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Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials is the first installment in a series of courses designed to show experienced Illustrator users to how master core features and build art more efficiently. Adobe Illustrator has evolved dramatically over the years, and many creative professionals may be missing out on features that have been added to the latest versions. This course takes a fresh approach to core concepts, such as paths, attributes, object hierarchy, groups, and layers. Advanced techniques such as combining multiple effects and customizing textures are also included. Exercise files and a free worksheet are included with the course.
Let's take a moment to explore yet another benefit of applying effects to groups as opposed to individual objects. In this file here called groups_4.ai. I have some very basic elements here, which, when you first look at it, it may not look like much, but it's actually a profile, or one section, of a flowerpot. So I'll just give you a basic idea. If I were to take this artwork right down and select it and actually switch over here to the Reflect tool and create a copy of this, you can see that together this kind of makes the profile of what might be a flowerpot.
Let's say this will be the top lip part about it. This would be the actual base and then this would be the dirt inside of it. But because I actually want to use Illustrator's 3D effect--specifically Illustrator's 3D Revolve effect--to create a more realistic appearance of this flowerpot, I actually built these elements here to actually get that kind of illustration without having to do too much work. Now, I am going to use my regular Selection tool here to select all the elements, and once again let's take a look at the Appearance panel. Currently, I have mixed objects that are right now my target.
Now remember in the past where we had maybe three or four different objects selected, they all had the same stroke attribute, but they didn't have the same fill attribute, so it said paths and then it said mixed appearances. In this case here, I actually have mixed objects because there is nothing at all in common between these three different objects. They all have different attributes applied to them. Now remember here, this is not a group yet. So I am going to come over here to the Effect menu, and let's see what happens when we apply a 3D effect to these three separate objects. I am going to choose 3D > Revolve.
What's interesting about the 3D Revolve effect is it actually takes all of your artwork that you have, and it defines the leftmost part of that object as what we call the axis. And Illustrator then revolves the artwork around that axis to create a 3D shape. Some people also refer to this as lathing. Now because these objects aren't grouped, Illustrator is going to create an axis for each of these three objects and revolve each of those objects around their own axis.
So, if I click on the Preview button right here, you'll see what will happen. I won't get anything that looks like a flowerpot at all. I actually have three completely different shapes, and if I start to rotate these shapes in 3D space, we see that they're all revolving around their own individual axes. So it's definitely not the effect that I am looking for at all. I am going to press Cancel, and with these objects now still selected, I am going to press Command+G on a Mac, but if you are on Windows that would be Ctrl+G, and now I've created a group. I have created this container.
This container now contains inside of it the three different shapes that I want to use for this 3D effect. Now, because Illustrator is Smart Targeting, has targeted the group for me, when I choose Effect and then I choose 3D > Revolve, Illustrator isn't going to create three different axes; Illustrator treats all of this right now as one object because it's looking at the container, and the container has only one side, which is right over here, so it's going to create the axis right over here. If I choose Preview, I'll get exactly what I am looking for.
I'll see that I have now created this beautiful flowerpot. If I rotate it, I see it all rotates as one individual object. So again, by creating a group, or a container, and by applying an effect to that container, I can achieve some kind of a result that I cannot get otherwise. It's yet another reason why I really need to be thinking about using groups inside of Illustrator.
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