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5 Helpful tools you might not know about on Adobe Illustrator!

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So! Here’s a blog with some useful tools in illustrator that I find extremely helpful when designing for our clients! Hopefully by reading this you will learn something new that will enable you to save time designing and enhance your graphic design skills/overall work for your clients! Happy reading!

1. The Smooth Tool…

This tool is extremely helpful if, like me, you draw illustrations on adobe illustrator. The smooth tool basically works as a brush to clean up any rough edges made while drawing. The vectors are adapted by dragging out the sharp movement within the line to create a smoother appearance. This tool gives your designs an overall tidier look! You will be able to find this button in the left side toolbar, or if it doesn’t appear, click on the three dots ‘edit toolbar’ and you’ll find it in there! Happy drawing!

2. Clipping Masks!

Clipping masks are something I religiously use when designing on Illustrator. This tool works by essentially putting your design into an object only allowing you to see the artwork in the shape of the mask. By directly selecting the mask, you can go in and adapt the design if any changes need to be made within the shape. This works really well for if you want your graphic to be displayed in a square or a circle for the purpose of the design. To create a clipping mask, all you need to do is draw a shape vector over the design you want to mask. Make sure the shape is on top of the design, then select all→right click →Object→Clipping Mask→Make (or Command+7), DONE!

3. Pathfinder Panel…

This panel has a range of different buttons which allows you to combine objects into new shapes. The panel is made up of different settings allowing the shapes to appear differently; ‘add’, ‘subtract’, ‘intersect’ and ‘exclude’ easily change the look of the objects with one click.
Use the top row of buttons in the panel to make paths or compound paths! I’ve found it’s particularly useful for when you are designing things such as logos. To create a different shape, select the two objects you are wanting to merge together, then click the relevant button according to how you want the shape to look. See examples for a clearer explanation!

4. Eyedropper Tool!

Say you’re working on a design job that needs specific colours but you can’t work out the exact percentages, look no further. This tool allows you to pick out a specific colour from a reference such as an image saving you time and energy trying to manually match a colour! By simply selecting the eyedropper icon down the left side toolbar, hover over the reference and select which colour you are needing. You can then save the colour into your swatches for easy access!

5. Global Colours…

This feature on illustrator is especially great for if like me, you often change your mind about the colour scheme chosen for a design. So, this tool allows you to easily change a specific colour throughout the full design. For example, if you have a specific red used throughout, by having it as a global colour you can select the colour in the swatches panel you no longer want on the design and replace it with a different colour in the matter of seconds; this then updates the full design. This allows you to make quick adjustments to your work instead of directly selecting every part of the design which can be time consuming and lead to mistakes!

Thanks for reading my blog! Hopefully you will have learnt something about the tools on illustrator that will be really useful when designing!

Rach!

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