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Adding attributes to groups

From: Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

Video: Adding attributes to groups

When you begin to understand exactly what a group is inside of Illustrator, you'll find that you'll be able to take advantage by creating some really cool effects inside of the program. Let's start by talking about exactly what a group is inside of Illustrator. You see when I take two objects, and I tell Illustrator to group them together, Illustrator creates a third invisible object, something which we call a container. Illustrator then takes those two objects and places them into that container.

Adding attributes to groups

When you begin to understand exactly what a group is inside of Illustrator, you'll find that you'll be able to take advantage by creating some really cool effects inside of the program. Let's start by talking about exactly what a group is inside of Illustrator. You see when I take two objects, and I tell Illustrator to group them together, Illustrator creates a third invisible object, something which we call a container. Illustrator then takes those two objects and places them into that container.

Again, its invisible, meaning we don't see it, but there is that third object inside of Illustrator now, which contains those two pieces of art inside of it. The reason why understanding this is significant is because even though that container itself is invisible, we can still perform certain actions on that container. In fact, we could start to treat that container as if it were a whole object itself inside of Illustrator, meaning we can apply appearances to it, for example, fills, strokes or even effects.

Let me give you a clear example of what I mean by that. I am going to start by looking at this art right over here. Say I wanted to have some kind of a soft drop shadow that was applied to this artwork. Well right now, each of these elements are individual. They aren't grouped at all. I'm going to Marquee select all of this artwork, but I'm going to deselect the background by Shift+Clicking on it. So now, all these pieces of art are now selected. I am going to go to the Effect menu, and I am going to choose Stylize > Drop Shadow, and I'll take basically whatever settings are here by default and click OK.

You'll notice that every single piece of art in my selection now got its own drop shadow. So this circle has a drop shadow. This circle has a drop shadow. Both flowers have drop shadows and each of the leaves have drop shadows, which really isn't what I want. I would like that one drop shadow gets added to the overall piece of art that I'm looking at right now, because in my mind, I see all these individual vector elements as one piece. So how can I get all this art to act as if it were a one object so I can have a single drop shadow on it? Well, the answer is to basically turn it into a group.

So I am going to press Undo. My artwork now is still selected, and I am going to go to the Object menu, and I am going to choose Group. Now remember, Illustrator now just took all these elements. It created a new object called a Container, and it put all those objects now into the container. If I take a look at my Appearance panel, I am going to bring it up over here because we have got to focus on it in just a moment here. I see that the Appearance panel tells me that what's selected right now is a Group. This is different than working with separate objects or paths.

For example, I am going to deselect this. I am going to use my Direct Selection tool. I am going to Shift+Click on a few objects here, not all of them, but just a few of them so that I have multiple objects selected. Notice that right now, it tells me, in the Appearance panel, that I have Mixed Objects selected with Mixed Appearances. However, when I use my Direct Selection tool to click on the actual group itself, the entire group shows up listed here in the Appearance panel. This means that if I were to make some kind of changes to the appearance, that appearance change will happen to the group to that new container that I created, and not necessarily to the objects inside of that container.

In fact, if I look over here at the Appearance panel beneath Group, it has an item here that says Contents. This refers to all of the elements that are currently inside of the container. In fact, if I were to double-click on the word Contents right now, Illustrator would select all of these elements for me as if they were not inside of a group. Notice here, it says I have a whole bunch of Mixed Objects selected. In other words, if I make an appearance change right now, for example, I apply a drop shadow, the drop shadow is going to be applied to all the Mixed Objects.

The Appearance panel is nice, and it lets me know that oh, by the way, the Mixed Objects happen to be inside of a Group. And if I double-click on that group right now, I'm back to where I was before, where now the group is what I currently have selected, or better yet is what I currently have targeted. And any appearance change that I make goes onto the group onto that currently invisible object or container that contains all the contents inside of it. So watch what happens now if I go ahead and I apply a drop shadow.

I am going to go to the Effect menu here, in the Appearance panel, I'll choose Stylize and Drop Shadow. I'll take the regular basic settings. And now if you look at my appearance, it's as if all the elements have been fused into one object, and they all share one drop shadow. See there is no drop shadow on the circles around the flowers itself. I have one overall combined drop shadow for everything inside the group. And the reason why that happened is because the drop shadow was applied to the group and not to the individual paths inside of them.

In fact, if I click on this right now, you can see that I have a group targeted, and the Drop Shadow is applied to the Group. In fact, the drop shadow appears beneath all the contents, which gives me one unified drop shadow. Now, here's the thing about working with effects, and also groups, is that if I go to the Object menu now, and I decide well, I want to ungroup this object, by choosing Ungroup, the drop shadow instantly disappears. Why? Because I've taken the group, and the drop shadow was on that group, and I've thrown the group in the garbage by ungrouping this.

