Lesson 2. Intro to Vector Graphics

This lesson is intended to help you use the design principles to create stronger layouts. You will learn the four basic principles and how they affect good design. We will also discuss the differences between vector based artwork (created in Illustrator) and bitmap, or pixel based graphics created in Photoshop. We will also kick the tires in Illustrator and review the user interface and program fundamentals. Lessons include:

  1. Overview of the Design Principles
  2. Recognizing Good Use of the Design Principles
  3. Understanding the Differences Between Vector Based Graphics and Bitmap Based Graphics
  4. Using the Dot-To-Dot Method to Understand How Vector Graphics are Created in Illustrator
  5. Introduction to the Illustrator User Interface
  6. Learning the Panels, Tools and Menus in Illustrator
  7. Making Basic Selections in Illustrator
  8. Drawing and editing basic shapes in Illustrator

Points: 50 (+ 8.33 participation points)

Estimated assignment time: 3 hours

Due: Friday, May 26, 11:59P

2.1 Introduction to the Design Principles

There are basic concepts typically found in good graphic design. For our purposes, we focus on four basics which we refer to as the Design Principles.

  • Download and read the .pdf in the course library Design Principles. Make notes on each of the four principles presented. You will be quizzed on some of this this information later in this assignment.
  • Watch the video below on the Design Principles.
  • videoWatch Video | 15:11 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

2.2 Recognizing the use of the design principles to create stronger layouts

Each of the four basic design principles serves a specific function. However, altering one of these in your work, frequently alters another. This lesson is simply an introduction. We will continue with detailed discussions of these four principles next week, and throughout the semester

  • Contrast - Avoid elements on the page that are merely similar. If the elements are not the same, make them very different. This is often the most important method of attracting attention to your layout.
  • Repetition - By repeating visual elements, you develop a flow to the layout creates both organization and unity in the layout.
  • Alignment - Elements should not be placed on the page arbitrarily. All elements on the page should have some visual connection to each other.
  • Proximity - Elements related to each other should be grouped together. They become one visual unit and provide structure to the layout.

Of the four principles, Contrast is most effective method of creating visual interest that makes your reader want to look at your pages.

2.3 Learning the differences between vector graphics and bitmap graphics

There are two basic categories of graphic files we will be discussing in this course vector-based graphics and pixel-based graphics. Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based program which draws shapes based on points, lines and line segments. Adobe Photoshop creates graphics based on pixels. Download and read the .pdf file vector based graphics here.

2.4 The "dot-to-dot" concept behind vector graphics

Illustrator uses a "dot-to-dot" approach to creating images. The designer creates points with the drawing tools, and lines or line segments are drawn between these points.

TIDBIT:

I have created the videos for the course on a Mac using Creative Suite 6 
versions of Illustrator and Photoshop. Learn how Microsft Windows and Mac keyboards
are different and how the keys function differently between OS X and Windows: Visit this link to learn more here.
Read this .pdf from the course libary - download the file here.

2.5 Introduction to the Illustrator user interface

I typically get a wide range of students and their skill levels with Adobe software products. In this portion of the lessons we will review the user interface and layout of Adobe Illustrator. Go ahead and launch your copy of the Illustrator, then follow along with the introduction video. Topics include:

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

2.6 Drawing vector shapes in Illustrator

Demo shows the dot-to-dot approach to creating vector graphics. By using the pen tool, you will learn to create basic shapes.

  • Clicking points with the pen tool
  • Open and closed shapes
  • Stacking order
  • Basic editing of these shapes using the selection tools
  • Watch the video below
  • videoWatch Video | 11:29 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

2.7 Do It!
Practice Drawing Vector Shapes in Illustrator

Complete viewing the video in 2.6, then practice creating simple shapes. You will create an 8.5" x 11" document in Illustrator. Practice using the tools discussed and create shapes. You should experiment with:

  • Using the pen tool to create closed shapes
  • Use the rectangle and ellipse tools to create shapes
  • Practice changing the fill and stroke of the objects you create
  • Practice changing the stroke weight on an object
  • Try basic editing of these shapes using the selection tools
Do ItPractice the lesson

2.8 Do It!
Heart Exercise With the Pen Tool

Complete viewing the videos below, then practice creating your first graded assignment. You will create an 8.5" x 11" document in Illustrator. Practice using the tools discussed and create shapes. You should experiment with:

  • Use the ellipse tool to create shapes
  • Alter the shapes using the selection tools and the convert anchor tool
  • Practice changing the stroke weight on an object
  • Try basic editing of these shapes using the selection tools
  • Consider the design principles and create a composition
  • Watch the videos below
Save your file in a .ai format (the native file format for Illustrator) to the desktop using your name as the file name. Please complete 2.9 below prior to submitting.

videoWatch Video | 8:56 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

videoWatch Video | 7:18 minutes

Disregard any references to dates/times and due dates mentioned in the videos. Follow the due dates listed here.

Do ItPractice the lesson, then save your file to submit.

2.9 Post comments to the Google+ online Community

After you have completed creating your .ai file, visit the course's Google+ online community and post your comments about the assignment. Describe anything new you discovered, issues you had, or comments on your experience. Visit the Google+ online community here. Once you have posted, copy the link from the Google+ site. Go the Learning For Life portal, and paste the link in the text field and attach your .ai file. Hit submit.

2.10 Review and Checklist for the Week's Lesson Assignment

 

Grading Check List

read design principles .pdf
watch design principles video
read the vector based graphics .pdf
review the difference between windows and mac keyboards
watch intro video to Illustrator
watch drawing vector shapes video
watch the heart videos
practice making shapes on your own
post to the Google+ online community (be sure to upload a .jpg example)
submit your .ai file via the Learning For Life portal and provide the link to your post
completed quiz 2 on Learning For Life portal

 

Testable Items

  • What is the native file format for Illustrator?
  • What key do you hold to constrain a rectangle into a square, or an ellipse into a circle?
  • Dot-to-dot approach
  • What is the term "FILL"?
  • What is the term "STACKING ORDER"?
  • How do you swap "FILL and STROKE"?
  • What is the term "STROKE"?
  • Which Design Principle groups similar elements together?
  • How may you create Contrast in your work?
  • Which is the most important Design Principle to attract attention?
  • Will changing one of the Design Principles used affect the others?