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Editing symbols

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Editing symbols

While it's easy to quickly add some symbols to your document, you realize the true power of symbols when you start editing them. For example, let's take a look at this document. It's called editing_symbols, and you'll find that in Chapter 13 of your exercise files. In this case, I've used some of the surfboards as kind of bullets for these particular text items here. Maybe I want to make some more realistic type surfboards; maybe that just doesn't do it for me. I don't have to worry about creating new ones than repeating them. These are all symbol instances that have been dragged out into my document, which means that they all reference to this piece of artwork right here.

Editing symbols

While it's easy to quickly add some symbols to your document, you realize the true power of symbols when you start editing them. For example, let's take a look at this document. It's called editing_symbols, and you'll find that in Chapter 13 of your exercise files. In this case, I've used some of the surfboards as kind of bullets for these particular text items here. Maybe I want to make some more realistic type surfboards; maybe that just doesn't do it for me. I don't have to worry about creating new ones than repeating them. These are all symbol instances that have been dragged out into my document, which means that they all reference to this piece of artwork right here.

Now there are two ways to edit symbols inside of Illustrator: I can either edit them right from the Symbols panel, or I can edit them in context in my artwork. Let's explore the different ways. For now, we'll start by editing them directly from the Symbols panel. We want to edit this surfboard here, so I'm going to double-click on it. Illustrator automatically wipes my document clean, well, really it doesn't really wipe it clean, but what it does, is it enters Isolation mode for this particular symbol, but nothing else on my file is visible. In fact, if you look at my Layers panel right here, you'll see that right now I'm in Isolation mode, and the only thing that I see right now, the only layer is this surfboard layer. I can also see a symbol icon right here, this is a movie clip symbol called Surfboard, and I'm currently isolated in this particular area right now.

Let's zoom a little bit closer on this artwork so we can see it. I'm going to take my Regular Line tool here and draw a line right through the middle, just to give some kind of dimension to that particular surfboard. Maybe we'll go ahead and we'll stroke that with a white color instead of black. Maybe we'll also decide to actually use a Gradient Fill for this particular thing, instead of a Solid Color Fill. So I'll click on this right now. Let's go over to our Gradient panel here, and let's apply different gradient. We can even use some of the ones that already come to the file, for example, this Desert Sunset one. But I wanted to be on an angle, not necessarily in this way. I'll change the angle of my gradient here to that 90 degrees and click OK.

So now I've added a little bit more of a look to it, which I think is a bit nicer, and maybe just to kick off the whole thing, we'll also add a Drop Shadow to that. So I'll select the surfboard itself, go to the Effect menu here, choose Stylize, and then choose Drop Shadow. Click on the Preview settings, so we can see what that looks like. Let say that looks okay to me, I'll click OK, and right now I'm done. To exit my Isolation mode, I can either double-click anywhere, or just come over to this arrow here, and exit Isolation mode this way. When I do so, take a look now in my document. All the instances that I had placed before that surfboard have now been updated for me. Let's say I've gone too far, and my client says, you know what, a solid color would have been just fine, and that Drop Shadow is a little bit too prominent.

Well, let's explore now the other way to actually edit a particular symbol. I can do that directly in context of my design. So I'm going to zoom in a little bit closer over here. I'm now going to double-click just on this symbol right here. In doing so, I'm going to get a dialog box. The Illustrator is letting me know that I'm about to edit this symbol definition. That means, not just this particular piece of artwork here, but all the symbols, basically this symbol that exists here inside of the Symbols panel. By making a change to this instance right here, all other instances are going to change as well. I could choose to not show that error again, but I'm going to click OK right now.

Notice that now I'm in Isolation mode again. Look at this Layers panel; everything is the same as it was before. However, now I still see all the other artwork in my file. In this way I kind of have the ability to make some changes in the context of seeing the rest of my design. Depending on how complex your artwork is, you may find it sometime beneficial to just focus on only the artwork of the symbol, in, which case you go ahead and double-click on the symbol from the Symbols panel. But here in this case, where I want to see how this might look elsewhere, this might be a great idea to actually edit it in the context of my design. So now I'll go ahead and I'll click on the shape again. I'll change it back to a solid color. I'll also choose to edit my Drop Shadow on that shape. To do that I'll go to my Appearance panel, let me scroll down over here in the Appearance panel itself, and I'll click once on the Drop Shadow here to edit this effect.

Maybe I'll change the Opacity down to around 40%, and I'll change the Offset to maybe be 5 points, and a Blur of only 3. That way, if I click on the Preview button here, I have a much smaller and not in-your-face type of Drop Shadow. Click OK. I'll exit again the Isolation mode for this particular symbol. We will now see that all of the out there instances update as well. Fit to window here, you can do this by press Command+0 or Ctrl+0 to do that. That's how easy it is to edit your symbols inside of Illustrator.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48473 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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