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Creating new symbols

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating new symbols

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to create a couple of symbols here inside of Illustrator. I'm working inside of a document called Photoshop shapes.ai and this file is a gift from me to you. Here is the idea; inside Photoshop, you have this thing called the Custom Shape tool that allows you to draw with predefined shapes. So if you've set up a predefined elephant, for example, then the Custom Shape tool turns into an elephant drawing tool, or a bird drawing tool, or a fish drawing tool, or what have you. In all, Photoshop ships with more than 200 of these custom shapes; they are nowhere to be found inside of Illustrator.

Creating new symbols

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to create a couple of symbols here inside of Illustrator. I'm working inside of a document called Photoshop shapes.ai and this file is a gift from me to you. Here is the idea; inside Photoshop, you have this thing called the Custom Shape tool that allows you to draw with predefined shapes. So if you've set up a predefined elephant, for example, then the Custom Shape tool turns into an elephant drawing tool, or a bird drawing tool, or a fish drawing tool, or what have you. In all, Photoshop ships with more than 200 of these custom shapes; they are nowhere to be found inside of Illustrator.

There is no Custom Shape tool and the nearest equivalent is Symbols, which are albeit more powerful than the Custom Shape tool, but still here is the thing. What I decided to do was to go in to Photoshop and raid the custom shapes and then bring him over into Illustrator and add them to the Symbols panel. So, inside of this very illustration, you will find a list of more than 200 different symbols that are at your disposal. Now, none of them have meaningful names; I just went ahead and created these symbols. So, they all say, New Symbol, and followed by a number.

If you want to name a symbol, you can. If you decide, you know this crown right here, I'm going to be using that all the time. So I think I'll click on it. Don't double-click in order to change its name, because if you double-click on a symbol then you'll enter in the Symbol Editing mode. What you want to do instead is drop down to this little dialog box icon at the bottom of the Symbols panel, click on it and then go ahead and enter your name. I'll just go ahead and call this My Favorite crown, let's say, and then click OK. The deed is done. Now, what about creating a new symbol? Well, there is a couple of different ways to do it; I'm going to scroll over to the second artboard here and we've got this colorful arrow and then there is this blue tip box.

So go ahead and select marquee all of the colorful arrow, don't get the tip box so for now. Just grab the arrow. Then one way to create a symbol is to grab your collection of objects right there and drag it and drop it into the Symbols panel and I'm going to drop it pretty low, because it's going to arrive exactly where I drop it. And then I'll get my Symbol Options dialog box and I'll go ahead and call this guy Golden arrow and then you have a few settings that you can adjust if you want. Type and Registration are both designed to accommodate Flash Professional. So you might think of the two Type options that you should switch to Graphic, because after all, this is a graphic; it's not a movie about an arrow.

It's a graphical depiction of an arrow, but actually what you want is Movie Clip. 99 times out of 100, Movie Clip is what you want, because it goes ahead and assigns a time code to the object. Just take my word for it; it's the way to go. Then you can change a Registration if you want to; this would be the origin point for any transformations that are applied to this object. A lot of ActionScript coders expect this to be set to the upper left-hand corner, by the way. So if you're working with a coder, you might ask them their recommendation. So you could set it to upper left, you could leave it set to the center; this is that cross sign, by the way.

You may recall from the previous exercise when I move the picnic table, but the cross remained in the background, that was this Registration point and we'll see how it becomes important in the future. In my case, I'm going to set it to upper-left. Next, we have two check boxes that are new to Illustrator CS5; the first one Enable Guides for 9-Slice Scaling. This is an awesome new feature. I'm going to show you how it works inside the next exercise. We've also got Align to Pixel Grid and you may recall our discussion to this option back in Chapter 12 of the fundamental portion of this series. What it does is that it aligns perpendicular outlines that is either horizontal lines or vertical lines with the pixel grid, so that either 1 or 2 or a whole number of pixels is devoted to that line as opposed to having align slough out a little bit and become anti-alias then you get this blurry edge.

Now, if you're going to the web, you definitely want to have Align to Pixel Grid turned on. If you're not going to the web, you don't necessarily need to turn it on. There is no real reason to do so and in fact, it can prove an irritant when you're trying to edit this symbol later on down the line, because anytime you try to move a point, it's going to move a whole pixel increment. It's not always going to be clear why in the world that's happening. So it's entirely up to you whether you turn that option on or off; on for web, off for print is my recommendation. Then click OK in order to create that new symbol.

So we have a couple of things going on; first of all, we have this symbol here inside the Symbols panel and it's kind of plopped in the middle of things. I'm going to go ahead and drag it to the end. You can drag-and-drop symbols around as you like. Illustrator has also gone ahead and converted this arrow right here to an instance. So, what was formerly the original becomes an instance and the original gets embedded into the Symbols panel. All right, now let's take this blue tip bar and make it a symbol as well. I'm going to click on it to select it. Notice here in the Appearance panel that I've assigned a dynamic effect to this object and that's Round Corners.

So if I click on Round Corners, I can change the amount of roundness assigned to this tooltip. I could up the value to 15 points, for example, click on Preview, and I'd have much more rounded corners. I don't want that, but I just want you to see that that is an entirely dynamic effect and it's accommodated by symbols. So, you can add paths that contain multiple fills, multiple strokes, dynamic effects, all sorts of stuff. In fact, symbols can accommodate anything besides linked images that is pixel-based images that you place into Illustrator.

The reason that doesn't work as a symbol is because the symbol can't reconcile the link. Anyway, here is another thing you could do after selecting your object then you can drop down to the bottom of the symbols panel and click on the New Symbol icon, or you can press the keyboard shortcut that comes to us from the world of Flash and that's F8. So, the F8 key goes ahead and brings up the Symbol Options dialog box. I'll call this guy, Blue tip bar, and I'll leave it set to Movie Clip, Registration; upper left, let's say. I'm going to leave the first check box off; as I say, we're going to discuss that in the next exercise.

Because this has so many perpendicular lines in it; 2 horizontal lines, 2 vertical lines as well, I'm going to turn on Align to Pixel Grid and click OK. And there you have it, a couple of different ways to create new symbols inside Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28413 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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