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Copying appearances with the Eyedropper tool

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Video: Copying appearances with the Eyedropper tool

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.

Copying appearances with the Eyedropper tool

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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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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