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Knowing the dangers of ungrouping artwork

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Video: Knowing the dangers of ungrouping artwork

You know, I've always said that with power comes responsibility. We know that we can apply certain effects and fills and strokes to groups, and in fact, that's what I've done right here inside of this file. In this file called groups_2.ai, if I click on this group over here to select it, you'll see that in my Appearance panel I have the group right now selected and targeted and I can see that there is a drop shadow applied to that group. Now remember how we always read stacking order inside of the Appearance panel? I have my contents here, which are the actual elements inside of my group, and I have the drop shadow that lies beneath that. Great! So I have now a single drop shadow that encompasses my entire group.

Knowing the dangers of ungrouping artwork

You know, I've always said that with power comes responsibility. We know that we can apply certain effects and fills and strokes to groups, and in fact, that's what I've done right here inside of this file. In this file called groups_2.ai, if I click on this group over here to select it, you'll see that in my Appearance panel I have the group right now selected and targeted and I can see that there is a drop shadow applied to that group. Now remember how we always read stacking order inside of the Appearance panel? I have my contents here, which are the actual elements inside of my group, and I have the drop shadow that lies beneath that. Great! So I have now a single drop shadow that encompasses my entire group.

Maybe I've got this file from somebody else and I want to make a few changes to it. In fact, maybe I really like the way that this flower kind of works, and I want to use this in some other part of my file, or maybe in a completely different file. So right now, all my elements are grouped, so I want to be able to get at just the shapes that I need, so to make it a little bit easier to edit, I am just going to ungroup this artwork. So I will go to the Object menu here and I will choose Ungroup, but as soon as I do that, the drop shadow goes away. What happens to that drop shadow? Well, the answer is, as if you remember, the group is a container and the drop shadow was actually applied to the container, not to the objects that were inside of that container.

When I choose to ungroup something, I'm telling Illustrator, take all of the objects out of the container and throw that container in the garbage. Well, because the drop shadow was on that container, the drop shadow went into the garbage along with the group. So all I'm left with now are the original objects. Remember that these objects never had a drop shadow on them. These objects only lived inside of a group that had a drop shadow on it, and as soon as I ungroup that group, I lose the drop shadow. So when I mention something along the lines of, with power comes responsibility, yes, I can do a lot of great things with groups inside of Illustrator, but now I also have to be careful about how I use groups inside of Illustrator.

I can no longer just arbitrarily choose to ungroup something, because in doing so, I may actually change the appearance of my artwork. So remember that when you ungroup something, you actually delete or remove the container. Is there any way around this? Of course there is. Now that we are learning more about how groups work, we can begin to learn how to harness its power and edit groups both safely and more efficiently. We'll see how to do just that in the next movie.

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This video is part of

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  1. 8m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 15s
    2. Exploring the Illustrator Timeline
      5m 12s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      25s
  2. 16m 27s
    1. Starting off on the right foot
      27s
    2. Knowing the difference between structure and presentation
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding paths and attributes
      4m 56s
    4. Distributing stroke weight along a path
      2m 25s
    5. Bottoms up: Object hierarchy and stacking order
      4m 1s
  3. 51m 9s
    1. The all-important Appearance panel
      37s
    2. Understanding attribute stacking order
      6m 45s
    3. Targeting individual object attributes
      7m 32s
    4. Adding multiple attributes to a single object
      9m 31s
    5. Modifying appearances with Live Effects
      7m 11s
    6. Using multiple strokes to create a border design
      4m 36s
    7. Using multiple strokes to create a map
      5m 52s
    8. Using multiple fills to mix spot colors
      4m 59s
    9. Using multiple fills to create textures
      4m 6s
  4. 46m 2s
    1. Learning to live with appearances
      30s
    2. Basic appearance vs. complex appearance
      4m 27s
    3. Clearing or expanding an appearance
      10m 52s
    4. Controlling the appearance of newly drawn art
      5m 11s
    5. Saving appearances with graphic styles
      6m 54s
    6. Changing artwork by modifying a graphic style
      7m 39s
    7. Uncovering a treasure trove of graphic styles
      5m 1s
    8. Copying appearances with the Eyedropper tool
      5m 28s
  5. 33m 28s
    1. Why do we create groups?
      1m 48s
    2. Applying an effect to a group
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding the difference between targeting and selecting
      4m 44s
    4. Knowing the dangers of ungrouping artwork
      2m 21s
    5. Using Isolation mode to preserve group structure
      6m 59s
    6. Adding a stroke to a group
      6m 13s
    7. Adding a 3D effect to a group
      3m 36s
    8. Extending the concept of groups to type objects
      3m 9s
  6. 46m 34s
    1. Are you a layers person?
      33s
    2. Learning to use the Layers and Objects panel
      9m 27s
    3. Making selections and editing stacking order
      6m 38s
    4. Reading and using the target circles
      8m 43s
    5. Copying artwork and appearances
      5m 37s
    6. Adding effects to layers
      9m 56s
    7. Getting the most out of the Layers panel
      5m 40s
  7. 47m 19s
    1. It's more than just a drop shadow?
      48s
    2. Adding basic texture with Mezzotint
      7m 50s
    3. Generating custom textures with Texturizer
      12m 22s
    4. Adding a stroke to an image with Outline Object
      5m 54s
    5. Aligning text precisely with Outline Object
      6m 31s
    6. Adding callout numbers with Convert to Shape
      4m 36s
    7. Enhancing performance with Rasterize
      2m 30s
    8. Avoiding pitfalls when using effects
      6m 48s
  8. 31m 59s
    1. Asking yourself the "what if?" question
      33s
    2. Outlining artwork with Offset Path and Pathfinder Add
      5m 36s
    3. Adding captions with Convert to Shape and Transform
      7m 1s
    4. Creating a crosshatch effect with Scribble
      5m 44s
    5. Creating buttons with Round Corners and Transform
      13m 5s
  9. 25m 21s
    1. Working with other people's files
      36s
    2. Setting up a workspace that makes sense
      9m 43s
    3. Learning to "read" an Illustrator file
      5m 48s
    4. Controlling pixel resolution
      9m 14s
  10. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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