Introduction To Technical Flats - Part 1 of 10
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Psst! If you need some more info on the basics before you dive in, check out my post Illustrator Basics for Fashion Design.
Alright, let’s get started!
INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL FLATS
SECTION 1: Tools and Windows
YOUR TOOLS & WINDOWS MAKE UP THE ACTIONS WITHIN YOUR DASHBOARD. TOOLS ARE
HOUSED ON THE LEFT WHILE WINDOWS ARE DOCKED ON THE RIGHT. IN ORDER TO
PERFORM ACTIONS WITHIN ILLUSTRATOR YOU WILL USE YOUR TOOLS OR WINDOWS.
Follow along with this step-by-step video!
If you delete a window from your dashboard or it’s not showing, go to Window in your top menu and choose the window you’d like to view. There are many different window options. As you become more familiar with the program, you can customize the windows you use most often to your dashboard.
QUICK TIP: I find that the only window I need that isn’t defaulted to my dashboard is the Type window. You can edit the style of type, height, spacing, and much more from this window. It’s convenient for making custom calligraphy to fit an image.
Copy and Paste: Select an object and hold alt (PC) or option (Mac) and drag, this will copy the object you’ve selected.
Copy and Paste in Front: [ctrl+c] (PC) or [command+c] (Mac) to copy and then [ctrl+f] (PC) or [command+f] (Mac) to paste in front.
Copy and Paste in Back: [ctrl+c] (PC) or [command+c] (Mac) to copy and then [ctrl+b] (PC) or [command+b] (Mac) to paste behind.
Copy Object and Repeat Spacing: Select an object and hold alt (PC) or option (Mac) and drag, this will copy the object you’ve selected and the spacing of which you dragged. Then hit [windows key+d] (PC) or [command+d] (Mac) to copy the same command. This is a great shortcut for when you’re creating multiple objects.
QUICK TIP: I have a full tutorial on this copy and paste trick!
Description: Used to make paths and anchor points that make up an object.
Click to add anchor point, drag mouse to add second anchor point, and so on
Click and hold then drag mouse to create a curved path
To exit use shortcut [Command/Ctrl + click]
Click and hold pen tool in menu to access other tool functions
Add Anchor Point Tool [+] : Add another anchor point on any segment of your path
Delete Anchor Point Tool [-] : Delete any anchor point on a path
Description: Used to select objects.
Click, hold, and drag to select a group of objects
Click to select an object or a group
Double click to isolate a group and manipulate the objects within it
Description: Used to select anchor points.
Click on an anchor point and drag to move its position
Click on a section between two anchor points to move its position
Click on an anchor point to reveal handles, use handles to change the curve of a path
Description: Used to create straight paths comprised of two anchor points.
Click once to create line parameters
Click, hold, and drag to draw straight to second anchor point, let go to end path
Description: Used to create shapes that are made up of paths and anchor points.
Click and drag to desired size
Click and hold shift to make symmetrical
Click and input desired width and height
Polygon, Rounded Rectangle, Star: Click, drag, and hold – use up and down arrows to change the number of anchors or level of roundness (for Rounded Rectangle)
Description: Used to cut a path.
Select cut tool, click on any point of a path
Description: Used to move the canvas, use in place of scrolling.
Select hand tool, click and drag to desired location
Description: Used to zoom in and out of the canvas.
Select zoom tool, click to zoom in
Hold option (Mac) or alt (PC) and click to zoom out
Click and hold, drag mouse to the right to zoom in, drag mouse to the left to zoom out of one central spot
Description: Used to combine shapes in different ways, eliminates the need to go through and delete multiple anchors, easily create compound paths.
Layer shapes on top of each other, highlight both (or more) objects with the select tool [v], then choose from divide, trim, merge, etc. to achieve the desired shape
Description: Used to color the path of a line/object and fill the interior of an object with color.
Select your object with the select tool [v] or direct select tool [a], go to swatches panel, choose color
Switch between line color (black outlined box above) and fill color (white filled box with red line through it above) by clicking the respective box.
Description: Used to add, move, scale, select, and delete artboards. Artboards represent what will print from your canvas.
Select artboard tool, click and drag to create a custom sized artboard
Use anchor points along edge to resize an existing artboard
Click on existing artboard to move around canvas
Click and press delete on keyboard to remove
Use Artboard window to manage artboards: delete, add, and manipulate size
Description: Used to create different layers within the document.
Create a new layer by clicking the “Add Layer” button at the bottom of the window
Add, delete, lock, and hide layers in the Layers window
To move object between layers: select object, click on the new layer created, right click (PC) on object or [control+click] (Mac), select Arrange > Send to Current Layer
Description: Used to change the style or width of a path.
Select path with the select tool [v] or direct select tool [a], go to stroke panel
Change the width of a path with “Weight”
Change the style of the end of a path (anchor point) with “Cap”
Change the style of a corner of a path (anchor point) with “Corner”
Click the “Dashed Line” box to create a dashed line, change the width of the dash and gap by entering a value in the box below, the ideal values for a stitch line are 1.5 dash and 1.5 gap
Add an arrowhead to a line with the dropdown “Arrowhead” menu, can be added to either side of a path
Use “Profile” to change the style of a path
RULERS, GUIDES, & GRID
Description: Used for drawing using a guideline.
Choose View from the menu at the top, choose show rulers to add rulers to the top and left side of your template (change the unit of measure by going into document setup)
Click in the ruler and drag to bring out a guide: lock, delete, and hide guides by going to View > Guides