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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 already know that we can use graphic styles to be more efficient in our artwork. We can create one set of attributes and easily copy those attributes to other artwork. For example, in this document right here called styles_2.ai I have the same flower, which all has the same attributes applied to them, and I am using the loops graphic style on each of these objects. In fact, if I go ahead and I click to select one of these objects, I can see in my Appearance panel that I currently have a path that's targeted. But more importantly, the appearance panel is also telling me that I have the loops graphic style applied to that path.
We're starting to see here that the Appearance panel gives me a tremendous amount of information about my file. For example, if another designer worked on this file and they handed the file off to me, just by clicking on this artwork and looking the Appearance panel, I can easily see that there is now a graphic style applied to that piece of art. Why might that be important? Well, perhaps the most beneficial part about working with graphic styles is not that I can easily apply settings to artwork; it's that I can modify or change those settings at any time. In fact, let's modify that graphics style right here.
I am actually going to start off by deselecting the artwork, and this is an important thing to note about working with graphic styles inside of Illustrator. I am actually going to make that change without having to select any of the artwork. And this is key, especially when you are working with really complex files. Many times, artwork may appear on locked layers, it may appear beneath other objects that might be hard to select, or when you start clicking and actually trying to select artwork inside of a complex document, you might accidentally move or select the wrong thing. We don't want that to happen.
So it's really nice to know that when you are working with graphic styles, you can actually make modifications to those styles without having to select the artwork at all. So I am going to start off by actually pressing D on my keyboard, which is going to reset my Appearance panel back to its default settings. I am doing this because I want you to see exactly what happens when I am actually working with graphic styles using the Appearance panel. You see, I know that I actually want to make a modification out to the loops graphic style. I am going to come over here to the Graphic Styles panel, and I'll click on the loops graphic style. As soon as I do so, you'll see all of the settings for that loops graphic style now get loaded into the Appearance panel.
Illustrator tells me right now, No Selection, meaning I don't have any selection, but I'm displaying the settings for the loops graphic style, and I can see here the four different strokes. Now the word from my creative director is they actually don't want me to use white in this graphic style; they actually want me to use the light yellow color. So wherever I have white in the graphic style, I want to change that to light yellow. That's actually the little stroke that appears along the path here that connects all the little circles and the circles themselves. Now wouldn't you know it, the clients also decides that they would like to have soft drop shadows in all this artwork. What a surprise? But we can easily do that using graphic styles as well.
So again, all I've done here is I have actually gone through my graphic styles panel and I have clicked on the loops graphic style to load those settings into the Appearance panel. Now, I am actually going to make some of the changes. Remember, I have no artwork selected on my artboard at all, but I can come here inside of the Appearance panel, and I'll change these white strokes to the light yellow color. Next, I am going to click here in the bottom, because I want to target my entire artwork, and I am actually going to apply a soft drop shadow. I'll go to Stylize and choose Drop Shadow. And I use these settings here, an Opacity of 60, an X and a Y Offset of 0.02 inches, and a Blur of 0.03 inches, and I'll click OK.
So I can see here now that the drop shadow appears inside the Appearance panel. But remember, I have no selection, so these are all settings that I just know in my head that I want to make to this graphic style. All along, Illustrator has been watching very closely what I've been doing. It saw me click on that graphic style. It's telling me to make some changes in my Appearance panel, and Illustrator figures, hey, maybe you want those changes to actually become part of the graphic style. In fact, if I go to the flyout menu of the Appearance panel, I'll see there is an option here at the bottom called Redefine Graphic Style "loops".
In other words, do I want to take the settings that I have just made to the Appearance panel and actually used those changes to redefine the loops graphic style? So actually, I do, and just by choosing this option, you'll now see that on the artboard, all of the artwork that I have are going to now take on that yellow color, and also get the drop shadow. Remember, I have been able to do this without having to select any of that artwork. Now I am going to press Undo, because I want to show you yet another way to make the change to the graphic style. By pressing Undo, all I've done is I've just reset that option. So, I haven't actually made any modifications to the graphic style yet, but I did already add the drop shadow and I did already change the stroke colors here to yellow.
Remember, how before when we first defined our graphic style, we just took this little thumbnail and we dragged it into the Graphic Styles panel to create a style? Well, let's do the same thing. I am going to take the icon now. I am going to drag it now into the Graphic Styles panel, but instead of just dragging it in and dropping it, I am going to hold down the Option key--or Alt key on Windows--and I am going to drag this icon on top of the existing style. Notice that when I do so, it gets a thick black outline around it. Whenever you're holding down the Option key, or the Alt key on Windows, and you're dragging something on top of an existing style, that means that you're modifying or changing that style.
So now if I release the mouse, Illustrator now is going to modify that graphic style and also modify all the artwork that has that style applied to it, on the artboard. In this case, I've completely lost the original style, meaning now if the client decides, "You know something, you guys are right. Let's go back to not having a drop shadow and let's go back to the white circles," well, I don't have that style anymore, so I'd have to now go ahead and make that change. Another thing that I can do is simply press Undo, and instead of modifying or updating that style, I could take the style, drag it in and create a second one.
Maybe now I'll call this one loops_2. Now I have two graphic styles, and now what I can do is I can select the artwork. In this case, here I am actually going to click and drag to select the artwork, and I'm going to simply just choose this graphic style to update it to this one. But if I want to go back to the original graphic style, I always have the original one inside of my document. Now this is a very simple document. But there are many ways to select artwork inside of Illustrator. I am going to give you one example of how this process might be just a little bit more efficient. For example, right now I have two graphic styles in my document.
I can click on just this one object, so basically select one object anywhere inside of my document that has this graphic style applied to it. I can then go to the Select menu, and I can choose Same and then choose Same > Graphic Style, meaning look throughout my entire document, find all artwork that has the same graphic style as the one I currently have selected, and select those. Now you can see that all of this artwork now is selected. If I had a document that was very complex, that had 500 other objects inside of it, only these graphic style objects will become selected, and now I could easily just choose another graphic style.
So I have made now a change to my artwork, but I haven't lost my original graphic style. So here are two ways that you can work with Illustrator and graphic styles: either modify your existing graphic style or create a second graphic style and use that without losing the original one. Now I'll finish up with one more point. In the previous video, we actually spoke about the ability to apply a graphic style but not necessarily replace all the existing attributes, but append those attributes by applying a graphic style by holding down the Option or the Alt key.
It's important to note that when I do that, that graphic does not necessarily remember that graphic style. So if I try to modify the graphic style, those particular objects won't get updated.
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