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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.
Working with graphic styles is incredibly efficient. If you are working with artwork that you know you are going to be working on many, many times in the future then graphic styles are definitely the way to go. However, it does take some time and effort to set up graphic styles, and sometimes if you simply want to copy the attributes from one object to another, it might be a lot quicker to use the Eyedropper tool. However, when working with appearances, you might find some trouble working with the Eyedropper tool, so in this video I want to explain to you how to use the Eyedropper tool successfully when working with appearances.
Now, in this document here called eyedropper.ai I have three shapes across the top that have different types of attributes applied to them. In the case on the right over here, I actually have a complex appearance applied to the shape, and on the bottom, I have simply the same piece of artwork, but it just has a plain white fill and a black stroke. I am going to want to copy the appearance from the artwork that appear at the top of the document to those shapes that appear at the bottom. So, let's see how that works. I am going to start off by selecting this shape over here. The way that you use the Eyedropper tool is you first select the artwork that is going to change in appearance.
Then you switch to the Eyedropper tool-- and by the way the keyboard shortcut for that is the I key on your keyboard. Notice now it changes to the Eyedropper tool, and then I simply click on an object that I want to steal those attributes from, or I want to kind of pick up the attributes from the original object and apply it to the one that I currently have selected. So I am now going to click on let's say, this red shape here, and now you can see the attributes that were applied to that red shape have now been copied, or replicated, to the object that I currently have selected. Let's see how that applies over here to this shape as well.
Again, the first thing I am going to do is I am going to select the shape over here. I already have the Eyedropper tool selected. I don't want to have to keep changing tools here, so I am going to press the Command key on my keyboard--or if you are on Windows that would be the Ctrl key-- to now select the object. When I let go the Command key, I am returned now to the Eyedropper tool. Now I am going to move over here and I am going to click on this object with the Eyedropper tool, and again it is going to copy those attributes to the current shape that I have selected. Let's do this one last time now with the object that has a complex appearance applied to it. I am going to Command+ Click to select this object.
I am now going to move to this object here and click on it. But you'll notice that the artwork now does not match the top object in appearance. It has copied the yellow fill and the thick blue stroke, but what about that thin red stroke and the drop shadow? In other words, the only thing that the eyedropper copied was the basic appearance of the artwork, but I really want the entire complex appearance to be moved, or copied, to the object below. Now, this has nothing to do with using the Appearance panel; this is simply the way that the Eyedropper tool works. In other words, what attributes are the eyedropper picking up to then apply to another piece of artwork.
So we need to look at the Eyedropper Tool settings to make this work. I am now going to come over to the Tools panel, and I am going to double-click on the Eyedropper tool, which brings up the Eyedropper Options dialog box. Now, there are a lot of settings here. There are settings for what the eyedropper actually picks up and what the eyedropper actually applies. I will be brutally honest with you right here. I don't see a difference for these two sides. In other words, if the eyedropper picks it up, it is going to apply it, and if the Eyedropper applies it, it needs to pick those options up.
So really, I should just see one group of settings here, not two, which just makes this little bit more confusing. But putting that aside right now, you can see that by default the Eyedropper tool picks up transparency, the focal fill, focal stroke, character style and paragraph style, with all of these settings here inside of that. However, it's not picking up the full appearance, which, by the way, if I have to be completely honest again, is not really that clear, because transparency, focal fills and focal strokes are indeed appearances. They are not complex appearance.
So in other words this check box really should say the Eyedropper tool picks up the complex appearance. In fact, all I really care about are two check boxes here: basic appearance or complex appearance. But in either case, in your minds you should think of this word appearance as complex appearance. I want the Eyedropper tool to pick up the complex appearance, and I want it to apply the complex appearance. Now that I have checked those two boxes, I am going to click OK, and now let's see what happens. I am going to select these shapes right here and press D for default.
That's going to reset all the artwork back to a white fill and a black stroke. I am going to press the Command key again, and I'm now going to click on just this object here to select it, and notice now that when I click with the Eyedropper tool on this shape, the entire full complex appearance gets copied to the shape below-- not just the fill and the stroke, but also both strokes and the drop shadow as well. So by turning on that setting inside of the Eyedropper Tool Options dialog box, I am instructing the Eyedropper tool to not just pick up the basic appearance but to pick up the full complex appearance and apply it to other artwork.
Again, this is an option you may want to turn on and off on an individual basis, but it might help you to know that that option is there. Personally, I always have my Eyedropper tool set to pick up the full complex appearance, and that's because when I normally want to copy attributes from one object to another, I want the full appearance to come along with it. In either case, if until now you been somewhat confused as to why the Eyedropper tool seems to work sometimes in some cases but not in others, now you not only know the reason why, but you know how to better control it, so you get just the right settings that you want.
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