I'm pretty new to Illustrator. I'm using CS4 on a mac.
Here's what I want: a filled rectangle in which the top and bottom line segments are straight, and the two side line segments are zigzag. I can't seem to find a good way to do that. It seems relatively simple to me...there must be a method for this, right? I apologize if this has been answered. I did a lot of searching, really.
First thing I tried: Make a rectangle, then Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag. That turns all segments of the rectangle zig zag, and I want the top and bottom to be straight.
Next: Draw four separate lines and join them to make a shape that I can fill. I can do that, right? Anyway, the problem: I draw a zigzag line, and a straight line and right angles. I select the endpoints with the pen tool (right?) to join them. When they join, either they both become straight or they both become zigzag. Which is not what I want either. Here's a picture of what I'm trying to do.
The other thing I noticed is that the Zig Zag effect doesn't give me additional anchor points (at least from what I can see), and doesn't give me anchor points where I want them. See in the above picture, where I have the left-hand line segment selected, the path is still straight so the anchor points don't line up with the zigzag line that is visible to me. Which means when I try to join the segments, they make funny shapes at the corner. Which is also annoying. This thread seemed to indicate that Zig Zag should give me additional anchor points at each corner: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/482958. Why don't I get that? Is it a CS4/CS5 issue?
Main thing, I just want to make this shape. Any method I can use in CS4 would be much appreciated.
To draw the figure:
1. Rectangle tool: Draw a rectangular path.
2. White pointer: Select a segment (not an anchor point).
3. Cut to the clipboard.
4. Paste In Front.
5. Apply Zig-Zag effect.
6. Expand Appearance.
7. Black pointer: Select both paths.
8. Join twice.
That did it! Thank you! I hadn't used Expand Appearance before.
One thing I don't understand: When I select segments with the black pointer and hit command-J, it gives me an error. I've been joining line segments by clicking endpoints with the Pen tool. Is that the same thing?
For decades it was ridiculously required in Illustrator to tediously select endPoints with the white pointer in order to join two paths.
Long, long overdue, it can now join multiple selected open paths in one move, but only if the paths are completely selected (another stupid limitation); thus my specifying the black pointer.
This is all basic stuff. You really need to read and work through the documentation.
Yeah. So, I'm having trouble accessing instruction pages for CS4. Like the first hit that comes up in this search--it just takes me back to the illustrator help homepage rather than an article:
I've been having a lot of problems like that.
Here's a snapshot of the figure I'm working on. Thanks a lot for your help!
Don't use the absurdly cumbersome default Help system that goes online. Make sure you've downloaded the PDF references and set the stupid Help system to use only the local files.
Adobe has completely wrecked its documentation setup with this "everything online" and "colaboration" scheme. When I'm working in an application and need to look up something in the documentation, I need to simply open the documentation file, key in a search term, read the passage. I need to get in and get out quickly without a bunch of tedious and confused online options, waiting for web pages to load and to perform automated searches of multiple scattered sources.
Having users add comments to the product documentation is also stupid. More often than otherwise, that's just a situation of the blind leading the blind. And this latest nonsense of transferring mere comments posted in that system to this forum, as if they are questions is also stupid.
Adobe needs to get back to its responsibility as a product seller to provide clean, clear, thorough and quickly accessible locally stored official product documentation. (Heaven forbid a software vendor every returning to actually providing printed manuals that a customer can read at his leisure--that eats far too much into the profit margin!)
In my daily work, I see such a stark contrast between all the inadequacy of Adobe's overblown "help" nonsense, and the straightforward, quick & easy documentation references of other products. In FileMaker Pro, for example, the straightforward documentation is a locally stored application that launches and navigates instantly. It's even contextually responsive. If you're working in the Field Calculation dialog, for example, and need to refer to the explanation of a particular calc function, you just click the unobtrusive help icon (a question mark). A question mark appears next to your cursor and you click in the portion of the interface in which you are working. The help file window opens instantly and usually auto-navigates to the very function you need to read about.
FileMaker's treatment is vastly more efficient, faster, and more intelligent than a dumb PDF document. Of course, decades of experience has taught me not to actually expect anything so functionally elegant from Adobe, especially in reference to Illustrator. So just returning to a straightforward launching of the local PDF copy of the User Manual as default would be a vast improvement over the current convoluted mess.
But meanwhile, Adobe seems increasingly determined to foist its responsibility for documentation of its over-rated, over-priced, poorly-designed software onto its own users, with its incessant insistence to download "updates" to the online "collaborative community" default crap.
When I need to know how a software function is ostensibly designed to work, I just need an instant reference to official documentation. The last thing I want is interminable delays while waiting to be bombarded with the lastest installments of a bunch of tripe written by other users, most of whom are either half-illiterate or don't know what they're talking about anyway. It's like trying to get technical help from subway graffiti.
Now that that's off my chest, regarding your diagram:
You should be using Symbols for that kind of thing. Are you? With a little planning and setup, you can define your elements to conform to the increments of the page grid, store them as Symbols, and then quickly construct the lines of your diagrams by just dragging Instances and snapping them into place.
Thanks for the tips! I didn't know you could restrict help to local files. I'd given up on it because, well, it just takes me online. Of course, I'll have to do a bunch more googling before I figure out how to do that...
Once I know where to access documentation, I'll look for symbols. That sounds helpful.
The answer you receive is the right way to do wht you wish butt he specific shape ypu want there is a cute way of constructing it that is a little simpler in some respects.
Here is a video
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