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Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling

From: Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

Video: Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling

You know, when you're designing inside of Illustrator, it can sometimes be difficult to visualize how your artwork is going to appear when users interact with it in an interactive manner. For example, when people build Flash projects, sometimes they add this really cool animation where things just kind of resize, or move around the screen, and while it's easy to draw graphics at one state, it's kind of important to also be able to visualize how that artwork is going to look when it actually goes through these transformations. One such way to do that is by using a feature called 9-slice scaling. It's basically a way to build some intelligence into artwork that tells the artwork how to scale according to your specific instructions.

Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling

You know, when you're designing inside of Illustrator, it can sometimes be difficult to visualize how your artwork is going to appear when users interact with it in an interactive manner. For example, when people build Flash projects, sometimes they add this really cool animation where things just kind of resize, or move around the screen, and while it's easy to draw graphics at one state, it's kind of important to also be able to visualize how that artwork is going to look when it actually goes through these transformations. One such way to do that is by using a feature called 9-slice scaling. It's basically a way to build some intelligence into artwork that tells the artwork how to scale according to your specific instructions.

Let me give you an example. Inside of this document here called monthly_specials, I'm going to go to my Symbols panel here, and if I scroll down the list over here, I actually have a symbol called Ducky. I'm going to drag this out over here, cute little ducky that's here, and maybe I want to use this as some kind of design element across the bottom of my page. But you know, I want to create one of these flexible layouts, with Flash you can do that, because I want it to maybe design something that would be viewed on many different types of devices. So, it might look one way on a mobile device but yet another way on a desktop computer. You get the idea.

However, right now if I take this piece of artwork and I want this to kind of stretch along the bottom of my page, if I just simply take this and I stretch it, you can see that the entire artwork stretches in really not a nice way at all. In fact, I may even refer to as kind of a hideous way. I'm going to press Undo. The same thing also applies, if I want to scale it upwards, for example, you can see that the entire shape here gets stretched and distorted. So I am going to press Undo, and right now this is a symbol, so I am going to take advantage of a setting that applies specifically to symbols itself, something called 9-slice scaling.

So the first thing I need to do, in order to use this, is I need to turn on or activate the 9-slice scaling feature inside of this symbol. Now I can do this when I first define the symbol, or I can also do this at any other time later on in my workflow, by coming here to the Symbols panel, selecting the symbol itself and then clicking on this button here, the Symbol Options. In this case, here I am going to turn on the Enable Guides for 9-Slice Scaling option and then click OK. Now that I've done that, I'm ready to start dialing in the settings for the 9-slice scaling.

I am first going to double-click on the symbol itself, and that's going to allow me to edit this symbol. It's going to enter me into Isolation mode. And you can see that now that I am in Isolation mode, these guides have suddenly appeared. There are four guides: one, two, and then these two over here as well. However, because these guides all criss-cross each other, they define nine distinct regions. I have one over here, one here, one here. I have three along the bottom and three alone the middle, so that's nine sections.

Basically, by positioning these guides, I can define how this artwork should scale. So here's what I am going to do. I am going to move this guide down to about right about over here, and I'll move this guide down to here, and then I'll take a guide and move it here, and I'll move one over here. Let's discuss exactly what it is that I've just done. Basically, the middle area of these nine slices here is going to scale both horizontally and vertically whenever it stretched. However, the corners of my artwork, in other words, the upper left-hand corner, the upper right-hand corner and the lower left and right-hand corners, those areas, any artwork within those areas will never scale at all.

If I look at the other regions here, these four regions here on this side, the middle-right, middle-left and then middle-top and middle-bottom, those will only scale in a specific way. So the middle, right, and left over here, those will only stretch or scale when this is stretched vertically. And the two middle regions here, at top and bottom, will only scale when this artwork is stretched horizontally. To see how that actually works, I am going to hit Escape on my keyboard to exit Isolation mode, and now watch what happens when I scale this piece of artwork. If I go ahead and I stretch this now, you can see that the top part of the duck over here is not distorted at all.

