Adobe Illustrator Tutorials Vector Tips & Tricks Search related topics..

Some user asked us how to draw or we usually say it vectorize jpeg image with Adobe Illustrator. Well we try to do some video tutorials here.. sorry for no audio yet. Next time we will try to add audio features on our next video tuts.

Notice that the image (jpeg) is put on bottom Layer, and lock it to avoid it moved.. and we create new Layer 1 on top of it, make sure to Select this Layer 1 to work on it.

Considering you know how to use Pen Toll, you can see our previous post on how to use Pen Tool tutorial..

Sometimes when we download a PDF document, such as an eBook, Tutorial, or any other PDF file, and the time we open the document, it request password to unlock. This means the PDF file was password protected (security enable). It can't be opened until we get the password to open or view it..!! Why they password protect it..? Because the documents are important or valuable, should not be opened and viewed by anyone without the owner's permission. In other words only permitted users are allowed to open, view and read. But, yes we can unlocked the protected PDF files..!!

#OMG.. one man's fun is another's hell..?

What Is PDF File

Before that, PDF file is Portable Document Format - one of the best universal (not really but can say so) format that support mostly any device, pc & gadgets. Yes it's created by Adobe System, but was released as open source. A PDF file usually can be read using Adobe Reader app, which is free to download, also can be read using any 'PDF Reader' apps. So PDF is a file format, not software.

It can be created or 'Save As' → PDF using any supported softwares. When a PDF file being created using software like Ms.Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc, using command 'Save as PDF documents', it will save the documents 100% just like it was created using different software.

PDF vs Word

Unlike Ms.Word documents, when we create a Word document, save it in .doc or .docx format (Word format), the .doc file will not guarantee be as similar as the original source when it being open at other pc, because the Word format is depends on the local computer that read the file. If some specific fonts were used in the Word document at origin pc, the other pc which receive to open the file might not know the specific fonts used, as the Word document did not save the fonts together, instead it replace with standard fonts in the (other) local pc. So the receiver did not know what's being changed. Also the documents formatting, margins, tables, graft, might seems different or more worst missing some elements in the other pc without the receiver realised it.

So here comes the PDF format to solve this problems. In fact PDF format can save all elements, fonts, table, graft, graphics (raster & vector), formatting, margin, etc. all contents are 100% just like the documents was created (using Word itself, or any other software). Not just saving in PDF format keep the file small in megabytes (or perhaps kilobytes), also no issue on viewing it on other pc or platforms.

Protected PDF File

One of the very good points in using or saving as PDF format, we can password protect the PDF file, where other format don't have this feature. How to lock a PDF file..? Basically there are 2 types of setting PDF security password:
  • Password Protect to Open the document
    block users from view and read the PDF document
  • Password Protect to Print and Edit the document
    disable users from print and disable users from trying to edit the PDF documents using other software (i.e Word, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.)

    How to Password Protect your PDF document..?

    In Adobe Illustrator:
    Designers are familiar with this app..

    File > Save As > Adobe PDF > Save > follow image ↓

    In Adobe Photoshop:
    A designers, artist, photographers must have app to work with..
    File > Save As > Photoshop PDF > Save > follow image ↓

    In Microsoft Office Apps:
    (In Microsof Office, you should have Adobe Acrobat Installed)
    Follow this guide.

    Using Adobe Acrobat Pro
    Or we can also use Adobe Acrobat Pro to set those password and better handling the security features. Using Acrobat Pro, there are several types of securities we can set.

    So when we password protect our documents, eBooks, this mean the PDF files are secure from unauthorised download / viewing..? Well.. not really..

    Unlocked Protected PDF File

    This is what we gonna share about..!! How to Unlock Password Protected PDF File..? Can it be unlocked..? Well yes, perhaps some of you already knew, and some may still keep thinking no way a protected PDF file can be unlocked..!!

    Yes, even I personally think no it cannot previously.. lol. As a PDF user, probably you ever use some free online services for PDF, like 'convert file to PDF', or 'convert PDF to other file', or 'merge PDF files' and etc. via online. Like it or not there are (many) services that offer free Unlock PDF file.. indeed.

    Good News Is Bad News

    For PDF users, I mean users who always like to download PDF books, be it tutorials, or anything, when the PDF was password protect we end up with frustration. Of course, we need to buy to read the PDF eBooks, cracking the password is illegal, I must say this ☺. But for some of you who never knew that unlocking password protected PDF is available, might surprise to see there are many sites offer Unlock PDF files for free.

