Set Object’s Actual Size

Set Object’s Actual Size Thumbnail

If you are ever needed an object with a stroke to have exact dimensions, you probably got frustrated very quick. By default, Illustrator doesn’t take into account the dimensions of a stroke. You can easily change this by going Illustrator > Preferences > General and check the Use Preview Bound box. Now, Illustrator will take into account the dimensions of strokes, brushes, effects, and so on.

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Reverse Brush Strokes

Reverse Brush Strokes Thubmanil

I love using the Brush Tool (b), but hate trying to change the direction of them. Finally I found a quick way to change the direction of a single brush stroke without affecting other strokes associated with the same brush. First, select the path and then click on a endpoint with the Pen Tool (p), creating a new direction toward that point. Sadly, this trick only works on open paths.

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Create A Brushed Metal Texture

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The second texture up for Vectips Texture Week is brushed metal. Like the previous Water Texture Tutorial, this brushed metal technique also utilizes Illustrator’s Effects. Again this tutorial is pretty simplistic when you break it down, and easy to replicate numerous times. You can use the brushed metal texture in almost anything, but I find myself using it in icons, logos, and interfaces quite a bit.

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Hide Layers

Hide Layer Thumbnail

Here is another quick, but usefully tip. To isolate a layer in a complicated file, Option-click (Alt-click) the Visibility Icon on a certain layer to hide all other layers. Option-click (Alt-click) the Visibility Icon again to reveal all the layers. You can also Option-click (Alt-click) and drag across multiple layers to isolate more than one layer at a time.

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Quickly Pick Complement Color

Compliment Thumbnail

In Illustrator, it’s easy to pick a complement color of the current Fill or Stroke in the Color Panel. From the Pop-Up Menu of the Color Panel select Complement. If you are keyboard shortcut freak, like me, you can change to the complement color by Command Shift-clicking (Mac) or Ctrl-Shift-clicking (Win) on the Color Ramp at the bottom of the Color panel.

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Illustrator Knowhow

Knowhow Thumb

I believe a great way to learn a program is to just play around with it. Illustrator is no exception, but sometimes you don’t know things exist or don’t know what certain tools can do. Vectips helps with some tips and tricks but sometimes you need answers quick or want to explore on your own. That is were the Illustrator Knowhow panel in Illustrator CS3 comes in handy!

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Create Abstract Backgrounds

Abstract Thumbnail

I like illustrating characters, icons, and other highly representative illustrations. I do this kind of work the majority of time in Illustrator,  so it’s nice to break out and create abstract backgrounds. Abstract backgrounds are easy to create in Illustrator with a couple of simple techniques. Using Gradient Meshes, Steps Blends and Opacity Masks you can quickly create an abstract background.

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