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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are plenty of times when you already have an object that has some kind of an Appearance applied to it, and you have another object, and you want that other object to pick up the same appearances from another object. For example, in this document, I have a whole line of flowers on the left side here that has some kind of nice Appearance applied to them. On the right side, I have plain flowers. I really want to move the same Appearance that appears to this flower onto this one, meaning I want this flower to look identical to this one right here.
Well, there is a tool inside of Illustrator called the Eyedropper tool, which can help you do this. Let's see how that works. The first thing you need to do is to select the artwork that you want to have changed. So right now, this artwork looks plain. I want it to change in Appearance to make it look more like this one right here. So I'm going to select this piece of artwork right here. Next, I'm going to switch to my Eyedropper tool, which is right here. The keyboard shortcut is the I key for Eyedropper tool.
With it selected, I can now take the Eyedropper tool, and basically pick up the settings, the same way that you might with a regular Eyedropper, from this object. It will automatically be applied to my selected piece of artwork. So again, I first selected the artwork that I want to have changed, which is this one right here. I then use the Eyedropper tool to click on another object that I want to copy the settings from. So in this case, it's here. I'm going to click and instantly now, this artwork looks just like this one.
Now it's not picking up the settings of the Path, all it's doing is it's sampling the Appearance of that artwork, meaning it's taking the same Fill and Stroke, and it's assigning it now to this object. I can do the same thing with the next object right here, but however, I can't just click on this because it's going to modify which object, not this one. This is the one that's currently selected. So what I need to first do is select this object. I don't want to keep switching back and forth between tools to go back to the Tool panel over here. So I'm just going to use the keyboard shortcut, the Command key, to now temporarily switch to my Selection tool.
I'm now going to click over here, again that'd be Ctrl if you're Windows, but Command inside of Mac. I now have this one selected. I will release the Command or Ctrl key. Now I'm back to the Eyedropper tool. I can now click on this object. Now, this object that I had selected picks up the settings from this object here. But now, let's move to these two examples right down over here. These objects have Complex Appearances applied to them. You see until now, we've been applying settings from one object to another, but the objects that we've been sampling from have Basic appearances, a single Fill and a single Stroke.
Well, watch what happens when I start dealing with objects that have Complex Appearances. If I hold down my Command key and select this piece of artwork, because this is the piece of artwork I now want to have changed, I will now use the Eyedropper tool to click on this object, which has multiple Stroke appearances applied to it. When I click on it, you'll see that it only picks up a Basic Appearance. It takes the topmost Stroke, and it takes the topmost Fill - in this case here, the Stroke uses a Two Point Red Dashed Stroke - and that's what I'm left with on my object.
Why didn't it pick up both of the strokes? Why did it not take that thicker black Stroke? Well, the answer is that, by default, inside of Illustrator, the Eyedropper tool only samples the Basic Appearance of an object. So if I were to go ahead now and Command+Click or Ctrl+Click on this object to select it, and then click over here, notice that while the Fill and the Stroke moved over, the Drop Shadow did not, because the Drop Shadow is part of a Complex Appearance of that piece of artwork, and I only sampled the basic Fill and Stroke.
I can change that setting, however. If I go to the Eyedropper tool inside of the Tools panel and I double-click on it, I get an Options dialog box. You can see that I can really specify exactly what the Eyedropper Picks Up and what it Applies. Now in this case here, I want it to pick up the full complex appearance. So I'm going to check on the Appearance button on what the Eyedropper Picks Up, and also what it Applies. I'll click OK. Now, let's see what happens. I'm going to press Undo twice over here to go back to our original shape.
This object is now selected. If I click here, you can see that now this object picks up the full complex appearance. Again, I'm going to Command+Click or Ctrl+Click on this object to select it. I'll use the Eyedropper tool to click on this object with the Drop Shadow. Notice now, this object picks up not only the Fill and the Stroke, but the full complex appearance that also includes the Drop Shadow.
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