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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
When it comes to representing data within a graph, we know that Illustrator creates these rectangles that are used for columns. In fact that's the case right here in this particular graph. But I may want to use something else to identify those particular data ranges. For example, since we are dealing with apples and oranges right here, why can't I actually images of apples and oranges to display the amount of values in each of these particular data series? Well, in reality you can. Illustrator has a feature called Graph Designs. A Graph Design is simply a way that you can represent data using a piece of art that you specify instead of a regular plain rectangle.
Now, in reality you could start off with this graph on your own and then simply delete these rectangles and replace with them art as you specify it. But let's see how we could actually use this feature inside of Illustrator called Graph Design. It's actually a two-step process. You first need to define what's called the Graph Design and then after that you can then apply it directly to your graph. So, in this file here, I have actually created a chart and it has two pieces of artwork that appear down here at the bottom. So, I'll start off by working with the apples. I'm actually going to click and drag to select the apple. I'll go over the Object menu, I'll choose Graph and then I'll choose this setting here called Design. Now this dialog box comes up, the Graph Design dialog box and because I already have my artwork selected, I could simply click on the New Design button. Illustrator has sense that I already have artwork selected, it gives me a preview of it and it automatically calls it New Design. I'm going to click on the Rename button here. I'm going to call it apple. Click OK and now I'll click OK to exit this.
Now because I'm working here with the graph that has two sets of data, I also want to use oranges to display those values. So, I'll select the orange here and once again go to Object, go to Graph, choose Design and I'll create a New Design. Again because I have the orange selected, it automatically shows up over here as a preview, I'll rename it to orange, click OK and I'll click OK once again to exit the Graph Design dialog box. So, now what I have done is I have defined my graph design. Now that I have done I could start to apply it to the graph in this particular case here, the one dealing with the apples and the oranges.
Now, because I have two sets of values here, I can't select the entire graph because if I do so, I'll only be able to assign one design to this entire graph. Now, I don't want all of these to be apples or all of them to be oranges. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to select just the data series that I want to work with. So, to do that I'm going to use my Group Selection tool and I'm going to click once and then again just the oranges here. Let's deal with the oranges first. So, now because of the way that Illustrator creates these nested groups inside of the overall graph, with two clicks of the Group Selection tool, I have now selected just this one data series.
So, now I'm going to go to the Object menu, I'm going to choose Graph and now I'm going to choose Column. So, because these are columns right here, I want to actually change that columns to be represented by a graphic instead of just a regular box. I'm going to choose the Column option. Now, we have already defined two designs both an apple and an orange here, but we are dealing with the oranges first, so I'm going to go ahead and select the orange. I see a preview of it here and I have the ability to choose a Column Type. By default it's set to Vertically Scaled. But that means that if I take a look over here at these bars, it's going to stretch the orange to basically, you start at the bottom and then up here, finish at the end. It's going to have one really tall long stretch at orange, which doesn't really bode very well for the design that I have in mind.
So you will see that there are other Column types as well. There is Uniformly Scaled, which basically would just enlarge it. Basically we'll have a really big orange for the larger bars and small oranges for the smaller bars. But that won't work for me in this case either. I want to use something called the Repeating Option. This is simply going to take my orange right now and just based on the values that I have there, stack oranges on top of each other. So, I'll choose that option and over here where it says Rotate Legend Design, so right over this is the legend, this is the area where the orange is going to appear and depending on the kind of design that you have created, you may want to actually rotate that particular artwork in that particular legend.
But in this case we don't want it. We want the orange to stand up right here. So, we won't actually rotate the legend design. Now we get to choose the value for each of these design elements. So, if we think about it right now, our values go from 0 million here all the way up to 50 million. So, if I were to choose for example, each design represents one unit, in the case here where this particular first element actually represents 18 million, I'm going to see 18 oranges stacked on top of each other, which would be really small. So, I want to use a much larger one and in this case here maybe I want to make really big oranges and I want to have a nice bright impact. So I'll specify that each orange represents 10 units. Now, what happens when I have fraction because for example, if I have one orange here that takes up 10 million, because this is 18, what happens to the orange on top? I can either choose to scale it, which means it will squash the orange here which I don't want to do in this case. So, I'm going to choose the option here called Chop Design.
That's something which is going to chop off the top of the orange, so you don't see the full height of the orange there. So, now that I have specified my options, I'm going to click OK and we can see now that the chart represents the oranges not with rectangles, but with the actual oranges that I have designed. Let's do the same here for the apples. I'm going to use my Group Selection tool, I'll click once and then again on the legend right here, so now I shave an entire data series selected. I'll go to the Object menu, I'll choose Graph and then I'll choose Column. Let's highlight the apple. We'll choose the Repeating option. We do not want to rotate the legend. I'll specify that each apple represents 10 units and for fractions I'll specify that we chop the design.
I will click OK and now I have applied a graph design overall to my entire graph. Instead of working with dull rectangles I have now been able to include a new design element into my graph and again the beauty of this is that I haven't really ungrouped my graph at all. So, if I need to change the data, I could simply go ahead and use my Regular Selection tool to select the entire graph, go to the Object menu choose Graph and then choose Data and be able to modify the data of that graph and have that update automatically. In closing, it's important to remember two things. First of all, remember that your overall goal when you are working these particular infographics is to be able to transmit some of kind of information. So, try not to get carried away by creating these really, really cool designs that get in the way of conveying that information.
Secondly, remember that Graph feature inside of Illustrator is pretty old. So, some of the newer features can't be used in order to define a graphic design. For example, you can't turn live effects or symbols into a design, to be able to use in a graph. In those cases you will need to expand that graphic before you actually define it as a graph design.
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