Adobe Illustrator CS2 Tutorial

University of Texas at Austin

School of Information IT Lab

Jin Wu Fall, 2006 Introduction:

Illustrator is a vector-based imaging program. Unlike PhotoShop, which deals in pixels (raster images), this one deals in lines and algorithms for various shapes. It functions by generating curved paths connected by modifiable anchor points. These anchors, with their handles, are ultimately editable and never "leave" the structure of the file.

What are vector graphics?

Computer graphics fall into two main categories -- vector graphics and bitmap images. Understanding the difference between the two helps you create, edit, and import artwork.

In Illustrator, the type of graphic image can have important effects on your workflow. For example, some file formats only support bitmap images and others only vector graphics. Graphic image types are particularly important when importing or exporting graphic images to and from Illustrator. For example, linked bitmap images cannot be edited in Illustrator. Graphic formats also affect how commands and filters can be applied to images; some filters in Illustrator will only work with bitmap images.

Adobe Illustrator creates vector graphics made of lines and curves defined by mathematical objects called vectors. Vectors describe graphics according to their geometric characteristics. For example, a bicycle tire in a vector graphic is made up of a mathematical definition of a circle drawn with a certain radius, set at a specific location, and filled with a specific color. You can move, resize, or change the color of the tire without losing the quality of the graphic.

A vector graphic is resolution-independent -- that is, it can be scaled to any size and printed on any output device at any resolution without losing its detail or clarity. As a result, vector graphics are the best choice for type (especially small type) and bold graphics that must retain crisp lines when scaled to various sizes - - for example, logos.

Interface Overview: If you are coming from Photoshop to Ilustrator, you’l find familiar faces in the Tool bar and floating palettes. Whether you’re new to the Photoshop/Illustrator interface or just need to acclimate to Illustrator’s set of features, it’s worth taking some time to get familiar with the interface.


Illustrator features are found both in the “Window” menu or the floating sets of tools called palettes. In many cases, the function that you find on the menu structure can overlap the palettes. You can access a feature by clicking “Windows” from the menu bar. As you select a palette, it appears on the screen.

By clicking the different tabs on the palettes, you can access the different features of function.

Tool Bar

The illustrator Tool bar includes selection tools, editing tools, drawing and painting tools, viewing tools, etc. We will learn how to use different tools later in this tutorial.

• Click the Tool Bar to select a tool.

• By clicking and holding down the mouse button on the toolbox with a triangle at the bottom right corner, you can find the additional hidden tools.

Understand Paths, Anchor Points

Each version of Adobe Illustrator has new tools, effects, and techniques for manipulating curves and fills. The tools can be pretty overwhelming for beginners to understand. But one thing we need to keep in mind is that all the tools in Illustrator essentially manipulate paths, anchor points, and fills. Paths are lines, which can be straight or curved. Closed paths are objects such as circles or stars, in which the start and end of the path are the same point. Open path objects do not have the same start and end points. Anchor points are the points that control the direction and curvature of that path as well as the start and end points.

Creating curved paths

In this section, we will learn how to draw a curve with the Pen tool. By setting anchor points and dragging direction handles, you can define the shape of the curve.

1. Before we get started, choose File->New to create a new 800*600 px sized document in Adobe Illustrator, leaving settings at the page defaults. We will use this as scratch paper to practice the curve lines.

2. Using the Control palette, click on the Fill box and choose the None swatch. Then click on the Stroke box and choose the Black swatch. Click on the Stroke Weight drop-down menu in the Control palette and change the stroke weight to 1 pt.

3. Click on the Pen Tool first and then click and release the mouse anywhere on the page to create the initial anchor point. Next click in another location on the page (don’t release the mouse), and drag, creating a curved path.

4. As you change the angle and length of the direction handles, the shape and size of the curve change at the same time. By clicking Select->Deselect, you can deselect the curves. Choosing the Direct Selection Tool and selecting a segment of the curve displays the direction handles again.

Making text around the picture

In this session, we will learn how to put text around a picture. You can also make the text around the shapes of any graphics.

1. Open a file from the folder that you want to put the text around. Click on File- >Open, then choose the directory and pick the picture.

2. Click on Open and the file will show up in Adobe Illustrator.

3. Click on the Pen Tool on the Tool bar first, and then make sure the selection in Fill and Stroke are both None.

4. Click on point A, and then click on point B. Make a curve AB.

5. Next, click on point C, and make a curve BC. When you finish the curve, click on point C again.

6. Now, go to the Tool bar and click on the Type Tool and hold until you can select the Path Tool.

7. Click on the blue curve.

When the cursor keeps blinking, you are ready to type.

8. Before you type the words, select the font that you like.

9. When you finish typing, click on the Selection Tool and Direct Selection to adjust the words to make sure the words match well with the graphic.

10. Now, you are done!

1. You can also draw any curves that you like with Adobe Illustrator. Then make the text go along with the curves.

12. The way to save your project is by clicking File- >Save.

13. Saving the file as an “.ai” file means that you can continue making changes on your project in the future.

14. When you are done with your project, click on File- >Export.

15. Then name your file and select the format you desire. In our example, save the file as JPEG format.

16. Then click on “OK”. Now go to see what you have made!

Resources •

• How to Do Everything with Illustrator CS David Karlins MaGraw- Hill/Osborne 2003

• Classroom in a book – The official training workbook from Adobe Systems Adobe Press 2005