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Copying artwork and appearances

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Video: Copying artwork and appearances

We've already seen how useful the Layers panel can be when identifying where objects appear inside the object hierarchy, and even how to change stacking order within a file without actually having to select the objects themselves. However, it's important to realize that we can do even more things through the Layers panel as well. And in this movie I wanted to discuss actually moving objects between layers, or even copying objects, and copying appearances as well. I'll click on the triangles here to reveal the contents of these layers. Now even when I am using layers inside of a document, it's extremely rare that I would actually create a layer first and then add artwork to that layer.

Copying artwork and appearances

We've already seen how useful the Layers panel can be when identifying where objects appear inside the object hierarchy, and even how to change stacking order within a file without actually having to select the objects themselves. However, it's important to realize that we can do even more things through the Layers panel as well. And in this movie I wanted to discuss actually moving objects between layers, or even copying objects, and copying appearances as well. I'll click on the triangles here to reveal the contents of these layers. Now even when I am using layers inside of a document, it's extremely rare that I would actually create a layer first and then add artwork to that layer.

Usually I work in the opposite direction. I just add a whole bunch of artwork to my document. I just don't want anything to get in the way of my creative process. And then when I kind of step back for a moment and I realize I really need some kind of structure inside of my document, at that time I may go ahead and start creating layers and move artwork into their respective layers. For example, in this case I already have some artwork in my document, inside of this layers 2 file, but I may decide that I want to put all the text elements on their own layer. So right now I have here this Directions text, and I have the MAIN STREET text, and the TRAIN STATION text.

So I'll start by actually creating a new layer. I am going to double-click on that layer, and I'll give it a name. Let's call that one Labels for now. Now if I wanted to select all the text elements, I could go over here on the right side and start clicking over here and holding down the Shift key to do this. But I want to show you yet another way to make selections in a little bit more of an efficient manner. So I'll just click over here to deselect everything, and I'll go up over here to the Select menu inside of Illustrator and I'll choose object. I want to select certain types of objects. Since I want to work with my text objects here, I can choose Select > Object > Text Objects, and now all the text elements in my file become selected.

You'll notice, by the way, that the Hansel & Petal text there was not selected because that text has already being converted to outlines. So it's no longer text, those are actually regular paths. So let's now focus on the little squares that I see on the right side of the Layers panel. Remember that the squares refer to selection, meaning they refer to structure, the paths themselves. If I want to move the structure, I want to move the elements onto a completely different layer, I could simply grab this little square right here and drag it into the Labels layer.

And if I release the mouse, I've now successfully moved those three elements into that Labels layer. So the boxes here don't only serve as a way for me to visualize which layers objects belong to, I can actually drag those objects, or those little boxes, up and down to move them within the object hierarchy-- in this case, from one layer to another. I am going to press Undo for a second here, because maybe I want to keep the text on this layer but I want to create a copy of these elements on the Labels layer. So now I am going to do the same thing. I am going to just click and drag on this little box right here and start to drag upwards, but in doing so, I am going to hold down the Option key on my keyboard.

Option, as you're dragging something on a Mac, will duplicate something, and if you're on Windows, you would hold on the Alt key to perform the same function. I am simply going to hold the Option key and drag now into the Labels layer, and that's now going to not just move the elements, but copy the elements into the Labels layer. Notice, by the way, that when I created a new layer, Illustrator automatically selected a new color, and you can easily see right now that that color now is being shown as well. And I am going to turn off the Labels layer here for a moment, because what we just did was we actually moved some structure around inside of our document.

We physically moved paths from one layer into another. You know, I know that sometimes people will actually, like, select artwork, go to a different layer and then paste. There's really no need to do that all. Simply move those little dots up and down inside of your Layers panel. Alternatively, you can actually hold down the Shift key and select multiple layers. Or if you want to select noncontiguous layers, press the Command--or if you're on Windows, the Ctrl--key to select noncontiguous layers, and then you can move those elements into other layers as well.

But let's say you actually want to move or copy an appearance. We've just has been moving structure now by moving those little squares, but inside of Illustrator you can also move or copy appearances. For example, this Train Tracks looks pretty cool, and maybe I want to use that as a border for something. Like if we take a look at this box here, for example, that indicates the building. Maybe I want to create some other kind of a design, so I may want to actually apply the Train Tracks of this rectangle as well. I can do that pretty easily directly from the Layers panel without even having to select any artwork in my document.

I am going to click on the triangle here to reveal the contents of the Store group, and over here I can see that shape which is called Building. I want to take the appearance that's applied to the train tracks and I actually want to apply that appearance to the building as well. We've already discussed the ways inside of Illustrator like for example, using graphic styles or the Eyedropper tool. But this is yet another method that I can do this. I am simply going to click on the target circle itself, and I'll do this on the Train Tracks object. I'll hold down the Option key--or if you're in Windows, the Alt key--and I'll drag now down onto the building.

You can see now how I have a basic appearance on building, but as I am dragging down I can now apply that filled circle--that meatball, if you will--and now I release the mouse and you can see that the train tracks now appears on that object. I'll press Undo because I really want it to look just like a regular, plain rectangle right now. But you get the point: inside of Illustrator using the Layers panel, I can easily move objects between different layers or between different groups, and I can also use the actual target circles themselves to copy appearances from one object to another.

Show transcript

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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