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One of the great things about working with envelopes is that they are non-destructive. That means that I can actually apply these distortions to my effects without worrying about losing the editability of my original artwork. In fact, at any time that I'm working with an envelope I can always go back to my original piece of artwork and make modifications as necessary. So let's take a close look at how we actually edit an envelope after we have created it. I'm working with this document here called the edit_envelope. I'm going to select both the objects that are here. Now in this particular example I already have taken this particular artwork here and I brought it to the front of the stacking order. So remember that when I use the Envelope > Make with Top Object command, it doesn't mean that the object need to sit physically on top of it as it appears here but it needs to actually sit at the top of the object stacking order inside of Illustrator.
You can easily see that at any time by the way by just going to the Layers panel, choosing over here and twirl down and seeing that my Path now sits above the text object in the stacking order. I'm going to close my Layers panel. I'm going to take these two objects that I have selected, I'm going to choose Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object. So now my text has been forced and distorted to fill the shape of the path that I selected. So now let's look about modifying the actual envelope itself. Now we are dealing with envelopes here we have two specific entities in play. First of all, I have the actual envelope itself. We refer to the Path that we use for the top object here as the envelope itself. Then in addition we have the content of the envelope, those are the elements that we brought into the envelope that are now distorted.
Now when I'm working inside of Illustrator, I now and really only working with the envelope itself, the artwork that I use inside of that, in other words the distorted artwork is not something that I could actually touch itself, I can only work with the actual envelope and I can do that simply by using my Direct Selection tool. I'll select that right here and I can modify any of the anchor points here on this path. For example, I can take this one and stretch it out and also the artwork or the contents of my envelope have now been updated to fill the shape that I have now modified. Let me press Undo. Let's say I now actually realize that I want to change some of the text in there. The client just called up, instead of the word SURF they want to word Surfer inside of there. So how can I do that? Well I'm actually going to go ahead and use my Regular Selection tool to select my entire envelope. I'm now going to go over here to the control panel. I notice that I have two icons here. One is called the Edit Envelope and one is called, the Edit Contents. In fact, this works very similar to the way that masking works inside of Illustrator. When I'm working with a mask I can either work with the mask itself or the content inside the mask and I can toggle between them.
Well here inside of Illustrator, I can do the same by clicking on these buttons. Right now by the default I'm always working with the envelope itself, but if I want to modify the content, I'll click on this button called Edit Contents. Now notice that I can actually have the text selected, I'll take my Type tool here and double click to modify the words and I'll type in S-U-R-F-E-R for SURFER and now I'll simply click on my Regular Selection tool. Notice now I modified the contents of my envelope. Now I'll go back to choose the envelope itself and now I have been able to make that particular change.
In fact, you can easily see this again by looking at the Layers panel. So I'm going to go over to the Layers panel. Let's open that up. I see now that I have Layer 1, I have an envelope. That's all I really have in this particular piece of artwork right now. In fact, the document does not even show that I have a text object that has the letters S-U- R-F-E-R inside of it because that's "hidden" inside of the envelope itself. So if I want to modify those contents of the envelope, I would come over here and click on this button to edit the contents or alternatively I could also go through the Object menu, go to where it says Envelope Distort and choose to Edit the Contents. The keyboard shortcut is Command+Shift+V or Ctrl+Shift+V if you are on the PC. So I'm going to choose that option, notice that right now this little twirl down next to the Envelope, if I click on that I can see that the text called SURFER now exists inside of that.
I am going to choose View. I'm going to turn on over here my Smart Guides. When I mouse over this I'll see the original text that's there which does make it a little bit easier to modify your artwork. This doesn't only happen with text. If I have other artwork that I'm distorting inside of an envelope, that will appear in the same way when Smart Guides is turned on. So if I want to go back to original way that I had it where, just had the word SURF, I may go here and just simply double-click on my text object. Let me go ahead and just delete those two letters that are there, take my Regular Selection tool and double-click to exit my Isolation mode there and now I'm back to having this particular shape here.
There is something that is really important to know, it's very easy to forget that you are now still inside of this Envelope Editing Content Mode, you are not anymore editing the envelope itself but the content and as such you will notice that when you start working elsewhere inside of Illustrator, you may find that certain commands are not available. That's because you are now inside of this mode, where you are editing the content of your envelope. So you always want to make sure that you come out of this mode, you exit out of this mode. You want to make sure that you will select your artwork, go back to the Object menu choose Envelope Distort and then choose to Edit the Envelope.
Again you could also do that through the icons that appear here inside of the control panel.
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