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Author Topic: how to fill a space with color in illustrator  (Read 522 times)

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lowlytech

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how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« on: January 10, 2017, 10:48:47 am »
I am at the point where I have to get some artwork done on the control panels and my bezel before I can proceed any further in my first project.  My sister is in desktop publishing and was going to help me since I don't have a clue about illustrator.  After I gave her some ideas and examples I waited 8 months for her to get some AI files to me she finally admitted she didn't have the time to do it.  So I thought I would try to figure this out myself.  I figured it was worth a shot since when I started this project I couldn't build a square box, so its been a good learning experience, but i am finding out illustrator is not too easy to understand.   

I am just trying to play around with it at the moment but I spent about 4 hours last night trying to figure out how to just fill these lines with a solid color.  I messed with the live paint bucket till I was blue in the face and could only get the lines themselves to change color instead of the empty space in between them. 

I attached the file I was messing with.  This is my control panel and was wondering if anyone cared to look at the details and make sure I have the file created at the right dpi and any other details I may not have set right.  I am using CS5.  Thank you again for all the help this great forum has provided. 

SlammedNiss

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 11:06:29 am »
I'm horrible at explaining, so hopefully this makes sense. You can't fill an empty space unless it's enclosed/joined. Take the white arrow tool, highlight the 2 upper endpoints on the 2 left lines and hit CTRL+J to join them, then do the same for the lower endpoints. That will enclose the space then allow you to add color.
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yotsuya

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 11:25:33 am »
Yeah, you don't use a paint bucket like you do in a traditional drawing program with illustrator. There's a bit of a learning curve, but once you learn it it's awesome. I designed stuff strictly in Illustrator now.
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lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 12:51:12 pm »
Awesome, Thanks for the tips.  I will try to close the lines tonight when I get back home.  I planned to send the AI file to GoG to print on their vinyl material so I wouldn't have to use the plexi on top.  Does the colorspace look right.  I know on their site it says RGB, but illustrator complains when I switch from CMYK.  Color accuracy isn't crucial if that is all that matters.

lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 08:32:28 pm »
Okay, I am so sorry I am gonna be that pain in the side.  I got home and tried the connect points.  Clicked the white cursor icon and drug a box around the two points and Ctrl+j and I got this message.  However I could get the far top to connect, but none of the other ends would join.  Is there some simple thing I am missing?

lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 09:30:28 pm »
I ended up using the line tool to at least fill in an "area" that was surrounded by a line.  However the live paint tool still won't let me fill the selection.  I get a message about making a live paint group.  So I select live paint selection tool and drag around the whole object but I still can't get it to fill in the selections with the live paint bucket.  Is the live paint the best way to fill the inside of an object?

yotsuya

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 10:08:28 pm »
I ended up using the line tool to at least fill in an "area" that was surrounded by a line.  However the live paint tool still won't let me fill the selection.  I get a message about making a live paint group.  So I select live paint selection tool and drag around the whole object but I still can't get it to fill in the selections with the live paint bucket.  Is the live paint the best way to fill the inside of an object?
Live Paint doesn't do what you think it does.
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lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 10:55:09 pm »
Well I merged the live paint selection and it finally let me color two of the four lines.  Not really sure what I did differently on the two that worked vs the other ones that didn't, but I guess I need a whole lot more time to figure this out. 

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 11:35:22 pm »
I would have drawn a long rectangle, use the direct selection tool to angle it, and then used to fill to fill in that box.
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Shekel

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2017, 11:46:47 pm »
I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to make, but I edited your file.

Open up the file and see that I have 4 paths in the layer. I only made the one slant and copied it another 3 times. It seems you're trying to make everything with 1 path and with the Live Paint tool. Don't use that.

See the blue and black on the toolbar. One is for the fill colour, the other for the stroke. To fill something properly, you need a closed path, you select it and then hit that square to select your colour or gradient.

If you want to work with a grid, select View > Snap to Grid to help yourself out.

lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2017, 01:05:35 am »
Thank you for correcting it.  I still am having a hard time grasping the fill paint option.  I wasn't really making anything specific yet, was just trying to get a feel for how to color fill lines as I think the majority of my art will be retro style stripes. 

mahuti

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2017, 06:21:21 pm »
See, when I first saw this topic, I was scratching my head wondering why this was even an issue, as filling something with color is pretty much automatic. That said though, I realize that's because I've been doing it so long i make assumptions.

Like shekel said, the key is:

Closed Path. 

Each filed area must be its own complete closed path for it to be filled fully. If you have 2 stripes they must be 2 completely separate objects. Figuring this out isn't always easy if you're not used to the bezier curve/pen tool. The pen tool is probably the single most difficult thing to master using any vector drawing tool, and many people just never figure it out very well unfortunately. It's especially challenging if you are putting points down, and somehow don't join them up.

