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Websites use graphics to enhance information, assist navigation, and generally improve the user’s experience. To create those graphics, developers use any number of programs, like the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and Flash have their own topics), the CorelDraw suite, Xara, Gimp, ACDSee, Serif, ULead and others.

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Interactively Combine Shapes with the Shape Builder Tool in Adobe Illustrator
Illustrator's Shape Builder tool will let you combine shapes visually and interactively. This video shows the Mac version, but the tool works the same way in Windows. To follow along with this video, you can draw your own shapes or download the file I use: www.flisser.com/classfiles/shape-builder-exercise.zip.

Please check out the steps I've listed below.

1. Technique 1: combining two adjacent objects - Select two adjacent objects.

Several overlapping shapes
Before combining two objects, decide what fill color you want and make that the fill color in the toolbar. One way to do this is to select an object that has a fill and stroke already applied.

Two selected overlapping objects

2. Click the Shape Builder tool in the toolbar (or press Shift + M).

3. Roll the mouse over the selected objects. Notice the shading, which means the objects are ready to have the tool applied.

Object with shading

4. Drag from the first object to the second object.

The objects are now combined, and the fill is the color in the toolbox, and the stroke is the color of the first object’s stroke.

5. Undo (Ctrl + Z in Windows or Command + Z on the Mac).

6. Now drag from the second object to the first object.

As before, the objects are now combined, and the fill is the color in the toolbox. But this time, the stroke is the color of the second object’s stroke.
After dragging over two shapes
So the stroke color of the object you start dragging from becomes the stroke color of the combined object.

7. Undo, then go on to the next technique…


1. Technique 2: overlap of two adjacent objects. Again, select two adjacent objects.

2. Roll the mouse pointer onto the overlapping area, and notice just that area is shaded.

Overlapping area selected

3. Click, and that area becomes a new object.

After clicking the overlapping area

4. Click the Selection tool (or press V).

5. Drag the new shape out of the way so you can see.

There is now a hole where it used to be, and the new shape has a single stroke color. The stroke colors around the hole match the stroke colors of each object.

New shape dragged away----

1. Technique 3: using an object as a cookie cutter - Undo about three times so you get the original shapes back, and go to the next technique…

2. Select the same two objects as before.

With the Shape Builder tool active, hold the Alt key in Windows or the Option key on the Mac, then drag from the overlapping area into one of the selected shapes.

The overlapping area and the shape you dragged onto now disappear.

Removed circle

3. Undo, then Alt + drag or Option + drag from the overlapping area onto the other object.

You get a similar result.

4. Undo so you get the original shapes back, and go to the next technique…

LVL 16

Administrative Comment

by:Kyle Santos
Video submission is Approved; the steps provided are a great addition to the work done in this video.  Thanks for your contributions and efforts, Bob!

Author Comment

by:Bob Flisser
Great, glad you like it!
Free Tool: SSL Checker
Free Tool: SSL Checker

Scans your site and returns information about your SSL implementation and certificate. Helpful for debugging and validating your SSL configuration.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

How to Embed Your Prezi Presentation
It’s easy to embed any of your public Prezi presentations on your website or social network to share with others. Learn how simple it is in this tutorial.
How to Present Remotely with Prezi
Learn how to use the remote presentation tool in Prezi to allow you to harness the power of this cloud based presentation platform. You can show your presentation with a remote audience using this free tool.
How to Download Your Prezi Presentation
Learn how to download your full Prezi presentation for offline presenting. Prezi doesn’t have to be viewed and shared in a web browser, even with a free account you can download your full presentation to share with others. Be sure to download any videos you have embedded in your presentation in case you don’t have wireless access to load them when presenting offline using this feature.

01. Visit your Prezi library

02. Select the presentation you want to download

Downloaded (portable) Prezi's cannot be edited.

03. Select "Download" from the toolbar below your Prezi

04. Choose the "Presenting" version

The "Editing and Presenting" version is only available with Prezi Pro memberships. Depending on your presentation's size, it might take a moment to download your presentation.

05. Your Prezi will be saved as a .zip file

On a PC, unzip the file and start the Prezi.exe file. One a Mac, unzip the file and start the Prezi document. Do not remove files from the .zip folder, as it will break your presentation.
How to Save a Prezi as a PDF
In addition to being a great web-based presentation tool, Prezi also makes it easy to save your presentation as a PDF to share with others as well. Learn how in this tutorial.

01. Select the share icon from the top menu in your Prezi editor

02. Select "Download as PDF"

Each path you have set in your left navigation will be one page within your PDF, with the first page being an overview of your presentation. It will take a moment for Prezi to convert each path into a page.

03. Select "Save PDF" when its done converting

04. Choose a name and location to save your PDF to

05. You're done!

Now you can view your Prezi as a PDF and easily share it with anyone you want to.
How to Add Fade-in Effects in Prezi
Not only does Prezi allow you to create non-linear presentations, it also makes it easy to apply transition animations between your frames. Learn how to apply a fade-in transition to select items and entire frames in this tutorial

01. Select "Edit Path" from the lower left menu in your Prezi editor

This is within the path toolbar on the left hand navigation.

