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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 Illustrator's 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.
One of the great benefits of working with Symbols is that you can easily modify and update your artwork. Let's see how that's done. Now in this document, I have used some symbols to add some design elements to these gift cards. You'll notice here that I have some symbols that I have created for these flowers. But let's say I want to change the look of one of these flowers. For example, maybe for these lilies here, I don't really like the way the middle appears, and I may want to get rid of those. So, the way that I can edit a Symbol is I can simply double-click on it inside of the Symbols panel.
This brings me into Isolation mode, where everything else inside of my document right now is temporarily gone and all I am focusing on right now is just this symbol. I am going to zoom in a little bit closer here, so we could see the artwork. With my direct Selection tool, I am going to select these elements right here, and delete them. I am going to delete these circles as well, and now I no longer had that as part of my design. So I am going to zoom out just a bit. I am going to use my regular Selection tool to just double-click on any blank area on my screen to exit Isolation mode, and when I do, you notice that anywhere where I've applied those instances, that element now has been updated as well.
So all I need to do is make your art change in one place and anywhere else where I have used that piece of artwork it updates accordingly. Another way to adjust artwork is to actually double-click on the instance itself on the artboard. When you do, so a dialog box comes up and let's you know, by the way, if you edit this one object, it is going to also update all the other instances for that symbol. So when you click OK, you'll see that Illustrator takes you to a different type of Isolation mode. Now, you can see the rest of your artwork in context, and as you make changes, again, once you double-click on a blank area or hit the Escape key to exit Isolation mode, your symbols will update accordingly.
When working with Symbols, it is important to realize that, yes, I can easily update the artwork, but the symbol instance itself that sits in my artboard, just references a piece of artwork that's back inside of the Symbols panel. In reality, besides updating the original artwork, I can also have an instance point to a completely different symbol. Let me explain what I mean. Let's say I looked look at this card right here, and I kind of like the layout, but I don't want to use these sunflowers, maybe I want to experiment with using the poppy flower instead.
So what I can do is I can select these three instances right here on my artboard and if I look here at the top of the Control panel, there is a setting here that says Replace. I can click on this pop-up and see all of my symbols, and if I choose the Poppy symbol right now, Illustrator is going to replace all the sunflowers with poppies. So I basically swapped out one piece of art for another, yet, since I've scaled and resized and adjusted the positioning of those instances on the artboard, that all remains. All I've done now is I have taken the art that was inside the symbol and swapped it out for another.
So when I am working inside of Illustrator, not only can I modify the artwork for a symbol, I can also completely replace the symbol with a different one.
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