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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
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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