This works
Code: [Select]
x-----x
|     |
x-----x

This: not so much.
Code: [Select]
x       X
|       
x-----x

The following method isn't necessarily less complicated in some ways, but some of my friends that never cared for the pen tool liked to use this approach:

Usually when I'm doing simple objects is, I start with the box or circle tools. I draw multiple squares and circles to approach the shape of the object, laying them over the top of each other. Once I'm close, I select all of the overlapped objects, and use the pathfinder tool to join them, and then merge. I use a similar method to chop up objects to get close to the right shape that I want using the pathfinder split tool

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/combining-objects.html

Using the box / circle drawing tools is a lot easier to understand (i think) than using any of the line tools. You'll get immediate fills and strokes on your objects.

The last bit of advice I have is: deleting anchor points using the backspace or delete key is destructive to your path. Using the "delete anchor point" pen tool just removes the point and leaves the rest of the line.

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/editing-paths.html

None of this DIRECTLY answers "how to fill". I'm just trying to address some ways of making it a little more straightforward to work with shapes without having to resort to the harder-to-grasp pen and line functions.
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yotsuya

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2017, 06:23:00 pm »
See, when I first saw this topic, I was scratching my head wondering why this was even an issue, as filling something with color is pretty much automatic. That said though, I realize that's because I've been doing it so long i make assumptions.

Like shekel said, the key is:

Closed Path. 

Each filed area must be its own complete closed path for it to be filled fully. If you have 2 stripes they must be 2 completely separate objects. Figuring this out isn't always easy if you're not used to the bezier curve/pen tool. The pen tool is probably the single most difficult thing to master using any vector drawing tool, and many people just never figure it out very well unfortunately. It's especially challenging if you are putting points down, and somehow don't join them up.

This works
Code: [Select]
x-----x
|     |
x-----x

This: not so much.
Code: [Select]
x       X
|       
x-----x

The following method isn't necessarily less complicated in some ways, but some of my friends that never cared for the pen tool liked to use this approach:

Usually when I'm doing simple objects is, I start with the box or circle tools. I draw multiple squares and circles to approach the shape of the object, laying them over the top of each other. Once I'm close, I select all of the overlapped objects, and use the pathfinder tool to join them, and then merge. I use a similar method to chop up objects to get close to the right shape that I want using the pathfinder split tool

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/combining-objects.html

Using the box / circle drawing tools is a lot easier to understand (i think) than using any of the line tools. You'll get immediate fills and strokes on your objects.

The last bit of advice I have is: deleting anchor points using the backspace or delete key is destructive to your path. Using the "delete anchor point" pen tool just removes the point and leaves the rest of the line.

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/editing-paths.html

None of this DIRECTLY answers "how to fill". I'm just trying to address some ways of making it a little more straightforward to work with shapes without having to resort to the harder-to-grasp pen and line functions.
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Monkeyvoodoo

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2017, 07:43:34 pm »
Only thing I can add is how I think of drawing in illustrator. I pretend like I'm working with construction paper. Every shape a closed object (as if I cut it out of paper) and glued down on top of another. This includes any background colour you want.

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lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2017, 09:12:14 pm »
Thank you all for trying to explain the anchor points and closed paths to me, it logically makes sense but I still have trouble figuring out the best way to arrive at a specific goal which I understand will just take time with the program.   I have another ai file I was playing with and what I did with this one was draw two long rectangles and then came back to make squares.  What I planned to do was randomly color each square with the paint fill option, but I now know I will need to have closed paths on each square.  What is the best way to achieve that?   I have spent about an hour trying to use the pen tool to make anchors around the squares but I can't seem to consistently make a connected path, and it will complain about not being on same path and when I click a new anchor point my previous one seems to go away.  That said I did get the paint fill tool to color several squares like I want so I feel good that I am making progress, on this screenshot does it look like the anchor points are normal?  It seems to fill like I want, I just didn't know if it was the proper way since the anchors didn't connect to the bottom and top lines.

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2017, 11:23:29 pm »
In one of your pictures I see the "delete anchor point" pen is selected. That's the pen with the MINUS next to it. That removes points

The easiest way to draw filled squares is to use the rectangle drawing tool. The box shape. Select it and then Click on a spot and drag the shape t to size. Hold shift to force it to be square... otherwise it will be a rectangle if you don't hold shift while dragging
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lowlytech

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2017, 01:36:33 am »
Thanks for the shift key hint for making squares.  I will give that a go and see what I run into.  Yeah I was adding and deleting anchor points seeing how it worked and guess I took a screenshot after I attempted to remove an anchor.  Thanks again for all the help with these basic questions.

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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2017, 04:15:52 am »
You can also use "option" on a mac to draw a shape from the center out, instead of from the corner down. On a pc the command is similar... probably "alt" or "ctrl" not sure off the top of my head.
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Re: how to fill a space with color in illustrator
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2017, 09:24:24 am »
The first few things you'll make will be messy until you understand the basic concepts.

When you're designing with Illustrator, I find it important to plan how you're going to do it. The program can be awkward at times and little technical issues can really slow you down. Starting again will make you re-think it and you'll probably get a better result.

  
 

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