When you choose Ungroup inside of Illustrator, I'm taking that container and I am throwing it out, leaving me just with whatever contents were left. Since the drop shadow belongs to the container, by throwing out that container and ungrouping my objects, I've lost the drop shadow. In fact, I am going to press Undo for a moment. I want to bring that drop shadow back. I just want to show you that if I take my Direct Selection tool, and I click on this leaf, because I decide, you know what? I really like this leaf. I need to use this in another document. I am going to copy that leaf by pressing Command+C, Command+N to create a new document then I'll press Enter to click OK.

And I'll paste that leaf. And you notice that in this document that exact same leaf has no drop shadow on. That's because in the other document that leaf was sitting inside of a container that had a drop shadow on it. But when I copied and pasted that leaf out of that container and put it now just into this document, there is no longer any container inside of this document. I am just working with the leaf itself, which never had a drop shadow inside of it. Now that we have a better understanding of exactly what a group is and that we might be able to actually apply appearances to the group, let's take a look at another example of how this might be useful.

I am going to close this file. I am not going to save it. Let's come back to this area right over here. Now, if I take my regular Selection tool and I click on this element, I see that I've already created a group. Many times, when you create an artwork, you need to create some kind of border around the artwork. For example, say we are designing some kind of a patch, and we want to embroider this onto some garment. Well, I might need to create some kind of an overall white background that's somewhat offset from the art. However, to manually go through and start drawing an outline around all this artwork can be somewhat tedious.

Instead, we can use a group and apply certain appearances to that group to get the effect that we are looking for. So the first thing I am going to do is after I've selected this, I can now see in the Appearance panel that the Group is my target. Remember, anything that appears bold at the top of the Appearance panel is what appearances are applied to. So what I can do now is come down to the bottom of the Appearance panel and apply a new stroke. What am I applying a stroke to? That container, which is the group.

When I click on this, I can deselect the art, and by the way, see that everything inside of that group now has a stroke applied to it. Now, I want to make some changes, because that's obviously not the effect that I'm looking for. So the first thing I am going to do is select the group, change the stroke weight to about 2 points. Next I need to somehow offset that stroke so it's sitting a little away from the art itself. In a previous chapter, we spoke about a function called Offset Path, which can be very helpful here.

However, I don't really have a path to work with, or in this case a stroke to work with, because it's simply an attribute that's been applied to this group container. The nice thing is that Adobe really put a lot of path editing functionality into the Effect menu. In fact, when we first look at the Effect menu, we see lots of things here like Path, for example, and Offset Path. You might think why would I want to ever apply an offset path as a live effect? Or take a look at these Pathfinders.

Pathfinder Add or Intersect or Minus Back, why would I ever want to use these as an effect? Hold on, because we are going to find out, right now, why these are so useful. So I have now, inside of my Appearance panel, because my group right now is selected and targeted, a two-point black stroke. I'm going to click on that stroke to select it. Next, I want to apply an effect just to the stroke. Remember, since I've now selected the stroke in the Appearance panel, any effect that I apply will only occur just to that one selected stroke.

So I am going to come down here to where it says FX. I'll choose Path, and then I'll choose Offset Path, because I want just that stroke alone to be offset somewhat. We have a nice Preview. So I am going to click on that button and I could see, with a setting of 10 points, that I'm starting to get the effect that I'm looking for. I have a border that's offset somewhat away from the artwork that I can use. I am going to click OK. This is the first step that I've done. However, you can see that all the artwork here got a stroke applied to it, and they all overlap each other.

So I somehow need to combine all these into one shape. Remember how a few chapters ago, we spoke about things like Pathfinder? Pathfinder had a function called Add or Unite that would let me multiple objects and fuse them all together as if they were one. Wouldn't it be great if we were able to apply that as an effect right here in the Appearance panel? Well there is. Again, with that same stroke highlighted right now, I can go back to the Effect menu. I can choose Pathfinder and then choose Add.

This is now going to take all of the elements that are applied strictly to the stroke and fuse them all together as if they were one. So I am going to choose Pathfinder > Add, and now take a look at the result that I have: a single path that encloses all of my artwork. Can you imagine how difficult it would have been had I wanted to draw all this art from scratch. The real beauty of this, by the way, is not just that I can apply it so easily. It's that right now that outline stroke is an attribute of the group, meaning if I change anything within the group my artwork updates automatically.

For example, I send this to my client. They really like it, but you know something, there are too many leaves. I know before they wanted extra leaves, but you how people can change their minds. So I want to get rid of this leaf right over here. Because I've created a group I can double-click on the group to isolate it. I'll double-click again and once more, I can see that I can now select just that leaf. I'm now going to delete that leaf just by hitting the Delete key on my keyboard. And now when I double-click to exit Isolation mode, I can see that the outline has now been adjusted, or modified, to reflect the new boundaries of the group.

So you can easily see that if you pay attention and you're careful about how you structure your groups, and if you understand the concept about the fact that a group is a container and that you can apply attributes through that container, you can build artwork quickly and efficiently and always make changes, even under deadline.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

126 video lessons · 81628 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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