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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.
Over the course of the next few exercises, I'll show you the many ways that you can edit graphs inside of Illustrator. In this exercise, I'll show you how to switch between the various kinds of graphs that Illustrator has to offer. I've saved my progress as Baby's first column graph.ai. It's found inside the 27_graphs folder. I am going to go ahead and click anywhere in the graph with the Black Arrow tool to select the entire thing, because it's a kind of grouped object--it's another one of these specialty objects inside of Illustrator. Now, to switch between different graph types, what you do is you can go up to the Object menu if you want to make life unpleasant for yourself, and you go all the way down here to Graph, and then you go back up here to Type.
So that's one way to work. The easier way to get to that Type command, however, is, when the graph is selected, right-click any old place inside the illustration window and then go ahead and choose Type. And the Type command brings up the Graph Type dialog box, which is where you make all of your parametric adjustments. By that I mean you can switch between the various graph types, and you also have control over the placement of the legend, the size of the columns, and so forth; you'll see. Right now we're just going to focus on the graph types that are available to us. I'm not going to show you every single variety; I'll just show you a few of the most common ones.
Now, notice right here we have Stacked Columns. So removing from Column to Stacked Column. If you click on Stacked Column, it would be really super-great if you had this thing called a Preview check box and you could see what in the world you are doing back here inside the illustration window. But this is a very old, sometimes rickety feature inside of Illustrator, and one of the things that we're lacking is a preview. So here is how you preview your changes. You click on the OK button in order to see what in the world happened. And then if you don't like it, you right- click in the Graph and choose Type again.
All right, so with the stacked graph, we're seeing the various columns stacked on top of each other, so we're seeing cumulative data, which can be interesting. It might be what you're looking for. It's not what I'm looking for at all. In fact, the column graph was just fine, but we're just racing through a few of the alternatives. I am going to go ahead and right-click again, choose the Type command, and this time let's check out a bar graph. Now, what we were seeing a moment ago, that column graph, the vertical bars, that's what many of us think as being a bar graph, those of us who are not graphing experts. But in the presentation business, that's a column graph when we're seeing vertical bars, and a bar graph is horizontal bars.
So if you click on Bar, you're going to switch to Horizontal bars. Click OK in order to see what that looks like. Obviously that's not what we're interested in, but that does go ahead and entirely flip the graph. So we're seeing the percentage values down here along the bottom axis, and we're seeing the years over here on the left-hand axis. Go ahead and right-click again and choose Type once again. Now let's try out a pie chart, just for laughs here. Go ahead and click on Pie. And this time if you click OK, you're actually going to see three separate pies, one for each year.
They're actually growing in size over the course of the years, because the data is getting bigger and bigger. It's just that the data is not getting that much bigger over time. So the final pie graph for 2032 doesn't look that much bigger than the first one, but in fact it is. Now, I am going to right- click once again and choose Type. This is one of the sort of confusing items about how graphs work in Illustrator. You've got a stacked column graph; we saw that a moment ago. You have a stacked bar graph, so you can stack the bars horizontally if you like. What if you wanted a stacked pie graph? That is to say you want one graph with the various values stacked around each other.
Then you switch down here. Instead of switching to a different variety of graph, you go down here to the bottom of the dialog box and you change the Position value, of all things, from Ratio-- Even, by the way, would give you evenly sized pie graphs, so every single graph is exactly the same size-- you go ahead and switch, however, to stacked and then click OK in order to see the modification, and that's what it's going to look like. Now, I am not sure I find this to be all that useful, because what is 2012, what is 2022, what is 2032? Of course they go to the first, second, and third rings, but the placement of these labels doesn't really make any sense.
Anyway, I am going to right- click once again, choose Type. Probably the most useful way to represent this data--beyond the column graph, that is--is as a line graph. So I am going to go ahead and click on Line, and then click OK, so you can see what that line graph looks like. Illustrator has even gone ahead and automatically scaled the graph, so it no longer starts at a percentage point of 0; it starts at 80 and then goes up to 100. So we're zooming in on the data, which is quite nice. Now, notice that you have these various axis points that are connected by lines, and you know what, I'm going to press Ctrl+H, or Command+H, on the Mac to hide the selection edges, so we can just focus in on our artwork.
And notice again, we've got the square axis points. They are connected by segments, these line segments. I'll go ahead and right-click again and choose Type. And you'll find yourself doing this an awful lot, if you haven't gotten that sense already. Let's say that I want to go ahead and draw in filled lines. What that means is you're going to thicken up those lines, and by default, they'll be 3 points thick, which means they'll be roughly as thick as the data points themselves. You can also create edge-to-edge lines, so that Illustrator extrapolates the data all the way to the far left- and right-hand sides of the graph.
Then go ahead and click OK to see what that looks like, and you end up getting this effect right here. Now, after all this work, I still want a column graph. So you might figure, well, the thing to do is to go up to the File menu and choose the Revert command in order to get back to where we were a moment ago. In fact, all you have to do--the graph is still selected, by the way--is right-click once again inside the illustration window, choose Type, and just go ahead and switch back to the column graph, and we'll get the default settings that we had just a moment ago. Click OK and we're back to those vertical bars.
So you really have a lot of flexibility there, which is the good news. You can switch back and forth between these varieties of graph as much as you like. The only thing to bear in mind is you have no preview, so you're going to be choosing that Type command an awful lot. So remember, it's a right-click, then you choose the Type command. It brings up this dialog box. There is a bunch of other options that are available to us as well. We've got these various settings down here at the bottom of the dialog box. We also have two other full panels of settings to choose from, and I'll show you how those work in the next exercise.
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