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Exploring the Appearance panel

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Exploring the Appearance panel

So far throughout this course, we've been discussing various ways to change the appearance of objects that we've created here inside of Illustrator. However, up until now, we've been doing it in a rather primitive fashion. Now it's time to explore something called the Appearance panel, so you can see how you can utilize it as a one stop shop for altering your object appearance. In order to find the Appearance panel, you're going to have to come over here to the right-hand side in your panel groups. The Appearance panel lies next to something called Graphic Styles, and I am just going to click on it, and drag it out into the window, so you can see it a little better.

Exploring the Appearance panel

So far throughout this course, we've been discussing various ways to change the appearance of objects that we've created here inside of Illustrator. However, up until now, we've been doing it in a rather primitive fashion. Now it's time to explore something called the Appearance panel, so you can see how you can utilize it as a one stop shop for altering your object appearance. In order to find the Appearance panel, you're going to have to come over here to the right-hand side in your panel groups. The Appearance panel lies next to something called Graphic Styles, and I am just going to click on it, and drag it out into the window, so you can see it a little better.

If you don't see the Appearance panel on your screen right now, you can go up to the Window menu, and you can choose Appearance. You can also press the keyboard shortcut Shift+F6 to bring up the Appearance panel as well. The Appearance panel is basically like a giant Control panel for each individual object that you work with inside of Illustrator. It shows you various attributes that are associated with your object, and it allows you to target and change them at a moment's notice. You get control over the object's opacity, its fill, and its stroke, as well as all of the effects, and other things that you do to your objects here in Illustrator.

Let me expand this out, so you can see a little bit more of it, and let's go through the Appearance panel. The first thing you will notice at the top is that it says No Selection. That's because I don't have anything currently targeted on my artboard. Once I start selecting artwork, it will then read the appearance of that object, and display it below. Directly underneath, where it tells you what it has targeted currently, you'll see the attributes. Right now, it's showing a Stroke on top, and a Fill underneath. It's also showing an Opacity control right beneath there. Any time you see an orange link with the little dots underneath it, that means you can actually click on that, and temporarily access the panel that goes along with it.

So for strokes, you can click here, and it expands out to show you the entire Stroke panel. Same thing for Opacity. If you click here, it will pop up, and show you the full Opacity panel. Clicking it again closes it. The bottom of the Appearance panel contains several different options, like adding a new stroke, adding new a fill, adding new live effects; you can clear the appearance of an object, duplicate a selected item, and also delete a selected item as well. When we start talking about targeting, and moving specific attributes around, I will show you how to use all these tools at the bottom.

For now, though, let's worry about reading the Appearance panel, so we can understand exactly what all this information means. I am going to make sure that I have my Selection tool selected, and I am going to click right here on the background element of this file. Once I do that, you're going to notice that it says Path here in the Appearance panel, indicating that I now have ahold of a single path inside of Illustrator, and that's this rectangular path that makes up the background element. It also shows me that currently I have no stroke associated with this path. I also have a Fill, and the fill is this blue to light blue gradient, and it's being displayed right there.

Any time you want to get more information about the attributes in the Appearance panel, you can toggle this little white triangle here. Clicking on that expands down to show you different options. For the Stroke, for instance, there's an Opacity control. If I expand on the Fill, it also shows an Opacity control. So the great thing about the Appearance panel is that you are able to control each individual attribute separately. You don't have to worry about adjusting the overall opacity of an object; you could come in and simply target the Fill Opacity, or the Stroke Opacity. Let's collapse these back up. Let's look over here to the left.

On the left, you'll see a small eyeball icon. This indicates the visibility of the current attribute that you are working on. For instance, in this particular document, if I were to turn off the visibility for the Fill, you would see that, temporarily, the Fill is hidden. It's not gone; it's still a part of the object. You can see it right there, but I've temporarily hidden its appearance by going ahead and clicking on that little eyeball icon. If I click on it again, the Fill is simply restored. The final thing that I want to make you aware of inside of the Appearance panel is the Appearance panel menu. That's up here in the top right corner.

When you click on that, you'll have the ability to do several different things, like add a new fill, add a new stroke, duplicate an item, remove an item, clear the appearance, reduce to a basic appearance; you can also choose to hide the thumbnail of whatever you're working on, and you can show all hidden attributes. If you happen to be working on a graphic style, you can redefine a graphic style from here as well. When we talk about graphic styles, I'll explain exactly what that means. For now, though, let's click away from this, and I'll take the Appearance panel, and dock it back with the Graphic Styles panel over here on the right.

Like I said at the beginning of this movie, you should treat the Appearance panel as your one stop shop for controlling your object's appearance inside of Illustrator. If you utilize the Appearance panel, there is no reason why you should have to ever go to several different tools in order to change things like fill, strokes, and effects. You can do it all from one central location.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 70183 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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