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Groups and layers really do matter

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Groups and layers really do matter

In one of my other titles that focus on Illustrator, namely Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, I introduced the concept of working with groups and layers inside of Illustrator. But really, again, it's kind of arbitrary. Inside of Illustrator you don't have to use groups and you don't have to use layers. It's simply a matter of being organized. It's not merely for organizing artwork, but it also allows you to take advantage of a tremendous amount of functionality inside of Illustrator. When it comes to working with drawing inside of Illustrator, I can tell you that the benefits of working with groups and layers do have a lot to do with simple organization inside of your document.

Groups and layers really do matter

In one of my other titles that focus on Illustrator, namely Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, I introduced the concept of working with groups and layers inside of Illustrator. But really, again, it's kind of arbitrary. Inside of Illustrator you don't have to use groups and you don't have to use layers. It's simply a matter of being organized. It's not merely for organizing artwork, but it also allows you to take advantage of a tremendous amount of functionality inside of Illustrator. When it comes to working with drawing inside of Illustrator, I can tell you that the benefits of working with groups and layers do have a lot to do with simple organization inside of your document.

Let's take a look at this piece of art right here. It's a document called MisterZee. And if I look at my Layers panel here, I see that I have a Sketch layer and I also have an Artwork layer. We're going to find out that many times when you're working with sketches inside of Illustrator, you want to be able to separate the two so you can easily jump back and forth between them. But beyond just layers itself, it's also important to organize your artwork into groups, not just arbitrary groups but groups that make sense. In this case here with MisterZee, if I take a look at my Artwork layer and I expand it, I see that I have a single group called MisterZee.

And inside of that group, I also have a Head and a Body group. And inside of the Head group, I have other subgroups here as well and inside of the Body group, I also have other subgroups. And I've gone through the trouble of actually naming these groups so that as I'm working, I can easily jump to a specific part of my image. The reason why this is important is because if I'm using groups, I have the ability to take advantage of Isolation mode inside of Illustrator. It can be sometimes a pain to have to navigate through all these different objects inside the Layers panel when many times I just want to work on just the artwork itself right here on my screen.

Again, I want to work kind of visually than having to deal with everything that's here inside of the panels. So if I'm using my regular Selection tool and for example I decide that I need to make a modification, maybe I need to add another stripe to his body or maybe I need to make some other kind of adjustment, if I double-click on MisterZee, you can see right now that I've isolated MisterZee and you can see over here in the gray bar I have my Artwork layer and I've now isolated the group called MisterZee inside of that layer. Now if I double-click on the body, I now see I've gone a group deeper.

I'm now working in the Body group that is inside the MisterZee group that's on the Artwork layer. And if I double-click again over here on the stripes, I'm now dealing with the Stripes group. And I can even double-click one more time and now I'm dealing specifically with one of the paths that live inside of the Stripes Body group that's inside the MisterZee group, that's inside of the Artwork layer. We can almost make a song out of this. But you can see though how important this is, because as I'm working inside of Illustrator I have the ability to quickly add elements or make edits and those edits happen directly inside of the groups as I'm working.

So as we start to draw more and explore more about different ways of drawing inside of Illustrator, we're going to find that it's really important that we actually create groups and we work with layers inside of our document. Just know that it's important to keep your drawings organized and that will save you a lot of heartache as you work on more and more complex drawings inside of Illustrator.

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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

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