Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustration by John Hersey

Recording actions within actions


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Recording actions within actions

I have gone ahead and revised my artwork. I have called it New and it's found inside that Other files subfolder inside the 30_actions folder. Notice that I have replaced this sort of waving sleeve pattern between the hands with more of a filigreed kind of leafy pattern, but that's not reflected in the transformed copies, because after all, they're static copies as opposed to dynamic effects. So, what do we about that? How do we update them? Well, the first step is to go ahead and select them like so, both on the left and right sides. So just select the old-style versions of these arms and press the Backspace and Delete key to get rid of them.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 5m Advanced Jan 28, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic effects
  • Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
  • Creating and editing a Gradient Mesh
  • Distorting artwork with an Envelope Mesh
  • Using the Calligraphic, Art, and Scatter Brushes
  • Creating an intricate Pattern Brush
  • Importing and graphing data
  • Creating a complex pictograph
  • Drawing and editing a perspective shape
  • Working with the new Perspective Grid tool
  • Using the 3D Revolve effect
  • Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
  • Recording and playing automated actions
Deke McClelland

Recording actions within actions

I have gone ahead and revised my artwork. I have called it New and it's found inside that Other files subfolder inside the 30_actions folder. Notice that I have replaced this sort of waving sleeve pattern between the hands with more of a filigreed kind of leafy pattern, but that's not reflected in the transformed copies, because after all, they're static copies as opposed to dynamic effects. So, what do we about that? How do we update them? Well, the first step is to go ahead and select them like so, both on the left and right sides. So just select the old-style versions of these arms and press the Backspace and Delete key to get rid of them.

Then I want you to load this set of actions that I have created for you in advance. Now they are called successSet. So what I need you to do is if you've been working along with me, go ahead and rename your successSet something else. So I am just going to call mine something like, previousSuccesses, and then click OK. You can call yours anything you want. Then you get to it by going to the flyout menu of the Actions panel. Then choose the Load Actions command. Go into that Other files folder inside the 30_actions folder, you will find successSet.aia, and opened it up.

In there you'll find that Save for Web command that I recorded. This is all the stuff that you saw me record before. Arms left and arms right. Now I have this other one called radiant objects. If you twirl open radiant objects, I am going to make more room by closing my color panel, you will see that there is a lot of stuff going inside of this action. Basically, what it's doing is it's playing those other actions. So if you twirl open Play action right there, you'll see that it's playing the action called Arms Left inside the set called successSet. So that's why we need to have this set name this way so that Illustrator can find the proper action.

You do that, by the way, by just recording, and I will show you how this works. If I create a new action, and let's just go ahead and call it, playsActions or something like that and then click Record, why then, I could go ahead and click on this object right there in order to select it. That does not get recorded by the way. Then I'd go out to Arms left let's say, click on it to make it active, and then click Play in order to go ahead and play that action. Notice if I scroll down here the playing of the action got recorded as it was being played back, and then you would presumably stop or you would continue to play some more actions if you wanted to.

So one action can reference other ones. Anyway, I am going to get rid of that new guy and I am also going to get rid of this thing that I just created there by pressing the Backspace key, Delete key on the Mac. You will see what I have got is Play action. Then I change the Transparency of the first one to 80%, and we already saw how that worked. Then I play the action again, the exact same action and then I change its transparency to 60%, and then I played that action again and then I changed its transparency to 40%. Then I play the other action that is Arms right and I change its transparency to 80%.

Then I play that action again, change its transparency to 60%, play that action again, change its transparency to 40%. So I didn't have you do this work. You can if you want to, but it's a fair amount of busy work. So I thought I'd just do it for you. But problem is, we start with this one action, we're playing the Arms left action and, repeating that three times, and building in all the levels of transparency. Then we switch to the Arms right action. Well, how do we tell Illustrator to switch sides here? That is switch the object that's selected.

Well, that's a heck of a trick, and let me show you how it works. I am going to go ahead and click on this left set of Arms right there to select it with a Black Arrow tool. Then I will go up to the Window menu and choose attributes, and inside the Attributes panel, I want you to click on the flyout menu and choose Show note. Down here in this note area notice that I have gone ahead and added a note, leftArm. So, left is lowercase, A in Arm is uppercase, the rest is lowercase as well. This is a case-sensitive operation. So that's important to pay attention to.

If you go over here to the right Arm, I have given it a name of right Arm. You can do that yourself; very easy to do obviously. You just enter that information into Attributes. You don't press the Enter key or Return or anything like that. Just Enter the information, when you're done, close the Attributes panel. Now I am going to click off the shapes to deselect them and with radiant object selected there inside Actions panel what I want you to do is go out to the flyout menu and choose this command, Select Object and let's go ahead and enter leftArm, like so.

This is very important that you Enter this properly. It's like a password almost. So it's lowercase left, uppercase A lowercase rm, and then make sure Case Sensitive is turned on. Notice that it says Select object whose note has this in it. So you have got to reference the object inside the Attributes panel. It's not a matter of labeling it here inside the layers panel. It's all about Attributes. Click OK. Now it's going to appear at the bottom of the stack; don't worry about that. Let's enter another one by going up to the flyout menu, choosing Select Object, and I'll call this one, rightArm using those same lowercase and capital letter conventions, and then I will click OK.

Now we've got two set selections. Notice we're not recording. We're just plopping those things into the action. I'm going to grab the first one which is leftArm and take it all the way to the top of the stack, like so. That's very important so that set of arms get selected first. I am going to click off the paths by the way to deselect everything, although that doesn't have to happen, but might as well. Then notice that we have six occurrences of Play action, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. If you twirl open the fourth one, you should see that it says, Arms right as opposed to Arms left before it.

Just by twirling open you can confirm that that is the case. Now I am going to go ahead and grab this selection and I want to put it between the third occurrence of transparency and the fourth occurrence of Play action. So it's between, that is, the last playing of Arms left and the first playing of Arms RIGHT. However, it needs to be after Transparency as well. All right, that should be it folks. Let's make sure that nothing is selected once again inside of the illustration. That's not essential. You should be able to play this action and have something selected, but just a good idea.

Now I am going to click on radiant objects. I totally cross my fingers here. Actually, you know what, just in case, go ahead and grab the rightArm and leftArm elements there, click on one, Shift+Click on the other, go to the Edit menu, and choose the Copy command and press Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac. Just as a back up, just in case something goes wrong, we can get rid of all the stuff that went wrong and plop these guys back into place. But this should work, we will see. Sometimes the very first step kind of goes haywire. I will go ahead and click on radiant objects, and then I will go ahead and play it, and let's see what happens.

Notice it went ahead and automatically selected that leftArm element and it's automatically duplicating it. It went ahead and switched over this point to rightArm; that worked and it's playing those other actions back as well, and it's done. Now I will click off of those path outlines in order to deselect them. Notice that Illustrator went ahead and automatically took care of those variations and opacity. So we've got 80%, 60%, and 40%, and you can click on those groups to confirm that, but otherwise I considered that to be in extremely successful application of actions inside of Illustrator.

Tell you what, I hope you enjoyed that, I hope it's working for you too, I hope you enjoyed this entire series. Thank you so much for spending this time with me, and best of luck with Illustrator CS5 in the future.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.