    No I'm not promoting any websites or any services.. I'm just sharing knowledge for our own use. Remember one thing, Unlock password protect PDF file of your own forgotten password for the PDF files that belongs to you.. that sounds better ☺

    At the same time we knew this good news, the ability to unlock protected PDF files, it's a bad news to PDF creator, eBook writer, publisher, any one who deal with secured PDF files (me too). Then how to avoid users download and illegally unlocked (or cracked) the PDF file's password..? Good thing is we, as (one of) PDF creator, writer, we can still password protect our PDF documents securely, cracked-proof.

    Change The Key Lock

    For serious PDF creator that wanna password protect your PDF documents, you need to change the password you use. Make a high secure password.

    Using Adobe Acrobat Pro there are 2 ways to password protect your PDF file:
    • Password Security - set the password to protect from Open, Editing & Printing.
    • Certificate Security - set 'digital ID' which is more secure, using 128 bit & 256 bit AES
    From Acrobat, File > Properties > Security (tab) > Security Method: > Password Security

    As a normal user, I just choose Password Security as my protected PDF documents. I don't wanna use the Certificate Security, because it seems more complex and if anything happen to my pc, it might hard for me to get the protected files when the 'digital ID' was damage, (I guess). So I remain with password security, easier for me to create the 'formula to remember' ☺

    So when you use Password Security..

    Choose whether you wanna protect the document from being Open (read) or just choose Restrict Editing & Printing only ↓ (setting shown below just for example)

    The key to get high secure password is to use all characters combinations:
    small letters + CAPITAL Letters + Numbers 123 + Symbols ={&-

    Notice when you set the password in the password box, there is password's strength bar indicator on the right with Weak, Medium & Best. Make sure your password combination is set to Best (green color bar). Then click OK, and Save your PDF file.

    Test it

    You can try to Open it, if you have set the 'password to Open'.
    You also can try to Print it if you have set 'Printing Allowed: None'.
    You can also try to open it with other software (i.e. Photoshop, Word) to test it if you have set 'Changes Allowed: None'.

    This way, any tools might take million of years to unlock or crack the password. I have test my personal password protected PDF document with high secure password combination, and these are among the results using..

    "It would take 1.2 million years to remove the password" - small PDF #failed

    Several times I tried to unlock using ↑ PDF Unlocker.. also #failed

    And I've been using some more free online PDF unlocker, also end up with error, which normally these tools easy and successful to unlock normal password protect PDF file.

    So the conclusion is you can unlock password protect PDF file (if you forgot the file's password). And if you serious in protecting your PDF file, make it hard to unauthorised user or hacker to crack your document's password. There is possibility but make it million of years just to unlock a file..

    Last but not least, don't forget your password, nobody will live million of years ☺

    Setting Paper Size is a must to a designer when starting a new document for a new design works, doesn't matter its Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, or any graphic editor you might be using. But, as I still remember when my works are mostly using AutoCAD, setting the Paper Size will be at the end or after completed the drawings on the CAD screen, because the CAD drawing usually will labeled the Scale value according to the drawing size which depends on the paper size to be printed.

    Anyway the important to have knowledge in basic paper size and the conversion from one size to another size might save us from printed jobs being rejected just because mistakes like wrong size conversion. Imagine you do artworks for books with 100 or more pages, suddenly 'they' asked you to change the book size.. and you thinking to rescale the whole pages at once by percent. With confident after completion, you send the artworks for printing, and guest what.. the printed book size was wrong.. and you start to feel the disasterrr ☺

    Paper Size A & Paper Size B Measurement

    Paper Size A
    Paper Size B

    Paper Size A & B Charts

    Size A Width x Height (mm) Width x Height (in)
    AO 841 x 1189 mm 33.1 x 46.8 in
    A1 594 x 841 mm 23.4 x 33.1 in
    A2 420 x 594 mm 16.5 x 23.4 in
    A3 297 x 420 mm 11.7 x 16.5 in
    A4 210 x 297 mm 8.3 x 11.7 in
    A5 148 x 210 mm 5.8 x 8.3 in
    A6 105 x 148 mm 4.1 x 5.8 in
    A7 74 x 105 mm 2.9 x 4.1 in
    A8 52 x 74 mm 2.0 x 2.9 in
    A9 37 x 52 mm 1.5 x 2.0 in
    A10 26 x 37 mm 1.0 x 1.5 in
    Size B Width x Height (mm) Width x Height (in)
    BO 1000 x 1414 mm 39.4 x 55.7 in
    B1 707 x 1000 mm 27.8 x 39.4 in
    B2 500 x 707 mm 19.7 x 27.8 in
    B3 353 x 500 mm 13.9 x 19.7 in
    B4 250 x 353 mm 9.8 x 13.9 in
    B5 176 x 250 mm 6.9 x 9.8 in
    B6 125 x 176 mm 4.9 x 6.9 in
    B7 88 x 125 mm 3.5 x 4.9 in
    B8 62 x 88 mm 2.4 x 3.5 in
    B9 44 x 62 mm 1.7 x 2.4 in
    B10 31 x 44 mm 1.2 x 1.7 in

