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2.5 The Pen Tool

So we've got the interface, and we're making vector graphics, and we've learned some basic tools, or we've looked at them anyway, and we've even created some objects. Well now, let's make something. Okay, circles and lines are great, but let's make something. Let's make a smile. So let's make a new document in Illustrator and we can keep everything the same except for we're going to call this smile. Now what is a smiley face? Well, it's a mouth and it's a nose and two eyes. And let's just go in and try and make it. First I would grab the ellipse tool. And I'm just gonna hold down Shift and keep it a perfect circle. I think this'll be a circle smiley. Then I'm gonna drag out two eyes. Here and here. We're gonna give him a little nose. Why not? Here you go, Mr. Smiley. And now here's something a little tough. We have to give him a smile. There's a couple ways you could do it, but the right way Is to make a whole object, right? And that means everything's connected. I mean, the circles are connected, the nose is connected, the eyes are connected. So, let's give him a smile. Well, we're gonna do that with the easiest way, the Paintbrush tool. Click and drag out, give our Mr. Smiley a smile. And then we're gonna come over and we're gonna draw a line to connect it like this, and he's got a big smile. Now, the way we made this isn't exactly right, because if we use our direct selection tool, we can pull off the top and he's just missing a big piece of his smile. So, we're gonna use the pen tool instead to create a more perfect smile. The pen tool, when we select it, is used in a very special way. And I think the pen tool is my favorite tool in all of Illustrator. It's the most powerful one, in my opinion, as it makes everything. To make an object with a pen tool, we click where we want it to begin. That's over there in the cheek, where the smile starts. Then the next point we want is down here, so we'll click once down here. Next, we're gonna click once at the other cheek. And then finally, to complete, we're gonna go back to our first point, and you can see, it changes. Giving a little circle on my pen tool, we'll zoom in and take a look. That little circle means you're completing the path, you're bringing it full circle. You click there. So, what the tiny little pen tool icon tells you at all times is really important. It says, when it's an x, hey this is gonna start a new path. It says, when it's on something that it's already made, hey, I'm gonna take away this point. Or I'm gonna add this point. But once you click and start, when it's nothing, it says I'm gonna add something, right over here. It does even more than that and clicking, and adding points, and subtracting points is even more advanced. We're gonna get into that a little bit later. But, the pen tool has it all. Now that smile's a little triangle so it's still not too great. So we'll take our selection tool and click and delete that, cuz that's [INAUDIBLE] but guess what, the pen tool still has the answer. Let's go and select the pen tool again, and we're gonna start again. Click here. But now, for our second point down at the bottom, instead of just clicking once, we're gonna click and drag and were gonna drag it over to the right and you're gonna see why. When I start to click and drag, we're bending the line and Illustrator shows you a preview of what this line's gonna do when it bends. Look at that, it'll even move around the whole screen to accommodate what you're doing. I'm not letting go of the mouse, I'm continuing to drag until I see the smile curve that I want. Then, I'm gonna let go. That was the real beginning of a smile. Well now do you click and drag again? Mm, no. Not by default, anyway. When I click up here to make the other cheek, and you can see this green thing, we'll talk about this in a moment. I click up here and it finishes the curve. It automatically calculates using math, using vectors, what the rest of that curve is. And finally, look over here. It completes a smile. And that is an award winning smile. Right, Mr. Smiley? That's right, Ryan. All right, that was ridiculous. But still, the pen tool can do perfectly straight lines as we've seen. Like this, perfectly straight. It can also do these wonderful curves and it can do it all in one shape. So, it's everything you need. Sure, there's a way to do this by taking a circle and trying to cut it in half, or trying to draw it out perfectly with a paintbrush or a pencil. But, why bother when pen tool takes care of it? But pen tool does even more than that. Let's get rid of our smiley, altogether. When pen tool is clicked and dragged it makes a curved line. The next thing it does when you click again. Say, I wanna go straight. I click again and it's a curve. Well that's no good. Let's zoom in here. And you can see when I'm hovering over this pen tool, it's a tiny little V, and it's hard to see because of the way my line is setup. But this little V means to straighten out a curve that bend pull started. Will it straighten out the one you already made? No. When I click it, it flattens the vector, takes away one of the curves. You can see this blue line now is only on one side instead of both. Then when I click again, it's perfectly straight. So now, using Shift I'm gonna click down, right? Shift keeps me straight lines. Then I'm gonna click and drag here, and then I'm gonna let it go straight a little bit, so that means I have to click this point over here to be straight to there. And then I'm gonna click on the original point, and I'm gonna pull. It curved. So the pen tool can make any shape under the sun. And when you really start adding a lot of things, it can get real, real complicated, but this is the basics of the pen. Now, the pen tool does a couple other and I'll show you that. Lets grab our ellipse tool and make this circle. How can pen tool help us here? It's already a perfect circle. Well what if I don't want it to be a perfect circle? What if I want this to be a human face? Well, if I grab my pen tool and I zoom in, you can do that with the zoom tool but I like to hit Cmd+plus and Cmd+minus to zoom in and out, or Ctrl+ and Ctrl- on the PC. Now pen tool, if I come down and I select along the line of the circle, it becomes a plus. Well what's that all? It makes an additional point on the path. Although it might be tough to see with your eyes, let's zoom in and take a look at one of the sides of the circle. It's not just a dot here. It's a line. And the line and dot together, each dot is a point, or a vector. These points make up all the shapes that you can imagine, and including a lot of nonsensical shapes. The pen tool can add a point to a path. So let's click somewhere in the circle, like right here. You see this plus? When I'm hovering over when I click, it adds a point. Then, I'm gonna click over here and add a point. Now what's the big deal? Once you add a point, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard. Really add a whole different dimension to what you were doing. So I'm gonna add a point up here. We've moved away from the human face, and it's looking more like a pillow or a bean or something. You can see every time I add a point, I get to do some pretty cool things. And keyboard shortcuts are no exception. When I move around with the arrows, it moves it a little bit. But if I hold down a Shift and move with the arrows, it moves things a lot. So I'm gonna make this way out. And then I decide, oh, I don't like that. Well I'm gonna go over and when I find the dot in between the two lines, I'm gonna hover over it with the pen tool. And you can see the pen tool becomes minus. That means, take away this point. When I click it, it goes back to work. How cool is that? In fact, I'm gonna get rid of this point too, and this point, and this point. So the pen tool is the most powerful tool in Photoshop. You're gonna need it to create a cover, a vector hero, because it is so cool. In fact, the whole cover should be an homage to the pen tool. But, all the points on an object can do a lot more. And that's with direct selection. That's coming up next.

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