The only part that gets stretch is the part that I've defined, and if I make this taller I can see that this whole area gets stretched, but this part doesn't get changed at all. So this way I can build some intelligence into my artwork so that whenever this artwork is actually resized or adjusted inside of my application, or inside of my Flash project, I know that it's going to look just the way that I want it to.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design
Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

74 video lessons · 23663 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 6m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Choosing Illustrator for web and interactive design
      2m 54s
    3. Illustrator and the web design workflow
      2m 7s
    4. Using the exercise files
      22s
  2. 40m 9s
    1. Pixel dimension vs. resolution
      4m 14s
    2. Pixel Preview mode and anti-aliasing
      5m 39s
    3. Taking charge of anti-aliasing
      5m 27s
    4. Choosing the right color management settings
      7m 25s
    5. Setting up important preferences
      6m 22s
    6. Setting up a workspace optimized for web design
      11m 2s
  3. 54m 5s
    1. Using the Web document profile
      3m 39s
    2. Creating custom document profiles
      9m 38s
    3. Using Illustrator's free web templates
      2m 33s
    4. Creating a sitemap or wireframe
      2m 50s
    5. Setting up an entire web site
      9m 33s
    6. Setting up a grid
      10m 37s
    7. Setting up an online ad campaign
      8m 13s
    8. Setting up icons for iOS
      2m 24s
    9. Setting up mobile content with Adobe Device Central
      4m 38s
  4. 32m 22s
    1. Understanding web-safe colors
      11m 50s
    2. Limiting the Color Guide to web-safe colors
      4m 53s
    3. Using Recolor Art to convert art to web-safe colors
      4m 54s
    4. Getting color inspiration from Adobe Kuler
      6m 48s
    5. Using Recolor Artwork to modify colors across a site
      3m 57s
  5. 56m 54s
    1. Using the Save for Web & Devices feature
      6m 44s
    2. Understanding the GIF file format and its settings
      10m 20s
    3. Understanding the JPEG file format and its settings
      7m 39s
    4. Understanding the PNG file format and its settings
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding the WBMP file format and its settings
      1m 18s
    6. Understanding the SWF file format and its settings
      4m 13s
    7. Understanding the SVG file format and its settings
      3m 41s
    8. Adjusting the dimensions of a graphic
      4m 46s
    9. Optimizing files to a specific file size
      4m 5s
    10. Modifying Save for Web & Devices output settings
      6m 51s
    11. Previewing content in Adobe Device Central
      3m 56s
  6. 56m 6s
    1. Setting point type in Illustrator
      4m 11s
    2. Setting area type in Illustrator
      5m 20s
    3. Formatting text quickly with paragraph styles
      14m 39s
    4. Overriding formatting with character styles
      3m 2s
    5. Controlling text anti-aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      11m 14s
    7. Adding cool reflections to text and graphics
      8m 26s
    8. Applying settings quickly with Graphic Styles
      4m 24s
  7. 35m 56s
    1. Understanding the concept of slicing
      3m 22s
    2. Creating slices manually
      4m 26s
    3. Creating slices from guides
      2m 45s
    4. Creating slices from objects
      7m 33s
    5. Understanding the different slice types
      4m 20s
    6. Applying settings to slices
      9m 20s
    7. Creating hotspots with image maps
      4m 10s
  8. 23m 35s
    1. Exporting static SWF files from Illustrator
      3m 35s
    2. Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames
      4m 3s
    3. Animated SWF: Using blends to define motion
      8m 35s
    4. Animated SWF: Adding static artwork to an animation
      3m 24s
    5. Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation
      3m 58s
  9. 17m 13s
    1. Preserving slices and structure with PSD export
      6m 10s
    2. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      4m 35s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Photoshop
      2m 52s
    4. Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop
      3m 36s
  10. 7m 28s
    1. Exporting HTML from Illustrator for use in Dreamweaver
      3m 31s
    2. Exporting CSS and DIVs from an Illustrator layout
      3m 57s
  11. 12m 37s
    1. Moving art between Illustrator and Fireworks
      6m 25s
    2. Using dynamic shapes from Fireworks
      3m 48s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Fireworks
      2m 24s
  12. 16m 7s
    1. Building files for use in Flash Catalyst
      4m 28s
    2. Creating a new Flash Catalyst project from an Illustrator file
      3m 40s
    3. Copying and pasting artwork between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      2m 4s
    4. Roundtrip editing between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      3m 36s
    5. Creating Flex skins for use in Flash Builder
      2m 19s
  13. 19m 48s
    1. Understanding symbols: The lifeblood of Flash
      4m 58s
    2. Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling
      4m 18s
    3. Setting text that will be used in Flash Professional
      3m 5s
    4. Moving artwork between Illustrator and Flash Professional
      7m 27s
  14. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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