Archive for June, 2011

June 24, 2011


Sometimes when we look at artwork, paths appear to be continuous, but when we modify the path thickness, we can see sharp edges where the path ends are near one another. It’s then that we realize that the path is not continuous, but is composed of multiple segments, or open paths.  In these situations, it can make perfect sense to connect, or join the open ends.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 delivers new capabilities for joining paths that simplifies the process and adds new options for the joins.

This post explores all the available ways to join paths in Illustrator CS5.


1) Pen Tool: If you want full control over how anchor points of the same path or different paths are to be joined, this is the way to go. But if the anchor points you’re trying to join are “overlapping,” don’t use the Pen tool, instead, choose another method outlined below. Joining paths with the Pen tool did not change in Illustrator CS5.

First, select the Pen tool, then click on the first endpoint to be joined. Now click on the other endpoint to be joined. When you precisely position the Pen tool over the other endpoint, a small merge symbol appears next to the pointer. If you click and drag after these clicks, you’ll get the control handles that help you adjust the path’s curve. If these endpoints are on separate paths, the final path will have the appearance of the last path clicked with the Pen tool.

2) Object>Path>Join (Cmd+J on Mac, or Ctrl+J on Win): Illustrator CS5 adds new functionality to this method, and makes joining two distantly-placed anchor points really easy. In fact, I now use this method for joining paths more often than the Pen tool.

Cmd/Ctrl+J to join end points

The rule for using this join command is simple:

Select the objects to be joined (yes, objects, not the anchor points), then choose Object>Path>Join (Cmd /Ctrl + J). The nearest anchor points will be connected.

And if you want to join “preferred” anchor points? Simple. Just select the desired anchor points and press Cmd or Ctrl + J.

3) Join overlapping anchor points (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+Opt+J): There is no change in this functionality for Illustrator CS5 except for the new keyboard shortcut. Using this shortcut will open a dialog to choose either a Corner or Smooth option. A Smooth join is possible only when the end-points are smooth (i.e. both have handles).

And finally, what does it take to close an open path? Well, try it for yourself.


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June 13, 2011

Adobe Illustrator Ask a CS Pro recordings

The Illustrator team and our friends have been the delivering some great Illustrator sessions as part of the Adobe Ask a CS Pro e-seminar series that takes place each Friday at 12 noon, Pacific Time.

For those of you who were unable to attend the sessions live, here are links to the session recordings. To attend upcoming sessions, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be notified of the next e-seminar on Illustrator.


The Illustrator Appearance Panel
with Rufus Deuchler, Senior Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems
Learn about what Rufus defines the “coolest feature” in Adobe Illustrator: the Appearance panel. The Appearance panel gives you full control over the appearance of paths, objects, texts, and  much more, and lets you easily repurpose appearances you create by saving Graphic Styles.



Gradients and Gradient Mesh in Illustrator
with Russell Viers, Adobe Certified Instructor
Ah, the humble gradient…so often designers overlook it or misuse it because they don’t understand its design value or don’t know how to use it properly. In this session, learn techniques to give your art depth, dimension and pizzazz. Once you master these skills, you’ll have access to new ways to infuse excitement into your designs and art creation!



Adobe Illustrator’s Wide World of Color
with Brenda Sutherland, Illustrator Product Manager
Learn how to quickly and easily swap colors in any type of vector art, including gradients and patterns. Also discover how easy and fun it is to create new color combinations and experiment with different color harmonies. Brenda covers ways to save, organize and access your colors through libraries, share color groups with Adobe Kuler, and other amazing ways of working with color in Illustrator.


Illustrator's Live Trace


Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace
with Mordy Golding, Adobe Certified Expert
Vector artwork can be easily edited and resized, but actually drawing vector artwork to begin with isn’t nearly as easy. In this session, Mordy Golding shows you how to get predictable results with the Live Trace function to convert pixel-based images into vector artwork.


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