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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
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.
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