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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.
So we know that in Illustrator a group is a container. I have a file opened here called groups.ai, and I have two identical pieces of artwork. On the left side over here, you can see three different flowers, and on the right side, you can also see three different flowers. The only difference between these two groupings here of artwork is that on the left side, each of these objects sit on their own, meaning they are grouped together at all. However, on the right side, all of these elements are simply being grouped together. We can actually see this pretty clearly inside of the Appearance panel, as well.
If I were to select these three objects right now, by looking at the Appearance panel it says that my target right now is the path and those paths have mixed appearances because they have different fill attributes. However, if were to select the group here, we can see that now my target says group, so the Appearance panel's giving me some more information here. We'll talk a lot more about targeting in the next movie, but for now I want to focus on this concept that a group is actually a container inside of Illustrator. You see a group actually exists. It's a real object inside of Illustrator. The same way that you draw a path inside of Illustrator, when you create a group, there is now a physical entity, something called a container, that now exists inside of Illustrator.
We just call it a group. However, many of us kind of gloss over that fact, because in our minds a group is just haphazardly taking several objects together and sticking them together. But if we take a closer look here at the Appearance panel, I can clearly see to have a group here, and then inside that group I have contents. The contents of my group are these three shapes. Now, let's think for a minute here. We know that in Illustrator when I have a path, I can apply an attribute to that path. For example, I can apply a fill or stroke, or I can apply a Live Effect, for example, to any path inside of Illustrator.
If a group is just like a path inside of Illustrator, if a group is actually an object inside of Illustrator, can I apply a fill and stroke or an effect to a group? The answer is, absolutely. And when you understand exactly what it means to do that, you start to see a whole level of capabilities of things you can do with Appearance panel. Let's start over here on the left side. I am going to select these three individual objects that have not been grouped, as I see here in the Appearance panel, and I am going to go over to the Effect menu and I am going to choose Stylize, and I am going to choose to add a drop shadow effect.
I am going to use the generic settings here, Opacity, 75, X and Y offset to 7 points, and Blur of 5 points, and I will click OK. And as you can clearly see now on my screen, each of those individual flowers now have their own drop shadow. This flower gets a drop shadow, this flower gets a drop shadow, and this flower gets a drop shadow. Now if I select the entire group over here, I will go back the Effect menu and I will apply that same effect, Apply Drop Shadow. But you notice that the actual appearance, the result of what I see now on my screen, is very different than what I saw here on the left side.
You see now on the right side, because I have applied to drop shadow to the group, each individual flower did not get a drop shadow, but it's as if all those three flowers have kind of been fused, or united together, into one shape, and I now have one large drop shadow that encompasses all the different shapes together. What really happened here is that the actual shapes themselves did not get a drop shadow at all; all the shapes just happened to be inside of a group, and Illustrator applied the drop shadow to that group to that container that we created.
In fact, let me prove that to you. I am actually going to choose to use my Direct Selection tool, and I will select just as yellow flower right here. I am going to press Command+C or Ctrl+C to copy it. I am going to create a brand-new document, Command+N, just choose OK, to select whatever settings were there, and paste. Notice now in this document there is no drop shadow on this flower at all. That's because this flower never had a drop shadow. This flower was living inside of a container, and that container had to drop shadow on it. So let me return back here to the groups.ai file, and we now have a much clearer understanding of exactly what a group is inside of Illustrator.
A group really does exist. When I apply drop shadow, that drop shadow is not being applied to the objects; that drop shadow is being applied to the group itself. Now as we have learn a lot more about how groups work and also how layers work inside of Illustrator, we will actually be able to see this happening inside of Illustrator in a much more intuitive manner. But before we go there, we are going to spend a few minutes and really understanding exactly what we are seeing here inside of Illustrator. But the first thing we will need to cover is a good understanding of exactly what the difference between targeting and selecting is inside of Illustrator, something we are going to cover in the next movie.
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