    Resize Paper Size Document

    Here I would like to share some of important information when dealing with Paper Size and Resize Paper Size. Sometimes when we were asked (by the client) to change the paper size of a documents from previous agreed size, (let say A4 size) to the new confirmed size, (let say A5 size). Then we think that A5 is half the size of A4, so its gonna be 50%. Its that simple..? Basically, yes A5 size is A4 size divided by 1 center fold (in landscape orientation).

    Related topic: Setting A4 Pamphlet with 3 panels, 2 folds

    But in artworks when the designs are already made or completed, it's not that simply to Scale your whole artworks or documnts (from A4 size to A5 size) to 50% scale.. Nope..!! Not like that, be careful, you might be destroying your design works when you send it to printer.. because the new size if you scale it 50% reduced, you actually make it A6, not A5..!! Reduce A4 to A5 is 71%.. indeed..

    Resize Paper Size A By Percent Chart

    The above chart shown the conversion size in percent value from bigger size to smaller and vice versa. But you must read the conversion chart above FROM Size Blue (left) TO Size Red (top) to get the correct value, (Not FROM Red to Blue). Example, from A4 size to convert to A5 size is 71% Scale (not 50%). Hope this chart may helps us when scaling our documents or artworks to the right size before we send it for printing.

    Resize Paper Size A To Size B Chart

    This chart shown the conversion value by percent from A size paper to B size paper. Again you must read the conversion chart above FROM Size A Blue (left) TO Size B Red (top) to get the correct value.

    Resize Paper Size B To Size A Chart

    This chart shown the conversion value by percent  from B size paper to A size paper. Reading the conversion chart above is FROM Size B Blue (left) TO Size A Red (top) to get the correct value.

    Related topic: Setting Adobe Illustrator Workspace - Creating New Document

    Credit:  |

    Pathfinder is another important tools in Illustrator especially when we need to create vector logo or illustrations when Pen Tool not really helps. Adobe Illustrator Pathfinder panel consists of 10 tools to manipulate vector objects. To using it, there must be at least 2 objects (or more) selected and overlapped between them to be manipulated with Pathfinder tool.

    Open pathfinder panel, Window > Pathfinder (Shift+Ctrl+F9).

    Pathfinder Panel

    Experimenting Shape Modes & Pathfinders

    There are 2 categories in the Pathfinder panel, the Shape Modes and the Pathfinder, we will explain
    these 2 different categories later, for not making beginner confused. As beginner, just consider all the
    tools are Pathfinder.

    1. Draw 2 objects, as shown below, we use basic shapes - a green square at the Back (bottom), and a
    red circle at the Front (on top). Or any object shapes you like, just make sure they’re overlapped.

    2. Select the objects, and do with all the Pathfinder tools to understand how the effects resulted.

    Shape Modes


    Unite merges both selected objects following the top object.

    Minus Front removes the front (top) object.

    Intersect removes other portions and remain the intersect (overlapped) portions.

    Exclude removes overlapped portions and remain the other portions. (contra to Intersect)

    Shape Modes - use these 4 tools with Alt+click, where you have the option to Expand it to permanent effect or No Expand (temporary effect):



    Divide breaks the all the overlapped selected shapes into separated pieces.

    Trim breaks & removes the overlapped portions underneath of the top shape.

    Merge for different color shapes will be similar as Trim effect.

    Merge for similar color shapes will be similar as Unite effect, (same color will merge as 1 single shape).

    Crop will make the top shape as the masking for any shapes below it,and will removes any portion outside it.

    Outline breaks & converts all the shapes into separated strokes.

    Minus Back remove shapes below (of the top shape) and remove the overlapped portions.

    Another example of Minus Back, a smaller circle placed under this square shape..
    ..and the results, Minus Back removes the overlapped shapes underneath, a hole of circle.

    So these are the basic of Pathfinder that we can apply for in creating artworks. Mastering these tools really helps in making illustration or vector works simpler and faster, no much Pen Tool needed. You will appreciate it if you got it..

    As you know Adobe Illustrator provides Star shape tool to create star object, but the problem is the default Star shape looks fat. You need just a simple normal or perfect star. Then here I show you the simple way to draw perfect Star.

