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Defining graphic styles

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Defining graphic styles

We know that you can save a tremendous amount of time and become more efficient when you start using graphic styles inside of Illustrator, and you also know that to apply a graphic style to a piece of artwork, you can simply select any path and then click on a graphic style to apply it. For example in this document I have a style that I have created called Train Tracks. And you could see that over here if I click on the Main Roads here, I could actually have them become Train Tracks instantly with one click of a button. Now I'll go ahead and I'll make this back to Main Roads and I'll click on this one right here which has the Train Tracks applied to it and I'll make that one a Main Road as well. The real question then you have here is how do you actually define the graphic styles to begin with? So let's actually start from scratch, let's create a Train Tracks graphic style for this document.

Defining graphic styles

We know that you can save a tremendous amount of time and become more efficient when you start using graphic styles inside of Illustrator, and you also know that to apply a graphic style to a piece of artwork, you can simply select any path and then click on a graphic style to apply it. For example in this document I have a style that I have created called Train Tracks. And you could see that over here if I click on the Main Roads here, I could actually have them become Train Tracks instantly with one click of a button. Now I'll go ahead and I'll make this back to Main Roads and I'll click on this one right here which has the Train Tracks applied to it and I'll make that one a Main Road as well. The real question then you have here is how do you actually define the graphic styles to begin with? So let's actually start from scratch, let's create a Train Tracks graphic style for this document.

I am going to start over here by actually de-selecting this artwork. I'm going to drag out my Appearance panel and also my Graphic Styles panel, which I'll snap to the bottom of it. I'm actually going to close this dock here for now, and kind of bring this right over here. I'm actually going to expand the Appearance panel a little bit. By default in Illustrator's Essentials workspace, the Appearance panel and the Graphic Styles panel up here are grouped together, which means you can only see one at a time. However, when you really understand what a graphic style is you will realize that you really need to see both the Appearance panel and the Graphic Styles panel together, and in fact I use them together all the time.

For example, if you want to actually see what comprises of any graphic style, you can click on the Graphic Styles panel and the Appearance panel updates and shows you the settings for that particular style. The reason why is because a graphic style is simply a snapshot of your Appearance panel. When you go ahead and you select a piece of artwork and you add some kind of a complex appearance to it. If you now want to apply that Appearance to other pieces of artwork you don't have to start from scratch. You can capture that appearance as a graphic style and then simply apply that graphic style to other pieces of artwork. So all the graphic styles really is, is it's memorizing what you have actually selected or applied in the Appearance panel. So knowing that we can easily create our own appearances. So I'm actually going to click on this object right here, which currently has this graphic styles called Main Road applied to it. I can see that here easily, I have path with a Main Road and I want to start from scratch here.

I am actually going to go to the Appearance panel to the panel menu. I'm going to choose an option here called Reduce to Basic Appearance. That's going to take my object right now and kind of bring it down to its most basic fill and stroke, so before it had multiple strokes on it, now it only has one stroke on it. Notice that this one also no longer has any graphic style applied to it. I'm also going to change a stroke weight down here 1 point. So now that we know that let's take a look at how we can actually define a new graphic style for this particular path. I wanted to have the appearance of Train Tracks, so in order to do so I'm going to use multiple strokes to get that effect. I'll actually zoom a little bit closely here just so we can get a better idea of what's happening to this path as you make changes to it. Now the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to change the actual stroke weight here.

Let me do something like for example around 10 point. So now I have a 10 point stroke. Now what I want to do is I want to first create the two rails, the left rail and the right rail that kind of go along the track itself. Let's forget about to actual ties that go across them let's focus on the actual outer edges here. So what I want to do is I want to actually create now an additional stroke that I'll put on top of this. So I'm not going to go over here and choose to create a new stroke, but I'm going to change its stroke weight to 8 point instead of 10. Right now with color black and I have two basically black strokes on top of each other. So I can't really see any of a difference here, what I can do is change this top stroke over here to be called white.

Now in doing so, I can now see what I have done. I have taken a black stroke that was 10 points in weight. I have now applied an 8 point white stroke on top of it so I basically get 1 point black edge on this side and this side of my stroke. So now what I would like to do is actually create the ties that go across this. You can actually rotate a stroke to go on a different direction that a stroke goes. So I'm going to use a Dash stroke to actually give the appearance of the ties on these train tracks. So once again I'll come back to the Appearance panel, I select my path targeted. I'm not going to add a third stroke. Now I want the ties to actually extend beyond the edge of this particular part of the black stroke so it needs to be heavier than 10 points.