02. Select the star icon on the left side of the frame you want to animate

Animations can only be applied to objects that are within a frame already.

03. The animation wizard will popup

04. Hover over the object you want to fade-in

The object will fade as you hover over it.

05. Click to apply the fade-in effect

A number will appear in the green star to indicate the animation has been applied and the order by which it will fade-in.

06. Preview the animations within your frame by clicking the play triangle in the top right corner of the animation wizard

Click the reset button in the top left corner of the animation wizard to remove all animations from the frame.

07. Select "Done" in the top right corner of the animation wizard to apply animations

Now when you present your objects will fade-in as you specified.
How to Edit Text in Prezi
Learn the basics of inputting and editing your text components in Prezi. We will cover how to set styles, position, and group your text components.

01. In your Prezi editor, click anywhere on the canvas to add text

A flashing cursor informs you that you can begin writing.

02. Click and drag the circle in the bottom right corner of your text box to size your text box.

03. Change the size and style of the text

Use the toolbar above your text box to increase/decrease text size, change colors, weights, and paragraph justifications. You can also toggle between Title, Subtitle, and Body text (this is set based on your Prezi theme). You can only have one style of text per text box.

04. Change your presentation fonts from within you Prezi theme

05. Select "Customize" from the top menu in your Prezi editor

A toolbar will appear on the right of the screen, full of Prezi themes to choose from.

06. Select "Advanced" from the bottom right

This will allow you to edit the global fonts, sizes, and colors within your Prezi theme.

07. Select "Next" in the Theme Wizard

Select the fonts you want to use in your current theme from the drop down menus. This allows you to customize the font and color for your Title, Subtitle, and Body text styles.

08. Select "Done" to apply the changes

Click the "X" in the upper right of the Customization right hand toolbar to exit and continue editing.
How to Add an Image in Prezi
Add visuals to your Prezi to keep your audience engaged.

Learn how to embed images, edit them, and more in this video micro tutorial.

01. Select "Insert" from the top menu in your Prezi editor

02. Select "Image"

A toolbar will pop in from the right

03. Select where you want to insert your image from

You can select an image from your computer or search the internet for an image (without having to open a new browser window). Upload multiple images at a time by holding the shift key.

04. Navigate to select your image

The image will take a moment to render, larger images will take a moment. Prezi supports .jpg, .png, .gif, and .swf formats, with a maximum size of 2880x2800 px

05. Move and manipulate the image with the transformation tool.

This tool allows you to easily size it, rotate, and move it within your presentation. Note: You do not need an active Internet connection to maintain your images when presenting.
How to Embed a YouTube Video in Prezi
Learn how to create interesting presentations by including videos to keep your audience engaged using Prezi.

01. Select "Insert" from the top menu in your Prezi editor

02. Select "YouTube Video"

03. Paste the video URL into the prompt

04. "Select "Insert"

The video will take a moment to render, and then you will see the default video thumbnail.

05. Move and manipulate the video using the transformation tool.

Just like you would with an image in Prezi.

06. Make the video autoplay by putting it in it's own frame to autoplay as part of your presentation.

07. Right-click it and select "Add to Path

It will show up in your timeline, where you can drag it to be in the desired location in your presentation path.
Note: You will need an active Internet connection to play the video when presenting.
How to Set Up a Basic Prezi
Learn how to set up basic frames and paths in Prezi and understand the open space that Prezi allows you to create presentations in.
Enroll in June's Course of the Month
Enroll in June's Course of the Month

June's Course of the Month is now available! Every 10 seconds, a consumer gets hit with ransomware. Refresh your knowledge of ransomware best practices by enrolling in this month's complimentary course for Premium Members, Team Accounts, and Qualified Experts.

Introduction to GIMP
It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
Introduction to HTML (Part 2)
HTML5 has deprecated a few of the older ways of showing media as well as offering up a new way to create games and animations. Audio, video, and canvas are just a few of the adjustments made between XHTML and HTML5.

As we learned in our last micro tutorial we have successfully put together a basic HTML5 template for use in a webpage or website. Before we move on to any further advanced topics here are a few of the changes that have been made with HTML5 versus the older version which is XHTML. Here is the resource for looking at what HTML5 has had added to it.


Here is the link for basic examples on using the canvas tag as shown in the video.


1. Add the javascript below into the head tag under our meta tags.

This is only for the purposes of showing the canvas in action.

<script type="text/javascript">
			window.onload = function(){
				var c = document.getElementById("jbc");
				var ctx = c.getContext("2d");
				ctx.fillStyle = "#FF0000";

Open in new window

This tells the browser to make the drawing 2d after searching the document by Id for the
canvas when the window loads. Then to fill in the canvas with red to a certain point.