    In your Adobe Illustrator artboard, go to the Toolbox and hold the Rectangle Tool, a list of shape tools will expand out for you to pick and click on the Star Tool.

    Now the Star Tool activated and you're ready to draw Stars, but before that, its good to know that there're 2 ways to create Star:

    1. To draw a Star with custom Size & Points:

    Click once on artboard, a dialog box will appear with 2 Radius settings and a Points value:

    • Radius 1 = outer corner (measured from center)
    • Radius 2 = inner corner
    • Set the Points value to determine how many corner for the Star

    A Star will be created according to your value settings.

    2. To draw a Star with normal click & drag:

    This is the common way designers created Stars in Illustrator, but pay attention on how to get the perfect Stars.

    • Click & drag to draw random orientation Star ↓

    • Press Shift while click & drag to draw ‘perfect standing’ Star ↓

    • Press Alt while click & drag to draw ‘perfect’ Star shape ↓

    • Press Shift+Alt while click & drag to draw ‘perfect standing’ of a ‘perfect’ Star shape ↓

    • Press Ctrl while click & drag to draw a changing shapes of Star,
      (it change shape while you drags it) ↓

    So now you know how to create Stars for your design works..

    As the name given, Illustrator Type Tool is to type text and it also has sets of 7 typing tools with their own functions. Click & hold on Type Tool icon to show another 6 type tools.

    Shown here is the Adobe Illustrator CC Type Tool - click & hold the icon to show all the 7 sets of type tools.

    We will try to focus more on these top 3 tools:
    • Type Tool
    • Area Type Tool
    • Type on a Path Tool
    The other tools (except the new Touch Type Tool) are similar with the top 3 tools, just in vertical orientation.

    Type Tool

    1. Normal text

    To type normal text on artboard. Click Type Tool or shortcut T and click on empty area on artboard.

    The text will be free flow as you type, press Enter to break to second line or to make new paragraph.

    2. Text Box

    To type text in a compound box so that the text will only fixed in the box.
    Click Type Tool or (T), click & drag a box with desired size on empty area on artboard, and start typing. This is similar with the next tool - Area Type Tool.

    ← The box made by dragging the Type Tool, and type. Text will only visible with the box size.
    To resize the box, use Selection Tool (black arrow) and pull out one of the box’s side. Do not use Free transform, your text will distorted.

    Area Type Tool

    To type text in a compound box so that the text will only fixed in the box.
    Create a box or any shape, use Area Type Tool and click on the path of the box or the shape.


    With Area Type Tool, click on the path of the box or shape area, and you’re ready to type.


    This small red square mark indicates there are hidden overflow text inside the box. Resize the box area to see full text.


    Use Selection Tool  (black arrow) and drag the middle small square, to resize the box area to show overflow hidden text.

    Area Type Tool - Options

    You can customise Area Type Tool with option settings, like to make the Text Box with 2 or more rows or make it 2 or more columns complete with gutter (spacing) settings.

    1. Make an empty box and use Area Type Tool to click on the path of the box.


    2. Start typing your contents.


    3. With the text box still selected, double click the Area Type Tool    icon to show the Options.


    4. Add Rows
    • Rows: 2
    • Gutter: 0.25 inch

    5. Add Columns
    • Columns: 3
    • Gutter: 0.15 inch
    • Span: 0.9 inch
      (Span is automatically set, when we set the Gutter value)

    Type on a Path Tool

    To create a Text that follows a path shape.
    Draw a curvy path using Pen Tool (P), use Type on a Path Tool & click on the path.


    Draw a curved path line and use Type on a Path Tool    to click on the path, and start type.


    The text will follow the path shape. Once done, deactivate it using (click)  Selection Tool 
    Set the text Paragraph to Align center.


    Using Selection Tool, you will see there are ‘controller handles’ on both sides & in the middle.
    These handles can be drag to control the text flow.


    So the text moves and fill the path nicely. Now use Selection Tool    to drag the middle handle controller downward.


    The text flip downward, this is usefull for Type on a Path of a Circle - Outside text or Inside text.
    You can also use Type on a Path Options. Make sure the type on path is selected, double click on icon    to open the setting.

    Tick the Flip & Preview, done.

    6. Text Outside

    Same method with Step 4 - 5 above for Type on a Circle Path, use ‘black arrow’ (Selection Tool) to drag middle handle

    7. Text Inside (Flip)

    The text Flipped inside.

    8. Rotate

    Drag the ‘middle handle’ along the path to move the text to the bottom..
    Just Rotate the circle 180ยบ.

    So these are the most common used for Type tools in Illustrator since the previous versions. For the new Touch Type Tool, I will add in here next time, hopefully.
    designer, illustrator, founder of