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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, 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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