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Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials is the first installment in a series of courses designed to show experienced Illustrator users to how master core features and build art more efficiently. Adobe Illustrator has evolved dramatically over the years, and many creative professionals may be missing out on features that have been added to the latest versions. This course takes a fresh approach to core concepts, such as paths, attributes, object hierarchy, groups, and layers. Advanced techniques such as combining multiple effects and customizing textures are also included. Exercise files and a free worksheet are included with the course.
You know, all this talk about groups is great when we apply it to regular vector objects inside of Illustrator; however, it's important to realize that this entire concept that we have been talking about--that a group itself is a container inside of Illustrator--is also something that applies to type inside of Illustrator. I am going to create just a blank document here inside of Illustrator, and remember how when we actually had several shapes selected, for example, several objects. So I'll just draw three rectangles, and I select them all together and then I press Command+G to turn this into a group.
You can see over here that I have a group, which is my container. That's what I created when I press Command+G. However, I can also see that there are contents inside of that group. Let's kind of put that in the back of our minds for a second here. I am going to select this element right now, this group, and delete it. I am actually going to select my Type tool inside of Illustrator, and I'll click and I'll type the word "Hello." Notice over here--I am actually going to make it a little bit bigger, just hit S for the Scale tool, and make this a lot bigger, so we can actually see that it says Hello, instead of hello. So now I have this text that's selected, and take a look at my Appearance panel right now.
You see how right now it says Type, which is my target, but then I have here something called Characters. In your mind, for a second here, imagine this word Type really said Group, and imagine the word Characters really said Contents. In reality, when you create a type object inside of Illustrator, you are creating a group. You see a type object is really a special kind of a group; however, instead of contents inside of that group, we have characters. In other words, the letters that are contained within a type object are called characters.
So when I use my regular Selection tool to click on a type object, I am selecting the container, and there are individual characters, which are the contents that are inside of that type container. In fact, if we recall when we had a group of objects and we wanted to override the Smart Targeting in Illustrator, we wanted to specifically add drop shadows to individual objects. What did we do? We actually double-clicked on the word "Contents" that appeared beneath the group here. Well, watch to this. If I now double-click on characters, I am now actually selecting the characters themselves, the same way if I might've taken my Type tool and selected the text myself.
You see, if I use my regular Selection tool to select the container, I get the container targeted inside of Illustrator. If I use my Type tool to highlight the characters, I have the characters here. You can see over here that these characters live inside of a group, which currently has no appearance inside of it. Now, why is this helpful? Well, the same way that we've been talking about applying attributes to containers inside of Illustrator, we can do the same thing to applying them to type containers or to type objects inside of Illustrator as well.
So it's important to realize that all of the things that we are learning here really go way beyond just what we might think of as a group inside of Illustrator. We're talking about key ways that Illustrator builds artwork and structures them inside of a document. When we talk about structure, we've only scratched the surface here. We've been talking about objects. We've been talking about groups. In the next chapter, we are going to tie all these concepts together under one umbrella called layers.
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