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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we know that in Illustrator we can apply attributes, such as Fills and Strokes, to objects. But did you know that you can apply more than one fill or more than one stroke to a single object? Well, with the Appearance panel, you can. So, for example, in this case right here, I have a single object which I'm now going to select. This object, as we see clearly in the Appearance panel, has a green fill and a 20 point black stroke applied to it. I also see that the stroke appears on top of a fill in the stacking order.
But I can come down here towards the bottom of the Appearance panel, and I can click on this button to add a new stroke. What I've just done now is I've added a second stroke to this one object. So I still have one object in my document, but this one object has default opacity, a green fill and now two 20-point black stroke. Why would ever want to do that? I mean, after all, I have two 20 point black strokes stacked on top of each other. So, my object really doesn't look anything. I can't even see that second 20- point black stroke, because it's hidden beneath the first one.
Well, remember that with the Appearance panel I have the ability to target an individual attribute. So I can make a change to one stroke without affecting the other. So, you can see that right now when I added that new stroke, Illustrator automatically targeted the topmost stroke here. I'm going to change that stroke color here to red. I'm also going to change the Stroke Weight to something not as thick, maybe around 8 points instead of 20. Now you can see that I've a single object that has one fill, but it has two strokes.
It has a thick black stroke and a red stroke that's a little bit more narrow, so I have a more interesting border, if you will, around this piece of art. In fact, I can even click over here on the word Stroke to bring up the Stroke panel and turn on the Dashed Line setting. Maybe I'll specify a dash of around 18 points and maybe a gap of around 6. So, I get a nice looking pattern now that's applied to the stroke. So, I'm going to click over here to close that right now. You can clearly see in the Appearance panel that I have two strokes with different settings apply to a single object.
Many people, inside of Illustrator, are familiar with using tools that are, for example, in these panels like the Color panel, or the Swatches panel. You can see over here even at the bottom of the Tools panel that I have a Fill indicator and a Stroke indicator. Well, this object now has two strokes applied to it, but I only see right now that I have a red color applied to the stroke. If I wanted to change that black stroke to a different color, say maybe blue or purple, how would I do that? If I change the color directly here inside of the Swatches panel, I see that's changing the red to that color, but I want the other stroke to change.
So, I'm going to go back here to red for a moment, and we need to understand that outside of the Appearance panel, all other panels only see the topmost fill and the topmost stroke of an object. My color indicator for the stroke right now is telling me red because that's the color of the topmost stroke. If I wanted to change the color of the black stroke to something else, I would need to first come to the Appearance panel and click on that stroke to target it. Notice that now since that stroke is targeted, the indicator here changes to black.
Likewise, it is the same thing down over here. By the way, a little indicator here inside of the Control panel let's me know that right now this object has multiple strokes. It's even telling me right now that the topmost fill or stroke is not active. It's just a helpful indicator to help me avoid making mistakes, but since right now my black stroke is targeted, by changing the color here I'm changing the color to the stroke that I want. Now, all the rules that we have spoken about until now still apply here, of course. So, if I wanted to, I could change the stacking order for each of these strokes, meaning I could send the red stroke beneath the blue stroke, or I can put the fill in between the two strokes, any way that I want to work to be done directly inside of the Appearance panel.
For example, I could take the Fill right here and drag it so it appears beneath both of the strokes. So, I can see right now the Fill appears above the blue stroke, but beneath the red stroke. It's only through the Appearance panel that I have this level of control to adjust the appearance of my objects.
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