If I wanted to extend just 1 point or 2 points beyond that I could choose to increase the value from 10 to something higher. So first what I'll do is I'll change the color of that stroke to black. Next I'll change the stroke weight to be a little bit higher. For example, let's start with 12 and if you want we can always experiment doing more than that. Well, that simply means I'm now going to have one extra point on this edge and one extra point on that edge. I'm going to click on the stroke itself and turn on the Dash Setting. So now let's see what we have created here. By default Illustrator chooses a 12 point dash. If you don't choose a Gap Setting it just simply repeats that as the original value that you have here. So this means that I currently have a dash of 12 and a gap of 12. So my stroke right now basically is little bit bigger then the one that was over here. It's sitting on top of the two original strokes and because it has dash pattern I'm basically seeing through the areas that are here.

Now, in reality you may want to create some kind of a stroke style that shows a border or a boundary of a certain area, which is fine. This might work just as well. But in order to make these look like ties on Train Tracks, I wanted to match the weight that I'm seeing over here. So I really want my Dash also to be 1 point. So I'll change this to a 1 point dash and notice that they have the space they are also 1 point apart. May be I want to go ahead and I want to space it out just a little bit more, I'll change my Gap to 2 points. So now I have created this complex appearance basically for particular path, which is made up of 3 strokes. If you look at the Appearance panel here I have a black stroke of 10 points in the bottom, I have an eight point white stroke that sits on tip of that and then I have a 12 point Dash stroke which gives the appearance of the Train Tracks.

Now in reality I can actually say this is a style but there is really one thing that bothers me about this. The background of my artwork right here is actually a different color, it's not white, and in fact the Train Tracks go over water or go over other areas as well, so I really want the middle of this Train Tracks here to be truly transparent, not necessarily white. But unfortunately, the dilemma here is because if I make that white transparent I'm going to see the black stroke that appears beneath it. So to actually make this work I'm going to use the setting that most people overlook in the Transparency panel. I am going to go back to my stroke here, which is colored white. I'm actually going to change its color to black. It doesn't even need to be white at all.

What I'm going to do though is I'm going to use that particular stroke and sets its Opacity value down to 0, which means that I can't really see it right now. But like I said before I still have the problem that I'm seeing the 10 point black stroke that sits at the bottom of the stacking order of this path. So what I really wish I could do is find some way to have this 8 point stroke actually subtract itself from the 10 point stroke. That would leave that area truly transparent. It just so happens to be that inside the Transparency panel there is a setting that allows you to do that, and the way that it works is that it looks for transparent objects and it allows you to knock out all transparent objects that appear within the same shape. So before I apply those, take a quick look at what we see here in my Appearance panel. I have a 10 point stroke, which is colored black. I now have an 8 point stroke, which is colored black but has an Opacity set to 0.

Finally on top of that I have a 12 point black stroke that has a Dash Setting, which gives Appearance to the ties in a Railroad Track. So now what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to click on the path because what I want to do is I want to target the entire path. I want to target all the attributes here. I am now going to click on the word Opacity here to open up the Transparency panel and click on this option here called Knockout Group. Right now it has Lines tool, but I want to make it that actually there is a check mark through it. See what happened here? The actual stroke here which is 8 points which have an Opacity's value set up 0, now was instructed to knockout the object beneath it, not simply just appear if they were transparent. So you can easily see there right now the Train Tracks blends in with whatever background that goes over.

So great, I have now applied a real cool complex appearance to a particular path to make it look like train tracks. But I want to use that to easily apply that to other paths as well. So now that I have defined my Appearance, I'm ready to create my graphic style. Now let me zoom out for a second here just we can see everything in our document. There are three ways to define a graphic style inside of Illustrator. One way is to actually click on the artwork and drag it right into the Graphic Styles panel. I'm going to press Undo. Another way to define a graphic style is to click on the New Graphic Style button on the Graphic Styles panel. If you hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows when you click on this button, it actually brings up the Graphic Style Options dialog box that you can name that style as you apply it.

Now there is a third way to define a graphic style, which personally is my favorite and preferred method. If you take a look at the Appearance panel you can see that there is a top most area here, I have something called Path. This is my target, and to the left of the target, I actually see what we refer to as a thumbnail for that appearance. I can actually click on that thumbnail and drag it into the Graphic Styles panel to define that as a style. The reason why I like that method best is because it really gives you this connection in your brain between the Appearance panel and the Graphic Styles panel. You are actually taking all the settings for your Appearance panel and you are bringing it and capturing it as graphic style.

Now I'll go ahead and I'll double- click on this to give it a name and let's call this railroad tracks. I'll click OK and now I can simply click on any other path in my document and with one click apply that particular style. So defining your own graphic styles is easy and simple and once you start doing so you will finally become far more efficient working inside of Illustrator.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29064 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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