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Creating a swoosh by using the Trim in Adobe Illustrator

2019-10-05 15:19

;Okay for alot of people familiar with Adobe Illustrator this is may seem like a very simple tutorial, but for alot of beginners the pathfinder palette can be quite unknown and is a such an important tool in creating shapes in Illustrator, so if you are an intermediate to advanced user of this application, you will problably want to just pass this one over. If you are beginner and you are already asking the question what is the pathfinder palette, or what the hell does it do, then this is the tutorial for you.

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Step 1 Create an new documentWith Adobe Illustrator open go to File --> NewYou can set the size to whatever ever you like but for simplicity's sake I will use the default 8.5x11 inch.TIP: You can undo a mistake at any time for many steps by hitting ctrl+z or ctrl + shift +z if you go back to far.

In this tutorial I hope to illustrate some of the process of logo design using Adobe Illustrator. However, I must stress, this is not so much a tutorial on the use of Adobe Illustrator as it is a way to show you one method of the "process" of refining an image to a corporate identity (logo) or stylized illustration.The basic process here could be applied to any application.

Step 2 Select the Elipse Tool In the tools palette select the Elipse Tool (L). If you dont see the little circle in the palette it may be one of the other shapes (most likely the square) - click on the tiny little arrow in the bottom right corner for a flyout of all the shapes. Failing that just type "L" on the key board. :)

It should be noted that the example provided here was done mostly for this tutorial and I have bypassed a few of the earlier stages of logo design and concepting such as thumbnail sketching, etc.

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The logo is for a company called stone gecko, so I thought an illustration of a chameleon/gecko type animal would be good. Part of the concept originanlly was to make the gecko"s lines apear blocky or stone like, but the process began to go out of the scope of this tutorial so I opted for a more simplified approach.

Step 3 Set your fill color Make sure your Fill color is the color you want, and there is no stroke as you see in the diagram to the left.

This tutorial assumes you have at least a basic working knowledge of Illustrator, for example you should know how to select objects and change their outlines and fills. Being comfortable with the pen tool is also a big plus.

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All you need tobegin is an image to use for the reference like the one I have below of the gecko.

Step 4- Make the circle Then take your elipse tool to the empty page and holding the 'shift' key click and drag to make your circle. Holding the 'shift' key constrains the circle so it stays a perfect circle. You shoul dend up with something like the circle to the left.

Now on to the tutorial!

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Step 1 - Place the Original Photo as a template.

Step 5 Make a duplicate of the circle

With a new document open (8.5"x11" artboard should suffice), you will want to place the image that you will redraw as a template.

There are several ways to do this step in Adobe Illustrator, but for this tutorial we are going to keep it simple. Make sure your cirlce you just created is selected by clicking on it if it is not. When its selected press "Ctrl + C" and then "Ctrl+V". The old copy and paste maneuver. Now you should have two cirlces.

File->Place->image name->check template box

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This will place the image on its own locked layer with its opacity at 50%.

Step 6 Make the new cicle white and deform it

A new layer will also be created above this one automatically.

Now, similar to step 3, you are going to make your fill color white. With the new circle selected, make sure the fill color square is forward in the tools palette then select a white swatch from the swatches palette. If your swatches palette is not immediately visible you can find by going to Window --> swatches. Part two of this step once you have the new circle white is to drag one of the center points on either side and pull it slightly (dont hold shift) and you should end up with something like I have on the left.

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The image should appear faded out as the one tothe left is.

Step 7 Select both objectsYou can use your select tool (v) and select both items or just hit "ctrl + A" to select all.

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Step 2 - Rename layer 1

Step 8 The Trim Now bring up the path finder palette. (Shift + F9) or Window --> Pathfinder. With the both objects both selected hit the trim button. The pathfinder is one of Adobe Illustrator's very handy features.

Double click on layer one and in the dialogue box rename it Line art, this is where you will begin drawing the main outline of the gecko.

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Step 3 - Begin tracing using the pen tool.

