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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to make some more nuanced changes to your graph. In our case, we're going to change a few stroke weights. We're going to change some type size. We're going to use tracking in order to space out some characters a little bit. I'm going to move the legend to a different location. I'm going to reduce the size of these three legend boxes using a dynamic effect. In doing so, every time you dig a little deeper where your graph is concerned, the graph has a tendency to become a little more fragile. So if you then turn around to make a data modification, let's say, then things can fall apart a little bit.
I'll show you what I mean. I've saved my progress as Three-color graph.ai. It's found inside the 27_graphs folder. I'm going to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. I'll go ahead and click on the graph to select the entire thing, and because all I want to do at this point is change the type size, the size of all of my text to 10 point. So I'll go up here to the control panel, and notice that my text is set to Myriad Pro Regular. But we have some different type sizes going on. I'll go ahead and click in that Type Size option, enter 10 and press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, and that changes all of the text. All right! Now I'm going to click off of the graph in order to deselect it, and I'm going to switch back to that Group Selection tool that I showed you in the previous exercise.
Let's say that I notice that the values over here on the left-hand axis, they've shifted down a little bit. They should be higher. So if you click on one of the text objects, and if you click again on it, then you'll select all of those value numbers. But here is the thing to watch out for: you don't want to double-click. That is, you don't want to click twice quickly in a row, because if you do, let me demonstrate. I'll click off of the text once again, and I'll do this. Click once, twice, like so, and that goes ahead and switches me to the Text Entry mode, which is a gianormous pain in the neck, something you run into all the time when you're working with graphs.
Press the Escape key in order to get out of it. Then at the point, switch back to the Group Selection tool, because pressing Escape takes you back to the Black Arrow tool, and then click on that text a second time in order to select the numbers for the entire value axis. Then I'm going to press Shift+Up Arrow once, and then Shift+Left Arrow a couple of times, in order to move that text outward. By the way, I'll press Ctrl+K, or Command+K on the Mac, so we can see this. My keyboard increment is still set to that custom value of 0.2 points. All right! I'll click Cancel in order to cancel out of there.
Now I want to grab all of this legend text right here and change it to all caps and track it outward a little bit. But rather than doing that click twice number, which is so very ponderous, I'm just going to do this. Still armed with the Group Selection tool, I'll click off of the text to deselect it, and I'll just drag like so, around that text, and then I'll just go ahead and select all of it. Now I'll click on the word Character in the control panel to bring up that Character panel there. I'll click on the flyout menu icon, and I'll switch to All Caps, like so. Then I'm going to go ahead and increase the tracking value right here to 200.
I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to make that modification. Now I feel like these rectangles here in the legend are way too big, so I'm going to go ahead and marquee across them to select all three of them. The idea is that I could just go ahead and grab my Scale tool, right? I can double-click on it, and I say gosh, I want to reduce the size of these guys by 50%. Then I'll turn on the Preview check box. They all scale with respect to a single origin point. That's no good. I need to scale each one independently. So the natural solution, if I click the Cancel button there, is to go up to the Object menu and choose the Transform command and choose Transform Each.
But I really want you to get a load of this one. This is a fine bit of interface here inside of Illustrator. The notion is this: There are a lot of commands that just won't work inside of graphs, but for some reason they don't get dimmed the way they normally do, the way you normally see commands dim, such as Show All here. Show All is dimmed because nothing is hidden at this point in time. Really, Transform Each should be dimmed, because watch this. When you choose the command, nothing happens, just ignores you. So it would be better I think if that command were dimmed.
But that kind of stuff happens a lot when you're working with graphs inside of Illustrator. Or a little better, you'll get an alert message that tells you gosh, this command is nonfunctional. Instead what you got to do is this: You can apply dynamic effects, which is a great thing. So go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose the Transform command, which is built on Transform Each after all. If you load DekeKeys, you can press Ctrl+E, Command+E on the Mac. Then I'll go ahead and change the Horizontal and Vertical values to 50%, like so. Turn on the Preview check box. That's not quite right.
So I'll click on the right-hand point inside of this little reference point matrix, and I end up getting this effect here, which is perfect. Then I'll click OK. Now I'm going to switch back to my Group Selection tool. That's a manual switch, because there is no keyboard shortcut for that tool. I'll go ahead and grab the tool, drag across both the rectangles and the text for the legend, and I'll move them down here, like so. I'm just kind of eyeballing their location. I might my press Shift+Left Arrow a few times to tuck them in. So we get this effect here. They are actually spread apart too far from each other, so I'll go ahead and marquee these two, press Shift+Down Arrow a few times--I think that was four times--and then I'll grab this.
I'll just marquee these two items, and I'll press Shift+Down Arrow a few times as well. I hope I get pretty much the same spacing. It looks all right to me. All right! The next thing I want to do is I want to change line weight that's associated with all these value lines right here. So I'm going to click once, twice, like so, to select all the value lines. You can see they're selected, because I can. If I want to drag them to a totally different location--don't want to do that of course, but I just want you to see what's going on-- I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on a Mac to undo that change. I'm going to go ahead and change the Stroke value for all of these lines to 0.5 points.
Now I'll go ahead and click in the stroke swatch here in the control panel, and I'll select this final light shade of blue in order to color the graph, like so. When I like so, you can't see it of course, because we're seeing the selection edges. But if I click off of those lines to deselect them, then you can see what I'm talking about. Now finally, what I want to do is I want to reveal those tiny, little tick marks that are there in the center of each of the column clusters. I can't see them right now because they're covered up by the orange columns. So I'll go ahead and click twice on this center orange column in order to select all three of them.
Then I'm going to right-click, and I'm going to choose Arrange, and I'm going to choose Send to Back, which make sense, right? Because they're all inside of the special group, I should be able to move them up and down the stack. And the command, after all, is not dimmed. But this is another classic case of, well, just because it's not dimmed, doesn't mean it's actually available. When I choose the command, Illustrator tells me I can't send those objects. Objects within certain groups inside graphs cannot be sent. That doesn't even make any sense. They can't be sent where? Anyway, click OK. It's saying you can't send it backward or forward, which doesn't make a lick of sense, for the following reasons. Check this out.
I can't click on this bottom line right there because that actually selects the bottom value line; it doesn't select this bottom axis line right there, because the value lines are on top. Anyway, I'll press Ctrl+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that change. Instead, what you want to do is you want to find that little tick mark right there in the center of 2012 or 2022 or 2032. Just go ahead and try to find it there and click like so. See, I went ahead and selected it, and that's because I am able to select through objects, because I'm selecting by path outlines.
I'll click again to select all three of the little tick marks, and then I'll click a third time in order to select that category axis as well. So I have all three tick marks and the value axes selected and watch this. Right-click, choose Arrange, and choose Bring to Front. Now, why should that work? If the other thing didn't work, why would this work? Yet, I'll choose the command and it works. So, you ever know what's going to work and what's not going to work when you're working inside of graphs, inside of Illustrator. Just crazy stuff. Anyway, so we've managed to make these more nuanced changes.
We've even managed to successfully change some stacking order inside the graph. However, these changes have sort of messed up the nature of the graph ever so slightly, as we are about to see when we again modify the data in the very next exercise.
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