Making inroads…

Recently I was at a cartograpy convention, it was a fascinating experience. Years ago I made informational maps when I was a CAD guy and was starting to play with GIS systems. My how cartography has changed since then. I learned over lunch that the process has changed from building up information to create a map to a process of deleting data until you have what you want.


Modern mapmaking now starts with GIS data from state or local government that includes way more information than you really want. The task nowadays is to remove the unwanted data from the map to reduce clutter and focus on the desired information.One of the tasks these Illustartor users have is to create linked networks of nodes to create the streets and highways we see on a map. Consider how a highway is typically depicted: a pair of parallel lines. What’s an easy way to create this appearance _and_ have the roads intersect?I had a brainstorm late last week about building intersectifng of roadways. I started experimenting with multiple strokes, graphic styles, and Live Paint groups.Building Roads with AICS2 and Live PaintStart a new AI fileCreate a lineDuplicate the stroke in the Appearance paletteChange the top stroke to white and 3ptChange the lower stroke to desired color and 7ptCreate a graphic style from this example line– so far that’s just buiding a graphic style with multiple strokes…Here’s where the fun begins:Create a network of roads (I drew a bunch of random intersecting lines and shapes with a solid stroke and no fill).Select the roads that you want to intersect and use Object > Live Paint > Make command.Use the selection tool and double-click on the Live Paint group (double gray bars now appear around the road network, you’re now in isolation mode).Use the Selection Tool to select the roads.Apply the graphic style you recently made.–Presto! Intersecting roads.If you expand the Live Paint group, you can use the Direct Selection tool to pick the intersections of the lines and move the intersections.

7 Responses to Making inroads…

  1. Nice tip…Another way to achieve the same effect is to create the graphic style, draw the lines, in the layers palette click on the little round “Click to target, drag to move appearance” button next to the layer name, then apply the graphic style to the objects… voila!Steve

  2. ColinF says:

    Steve;Great tip! And a great reminder that if you don’t have all the new-fangled features there frequently are great solutions in older versions! Thanks for the tip.

  3. That gray box is flummoxing a lot of my clients. Is that what it’s called, “isolation mode”? Is that new in CS2?It’s a neat feature but hard to find in online help. (I tried entering “isolation mode” but the earth didn’t move.) I finally found it in the Working with Groups section.I don’t do a lot of Illy work so this feature may have been around since v9 for all I know.AM

  4. ColinF says:

    hey Anne-Marie;Yup, the double-line gray box indicates “isolation mode” and it’s new for AICS2. It is a bit disconcerting at the beginning but I’m finding it really cool now. Why? A product manager showed me how isolation mode works with both Live Paint groups and normal groups!That’s right: first group a couple objects, then group another couple of objects, and then group the two groups — now double-click on the über-group. You enter isolation mode and can manipulate either of the two groups with the Selection tool. Double-click on of the sub-groups and you isolate that sub-group, etc. (It’s almost like using the Group Selection tool, yet easier.)To leave isolation mode, double-click on your pasteboard where you have no art. (This is so like working in Flash! In that app, you double-click on an instance (copy) of a symbol to edit the parent symbol, then double-click the pasteboard to move up one level in the animation.)If you select a group or a Live Paint group you should notice an icon in the Control Palette, it looks like two concentric squares with tiny arrows pointing in toward the smaller square. This button will take you into isolation mode. It’s much like the “into the group” button InDesign CS has. Likewise, to get out of isolation mode, the Control palette button changes to show arrows pointing outward to the larger square.HTH — cf

  5. Colin, that’s great. Thanks for the explanation!It’s kind of tricky, though, and I think needs a section in Help for it … is there one?For example … following your instrux I made two sub groups and then grouped them together. Click off the group and then click on the “group of groups” (the “supergroup”), a regular bounding box appears around the whole thing. Dragging any item moves the supergroup as before.Click off the group and then double-click any member of the group, the gray box appears around the supergroup but the item you double-clicked on is not selected.At this point I have no clue what’s about to happen if I drag an item in the gray box. Will just that item move? Will the whole group move?What actually does happen is a surprise … the item’s sub group moves. It’s not until I start to drag that I see the subgroup’s bounding box.I think invoking “isolation mode” by double-clicking a single item in a supergroup should show, somehow, the subgroups within the group … overlapping bounding boxes, bounding boxes with diff. colors or in dashes, something like that… in addition to the gray box.Or maybe a View menu item with “Show Subgroup Bounding Boxes”?Another interesting/disconcerting thing is how you can inadvertently add items to the supergroup.As long as you are seeing the gray box … clicking (once) off of it doesn’t make it go away … anything else you add to the illustration becomes part of the group. The gray box enlarges to encompass the new item.That can get real confusing to users who have no idea what the gray box is about and are trying to ignore it. ;-)… just some thoughts from the front lines …Thanks for the clue about the icon in the control palette … never noticed it before!AM

  6. font9a says:

    the only problem with this technique is that… you’re mixing metaphores.Photoshop uses GRAPHIC STYLES. Illustrator has no concept of STYLES. It could be achieved through the use of the symbols palette, however.

  7. font9a says:

    i digress. graphic styles are surely an illustrator staple.– font9a