The Illustrator CS3 Line Segment and Star Tools

The Illustrator CS3 Line Segment and Star Tools
We are finally ready to add our glowing star to the top of the tree for our Winter greeting card or Artist Trading Card. We will create the star in two steps. First, we will draw a semi-transparent glow with the Star tool. Then we will build the star from several lines that we will draw with the Line Segment tool.

Open your project into IllustratorR. Lock the first three layers (Background, Tree and Ground) in the Layers Panel.

  1. Add a new layer in the Layers Panel and name it "Glow". We will draw the semi-transparent glow for our star on this layer.

  2. For the Star tool, set the Fill to white and the Stroke to Null. You will find the Star tool under the Rectangle tool in the Tools Panel.

  3. To draw a simple star, just click and drag with your mouse until your star is the size that you need. While still holding down the mouse button you can rotate the star by dragging your mouse in an arc and use the Up/Down arrows to add/remove points to this star. Try that now to see the results. Click the Ctrl + X keys to remove the star.

  4. To draw a star to a specific size, click once within the greeting card with the Star tool to open the Star dialog box. Where you click with the mouse, will determine the center of your star. Therefore, click just above the top of the tree.

    As you can see, there are three settings in the dialog box. Radius 1 will determine the distance between the center of your star and the inner most points. Radius 2 will set the distance between the center and the outer most points. The Points setting will determine the number of points on your star.

  5. Set the following values in the dialog box and click OK.

    Radius 1 – 7 pixels
    Radius 2 – 14 pixels
    Points – 20

  6. We want this to be the glow behind our star. We need to lower the Opacity. Click on the star with the Selection tool. From the Control Panel, set the Opacity to 50%.

    Now we will draw the star with the Line Segment tool.

  7. Lock the Glow layer and add a new layer. Name it "Star".

  8. Set the Stroke to white and the Fill to white. Set the Stroke weight to .5. For the Line Segment tool, you can draw a simple line by clicking once where you want the line to begin and then clicking a second time where you want it to end. But, we want to control the angle of each line in our star, so we will use the Line Segment Tool Options dialog box.

    Click once with your mouse to open the Line Segment Tool Options dialog box. Where you click with the mouse, will determine where the line will begin. Set the following values in the dialog box.

    Length – .20 inches
    Angle – 90 degrees
    Fill Line – checked

    With the Selection tool, drag the line and center it on top of the glow.

  9. Repeat the last step to create three more lines. Each line will have a Length to .20 inches. Set the Angle for these lines to 45, 360 and 135 degrees. Using the Direct Selection tool, select the vertical line. Drag the bottom point of this line to elongate the line almost to the tip of the tree. After you drag the lines into place over the glow, your star should look something like this.
Save your image in Illustrator .ai format.

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