This is a huge one! It’s a huge beast that I want to get to the right place for you all to read it in full. But first, let’s talk about a common misconception about how Illustrator works.
For me, when I started out (around 1997, I believe) it was pretty easy to figure out what Illustrator does. When you open up Illustrator, you will see its interface is quite similar to the one it looks like in a typical word processor.
The most important concept right from the beginning is that your tool selection is in a grid as well as a grid of text. When everything is set up as it needs to be, you are almost as good as seeing straight lines. In Illustrator, when you hit that “Add” button you get a view of all the selections in the current selection.
So how does it show a selection? It simply shows a small graphic that’s drawn on the left side of the panel. When you hit that “Go” button it starts a new blank selection and you are presented with that graphic. At this point you can draw any shape you want and then move the “Add” button around, which fills that shape. Now if the shape is a circle, the “Add” button shows another circle. This keeps the look the same. This process goes on until you hit “Save”, or the program closes if it doesn’t. Now let’s move on to the other important part about Illustrator: the layers.
When you start using a layer, you create a single layer above all the others. The way you create it depends on what tools you have.
For word processors, the most common way to create a layer is when you add a grid in the “Layer…” menu. Then you hit “Add”. You will see it automatically begin to pop up over the next page and continue until it reaches the end of the selection. When you press “Save” it automatically shows you the next section or group. This can be a grid, text, a shape, a selection, etc. This is a great way to create a bunch of different layers in your favorite word processor.
Sometimes word processors are easier to use than they are to think about. For example, my current favorite word processor is RTF. As you can see, creating a grid, text, a selection and a grid for RTF is an easy process.
I also like some very advanced tools more than others.
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