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Selecting paths

From: Animated Character Design with Illustrator

Video: Selecting paths

Okay. In this exercise, we're going to have a look at selecting paths in Illustrator. So, I've got the selectingpaths.ai file open, and you can find that in the Working With Selections folder. Now, I've got this file open here. I'm just going to toggle the spacebar to move it down, so we can see it a little bit more clearly. Now, you'll notice that as I roll over the different body parts with the Selection tool, that they become highlighted. And this is using the standard Selection tool. Now, I'm sure that we all know that if you click on an object in Illustrator, you select it. If you click on another object, you deselect that last one, and select the next one.

Selecting paths

Okay. In this exercise, we're going to have a look at selecting paths in Illustrator. So, I've got the selectingpaths.ai file open, and you can find that in the Working With Selections folder. Now, I've got this file open here. I'm just going to toggle the spacebar to move it down, so we can see it a little bit more clearly. Now, you'll notice that as I roll over the different body parts with the Selection tool, that they become highlighted. And this is using the standard Selection tool. Now, I'm sure that we all know that if you click on an object in Illustrator, you select it. If you click on another object, you deselect that last one, and select the next one.

And it will select objects regardless of which layer they're on, and you'll see that as I select them. This selection is indicated by the little square to the right of this button here. this button here can also be used to select objects on a layer per layer basis. So, if I want to rather than select individual items from the left lower arm like this, I want to select all of them. What I can do is click on this button here and that will select everything within that layer. And again, if I do that with the right lower arm, you'll notice it selected everything within that layer. Now, as I've done that, I've noticed that both arms are on the same layer. And that's something I didn't really want to occur. So, what I'm going to do is open up that layer.

And I can see the individual body parts within there. And if I click on these one by one, I can see each of the body parts selected one at a time. So, these actually need to go to another layer. So what I can do is, with this layer selected, I'm going to go down to the bottom of my Layers panel and I'm just going to create a new layer holding down the Alt key. And we'll call it left upper arm. So, this is my new layer and I want to take those paths and put them on to another layer.

Now, traditionally people would normally copy and paste from one to another layer. You don't need to do that anymore. You can just select the layers that you want to drag, and just drag them up to this layer. Now you have to drag them individually. So I'll drag one and then the other, and you'll see that now that I've dragged using the little squares, I can drag the selections from one layer to another. As I said, if you have two grouped and your dragging the little square from the actual layer, it will drag both. If you dragging individual items from a layer, you need to drag them individually from one to another. That's a quick way of being able to move a selection without having to do a copy and paste.

Once you have a selection, you can add to that selection by holding down Shift and adding items either by clicking directly on them in this window or by clicking on the selection buttons on the layers. You can start to select multiple items that way. Now, the other selection tool is this one here and this is the direct selection tool and we also have the group selection tool which we will take a look at a little bit later. So, the direct selection tool can be used to select paths as well.

But you'll notice if we zoom in, that's the points on the path are not selected. If they are hollow and white in the center, it means they're de-selected. So, the Direct Selection tool allows you to click and drag points on the path. And you can add multiple points together. And select and move those or you can adjust handles as well, and change the angles as you probably know. Now, you can also drag selections around areas, say, if I want to get rid of some of the hair for, example, I can drag a selection or in multiple paths and hit Backspace.

Now you'll notice that some of the points haven't been selected cuz I didn't drag that far. But if I hit Backspace once, it will move the active points and if I hit Backspace once more, it will remove the existing points from there. So, there are another couple of tools to have a look at in terms of selection. There's the magic wand tool. Now, if we select that and then I'm going to toggle briefly to the Hand tool by holding down Space Bar, and I'm going to zoom out by hitting Cmd+Minus, or Ctrl+Minus on the PC. Now, the Magic Wand tool allows me to select similar items just by clicking on one of them, it will select all of the others with the same fill color. Now if I double-click that, you'll see here my tolerance settings. So, I could bring that all the way down to, let's say a setting of 1. And at the moment, it's choosing Fill Color.

So, if the Fill Colors are exactly same, that's going to select all of those Fill Colors regardless of what the tolerance setting is. But say I had a dark red here and lighter reds on the arms. It could select the Fill Color based on the tolerance using the Magic Wand tool. Now, you also have a Lasso tool and the Lasso tool can be used to draw a selection around a group of objects. So, I could draw a selection around the hair like this. It's all selected. So again, hit Backspace once to delete the active points.

Hit Backspace again to remove them completely from the selection. So, that's a few tips and tricks about the Selection tools in Illustrator.

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Animated Character Design with Illustrator

29 video lessons · 3371 viewers

Angie Taylor
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