Step 9 The Trim Now we need to clear the debris so to speak. Your two objects will look much the same for the moment, but they have actually been grouped together for the time being by the Trim action. With the objects still selected press "Ctrl+shift+G" to ungroup them. If that doesnt work at first try unselecting the items by clicking anywhere else then reselecting them (ctrl +A) and the repeat the ungrouping by 'Ctrl+shift+G'.Now the two objects should be seperate so click on the white circle and delete it (del). If both your objects dissapear then you didn't ungroup them and will have to undo your step and go back to the ungrouping phase and try again. You can undo a mistake at any time for many steps by hitting ctrl+z or ctrl + shift +z if you go back too far. Now with the white circle cleared you shoul have a shape similar to the one to the left.

Select the pen tool in the tool bar, or press "p" on your keyboard. Using the pen tool in Illustrator takes some getting used to, as youare now drawing by adding points or "anchors" and shaping the lines with the handles that appear after a two anchors have been connected.

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Step 10 Select the Free Transform Tool Back to the Tools palette. Select the Free Transform tool.

Illustration of anchor (left)

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Step 11 Tranform using perspective Okay this step is a bit tricky and you may need several attempts at it if your coordination skills are sub par like mine ;) With the object selected and using the Free Transform Tool grab one of the bottom corner handles by clicking on it and begin dragging it - but as you are doing it (not before you start) hold down 'ctrl+alt+shift' and the object should start transforming in perspective.....take some time to play with this tool, it can come very handy later. :)

The next two screen shots show the progression of the outline drawing.

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Note: we are only drawing an outline around the main body, I will put the legs and toes on a seperate layer.

Step 12- The swoosh.

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Now you ahve something that looks remarkably like some other famous mark that rhymes with 'Mikey'.Alright, before I have some lawyers calling me, I will change this around a bit using the copy and paste technique we used earlier in step 5, and create another circle. Oh yeah and rotate them. That's easy you can do that by going Object --> Transform --> Rotate.

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Step 4 - Add a layer for the legs.

Voila! Okay its nothing wonderful....but hopefully you get the idea, and can use the Trim tool and the Free Transform tool to create some of your own stunning vector graphic visuals!

Click on the new layer icon (indicated above) and add a new layer, name it legs.

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I like to simplify things and using seperate layers can sometimes aid in this.

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Step 5 - Draw the legs.

Tip: Lock the layers below your working layer this will prevent you from accidentally selecting objects or anchors other than the ones you want.

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Now lets fill the objects and see how the little guy is shaping up.

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Step 6 - Clean up some lines and make some adjustments.

After adding a few more toes to the front foot and using the Direct Select tool (press "a") to clean up and change some of the lines, I now have the version below (it may be hard to tell the difference at this size, but believe me there is).

The direct select tool is used by hovering it over an anchor point, clicking on it then adjusting the curves with the handles.

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You will notice all my underlying layers are locked indicated by the little lock icon.

Step 7 - Add the cut-out layer.

Okay this is where the magic begins. We are going to use a method I call the cut-out. We are going to draw white shapes over top of the black base of the gecko and thus begin shaping our true outlines.

Add a new layer by clicking the new layer icon in the layers palette, and name it Cut-out.

Step 8 - Begin drawing the cut-out.

Using the same method to draw the lineart we now want to do the same on the cut-out layer, but with white "ink". Select the outline and make it white by making sure the outline icon is forward and then select white in the swatches palette.

After you have drawn in some shapes, fill the shapes with white.

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Still have some more shapes to add and some tweeking, but the illustration is really starting to take shape.

Okay after adding some more white shapes, an eye, a line to help define the spine, and a few more minor touch ups we have the final illustration!

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All that is needed now is to unlock the layers and select all the objects together (press "v" which brings up the select tool and then grab all the objects),now we can trim the white from the black.

Important: Make sure all your layers are fills,and not just strokes as stroke colors are deleted during the trim process and in some cases may cause undesireable effects.

To trim, lets bring up the pathfinder tool box9assuming its not already shown): Hit shift +F9 or go window -> show pathfinder.

You should see something like palette to the left, Click on the trim icon shown.

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After the trim has been performed, you will need to "ungroup" all the objects to remove the white objects, so press shift+ctrl+g and then remove the white shapes by selecting them and then deleting them.

Finally I added some text and rotated the lizard for the final logo below.

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