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Avoiding pitfalls when using effects

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Video: Avoiding pitfalls when using effects

Appearances are certainly wonderful. We can see already that we can do so many different things with multiple fills, multiple strokes, and applying effects. However, at the same time, it's important to understand that with regard to effects, while it's nice that these effects are live, it's important to realize that there can be a few things to watch out for, specifically because they're live. Let me give you an example. I have here this file right here. It's a whole bunch of elements here that I've turned into a group. I have some text here that has a drop shadow on it, and of course we know that that drop shadow is a Live Effect.

Avoiding pitfalls when using effects

Appearances are certainly wonderful. We can see already that we can do so many different things with multiple fills, multiple strokes, and applying effects. However, at the same time, it's important to understand that with regard to effects, while it's nice that these effects are live, it's important to realize that there can be a few things to watch out for, specifically because they're live. Let me give you an example. I have here this file right here. It's a whole bunch of elements here that I've turned into a group. I have some text here that has a drop shadow on it, and of course we know that that drop shadow is a Live Effect.

I'm actually going to double-click on the text to isolate this group, and then select the text here and copy it. Now I'll hit Escape to go ahead and exit the Isolation mode, and I'll come to this part of the document and then simply paste that text onto my artboard. Sometimes I might want to rotate this text. Maybe I might want to flip it on its head, rotate it about 180 degrees. Well, watch what happens. I'll actually make a copy of this first by Option+Dragging it, or Alt+Dragging it on Windows, so that we can easily compare the two. I'm going to take this element right here, I'm going to double-click on my Rotate tool, I'll choose 180 degrees, and click OK.

Now if we take a look at what happens here-- I'm going to switch back to my Arrow tool-- I have the text that has actually been successfully rotated, but the drop shadow effect has not been rotated. Because the drop shadow is actually a live effect, meaning that it's applied to the artwork itself. In the first example here where I had the drop shadow, the setting for the drop shadow had an Offset of 5 points and 5 points, meaning down and to the right 5 points. Now, I'll click Cancel here. This effect also used the same settings: 5 points and 5 points down and to the right.

Now I know that probably when I rotate this text, I really want the drop shadow to be kind of up and to the left in this case, but that doesn't happen. And this can cause problems in many different workflows, especially in printing. Let me give you an example. I'm going to select these two elements and delete them. Let's go back to this part of the flower right here. I'm going to zoom out just a bit, so I could see the whole artboard. When you're working with printing, to save money, many times printers will actually repeat certain elements on a single page. Technically, these may be referred to as a work-and-turn or work-and-tumble.

Usually, you'll have the same piece of artwork that appears head to head on the same page. So for example, if I take this group right now and I hold down the Option key, and I'm going to drag upwards here, you notice it'll snap kind of right here where it says intersect to create another copy of this piece of artwork. Then I'll use my Rotate tool. I'll double-click on the Rotate tool. I'll specify 180 degrees and click OK. Now, I have the same piece of artwork that's kind of laid out head to head, so when I print this, I can save some money by creating only one plate and putting it on a one sheet of paper.

However, in doing so, if I'm not really paying attention to exactly the artwork that I'm looking at right now, I will have missed the fact that on this element right here, the drop shadow is incorrect. The drop shadow is still down and to the right. And in this case over here while it appears down into the right, when I flip it upside down, it should really be up and to the left. So how do I avoid these issues? Unfortunately, and I'll be honest here, I once discovered this problem after I really saw the sheet printed. So I want to make sure that you don't make the same mistake either.

I'm going to deselect this artwork here. What I'll do is I'll take this element, select it, and I'll go to the Symbols panel, and I'll actually turn it into a symbol. I'm going to create a new symbol here. I'm just going to leave it named New Symbol even though that's probably a bad idea. But for this case here I just wanted to show you that I can now take this element and I could drag a copy over here by holding down the Option key. Let me rotate this 180 degrees, so that it's on its head, and I'll snap it right here to the other object. Notice that because I first defined it as a symbol, when I rotate the symbol, the symbol shows me the finer result of that artwork.

So I'm not reapplying that Live Effect again. The Live Effect is actually in the symbol. But because now I'm rotating the symbol and not the object with the Live Effect, I'm getting the correct drop shadow. So one solution to this problem would be is that before you actually start rotating artwork that has any kind of effect applied to it, first define that artwork as a symbol. And if you're a pre-press operator, this might be a really good way to work as well. Anytime you get a file from somebody else and now you need to step it up in some kind of way, it's probably a really good idea to first go ahead and turn that artwork into a symbol and then step up copies of that symbol, or instances of that symbol.

A benefit to this, by the way, is if you need to make a last-minute change on press, you can go back to the file here, simply modify the symbol, and it updates in all the different stepped-up versions as well. While we're talking about potential solutions here, I'll show you one other thing. I'm actually going to delete this symbol right here, and I'll take this artwork and I'll choose to break the link to the symbol, so now it's back to regular artwork. If all I really want to do is create a copy of this that's rotated on its head, I can actually do that using an effect inside of Illustrator. So I'm going to select this element right here.

