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Adjusting a few key Preferences settings

From: Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Adjusting a few key Preferences settings

In this movie I'll show you how to adjust a few key preference settings so that you can get your work done more quickly and with less frustration, especially as you begin to assemble more complicated artwork. To get to the Preference Settings, press Ctrl+ K or Command+K on the Mac, and that will bring up the Preferences dialog box. And this first item, Keyboard Increment, is something that I'd like to modify. Now, by default it's set to 1-point, which means every time you press an arrow key, you nudge the selection by a point. But while you can always nudge by a greater increment by pressing Shift along with an arrow key, you can't nudge by a smaller increment, the way you can inside InDesign, for example.

Adjusting a few key Preferences settings

In this movie I'll show you how to adjust a few key preference settings so that you can get your work done more quickly and with less frustration, especially as you begin to assemble more complicated artwork. To get to the Preference Settings, press Ctrl+ K or Command+K on the Mac, and that will bring up the Preferences dialog box. And this first item, Keyboard Increment, is something that I'd like to modify. Now, by default it's set to 1-point, which means every time you press an arrow key, you nudge the selection by a point. But while you can always nudge by a greater increment by pressing Shift along with an arrow key, you can't nudge by a smaller increment, the way you can inside InDesign, for example.

So it pays when you're working in Illustrator to set the Keyboard Increment to something small in the first place. I find that 0.2 point works out very nicely. That is a fifth of a point. In that way, especially when I am nudging anchor points or curved segments around inside of an illustration, I can do so with precision. And if I want to nudge by a larger increment, such as 2 points in this case, I would press Shift along with an arrow key, and if I want to nudge by still larger increments, I can double-click on an arrow tool icon in the toolbox in order to bring up the Move dialog box.

You want to make sure your Constrain Angle is set to 0° as by default, otherwise you'll start drawing rectangles and ellipses and textboxes and all kinds of stuff at an angle. These checkboxes are set fine by default, but I do want to show you how Use Preview Bounds works. I'll leave it off for the moment and click OK, and then I'll go ahead and draw a rectangle here, like so, and I'll go ahead and draw another one below it. And I'll assign this second rectangle a thick Line Weight, such as 30 points. Then I'll press the V key to switch back to my Black Arrow tool and I'll Shift+click on the first rectangle so they're both selected, and then I'll click on a line up here in the Control panel--make sure the panel is set to Align to Selection--and then click on Vertical Align Top and that will go ahead and align the top segments in those two shapes.

And notice the Strokes aren't in alignment, but the paths themselves are. If you'd prefer to work the other way around, then you press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac, and you turn on Use Preview Bounds, then click OK; and now notice if I go back to that exact same option, Vertical Align Top, and I click on it, that goes ahead and nudges the first rectangle upward so the two Strokes are in alignment. So what you're doing is you're aligning based on appearance instead of structure. So I'll go ahead and delete those two rectangles; they have no business in this artwork.

Our next option has to do with making selections. I'm going to go ahead and advance to this document here and I'm going to zoom in on this little Start menu icon that I drew, and I'll double-click on it as well in order to enter the Group Isolation mode. Now, this is a pretty complicated little piece of artwork here. And let's say I want to select this region of blue down below; if I end up clicking here, I select a little colorful window guys, and that's because they're casting a drop shadow. So in other words, I'm selecting based on the appearance of this artwork as opposed to, once again, its structure.

If I press the A key to get my White Arrow tool--and let's say I want to select a point, just an anchor point, somewhere on this blue circle. If I end up clicking inside the circle--well, in this case I still am selecting the drop shadow, so I need to get farther away from it, if I click right about here, let's say-- I end up selecting the entire shape because I clicked inside of its Fill instead of on its path outline. So I'd have to click off to deselect the artwork and then try to click more precisely right there in its outline. I missed again. This time I'll position my cursor where it needs to be and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect the artwork, then I'll click, and this time I get the anchor point.

So it can get pretty gnarly when you're working in complex artwork, even something like this where it's a complex element inside of an otherwise pretty simple piece of art. So here's what you do. I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect my artwork, and then I'll press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box. I'll switch to this next option down here on the left hand side, Selection & Anchor Display, and notice this checkbox right there--Object Selection by Path Only. Now, if you turn it on, you're going to have to work more precisely inside the program, but you'll have more flexibility too; you'll be able to select through objects the way you do when you're in the Outline mode.

So I'll go ahead and turn this checkbox on, then click OK. Now if I click inside of this blue ellipse, I don't select anything, because I'm not selecting based on its appearance, there is nothing at that location. Whereas if I move my cursor over, at some point I'll see a little square next to my cursor, and that will show me that there's a path outline underneath, and I'll click. It doesn't select the entire shape this time, it just selects the segment that I clicked on, which allows me to then click on an anchor point in order to select it. Also, this is interesting, I'll press Ctrl+Shift+ A or Command+Shift+A again, and I'll move inside of this orange window right there.

