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Illustrator CC 2018 – Full Tutorial for Beginners [+General Overview]

Hello, welcome to this tutorial! Let’s see quickly and easily all the basic and fundamental tools you need to start using Adobe Illustrator CC Release 2018! Leave us tips and feedback below to help us improve our future guides for this software! Illustrator CC is a professional software product used to realize customized vector shapes, icons and drawings with more specialized tools in respect to Adobe Photoshop CC, which is dedicated to photo correction and manipulation. As all the other Creative Cloud products, Illustrator is subscription-based. Make sure to check our guide link in the video description to discover more about this important Creative Cloud software! When opening Illustrator CC, the Get Started page shows up, in order to start with a new or an existing document.

Position:98% On the left, under Recent, you can start from a recent project from the list on the center. Under CC Files, you can start by opening your own file from your Creative Cloud storage. Below these options, you can use Open… to browse and start from any file, Photoshop or Illustrator documents; or use Create new… to start from a new empty document. Before creating a new document, you have to define its format and size by using the New Document dialog box. On the left, choose between several ready templates available, depending on the section you choose on top, from Mobile to Art & Illustration. On the right, under Preset Details, you can check all the details of the template chosen, and customize it if you need. On top, choose the document name, its size with Width and Height, its Orientation, the total number of sheets (or Artboards), and the distance of the external borders under Bleed.

Under Advanced Options, choose the Color Mode to use and the resolution for your drawings in ppi. When the setup is ready, just click on Create at the bottom. The new document will be opened on the Illustrator workspace, and listed as a new tab on top with its document name. In case you need to open other files or documents, you can go to File, Open…, and then browse for them. These files will be listed as other tabs on top. The workspace is made by several windows, depending on the kind of workspace chosen on top. In this video, we will just use the Essentials one, showing the toolbar on the left, the main Preview on the center, and several windows with different features on the right.

In case you miss any window, you can open it by using the Window tab. There are three main objects you can have inside your document: straight vector Lines, 2D vector curves called Paths, and also Images that you can import from your computer. In respect to vector objects, images are indeed rendered in pixels, so they may lose quality if you size and edit them. Now, let’s check how to draw and edit these inside Illustrator CC! All the drawing and editing tools are collected inside the several buttons of the toolbar.

Some of these show a white corner: if you right-click on these, you can choose from the complete list of tools collected inside. You can draw simple and straight 2D lines with the Line Segment Tool, by clicking and dragging on the artboard. These have stroke, but do not have any fill. You can fix the Stroke color by double-clicking on the second rectangle of the toolbox, and choosing the color you like most. More at the bottom, use the second smaller rectangle to apply any Gradient with the Gradient window. Choose the two colors to apply by clicking on the markers, change the gradient style by moving the rhombus button on top, and change the inclination of the Gradient if you need. You can remove any Stroke by clicking on its rectangle and then to None.

Position:98% To draw curved 2D paths you can use several tools, such as the Arc Tool to draw an arc, or the Pencil Tool to draw freehand. These objects have Stroke, but also the Fill, which is added between the two endpoints of the curve. You can fix the Fill color by using the first rectangle on the left. The Paintbrush Tool is similar to the Pencil tool, with the difference that you can customize the brush style from the Properties window on the right. Whereas, the Blob Brush Tool drops a 2D curve with the difference that both the Stroke and the Fill follow the curve shape as it is. You also have several tools to draw closed 2D paths, such as the Rectangle, the Ellipse, the Polygon or the Star Tool, that drop regular shapes by clicking and dragging on the document. You can change properties and settings for the current tool by double-clicking on its button. You can zoom in and out around your pointer by holding ALT down and using your mouse wheel.

To pan and move around, hold the Space bar key, and click and drag. Illustrator has several drawing aids to help you with your drawing. While drawing lines and regular shapes, a grey dialog box shows its length and its inclination or its width and height depending on the shape. Moreover, each object has a fundamental skeleton, which ease your drawing by providing snappings to keypoints, such as anchors on endpoints and vertices, path on points on lines and curves, and also centers of shapes and special intersections along parallel and perpendicular directions.