Actually, now that I broke the link to the symbol, these elements are not grouped anymore. So I'm actually going to select all of these elements and hit Command+G to create a group. Notice now in my Appearance panel I have a group. I can actually apply an effect called the Transform effect to make a copy of this. When I do so, all the effects will maintain their correct appearance. So I have the group selected. The group is targeted. I'm going to go to here, the Effect button, and I'll choose Distort & Transform. Now, I'm going to apply a Transform effect. This brings up the Transform Effect dialog box.

I actually want to create another copy of this over here, and I want to flip it upside down. First, I'll click on the Preview button so that we can actually see what we're doing here. Next, I want this a flip from the top of the object, so they should sit head to head. So I actually want this transformation to occur from this origin point, so I'm actually choosing the middle origin point here, at the top of this proxy. And I want to reflect the Y coordinate, and I also wanted to flip along the X axis as well. Right now, it's actually flipping the artwork itself, but I don't want it to do that.

I want it to flip a copy of that artwork. This way I maintain the original artwork as well. So where it says Copies, I'll change that to a value of 1 and hit the Tab key. So now you can see that when I apply an effect--and I'll click OK here-- I actually have one single object, but I use the Transform effect to create a full copy here. Notice that drop shadow is in the correct orientation here. And more importantly, if I go into Outline mode now, by pressing Command+Y, I only see one piece of artwork here. That's because the additional piece of artwork that I created is only a modification that I've made to the appearance of the original piece of artwork.

If I find a last-minute typo or want to make a change, I do so to the original artwork, and the one that's currently flipped upside down gets updated automatically.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials
 
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  1. 8m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 15s
    2. Exploring the Illustrator Timeline
      5m 12s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      25s
  2. 16m 27s
    1. Starting off on the right foot
      27s
    2. Knowing the difference between structure and presentation
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding paths and attributes
      4m 56s
    4. Distributing stroke weight along a path
      2m 25s
    5. Bottoms up: Object hierarchy and stacking order
      4m 1s
  3. 51m 9s
    1. The all-important Appearance panel
      37s
    2. Understanding attribute stacking order
      6m 45s
    3. Targeting individual object attributes
      7m 32s
    4. Adding multiple attributes to a single object
      9m 31s
    5. Modifying appearances with Live Effects
      7m 11s
    6. Using multiple strokes to create a border design
      4m 36s
    7. Using multiple strokes to create a map
      5m 52s
    8. Using multiple fills to mix spot colors
      4m 59s
    9. Using multiple fills to create textures
      4m 6s
  4. 46m 2s
    1. Learning to live with appearances
      30s
    2. Basic appearance vs. complex appearance
      4m 27s
    3. Clearing or expanding an appearance
      10m 52s
    4. Controlling the appearance of newly drawn art
      5m 11s
    5. Saving appearances with graphic styles
      6m 54s
    6. Changing artwork by modifying a graphic style
      7m 39s
    7. Uncovering a treasure trove of graphic styles
      5m 1s
    8. Copying appearances with the Eyedropper tool
      5m 28s
  5. 33m 28s
    1. Why do we create groups?
      1m 48s
    2. Applying an effect to a group
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding the difference between targeting and selecting
      4m 44s
    4. Knowing the dangers of ungrouping artwork
      2m 21s
    5. Using Isolation mode to preserve group structure
      6m 59s
    6. Adding a stroke to a group
      6m 13s
    7. Adding a 3D effect to a group
      3m 36s
    8. Extending the concept of groups to type objects
      3m 9s
  6. 46m 34s
    1. Are you a layers person?
      33s
    2. Learning to use the Layers and Objects panel
      9m 27s
    3. Making selections and editing stacking order
      6m 38s
    4. Reading and using the target circles
      8m 43s
    5. Copying artwork and appearances
      5m 37s
    6. Adding effects to layers
      9m 56s
    7. Getting the most out of the Layers panel
      5m 40s
  7. 47m 19s
    1. It's more than just a drop shadow?
      48s
    2. Adding basic texture with Mezzotint
      7m 50s
    3. Generating custom textures with Texturizer
      12m 22s
    4. Adding a stroke to an image with Outline Object
      5m 54s
    5. Aligning text precisely with Outline Object
      6m 31s
    6. Adding callout numbers with Convert to Shape
      4m 36s
    7. Enhancing performance with Rasterize
      2m 30s
    8. Avoiding pitfalls when using effects
      6m 48s
  8. 31m 59s
    1. Asking yourself the "what if?" question
      33s
    2. Outlining artwork with Offset Path and Pathfinder Add
      5m 36s
    3. Adding captions with Convert to Shape and Transform
      7m 1s
    4. Creating a crosshatch effect with Scribble
      5m 44s
    5. Creating buttons with Round Corners and Transform
      13m 5s
  9. 25m 21s
    1. Working with other people's files
      36s
    2. Setting up a workspace that makes sense
      9m 43s
    3. Learning to "read" an Illustrator file
      5m 48s
    4. Controlling pixel resolution
      9m 14s
  10. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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