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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.
Let's take a moment to talk about something that we do every single day but that we probably don't take too much notice of. Or maybe we just take it for granted. Now, I have a document here open call drawing.ai. I am going to press the D key on my keyboard. Notice that I have nothing at all selected right now, but by pressing D, I have reset my default fill and stroke to a white fill and a black stroke. I can, by the way, toggle the focus between fill and stroke by typing the X key of my keyboard. So those are two important keyboard shortcuts to know, D for resetting your attributes to the default settings and X for changing the focus between the fill and stroke.
Now, because I have nothing selected, if I look at my Appearance panel, it tells me right now that I have no selection, but the white fill and 1-point black stroke are currently loaded, meaning that the next objects that I now draw are going to pick up these attributes or this appearance. So notice over here, if I take my Rectangle tool, for example, and I click and drag to draw a rectangle, this object now has already been filled with white and it has a 1-point black stroke applied to it. I am going to press Delete for a second here because I want to show you, if I take my Selection tool and I click on this shape right here-- it is just filled red, but it has no stroke applied to it-- notice now, my Appearance panel shows those settings obviously for that selected artwork.
But if I deselect that artwork now, those settings are still loaded in the Appearance panel, even though it's currently set to no selection. This means that the next object I am going to draw is going to pick up this appearance. So, for example, now if I take a Rectangle tool and I click and drag to draw a rectangle, it won't be filled with a white fill and a black stroke; it will get a red fill and a stroke set to none. The only reason why that happens it because the last object that I had selected loaded those settings into the Appearance panel, and now the next object that I draw picks up on those last settings.
So just to show you, if I use a keyboard shortcut here, for example, I press the Command key-- if you're a Windows, that would be the Ctrl key--to temporarily change my Rectangle tool into the last selection that I have used, which over here was the regular Selection tool. I can now click on this object to select it, and now if I let it go of the Command now, I am now back to a Rectangle tool. The next rectangle that I draw gets fill to match the attributes that I recently selected, which is a yellow fill and a 2-point dark blue stroke, as I see here in the Appearance panel.
So the way that Illustrator works is that when I draw an object that object picks up the attributes of the last object that I had selected in my document. That being the case, let me now Command+Click on this shape over here. This shape has a single yellow fill, but it also has two strokes and a drop shadow. I want to draw now yet another rectangle. What's interesting to note is that I don't see those multiple attributes now appearing on my rectangle. I don't even see the drop shadow. So if we go according to the rules that I just said before, Illustrator draws all new artwork based on the last object that I had selected. Why does this new piece of artwork not completely match the object that I last had selected? The answer is actually hidden right here in the flyout menu of the Appearance panel.
There is a setting here called New Art Has Basic appearance. This is Illustrator's default setting, which means that every time I draw a new piece of artwork, that artwork will only pick up the basic appearance of the most recent selected object in my document. Going to this example right here, this flower right here, if I were to go ahead now and select it, shows that it has a drop shadow, a fill, and two strokes. But the new object that I had created over here only picked up one of those fills and one of the strokes and no effects. That's because all new art that I draw only picks up the basic appearance of the previously selected artwork.
Now for the majority of the time that you are working inside of Illustrator, this is actually expected behavior. Just because you select a piece of artwork that has a drop shadow applied to it, it doesn't mean that every single and new object that you draw should also have a drop shadow applied to it. However, there may be times when you actually create an effect, you create some kind of a complex appearance and you do want new objects to pick up on that complex appearance. I am actually going to go ahead now and switch to my Selection tool. Let me delete all these rectangles right here, and I am going to go to the Appearance panel, and from the flyout menu, I am going to uncheck New Art Has Basic appearance.
In other words now, new artwork has complex appearance. So now if I take let's say this red object and take a rectangle and I draw the rectangle, I get the red rectangle as I expect. If I now hold down the Command key and I select this object right here and I click and drag to draw a new rectangle, this new rectangle has both strokes and also the drop shadow. Why? Because I have turned that setting, New Art Has Basic appearance, off, so now it picks up the full complex appearance of the last object that I've selected.
As I said before, this is really a preference to how you want to work. The majority of the time you probably want the setting set to its default. I am actually going to back here to be Appearance panel. I am going to choose New Art Has Basic appearance. That way the setting is turned on, so all new artwork that I apply will only pick up the basic appearance of the most recently selected object.
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