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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So far in this chapter we've been talking about features that help you view your documents so that you can work more easily. We know that you can hide selection edges. We know that we can use Smart Guides to highlight certain objects. We know that we can even define custom views. Well, there is another important setting inside of Illustrator, which is your ability to lock objects or even hide them completely from view. I'll go to my Artboards panel and I'm going to double-click on the Branding artboard to have that one focused on my screen. Now, say we are working with this artwork. I can click on these elements to move them around, but maybe I want to deal with focusing on just the hansel & petal text.
I want to move that around my screen, but I don't want to accidentally move any of the flowers. I really like where the flowers are right now. And I don't want to accidentally select one of them and move them and lose all that synergy that's going on. So, here is one thing that I can do. I can click and drag to select these areas here and then simply hold down the Shift key and click on let's say just the word hansel & petal right here to deselect that. So now all these elements are selected except for this text. I'll now go to the Object menu and I'll choose Lock > Selection.
Now, you'll see that if I click-and-drag to try to select these elements I can't. They are not able to be selected. The only thing that I can select is the hansel & petal text. In fact, it can be quite often that when you have very complex artwork that you are working with that you'll lock a lot of the artwork that you don't accidentally select it. That also lets you work more quickly, because you can easily just click on the artwork that you need. To unlock your artwork you can simply go back to the Object menu and choose Unlock All. It's important to realize that there is no really way in Illustrator for you to unlock just one individual object.
In a future chapter we'll see that you could lock individual objects used in the Layers panel, but for now there is an Unlock All Object, which simply releases all the artwork that was locked. Another option that you have is hiding artwork. Let's say that I know that right now this flower is just the way that I want it. It's in position. It looks just how I wanted to be, but I want to focus on some other areas right now and I really don't need to see that right now. Instead of locking it I can go back to the Object menu and I can choose Hide > Selection. In doing so, the artwork still exists in my document.
It's just hidden from view right now. In some aspects this is better than locking it, because I certainly can't select it now. It's not even visible on my screen. And it really lets me focus on different areas of my artwork. If I want to reveal that artwork again, I'll go back to the Object menu and choose Show All. So, when you are working with complex artwork, know that you have the ability to both lock and hide objects, but perhaps more importantly it's good to know about these features because often when working with other people's files they may have locked certain objects and you may be trying to select that artwork and you're not able to, the reason why is because those people may have locked certain elements in the artwork and the only way that you can work with that artwork is to unlock it first.
Likewise, you may get a document from somebody else and they may have hidden certain elements in that file. If you're having trouble selecting files or if it appears as if something is missing, you might want to go to the Object menu and just make sure that the Show All or the Unlock All settings are not available. If they are, that means that some objects are hidden or locked.
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