Illustrator for Web Design
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating video placeholders


Illustrator for Web Design

with Justin Seeley

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Creating video placeholders

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.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator for Web Design
5h 27m Appropriate for all Jul 30, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course reveals how designers can create vibrant web graphics, wireframes, and complete web site mockups with the strong layout and color management tools in Adobe Illustrator. Author and Adobe Certified Expert Justin Seeley covers topics such as building responsive layouts with artboards, producing custom color palettes and swatches for web graphics, and making vector shapes and text that seamlessly scale. The course also explores adding drop shadows and other live effects, setting up interface elements such as forms and tabbed interfaces, optimizing and exporting different types of graphics, and speeding up your workflow with reusable image sprites and Smart Objects.

Topics include:
  • Customizing a web workspace
  • Decoding the mysteries behind screen size and resolution
  • Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
  • Coloring web graphics
  • Renaming and grouping layers
  • Working with shapes and symbols
  • Creating wireframes on a grid
  • Styling text
  • Creating image sprites
  • Simulating web pages with artboards
  • Optimizing and exporting your work
Design Web
Justin Seeley

Creating video placeholders

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator for Web Design .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: Where can I learn more about graphic design?
A: Discover more about this topic by visiting graphic design on
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Illustrator for Web Design.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

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.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.