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Illustrator Enhanced Brush Controls and Shape Tool

One of the IllustratorR features that I use the most is the Brush Panel. With these art and pattern brushes, you can give one simple path numerous looks from a Decorative Banner to the new Bristle brushes.

With the new enhancements in Illustrator CS5, we have more control over the art and pattern brushes. For example, we can draw a simple curved path with the Pen tool and from the Brush Definition Menu in the Options Bar, we can choose a banner to apply to our path. Click once and the banner is automatically applied along the path and click twice to open the Art Brush Options dialog box.

The dialog box opens with our chosen banner displayed. Here we can use the Brush Scale Options to determine how the banner will follow along the path. We can choose to have the banner scale proportionately or stretch to fit the length of our path. We can also use the Stretch Between Guides option and the movable guides for more control. This dialog box also allows you to colorize the banner and change the direction of the banner. We have similar controls for the pattern brushes, in the Pattern Brush Options dialog box. With the new Scale menu, we can now use pressure and tilt tablet options to control the qualities of the pattern brush.

Building shapes in Illustrator CS5 is easier with the new Shape Builder tool. With this tool, you can easily merge objects to create a new object, break overlapping shapes or subtract areas from an object. For example, we have a logo which contains several parts including a blue circle, blue triangle, white fork and blue lines between the fork tines.

We can select the circle and triangle with the Selection tool and then switch to the Shape Builder tool. When we drag over the circle and triangle with this new tool, these two objects are merged into one object. Next, we can remove the fork handle using the same Shape Builder tool. Just select our new blue shape along with the fork shape. Then with the Option/Alt key pressed, we can click on the handle to subtract that part of the fork shape.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.



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