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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.
As we know inside of Illustrator, artwork has something called a stacking order. That means that as you draw vector graphics, objects appear on top of each other or beneath each other. As you can see up here with these flowers, one flower appears on top of this flower that appears beneath. When you try to make selections however, it can sometimes be difficult to select the object that appear beneath other objects because they're currently hidden from view. For example, let's focus on this one area over here. I'm going to zoom in on just this part right here and I'm also going to use my regular Selection tool to double-click on this group to isolate it.
Now I'm inside of a group. If I were to click right over here, I would select this object that you can see but if I want to select a background object I would need to click over here to select it because if I click here, this object is in front of it. However, many times when you had very complex artwork there may not be room for you to select artwork that appears beneath other objects. Quite often designers may toggle and go into the Outline mode. I'm pressing Command+Y on my keyboard to do that so that you can see the actual path themselves and you might select things in this way.
For example, click on the path and then when I go back into Outline mode, I now see that that object is selected. However there is a way now in Illustrator CS5 to actually select objects through other objects. The way that you would do that is to first use your regular Selection tool to click on the topmost object. Then hold down the Command key on your keyboard, if you are using Windows that would be the Ctrl key, and then click again. Notice that now that I clicked again, a little arrow appears next to my white arrow. That means I'm now in this drill down mode. It lets me select other areas beneath this object that's currently selected.
If I now click again, you can see that the background object becomes selected. Now if I go ahead and I release the Command key, I'm back to my Selection tool and I've selected the backmost object, not the topmost object. If you have many overlapping objects, each time that you click with the Command key pressed down, you will systematically select the next object beneath it. It's just something to keep in mind as you're working inside of Illustrator. If you find that you're having a hard time selecting a piece of art, just hold down the Command key while you're clicking to select other objects beneath it.
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