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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.
Back in Chapter 04, we spoke about making selections inside of Illustrator. As we know, when we want to move things or change the attributes of things inside of Illustrator, we need to first make some selections. In addition, there are many times inside of Illustrator where I create certain graphics, and those graphics always need to move together. For example, I have this flower that I created right here, and in the center of the flower is a different circle. I can't really see a time when I might want to just click and drag this flower to move to a different position, but leave that middle of the circle behind.
I always want to move these two together. In fact, I have kind of taking these four objects here, two flowers and the two centers, and I have treated them as one graphic here. So, if I have to Shift+Click on each of these four objects every single time that I want to make an adjustment to that piece of art, it can become very tedious, very quickly. Let me press Undo here for a moment, and we'll talk about Groups. Creating a Group inside of Illustrator is a way for you to define a relationship between pieces of art inside of your document.
However, the concept of Groups really goes a little bit beyond that. First, let's talk about how to create Groups. Then we'll talk about how you can structure Groups, and finally, we'll talk about what Groups actually are inside of Illustrator. So, let's start by deselecting everything. I'm going to start with the first flower. I'm going to click on the center area and hold down the Shift key and also select the flower area, so now I have two objects selected, and I now want to create a group of these two objects. So, I'm going to go to the Object menu, and I'll choose Group.
The keyboard shortcut is Command+ G on Mac, or Ctrl+G on Windows. So at this point now, notice if I deselect the art, anytime that I click on any part of that flower, both objects become selected. And when I move them, it access as if it's one single object. Let me press Undo here. That's just what I want to have here going on inside of my illustration. I'm going to do the same for the other flower. Click here, Shift+Click here, press Command+G to create a Group. Many times however, I want to move both of these flowers together.
So, I want to now create a second group, and that group will contain both the groups, or both flowers inside of it. When you take some groups, and then you would take those groups and you put them into another group, we refer to that as a Nested Group, groups within other groups. So, what I'm going to do now is click on this flower, hold down the Shift key and click on this flower, both of these are selected, and I'll press Command+G again, and now I've created a parent group that has these two children groups inside of it.
Now, you might ask for a moment, why didn't I just select all four objects to begin with, and then create one single group? The answer is is that when you start structuring your groups in this nested fashion, we could start taking advantage of some other features inside of Illustrator, and we can also know that there are times when I might want to adjust each of these flowers individually. For example, maybe I want to make one of these flowers just a little bit bigger than one of the other flowers. Notice that right now I have them all inside of one group.
So, I would need to start using my Direct Selection tool to only select parts of one flower that I wanted to enlarge. However, now that I've built my groups using the structure where I have groups within other groups, I could take advantage of a feature inside of Illustrator called Isolation mode. It's really incredible feature, and it's something that I think you should become familiar with because it will make working inside of Illustrator oh so much easier. I'm going to start by deselecting all my artwork, because I want to show you how this feature works when you get started working.
I would like to adjust just this flower here and make it just a drop bigger. So I'm going to start by double-clicking on this group. Notice what happened right now. All of the other artwork inside of my document kind of dims back a little bit. It's also automatically locked. Notice that now I can no longer select anything else. The only thing that I can select are the flowers here. If I take a look at the top of my Document Window, I'll see that a gray bar now appears, and it's letting me know right now that I'm inside layer 1, and I've isolated the group that's inside of layer 1.
We refer to these as breadcrumbs. Each time that I double-click on a Group, the breadcrumbs help me identify where I am inside of my document. You'll notice now, by the way, that if I go ahead now when I click on this flower, even though these were both grouped together, I'm only selecting this group. That's because now I'm inside that parent group. I now have access to the groups that are within it. So I can select each flower individually. In fact, I can double-click now on just this one flower, and notice that this one now is no longer selectable.
In other words, I've just isolated one level deeper. In fact, if you look at the breadcrumbs, you'll see that I'm currently inside of a Group that is within another Group that's inside layer 1. I can now select this artwork very easily and make some changes like double-clicking on the Scale tool to enlarge it maybe 120% and click OK. Now, what I will do is go back to my regular Selection tool and either just double-click on any blank area on the artboard, click on the arrow that appears over here to go back, or tap the Escape key on the far upper left-hand corner of my keyboard to exit this Isolation mode.
So now, because I've created this nested structure, I can very easily jump into and out of the Groups as well. I'm going to press Undo though. I don't really want to scale that flower up at all. Notice Illustrator now put me back into Isolation mode. I'm just going to double-click on a blank area to return me to regular Editing mode. So you can see now, when I click on this, I have one group. Now, I also have some leaves here. I want those leaves to also be included together with the flowers so they all move together.
So, the first thing I'm going to do is select both leaves and group them together by pressing Command+G. Next, with this group now selected, I'm now going to Shift+Click on the flower Group and hit Command+G again. Now I have one large group that contains the flowers and the leaves. However, within that large group, I have a group of leaves and a group of flowers, and within the flower group, I have basically two groups, one for each flower. So we start to see now how I am thinking about structuring my artwork, knowing that later on I may need to make some changes.
For example, let's say I send this to my client and he tells me, wow, this is a great logo, and I really love the leaves, but I really wish to had a few more leaves in there. I think it needs something a bit more. Well, it so happens to be that right over here I have some extra leaves that I've created, which I can very easily add to my illustration. However, just dragging them into place right now won't really help me too much, because they're not really part of the Group, because I can click on this right now and move it. They are not part of the Group. They really need to be part of the leaves group, but how do I get these two leaves into that Group? Well, once again, Isolation mode can really help me out here.
I'm going to start by coming to these two leaves that I just added, and I'm going to go to the Edit menu and choose Cut. Next, I'm going to double-click on this group. Right now, I have isolated this Group that contains all of these elements. However, I want to add these new leaves just to the group with the leaves. So, I'm going to double-click again, only on the leaves, and notice that right now I've isolated the group of the leaves. Now, I can go to the Edit menu and choose Paste In Front. That will paste that artwork in the exact same place, and now I have all the leaves within one group.
So, if I double-click now to exit the Isolation mode, I now have one large group that contains everything, yet if I double -click on the leaves to isolate them, I can see that right now all the leaves are in one group together. So that's how I would not only create groups and structure my artwork inside of Illustrator, it's also how I would be able to modify groups by continuously adding artwork as needed, using this Isolation mode feature.
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