2. Replace the existing content with an audio tag, video tag and canvas tag.

These tags are shown in the following steps. Any line that begins with "<!--" is an html comment to document code for future reference.

3. Insert an audio tag.

This sets the controls shown, define the source, and sets the error message if we can not support either format.

Open in new window

InDesign Basic Shortcuts
In this Micro Tutorial viewers will learn the basic shortcuts and functions in InDesign.
Using the Blend Tool in Illustrator
In this tutorial viewers will learn how to create blended and gradiated shapes in Illustrator using the blend tool

1. Draw two shapes, one of them in a different color

2. Select both and create a blend by going to Object > Blend > Make

3. Blends can also be created by using the Blend tool (the icon with a square, rounded rectangle, and circle) and clicking on one shape, then the other, but this is less precise

4. Adjust the blend's appearance by going to Object > Blend > Blend Options

5. Smooth color creates a gradient of smoothly shifting colors between the two objects

6. Specified steps creates a series of intermediary shapes between the two objects. If the user types in 10, there will be ten shapes between the objects, each showing a progression in color

7. To apply a blend as the stroke of a path, draw a path, then select both the path and the shape then go to Object > Blend > Replace Spine

8. To create a line of graduated image "steps", set the objects further apart and select the Blending Options to "Specified Distance". The objects in the line will be spaced apart by the defined distance; there will be as many objects as needed to fill the space

9. Blends can also be created between two objects of different sizes, but the object that is on top will appear to be the "front" of the blend

10. Use the pen tool to adjust the curve of any blend

11. Blends can also be used to apply shading to objects. A smaller shape in a lighter color, blended into a larger shape of a darker color, will produce a highlighted effect that can't be achieved with normal gradients

Tilde Shape Effect in Illustrator
In this tutorial viewers will learn to create a unique 3D lineart effect using the tilde key combinations in Illustrator

1. Open a new document in Illustrator.

2. Locate the tilde key on your keyboard. It is usually in the top left and looks like a ~

3. Select a shape tool

4. Click on the document as if you are starting a shape

5. Hold down the tilde key

6. Drag the mouse clockwise or counterclockwise to create unique patterns of shapes

7. Select all shapes created and adjust the fill and stroke to enhance the effect

8. While using this effect, hold down the tilde key and the Alt key to make a rotating pattern

9. You can also hold down the tilde key and the Shift key to make an expanding pattern

10. You can use the Unite tool (Windows > Pathfinder) to combine these shapes

Selecting Color Range in Photoshop
In this tutorial viewers will learn how to select a color range in Photoshop and how to easily apply them to multiple projects.

1. Open an image for editing in Photoshop

2. Open the select Color Range Selection tool by going to Select > Color Range

3. Select a preset such as "Skin Tones", or choose "Sampled Colors" to select custom colors

4. Use the eyedroppers to select colors to be included in the selection. The preview image in the Color Range window shows the areas that will be selected as white.

5. The fuzziness slider affects the sharpness of the selection, much like the Magic Wand tool's tolerance setting

6. Click OK to select the color range

7. Use the Marquee tool on negative mode to deselect unwanted areas

8. The selection can be edited separately from the rest of the image

9. The selection can also be deleted and replaced with a flat color or gradient to create an "endless sky" effect: - Delete the selection using the Backspace button - Adjust the size of the image using Image > Canvas Size - On a new layer under the image, fill in the area with a gradient

Improving Your Photoshop Layer Workflow
In this tutorial viewers will learn a few layer organization tricks and tips to improve their workflow in Photoshop.

1. Open a multi-layer document in Photoshop

2. View all your layers by going Window > Layers

3. To make sure your layers can be identified, name them by quickly double clicking on the layer name in the Layers, typing a new name, and pressing the Enter key

4. To visually group similar layers (e.g. all text layers) right click on the eye icon next to the layer and select a color. This color-codes layers to quickly identify them while scrolling through the layers list

5. To group layers in folders, click the file folder at the bottom bar of the Layers window. Rename the new group the same way you rename a layer.

6. To place layers in the folder, click and drag them onto the folder. To collapse the folder and hide the layers from the list, click the triangle next to the group's folder icon

7. To view only one layer, hold down the Alt key while clicking the layer's eye icon. This will toggle the visibility of all other layers so you don't have to individually hide each layer

Expanding History States in Photoshop
In this tutorial viewers will learn how to increase their history states in Photoshop

1. To undo more than one history state, use Ctrl + Alt + Z, not just Ctrl + Z

2. View the History window by going to Window > History

3. The default number of history states is 20

4. Go to Edit > Preferences > Performance

5. Set the number of "History States" under "History & Cache" to a larger number such as 50

6. While there can be as many as 1000 history states, this will drastically reduce performance


Web Graphics Software




Articles & Videos



Websites use graphics to enhance information, assist navigation, and generally improve the user’s experience. To create those graphics, developers use any number of programs, like the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and Flash have their own topics), the CorelDraw suite, Xara, Gimp, ACDSee, Serif, ULead and others.