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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
It's obvious until this point that the Appearance panel holds a certain amount of power inside of Illustrator, especially when it comes to working with attributes of each of your objects, but hold down your seats, the real power comes through another feature inside of Illustrator called Live Effects. Live Effects are accessible directly through the Appearance panel, which again, make it that much more important for you to understand what the Appearance panel means and how it works. A Live effect is something that basically changes the appearance of a particular path but does not change the underlying structure of the path itself. Let's start off with a very basic example and then we will began to see where this goes. I'm working with this regular appearances file; I have actually reverted back to the original state of this file. I'm actually going to select this object right here. This has a white fill and a black stroke and maybe I want to add a soft drop shadow effect to this particular shape. In the past, I can go over to the Effect menu and I could choose to apply a particular effect.
By the way, we also notice that the Filter menu no longer exist here inside of Illustrator. Right now the Effect menu has all the settings necessary inside of that, but you can also access all the effects directly to the Appearance panel now. From the bottom here where I can choose to add a new effect. So when I click over here, I'm going to go ahead and choose Stylize and then I'm going to choose Drop Shadow. So now when I get this dialog box, I'll choose the regular settings. I'll click on the Preview button, so I could actually see a preview of that drop shadow. I'll keep the settings as same right now and I'll click OK. The important thing to realize here is that now in the Appearance panel, besides my Stroke attribute and my Fill attribute, I also have a Drop Shadow attribute. Again, this is because that Illustrator is now showing to me that I have added this additional appearance to my object itself.
The reason why it's important to understand that a drop shadow was added in this case as an appearance is that if I were to change my shape or move it or adjust it or resize it in any way, the drop shadow was simply update itself. It's not necessarily an effect that once I apply it I have to then reapply if I make changes. Anything that I now do to the shape-- For example, if I were to go ahead and grab the edge here and adjust the scale of it, notice the drop shadow automatically updates. I'm going to press undo to go back to where I was before. If I want to now change that Drop Shadow effect, I also have the ability again to go the Appearance panel in the same way that I was able to adjust fills and strokes by clicking on them, I can now click on the word Drop Shadow, which brings up the dialog box and here I could adjust the setting. For example, maybe I want the opacity little bit lighter maybe 30%.
So now I have gone ahead and I have updated that particular drop shadow. Again, I do that all through the Appearance panel. If I wanted to remove the drop shadow from this particular object I could simply take it and drag it to the trashcan. I'm going to go ahead and press undo for a second because Illustrator CS4 now also has the ability to simply turn on and off effects that have already been applied to an object. For example, if you look on the far left over here at the Appearance panel, you will see these little eyeballs here. These eyeballs control the visibility of the effects that are being applied or the attributes that are being applied to that object.
For example, right now my path is my target and I now I have a fill, a stroke and also my drop shadow, which are all visible. If I go ahead and I decide to hide the visibility of the drop shadow, notice that I don't see the drop shadow here and maybe I just want to experiment with this. I don't want to throw out the drop shadow or lose it settings but maybe temporarily or maybe just for one object I just want to turn off the drop shadow. I can hide its visibility without having to lose it because at any time I can now bring that drop shadow back by clicking on this icon and bring back its visibility. Whereas if I had basically deleted that drop shadow, there is no way for me to easily bring that back and this is important especially when you are dealing with finicky clients or managers or creative directors and they want to see something one way and they constantly saying, oh you know, maybe go back to the old way of seeing it or show me what it look like with it or without it instead of having multiple copies, you can have one object and we will simply click on the eyeballs to hide or show those particular attributes within the Appearance panel.
Let me give you another example of really what I mean when I say that the effects that are applied to a particular object, affect the appearance of the object but not the underlying structure of the object and we will see why that's important as well. I'm actually going to take this Drop Shadow and throw it in the garbage for now. I have a regular shape now that has again a white fill and a black one-point stroke and if we want to change this surfboard and make it look more realistic. Let's go and make a 3D surfboard. It's actually not that difficult at all and we will talk more about 3D later on, but for now let's just get a quick idea on how to apply that kind of effect. I'm going to change my fill to something different. Let's go ahead and maybe choose an orange color and now what all I have to do is I'll take my stroke actually and set my stroke to none. Let's go ahead and say we don't want to stroke on the object at all. We just want to have a pure orange surfboard here.
