Illustrator is filled with powerful features that many people overlook. Since its introduction in Illustrator CS2, I've preached about how wonderful the Live Paint feature is. However, the feature itself still is misunderstood at best, and that may be due to the fact that the words "live paint" don't necessarily describe the functionality found within the feature itself. Trust me -- if you took a look at Live Paint once before and didn't think much of it, you may be missing a lot of what the feature has to offer.
At a basic level, Live Paint allows you to draw and edit art in Illustrator without having to think about anchor points, bezier curves, or even vector objects as we know it. I like to refer to this as being able to draw "visually" -- meaning drawing by what you see on screen rather than understanding how the overlapping vector objects are built. I've been known to say that since I've started using Live Paint, Pathfinder is dead to me (ok, maybe not dead, but it's writing a will, and I don't think I'm in it).
For this reason, when I set out to record my Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics video training title for Lynda.com, the first topic I chose to tackle was Live Paint -- I dedicated an entire chapter to the feature, which tops out at over 30 minutes of video training -- just on the Live Paint feature alone.
Being that Lynda.com always offers the first few videos of every title as a free viewing sample, you can view the entire chapter on The Joys of Live Paint for FREE (most of the following chapter, Converting Pixels to Paths, which covers the Live Trace feature, is also free). That's right - even if you don't have a Lynda.com subscription, you'll still be able to view these movies.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics title now to learn all about using this incredibly powerful feature in Illustrator. As a note, for the most part, the feature is the same across Illustrator CS2, CS3, and CS4 -- so the video will help you if you have any of those versions.
Oh, and a favor, if you will... if you are already using Live Paint today, I'd love to hear feedback on the feature itself. How are you using it? Can you share examples? And if you're just learning about the feature now (from the video training), please come back here when you're done and post a comment on your thoughts about the feature and how you might see yourself using it.