Notice that I've got a square next to my cursor, that shows me that there's a path outline at this location, and if I click, it turns out to be the outline around the blue ellipse, which is exactly what I wanted. So you're selecting based on the structures of the paths and not their appearance, which I can tell you based on experience is a little tricky at times, but it's a more advanced way to work and you're not going to find yourself having to Ctrl+Click or Command+Click in order to select down a stack. There is an equivalent to that option that affects text.

So I'll go ahead and switch to my next document, this one that we worked with in Chapter 11 of the intermediate course. Now notice that clicking inside of the background image doesn't select it, even though it is unlocked by the way. And that's because I'm not selecting based on appearance anymore. If I want to select that image, then I'd have to zoom out and click on its outline, like so; which is actually great, because then I'm not accidentally selecting the image all the time. But let's say I want to select done dirt cheap right there and I click right about there, I end up selecting the word design, because Illustrator is taking into account where the descenders would be, as well as where the ascenders would be.

So even though you're clicking on what appears to be the h in cheap, you end up selecting the word design instead. If you want to get around that, then press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac once again, and I'm going to go ahead and turn that Use Preview Bounds option off, because I prefer not to work with it, I just want you to see how it works, and then I'll click on Type over here on the left hand list. And notice that you've got this option, Type Object Selection by Path Only. If you turn it on and then click OK, now notice if I click on this h, I'm not going to select anything, because I'm not clicking on the baseline for either text object.

Now I have to click exactly on the baseline or this baseline here in order to select that text, and it doesn't matter if you have many text objects overlapping each other, as long as you can click on the text object's baseline, you'll select it. All right! Just one more item I want to show you, I'll press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to revisit the Preferences, and then I'll switch down to Plug-ins & Scratch Disks. If you want Illustrator to work as efficiently as possible and crash on you as infrequently as possible, then you want to adjust the Scratch Disks, which gives Illustrator a little more wiggle room when you're working on very complex documents that take up a lot of room and memory.

Assuming that you have multiple hard drives installed on your computer--and this is only for those of you with multiple internal hard drives--then you want to change the Primary Drive to not your Startup Drive. So in my case I'd change it to the D Drive. And then change your Secondary Drive to the Startup Drive, or if you've got another drive to work with, you can select it instead. I'm going to select the Startup Drive. Note that these particular changes will only take effect the next time you start Illustrator. So what you want to do is click OK and then go up to the File menu and choose the Exit command here on the PC or the Quit command on the Mac, and then relaunch the software.

Every time you quit Illustrator, it forces the program to save your preference settings; that way if you crash, you don't lose those settings the next time you start the software. And that's how you adjust a few key preference settings in order to achieve a more advanced and more efficient experience here inside Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

