The Live Paint Feature in Adobe CS5 Illustrator - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Using the Live Paint feature in Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator, you can create the image you want and fill in regions with color. The Live Paint bucket automatically detects regions composed of independent intersecting paths and fills them accordingly. The paint within a given region remains live and flows automatically if any paths are moved.

If you want to give it a try, follow these steps to put together an example to experiment with:

1Use the Ellipse tool to create a circle on your page.

Make the circle large enough to accommodate two or three inner circles.

2Press D (and nothing else).

As long as you aren’t on the Type tool, you revert to the default colors of a black stroke and a white fill.

3Double-click the Scale tool.

Enter 75% in the Uniform Scale text box.

4Press the Copy button and then click OK.

You see a smaller circle inside the original.

5Press Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac).

This duplicates the transformation and creates another circle inside the last one.

6Choose Select→All or press Ctrl+A (Windows) or Command+A (Mac).

This activates the circles you just created.

7Make sure that the Fill swatch is forward.

The Fill swatch is at the bottom of the Tools panel.

8Activate the Swatches or Color panel.

Choose any fill color.

9Select the Live Paint Bucket tool, which is hidden under the Shape Builder tool, and move the cursor over the various regions of the circles.

See how the different regions become highlighted?

10Click when the region you want to fill is activated.

Now try it with other fill colors in different regions.

A companion feature to the Live Paint Bucket is support for gap detection. With this feature in its arsenal, Illustrator automatically and dynamically detects and closes small to large gaps that may be part of the artwork. You can determine whether you want paint to flow across region gap boundaries by using the Gap Options dialog box, accessible by choosing Object→Live Paint→Gap Options.

Before you save a file for an older version of Illustrator that uses the Live Paint feature, first select the occurrences of Live Paint and choose Object→Expand. When the Expand dialog box appears, leave the options at their defaults and click OK. This setting breaks down the Live Paint objects to individual shapes, which older versions of Illustrator can understand.