strokes & Effects. This can be found under Edit>Preferences>General.
Check Scaling Strokes & Effects to turn on scaling strokes.
This applies to the Scale Tool too. Double click to open up the options and make sure Scale Strokes & Effects is checked. When you use the Scale Tool to scale, the strokes will scale together. This is the first among the 10 Amazing Illustrator Tips.
The Scissors Tool
The Scissors tool lets you quickly and easily snip a path without affecting its shape.
How to get started with the scissors tool:
Draw a rectangle using the rectangle tool.
Set the fill to none and the stroke to black, using the color cubes near the bottom of your toolbar.
Click on the scissors tool in your toolbar, making sure your rectangle is actively selected. The scissors tool sometimes hides under the eraser tool or knife tool.
Click precisely on one of the points of the rectangle using the scissors tool. You have just cut the path, and the rectangle is no longer a closed shape.
Select the white arrow tool. Now, click on a blank area of canvas to deselect the freshly cut rectangle. Click on a line segment near your cut, dragging the line away. You can clearly see how you cut the path.
In the Illustrator, you can identify how and where you want to draw an object. You can draw on top of an object, behind an object, or inside an object using one of the following drawing modes: Draw Normal, Draw Behind, or Draw Inside. The Draw Inside mode allows you to draw inside a single selected object, which automatically creates a clipping mask from the selected object. You can choose a drawing mode at the bottom of the Tools panel or use the Shift+D keyboard shortcut to cycle through each one.
Select a Drawing Mode
- Select the Drawing Mode tool on the Tools panel
- Draw Normal. Draws an object on top of any other object; the default mode
- Draw Behind. Draws an object behind all objects (no selection) or directly behind a selected object.
- Draw Inside. Draws an object inside a single selected object.
Paste in Place
We all know about CMD+C (Ctrl in Windows) and CMD+V (Ctrl in Windows) for Copying and Pasting, but did you know about the Paste in Place (CMD+Shift+V) (Ctrl in Windows) Paste in Front (CMD+F) (Ctrl in Windows) and Paste in Back (CMD+B) (Ctrl in Windows) shortcuts? Rather than have to realign your new element after it’s discarded in the middle of the screen you can quickly paste it directly into your chosen position.
Shape Builder Tool
Forget about thoroughly Uniting and Subtracting with the Pathfinder tool, you can actually do it all with a handy tool called the Shape Builder. Instead of clicking multiple times do the task, do it by simply clicking and dragging between elements to perform the same action.
How to get started with the shape builder tool:
- Create several overlapping shapes.
- Select the shapes that you want to combine.
- Select the Shape Builder tool and then click and drag across the selected shapes, as shown on the left in this figure.
- The selected shapes are combined into one shape, as shown on the right in figure.
- The Shape Builder tool also enables merging objects, breaking overlapping shapes, subtracting areas, and more.
- Create another shape that overlaps your new combined shape.
- Using the Selection tool, select both shapes.
- Select the Shape Builder tool again.
- Hold down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) key and click and drag across the newly added shape, as shown in this figure.
- It’s subtracted from the underlying shape.
Default Pattern Libraries
No more time consuming creation of pattern fills when Illustrator provides you a selection of readymade patterns. All you have to do it to Open the slide out menu for the Swatches palette and follow Open Swatch Library > Patterns to find hundreds of cool fill options.
Drawing with path based brush tool in Illustrator? All the scenarios have changed with the introduction of the CS4, under which, the Blob Brush was introduced. Instead of drawing individual paths this tool works much like the Photoshop brush tool, but it instead creates a solid vector shape.
Live Paint Bucket
People who enjoy designing characters in Illustrator will be big fans of Live Paint. This does all the work for you. Quickly fill shapes much like the Paint Bucket tool in other apps.
The Appearances Panel
Mostly designers presume that a shape could only have a single fill and stroke in Illustrator, but that’s not the case with the Appearances palette. All you need to undertake is to Open up the slide out menu and find that you can add as many additional fills and strokes as you like.
One of the best things about Illustrator is the Opacity Masks, which are especially handy for adding non-destructive texturing to your artwork. Opacity mask is one great tool, and an addition in 10 Amazing Illustrator Tips.
You use an opacity mask and a masking object to alter the transparency of artwork. The opacity mask provides the shape through which other objects show. It is also called as also referred to as masked artwork. The masking object defines which areas are transparent and the degree of transparency. You can use any colored object or raster image as the masking object. Illustrator uses the grayscale correspondent of the colors in the masking object for the opacity levels in the mask. Where the opacity mask is white, the artwork is fully visible. Where the opacity mask is black, the artwork is hidden. Shades of gray in the mask result in varying degrees of transparency in the artwork.
Hope you liked the article, 10 Amazing Illustrator Tips. Happy Designing!