118 video lessons · 14359 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 43m 9s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 9s
    2. Introducing my custom keyboard shortcuts
      6m 52s
    3. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on Windows
      4m 46s
    4. Installing my dekeKeys shortcuts on the Mac
      4m 18s
    5. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 10s
    6. Adjusting a few key Preferences settings
      8m 13s
    7. Understanding the color-managed workflow
      6m 51s
    8. Establishing the optimal Color Settings
      6m 50s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Illustrator's oldest dynamic functions
      1m 28s
    2. Creating a multicolor blend
      7m 12s
    3. Establishing a clipping mask
      5m 40s
    4. Reinstating the colors of a clipping path
      8m 1s
    5. Editing individual blended paths
      4m 44s
    6. Adjusting the number of steps in a blend
      7m 15s
    7. Fixing problems with the Blend tool
      4m 2s
    8. Blending different levels of opacity
      4m 45s
    9. Editing the spine of a blend
      5m 3s
    10. Adding a custom spine to any blend
      5m 5s
    11. Advanced blending and masking techniques
      6m 18s
    12. Blending between entire groups
      3m 2s
    13. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      3m 21s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      5m 36s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. Illustrator's logo-making features
      1m 8s
    2. Customizing a single character of type
      5m 25s
    3. Combining a letterform with a path outline
      7m 48s
    4. Creating logo type along an open path
      5m 3s
    5. Creating logo type around a closed circle
      3m 57s
    6. Vertical alignment, orientation, and spacing
      4m 55s
    7. Warping logo type around a circle
      6m 56s
    8. Creating a classic neon type effect
      5m 39s
    9. Adding random neon brightness fluctuations
      5m 19s
    10. Creating neon "block outs" between letters
      7m 44s
    11. Adding neon blur and bokeh in Photoshop
      6m 16s
  4. 46m 19s
    1. Generating colors using harmony rules
      1m 31s
    2. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      5m 16s
    3. The 23 color harmony rules, diagrammed
      8m 16s
    4. Mixing and matching color harmonies
      5m 59s
    5. Color groups and custom harmony rules
      6m 18s
    6. Working in the Edit Colors dialog box
      7m 4s
    7. Expanding on an existing harmony rule
      6m 51s
    8. Constraining colors to a predefined library
      5m 4s
  5. 32m 44s
    1. Changing lots of colors all at once
      1m 2s
    2. Introducing the Recolor Artwork command
      4m 58s
    3. Recoloring with the help of swatch groups
      4m 35s
    4. Changing the color-assignment order
      6m 44s
    5. Reducing the number of colors in your art
      5m 7s
    6. Applying tints and shades of a single swatch
      5m 37s
    7. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 41s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Painting with path outlines
      1m 24s
    2. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 25s
    3. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      7m 34s
    4. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 12s
    5. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 31s
    6. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 45s
    7. Designing a custom art brush
      7m 35s
    8. Creating (or replacing) an art brush
      6m 42s
    9. Refining a brush to fit ends and corners
      4m 11s
    10. Expanding, filling, and stroking a brush
      7m 4s
    11. Type on a path vs. text as an art brush
      7m 3s
    12. Distorting text with the Width tool
      8m 49s
    13. Infusing your artwork with a tile pattern
      3m 13s
  7. 58m 24s
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 38s
    2. Creating translucency with the Opacity value
      4m 21s
    3. Darken, Multiply, and Color Burn
      6m 15s
    4. Lighten, Screen, and Color Dodge
      5m 8s
    5. Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Difference, and Exclusion
      4m 59s
    6. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      5m 12s
    7. Combining the effects of multiple blend modes
      6m 42s
    8. Isolating blending and Knockout Group
      7m 37s
    9. Combining blend modes with dynamic effects
      7m 25s
    10. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      9m 7s
  8. 1h 39m
    1. The Layers panel for dynamic attributes
      1m 4s
    2. Applying attributes in the Appearance panel
      6m 15s
    3. Creating depth using translucent strokes
      5m 37s
    4. Adding, layering, and offsetting strokes
      6m 12s
    5. Duplicating entire groups of attributes
      7m 55s
    6. Turning stacked strokes into editable paths
      5m 43s
    7. Simplifying a multi-stroke effect
      6m 31s
    8. Applying the Convert to Shape effect
      7m 47s
    9. Adding aligned patterns and shadows
      8m 16s
    10. Drawing with arrowheads and angled strokes
      8m 49s
    11. Employing overlapping gradient strokes
      8m 25s
    12. Drawing circular stroke elements
      10m 13s
    13. Outlining an entire multi-stroke effect
      8m 39s
    14. Creating seamless wood grain in Photoshop
      8m 11s
  9. 1h 12m
    1. The best features in Illustrator
      1m 38s
    2. Repeating a series of transformations
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting and updating a dynamic effect
      6m 37s
    4. Applying a stroke to an entire layer
      6m 24s
    5. Improving the performance of drop shadows
      5m 40s
    6. Applying a single effect multiple times
      6m 10s
    7. Creating an intricate Spirograph pattern
      7m 10s
    8. Adding scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      4m 40s
    9. Applying a dynamic Pathfinder to a layer
      3m 56s
    10. Creating beveled ornaments
      6m 50s
    11. Creating a sculptural type effect
      5m 59s
    12. Subtracting editable text from a path
      7m 6s
    13. Editing text inside a dynamic effect
      4m 25s
  10. 27m 40s
    1. Never remember anything again, ever
      1m 41s
    2. The pixel-based Effect Gallery
      3m 53s
    3. Copying effects from one layer to another
      4m 44s
    4. Introducing the Graphic Styles panel
      4m 11s
    5. Correcting previews in the Effect Gallery
      4m 36s
    6. Adjusting the resolution of your effects
      4m 0s
    7. Combining and saving graphic styles
      4m 35s
  11. 1h 13m
    1. Two powerful graphics programs combine forces
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a perfectly centered star shape
      6m 52s
    3. Precisely scaling concentric circles
      7m 47s
    4. Adding reflective highlights with the Flare tool
      6m 23s
    5. Two ways to rasterize vector art for Photoshop
      7m 37s
    6. Importing vector art as a Smart Object
      6m 47s
    7. Creating a lens flare effect in Photoshop
      7m 56s
    8. Photographic texture and brushed highlights
      6m 26s
    9. Modifying a vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    10. Converting Illustrator paths to shape layers
      6m 27s
    11. Assign layer effects to native shape layers
      5m 55s
    12. Completing a work of photorealistic art
      3m 46s
  12. 1m 5s
    1. Until next time
      1m 5s

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