Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Chances are, given the culture that we live in today, that your design aren't just going to include pictures and text. Most of the time they are going to contain some things called rich media elements like video. And so in this movie we are going to be exploring how to create something called a video placeholder inside of Adobe Illustrator. And I am also going to show you how to build up a library of those so you easily insert videos of any size into the projects that you might be working on. So I am going to first go up to the File menu and choose New, and I am going to use a size of 1280 x 800, just to give me a little bit of working space, and I'll hit okay.
And so when you talk about video on the web you have to understand that there are two types of video that we are going to be seeing. We are going to be seeing video that is an 4 x 3 aspect ratio and also a 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Let me show you the differences between these. If I grab a rectangle tool and click, I'll just add in 640 x 480 and hit OK. This is a standard 4 x 3 size. And if I click and add another one, 640 x 360, hit OK, this is a standard 16 x 9 size.
So you can see that the 16 x 9 is wider. 4 x 3 is traditional. This is the widescreen variety down here. And so when we talk about aspect ratios I try to separate my libraries that I build up a video placeholders into to these two aspect ratios. So I'll create one library for 4 x 3 and one library for 16 x 9. Totally up to you how you split them up, but it make sense to me to divide them into the aspect ratio sizes. So the first thing I would do is open up a brand-new document like I have here and I then I'd just start clicking to create some stuff. I am going to create the largest one first, and I'll tell you why in just a moment.
I'll go ahead and create a brand-new rectangle, just click. And the biggest size that I am probably going to encounter on the web is probably 960 x 540, assuming that we are going to be using 16 x 9 first. So I'll hit OK, and there is my 960 x 540. And so now I am going to center this on the page so you can see it, and I am also going to switch the fill and stroke color so that the background is black and there is no stroke. There we go. So now it's just this plain old black rectangle in the middle.
So once I have that ready to go, I can stylize this in any way I want. But I try to keep these as basic as possible so that they can fit into any mockup that I create. Now I might actually change the color of this to something like a dark gray, just to make it a little bit more neutral. Black tends to kind of draw the eye in whereas gray sort of blends in with the surrounding area, and that's what we want these to do. If they are media placeholders, we want them to blend in with it; we don't want to distract from the overall design. And so I've got this created. The other thing that I do usually is I add some sort of play indicator on top of it indicating that's going to be a movie.
You could also do a little filmstrip icon or whatever you wanted to do. So in this case let's do a small filmstrip icon to put over the top of this. So in order to do that, what I'll do is grab the rectangle tool again, and this time I am just going to draw out a rectangle. It does not matter how big necessarily. And then once I draw that out, I'll zoom in on it so we can see it. I'll move it just a little bit to create some space. So this is going to be my little filmstrip icon. And so the first thing I'll do is create some squares to go on this, and so I'll just click and drag out a square like so.
I'll make sure it's white so I can see it. And then I am going to copy it and I'll paste it on top itself a few times, something like four or five times. So Command+F or Ctrl+F, one, two, three, four, and then the last one I'll just make sure I have my Selection tool selected and I'll just use my arrow keys to send it downward like so. And so now what I am going to do is keep that selected. Then I'll hold down the Shift key and click and drag a selection out to select the rest of them. I'll also be grabbing the background, so I need to click once to let go of that, and you'll see the bounding box snaps to only these.
Then I am going to go to the Align panel, and in the Align panel I am going to drop this down and say Align to Selection. Then I am going to vertically distribute across the center, just to give these a little bit of even space all the way up and down. Now with all these still selected, I'll copy them and paste them on top of each other, by doing Command+F or Ctrl+F, and then I'll just move them over with my arrow keys till I get something like that. Then I the last thing that I do, I usually add a little play control right here in the middle, so I'll just go ahead and grab the Polygon tool.
And mine's already set to be three-sided. If yours looks like this, just tap the down arrow key until you get a triangle. There we go. And once I get my triangle, I can just put that right in place, something like that. And so there is my little movie placeholder graphic that I've created. Now I want to turn this into a shape all by itself. So I am going to select all of these, hold down Shift+M on my keyboard, and that's going to automatically give me the Shape Builder. And so what I'm going to do is just bring the Shape Builder tool in here, and I am just going to hold down the Option or Alt key and remove all of these little squares from it.
