Just How Difficult Is It To Learn A Program Like Adobe Illustrator CS4?

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During our Adobe training courses, we have come to realise that one of our tasks is to rid people of the belief that Illustrator is a difficult program to learn. We find that new users to Adobe Illustrator will often moan that they find the program complex. To solve this problem, there are three main things that we like to point out to everyone who attends our Illustrator classes.

The first thing is, we are always reminding new users of the ease with which you can change back your drawing to a state earlier than the point where it has gone wrong. Also, we constantly remind delegates that they must be on the right tool in order for a given operation is to work. As well as this, we give them an insight into the subtle and useful visual feedback provided by Illustrator as you create and manipulate elements within your drawing.

If you a new user to a sophisticated program like Illustrator, you cannot be expected to avoid making errors: things may go a little awry or even get completely screwed up. The key thing here is to learn the power of the Undo command. For example, if you accidentally resize an object don’t try to manually change it back to the original size, simply go to the Edit menu and choose Undo or use the keyboard shortcut (Control-Z or Command-Z on Apple Mac). If you Undo too many times, you can always use Edit – Redo to move forward again. (The shortcut for the Redo command is Control-Shift-Z.)

The key factor in avoiding these types of errors is to keep looking at the various signals that the program provides, in particular those signals relating to the cursor appearance. For example, if you are attempting to resize a rectangle, you can only do this when your cursor changes to a slanted line with an arrow at each end (This indicates that your cursor is now in the correct position).

Another thing that new users do is attempt to modify elements in their drawing without clicking on the Selection tool first. One example might be they draw a shape using, say, the Polygon tool and then, with the Polygon tool still active, they attempt to move or resize the polygon they have just drawn or click on the page to deselect the polygon. They then get annoyed and puzzled when tiny polygons keep appearing in their drawing or Illustrator’s shape dimension window keeps on popping up.

Avoiding this problem is not hard. You just have to make sure that you have the right tool selected. So, if you want to manipulate an existing object, you just ensure that you have the Selection tool highlighted. One of the first shortcuts that we teach people who come on our Illustrator training courses is that you can temporarily activate the Selection tool by just pressing the Control key (or Command for Mac users).

If you a new user to a program like Illustrator, it is inevitable that you will make errors: things may go slightly wrong or even get completely messed up. The key thing here is to learn the Undo habit. For example, if you accidentally move an object don’t try to manually put it back where it was, simply choose Edit – Undo or use the shortcut Control-Z (Command-Z on a Mac). If you Undo too far back, you can use the Redo command to come forward again. (The shortcut for Redo is Control-Shift-Z.)

If your effort to create a drawing has gone completely wrong, the best thing to do is to accept defeat and choose the Revert command from the File menu. This is a way of admitting “This just isn’t working. I submit!” The Revert command abandons all of the modifications you have made to the document since it was last saved and can be another useful way of avoiding user headaches.

The The writer of this article is a trainer and developer with OnSiteTrainingCourses.Coms, a UK IT training company offering Adobe Illustrator Classes at their central London training centre.

adobe illustrator charts
illustrator
Image by Sean MacEntee
adobe illustrator charts

This tutorial shows you how to work with the blend tool while creating logos. During the logo creation many artists use the blend tool to create some kind of shadows to also add detail to the logo (for example GTA 5). You’re also going to learn about the scale tool to simultaneously manipulate anchor points.

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