Position:98% All the independent objects laying on your artboard are all listed inside the Layers window on the right. Layers are groups of lines, paths and images that are collected and managed together. For example, the eye icon is used to hide or show an object from the artboard, but if you hide Layer 1, you will hide all the objects contained inside it. By default, you have just one Layer called Layer 1 with a blue color, which is the same color used for the object skeletons. You can add new Layers with different colors by clicking on Create New Layer below. Then, you can click and drag an object to add it to the new Layer. Its skeleton will get the color of the new Layer. The Layers window is also used to set the order of visibility between the objects that overlap.

If an object is placed above another in the list, this will be shown in front of it on the artboard. You can change the position of an object by clicking and pulling it up or down. Now, let’s see how to select and edit the objects inside your document. To edit an object, you have to select it first, by clicking on the objects circle from the Layers window, or by clicking on it directly on the artboard, while holding CTRL down.

The objects selected shows its own skeleton, and is ready to be edited. You can move, scale and rotate a selected object with the Selection Tool. Click and drag the object to move it; use the nodes on the contour to scale it; and approach the nodes externally and click and drag to rotate it. You can also select multiple objects to edit all of them in the same way. You can select a whole Layer from the Layers window, or select multiple objects by holding CTRL down and clicking and dragging to create a selection area. This selects all the objects that touch it. Once all of them are selected, any editing tool is applied on all of them. To cut, copy, and paste a selected object, just use CTRL+X, CTRL+C and CTRL+V. You can use the copy-paste operation to import a picture from one page to your interested artboard.

The way to manage and edit images is identical to vector drawings. To remove an object, just select it and use the Delete key. Whereas, to delete just parts of an object, you can use the Eraser Tool to remove just the parts of the object where you brush on, or the Path Eraser Tool to remove parts of the object path or stroke.

Position:97% If you make any mistake, you can undo your latest actions by using CTRL+Z. To personalize the shape of the vector object, you can use the Pen Tool. If you hold ALT down and click on a keypoint, you can click and move the hands to regulate the path curves that shape the object. Check out our video dedicated to the Pen Tool to discover more about it! Whereas, if you need to change the object appearance, you have to use the Properties window on the right. This shows all the properties of the selected object that you can customize as you like. Under Transform, fix the object placement under X and Y; its size with W (Width) and H (Height), and its inclination in degrees.

Use the flip buttons to mirror the object. Under Appearance, set the Fill and the Stroke color. You can also fix the Stroke thickness in points, and its style and angles by clicking on Stroke. Use Opacity to fix the object transparency in percentage. Below it, click on the fx icon to add special effects to your selected object. Choose one from the list, and fix the effect setup by checking the Preview. You can manage all the effects applied by clicking on the three-points button at the bottom, and using the Appearance window. Use the eye icon to hide or show each effect, and double-click on the fx icon to edit the settings for the effect interested.

Position:97% You also have several tools to apply effects on objects by brushing on it. Double-click on their main button to change their settings, such as brush size and intensity, and click and brush on the object to apply. There are lots of Type Tools to add pieces of text on your document. Enable the Type Tool and click and drag on the artboard to create a text box area, which is used to delimit the text content.

Once done, type inside. You type horizontally when using the Type Tool, and vertically when using the Vertical Type Tool. On the right, use the Character window to change the text appearance, such as font family, size, style and distribution, and the Properties window to set the Fill color, or add any Stroke around the text shape. Pay attention that all these modifications are effective just on the piece of the text that is selected.

Position:97% You can move, scale and rotate text by holding CTRL down as seen for vector objects. There are also other advanced Type Tools that interact with objects paths and areas. With Type on a Path Tool, click on an object path, and type in. The piece of text will follow the object path and it shape. With Area Type Tool, click on the path of a closed shape to type within its area. When you use these tools, make sure to use a proper text size, or part of the text content will be hidden, showing a small red rectangle. Now, let’s see how to save and render your drawings! To save a document, just select the proper tab on top, and then go to File, and then to Save As….

This will save the document as an Illustrator project (.ai), that will store all of its content, including layers and effects settings. Whereas, to export and render your drawings, go to File, and then to Export. Use Export for Screens… to export as a high-definition image by using the .jpg, .png, or the .pdf format. Use Export As… to save with other formats, such as a Photoshop project as .psd, or any other special CAD formats.

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