Did you know that holding the alt key while selecting the Pathfinder options creates a non-destructive version of the shape you’re working on? This gives you the ability to tweak the shape later on, if you wish to do so.
UK-based multidisciplinary designer Mathew Lucas has shared a series of useful tips on relatively less-known features in Adobe Illustrator. These hacks will surely save you time and enhance your workflow. Check them out below.
1. Pathfinder Alt Modes
Another Illustrator quick one that’s a little hidden.
Pathfinder alt modes — hold alt while using the pathfinder options to give you a non destructive version.
This way you can keep shapes live for tinkering after before finalising. Works with most options in pathfinder.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 23, 2020
2. Draw Inside
One of my all time favs this tip for Illustrator. Drawing inside.
Click these minuscule buttons on the tool panel or hit shift+d until you see the bounding box around your artwork.
Then simply draw inside, you can draw shapes, line work or just paste whatever inside.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 25, 2020
3. Responsive Labels
Today’s mini illustrator tutorial — brought to you by a property client hence working on some bigger maps.
Responsive Labels, this was a must and the one that made me learn more about the Appearance panel.
You can set it outlines, rounded, circles & rectangles.
Easy as 🅐🅱🄲 pic.twitter.com/MYQm43Pz3Y
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 18, 2020
4. Shape Builder Tool
This one might be a little bit divisive (pun 100% intended).
Pathfinder is great and everything. But the shape builder tool is so much more intuitive — especially for those new to Illustrator!
Shift+M to get into the tool, select shapes to merge or hold alt cut away!
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) July 8, 2020
5. Recolor Artwork
Another little Illustrator tip after a week off. This one around working with colours and a palette in Illustrator.
Two hidden little gems here. One the palette shift using the colour wheel and another using global adjust to map all colours in artwork.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) July 6, 2020
6. Eyedropper Pickup & Apply
Another quick but hidden feature in Illustrator today.
Double click the eyedropper icon to open this panel. From here you can select what gets applied/picked up.
Select all appearance at the top to pick up styling from artwork too. For example shadowing, corners & styles.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 24, 2020
7. Group Styles
Working on maps in illustrator? Use group styles — not individual. It will save you about a million life years and a boat load of stress.
You can have different styles all working together too, wider roads, dual lines etc. pic.twitter.com/HxtLfaKqGl
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 16, 2020
8. Transform Each
Another little tip — this one I use everyday. Transform Each. Does exactly that, but around each groups own transform.
Drop those chairs 75% and give them a random angle.
Always using this to add the human touch to floorpans and maps.
(Live shadows in appearance panel)
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) July 13, 2020
9. Duplicate Rotation
One that’s not as known as you first think — when in the rotate tool you can move the anchor point. Click or drag it to any way to rotate around.
Also again — hold ALT and you create copy when rotating. Press CMD+D to duplicate the last action.
Spirograph fans rejoice.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) July 10, 2020
10. Symbol Sprayer
Friday’s mini illustrator tutorial — Symbol Sprayer. Perfect for when you want some texture but don’t want to have something that’s obviously tiled.
You can go in after and randomise and tweak the colour, size and spread after.
Works really well for trees for example.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 19, 2020
Best thing about using it — you can update the artwork and it applies it to all.
Instancing symbols saves lives. pic.twitter.com/52NkVGM7ed
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 19, 2020
11. Create Guides From Shapes
Simple one for Illustrator today — if you know you know.
Again one of those I felt like I went for years without and now use daily without even thinking.
CMD+5 on any artwork to create guides from them.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) July 7, 2020
12. Custom Arrowheads
Today’s minor Illustrator tip — one that has plagued me for so long. Custom Arrowheads in the stroke panel.
Open the https://t.co/5vnuYEMxbO file in the folder here. Make your edits to the symbols — save it into ‘Plugins’ folder.
Restart Illustrator. Voila! 🔚 pic.twitter.com/HaESVFrIH0
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) June 17, 2020
13. Custom Underlines
Yet another tiny tip from the appearance panel. This is a life saver for those crappy normal underlines for URLS etc.
Create custom ones and don’t be that person creating a line each time and trying to position it.
Live text ofc.
Arrows if you are feeling yourself.
— Mathew Lucas ✌︎ (@Mathew_Lucas) July 9, 2020
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