I have it selected and again, my path right now is targeted. I'm going to go over here to the effect over here and choose add a new effect. We will choose 3D and I'll also choose Extrude and Bevel. I'm going to click on the Preview button so I could what this looks like. Notice that I have now an extruded surfboard here. I want to make this look more realistic. I can go ahead and I can click on this cube to rotate how that sets in 3D space. So for example, let's say we do something like this. I'm going to change the depth to that extrusion to maybe 30 points and I'm also going to apply a bevel, choose a rounded bevel to make it look like this surfboard has a little bit of rounded edge, maybe we will change to height to that bevel to six point.
So now I get basically something that looks far more realistic, looks not unlike a real surfboard here. Let's go ahead and choose nice little angle like that, beautiful. We get some nice sliding and shading on it. I'll click OK and that's my 3D surfboard. But let's go into Outline mode for a second. If I go into the View menu and I choose to view this in outline. I don't see a 3D shape. I see the same path itself. So what happen here is I have my regular vector path with all anchor points in the path that basically make up that shape in general inside of Illustrator.
But what I have done is I have applied a 3D appearance to what I have changed the way that that path looks, but it didn't change to make up of the path itself and if I now go back to my Preview mode, I'll see what that path looks like now with the appearance on it. So the appearance effects how that path looks, remember but I have not changed underlying path and the reason why that's important is because I decide that I want to do something different to this surfboard. For example, may be I want to make it look like a shark took a bite out of this particular surfboard. Well, I know that I have certain commands such as the Pathfinder commands that I could use. So I'm actually going to go ahead here and just draw a range of shapes here. Why don't we go into Outline mode just to show you how I'm doing this. I'm take let's say the Ellipse tool and just create a whole bunch of circles here. I'm going to use my Option key or if you are on the PC, hold the Alt key, this is something create a whole bunch of circles just like this.
Now I'll go ahead and just kind of drag all this together. I'll select them all and I'll go to the Window menu, I'll choose Pathfinder and I'll add them all to one particular shape. Now what I'll do is I'll take this exact shape right here that I created and kind of bring it over here just like this, select both items and now choose to subtract. So what I have done is I basically made it look like a shark took a bite out of that surfboard there. If I go into Preview mode right now, what do you think what happened to that 3D, look at that surfboard. That's right, what's going to happen is that, that's now going to look like, it was taken right out of that particular surfboard.
So the benefit of an appearance is that by not affecting the underlying path itself, if I ever made changes to that path that updates in the appearance as well. Imagine if I created a 3D shape and then I want to take the bite out of the 3D shape well, that would have been far more complex. So this is a key thing to understand with appearances. Remember that appearances affect the overall look of the path, but they do not affect the underlying structure of that particular path. At the end of the day what that means is that the artwork that you create now inside of Illustrator when you are using appearances, is far more editable than anything else and that's the key to the game.
If you want to be efficient, if you want to be able to create your graphics inside of Illustrator, what you end up doing is creating a path structure and then you are applying appearances to everything and that's where the Illustrator works. So it's very simple from that perspective. Hopefully, this gives you more of an idea or understanding of what the appearances are, how effects are applied to these particular shape, why they are called Live Effects inside of Illustrator. We now know also how to change to 3D. If you want to go ahead and edit the 3D, that's right you just come to the Appearance panel select the art work go ahead and click on 3D Extrude and Bevel and you get the 3D dialog box and maybe change its rotation a little bit.
Click on the Preview and I could very easily change how that looks, which is a few clicks in the mouse. That would have been very difficult for me to do if I had changed the underlying structure or the vector shape.
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