I am careful to just get right on top of them when they turn gray; that's when I know I am subtracting them out. And I'll also subtract out the middle. Remember, hold down your Option or Alt key while you're doing that. Now you've got this selected, and you should be able to change the color, just like so. I'll change this to white, and then I'm going to go back up here to the Align, change that to Align to Artboard. You could do that in the Align panel as well. And then I am just going to align it to the Horizontal Center, Align it to the Vertical, hit Command+O or Ctrl+0, and there we go.
So I've got my little video placeholder. I've got my background ready to go. So I am going to select both of these and I'll group them together. And so this is going to be my 960 x 540. And so I will open up my Symbols panel, and the first thing I am going to do is get rid of all of the existing symbols that are in there, Hit Delete, yes. It doesn't actually get rid of them from your system; it just remove them from the Symbols panel right now. And then we'll take this symbol, create a new one. We'll call this 960 x 540 Placeholder, and hit OK.
I want to make sure it's aligned to the pixel grid though. Hit OK, 960 x 540. So I told you earlier that I was going to start with the biggest one first, and I am, and I am just going to resize this and create the sizes after that. So I am going to come to one of the corners, hold down the Shift key and the Option key on the Mac, the Alt key on the PC and shrink it down. And I am going to take this down to about 854 pixels. 854 x 480 is another common size. If you can't get it right on the money by doing that, just come out to the Transform panel and you can make the adjustment there.
I'll just type in 854. And make sure that this chain link is turned on. If this chain link is turned on you can hit Enter or Return and it should snap it to 854 x 480. And so now I'll go back to my Symbols and I'll create a new symbol. I'll call this 854 x 480 placeholder, and that creates another new one. And I'll take this again and we'll size it again, transform. Another common size is going to be 768 x 432, so 768, 432. Open up the Symbols, drag it over, 768 x 432 Placeholder.
And you get idea. Some other common sizes are going to be 640 x 360, 512 x 288, 320 x 180 and even as small as 256 x 144. So you can build up an entire library of these and then when you are finished, come here choose, save Symbol Library, and in your Symbols, just call this 16 x 9 video. Hit save. And so now anytime I create a new document and I need one of those placeholders, I just go down to the Library icon, choose User Defined, 16 x 9 video, bring it up.
Let's say I needed a 768 x 432. Find it, there it is. If I needed 854, bring that out, just like so. If I needed 960 x 540, bring that out. So you can create a whole library of these different sizes to easily implement into any mockup that you want. Now you can do the same thing for 4 x 3. And I'll just show you a couple of quick examples here, so I'll just take the rectangle tool and I'll do 640 x 480. That's not the biggest that you'll ever see, but it is one of the most common that you'll see when it comes to you 16 x 9.
And so I'll take the stroke away. Swatches, make this a dark gray, something like that. I will line it to the center of the artboard. And I am going to go back over here to my other document, and I am just going to double-click. It's telling me I am editing a symbol definition. That's okay. I am just going to go in and double-click until I get a hold of this little guy right here. And once I have a hold of that, I'll move back over and I'll paste it right in the center. That way that pastes right on top.
And then I'll take these, group them together. Again I'll take this symbol library, delete them all out. Yep, take this, drag and drop it over, and I'll call this 640 x 480 placeholder. Align it to the pixel grid, hit OK. And then I would build up a set based on those. Some other common sizes here it would be 512 x 384, 480 x 320, and then the smallest one will be 320 x 240, and then you could take those, save the symbol library. I would call these 4x3_video. Hit Save.
And then anytime you needed those you would just go down to your library icon, User Defined, 4x3_video would be there. You could select that and then drag out an instance of that 640 x 480 or whatever size you needed for that and you could instantly have a video placeholder in your mockup. So as you continue to evolve your workflow, you are going to find several different things like these media placeholders that you can use as symbols and then reuse in other projects. It's a great way to help you to speed things up and if you build up enough of these libraries, you are really going to save yourself a lot of work in the long run.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 63425 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 71088 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 32010 Viewers
84 Video lessons · 18640 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.