The Tilde and Multiple Copies  E-mail
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Written by rdorr   
One of the coolest toys I had growing up was a spirograph. I was amazed how multiple repeated shapes created such intricate patterns. Along with all the wonderful things that can be done in Illustrator, pressing the TILDE KEY while dragging a shape can provide similar results. Also, by experimenting with the LIVE PAINT BRUSH complicated graphics like the example below are a snap. Follow along as I walk you through the basics of making this exploding star.

The first thing we need to do is find the TILDE KEY on the keyboard. It is the key located directly below the ESC KEY.



Change the COLOR SETTINGS to black for the stroke color and “None” for the fill.



Although any of the closed path shape tools and open path shape tools will work in this tutorial, choose the STAR SHAPE from the toolbar.



Draw a small star in the center of the artboard. In this case, I held down the ALT (PC) / OPT (Mac) to get a traditional star shape. DO NOT RELEASE the mouse button yet.


With the mouse button still depressed press down on the TILDE KEY. While holding these down drag the mouse in the direction of the arrow in the illustration below. Here’s a hint........the quicker you move the mouse the fewer the number of stars will be made. If you move the mouse slowly, you will end up with a black solid area of many stars.


To make the design easier to see, select the design and change the stroke to 35 pts.



As you can see, some areas of the star now seem darker than other star shapes. This is because there are multiple stars in close proximity to themselves. You might want to thin some of these out by using the SELECTION TOOL to chose those you want to delete.


You might also find that the spacing of certain stars are not consistent with the others. You can select that individual star and hover your mouse over one of the corners of the bounding box. When the curved arrow appears you can ROTATE the star into its proper position.



Once you are satisfied with the arrangement of all the stars, use the SELECTION TOOL to drag a selection box around all the objects.




Drag the LIVE PAINT BUCKET TOOL over the design. When the paths turn red click on the left mouse button to create individual fill areas or “faces”.


Select the fill color you want and drag the LIVE PAINT BUCKET over the design. The individual face’s outline will turn red when selected. Click the left mouse button to fill this area. To paint more than one face at a time, drag across multiple areas. Double-click to paint adjacent unstroked faces (flood fill). Triple-click to fill all faces that currently have the same fill.



Continue filling your design with different colored fills.



Select the entire design again with the SELECTION TOOL and change the stroke color to “none”.



The result will look similar to the illustration below.



For the next step click on the design with the SELECTION TOOL.



From the OBJECT MENU select EXPAND.



When the EXPAND DIALOG BOX appears click OK.



Once the design has been expanded UNGROUP the selection two to three times to make sure all shapes have been ungrouped. With the entire design still selected change the stroke color to black to outline each of the shapes



Hopefully with the information provided you will be able to think of more creative ways to use the TILDE KEY with the various closed and open shape tools.

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