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Targeting individual object attributes

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Video: Targeting individual object attributes

So we know that the Appearance panel not only displays the attribute's stacking order for all of our objects, it also allows us to make modifications to that stacking order. Well, let's take a look at another benefit that we get by using the Appearance panel. I am working on this document called targeting_attributes, and let's first take a look over here at this word that appears up in bold towards the top of the Appearance panel. Now, right now it says No Selection because I have no object selected right now. But when I click on this right now, this object right here, to select it, you can see over here that now it changed to the word "Path." That means that currently my Path is selected.

Targeting individual object attributes

So we know that the Appearance panel not only displays the attribute's stacking order for all of our objects, it also allows us to make modifications to that stacking order. Well, let's take a look at another benefit that we get by using the Appearance panel. I am working on this document called targeting_attributes, and let's first take a look over here at this word that appears up in bold towards the top of the Appearance panel. Now, right now it says No Selection because I have no object selected right now. But when I click on this right now, this object right here, to select it, you can see over here that now it changed to the word "Path." That means that currently my Path is selected.

Well, actually, yes, I have selected it, but I've also done something else; I've targeted that object. In fact, the word that's displayed here inside of the Appearance panel, the one that appears in bold, is what we refer to as the target. Later, in chapter 4 in this training, we're going to focus on specific distinctions between selecting something and targeting something. But for now, it is important to understand this new concept of the ability to actually target something. So right now, yes, my path is selected, but my path is also targeted.

By default, the entire object is targeted, meaning, for example, let's say you want to add some kind of transparency here to this piece of artwork. So I am actually going to go first to the View menu, and I am going to turn on my transparency grid. See, there is a setting here called Show Transparency Grid, which turns on this checkerboard pattern in the background of my document. If you use Photoshop, this will look very familiar because it helps to identify the transparent areas inside of our document. Let's say I wanted to add some opacity to this specific object right now.

So I know that I can go over here to my Opacity value here and maybe change it to about 50%. You can see now that I can actually see directly through this entire object. However, what if I only want the fill of this object to be transparent, but I want this stroke to be full strength, I want it to be fully opaque? Well, I know that many people who have been using Illustrator for a long time might actually start creating two objects. They might create one object, give that object a transparent fill, and then they'll do a Copy, Paste in Front, and create an entirely new object that has no fill, but leave that stroke fully opaque.

Well, that's not really that efficient, especially when you consider that you actually do all that with one object directly through the Appearance panel. Let's see how. I am going to press Command+Z, or Ctrl+Z, to undo that transparency setting that I just applied, and now I am going to look at the Appearance panel. Like we've discussed before, I want just the fill to have an Opacity value, but not the stroke. So I am going to now click over here on the fill itself to highlight it. What I've just done now is I've targeted specifically the fill of this path.

Now if I change my Opacity value to 50%, you can see that only the fill gets an Opacity setting. I can see through the yellow fill, and I can actually see the checkerboard pattern beneath it. However, the stroke itself still appears fully opaque. And I'm doing this all with only one path. Now again, what makes this possible is that before I applied the Opacity setting, I first targeted a specific attribute of my selected object. In fact, if I click on the little twirl down triangle here inside of the Appearance panel, I can see that just the fill gets its own Opacity value of 50%, although the overall object has default opacity--and the same thing applies to the stroke as well.

The stroke has no opacity applied to it as well. Now I am going to click over here on the word "path" or on that target, so now the entire object is targeted. I want to share with you what I feel is probably the most important reason to use the Appearance panel. You know, even if you are not going to go ahead and start moving stacking order things around, or if you are going to start targeting individual attributes, there are many times when you might work with other people's files, and you may sometimes see something inside of an Illustrator document that doesn't seem to make any sense. Let me explain what I mean by that.

I am actually going to deselect this piece of artwork right now. Let's close the Appearance panel. I am just going to double-click on the tab itself a couple of times, so that all I see is just a collapsed version of the Appearance panel. Say I received this file from somebody else. I may go ahead now and have to make some kind of changes to this document. Now, I'll go ahead and I'll select this, and I see right here that the fill is kind of like somewhat semi-translucent; I can kind of see through it. But if I look at my Opacity slider with that object selected, I do not see any Opacity setting at all. It's set to 100. It's fully opaque.

Well, how can an object be fully opaque if I can actually see through it right now? In fact, when I go back to the View menu here, I am going to turn the transparency grid off by choosing Hide Transparency Grid. We had discussed before that many people use the Color or the Swatches panel to identify which attributes are applied to objects. Now, let's take a look at everything that Illustrator is showing me. I select this object. I want to know, what color is that object is filled with? Well, if I look at the Color panel here, it looks like it's filled with 100% yellow. But that isn't going to print 100% yellow; That's only 50% yellow, because that fill has a 50% opacity applied to it.

If I look at the Swatches panel, it shows me it's filled with that yellow swatch. If I look over here at the Fill indicator inside of the Control panel, that looks like a bright yellow to me. And again if I look over here at this part of my toolbar, I also see a bright yellow. So I don't see any connection between my object and the other indicators that appear throughout the user interface. As I said before, if I were to go to my Transparency panel, my Transparency panel is reading an Opacity value of 100%. The only way for me to figure out that that path itself has a fill that has its own Opacity value is by going to the Appearance panel and targeting that specific fill.

Notice that now the fill is actually targeted. I've selected it here inside of the Appearance panel. Now my Opacity value does read a 50%. The same thing applies here in the Transparency panel. However, if I don't have the Appearance panel visible, I can actually see that there is some kind of disconnect inside of my document. In fact, let me add a little bit of complexity here. I am going to take a rectangle. Draw a rectangle right here. Let's give this some kind of a pattern fill, and I am going to send this to the back. Let's do Object > Arrange > Send to Back.

So now you can actually see, if I change back to my regular Selection tool here, that I can actually see the pattern through the fill, but I can't see it through the stroke of this object right here. Now, if I had received this document from somebody else and I click on this object, I may wonder how is it that that's happening. I see an Opacity value of 100 here, yet I can still see through that object. This is actually why I don't even rely on the Color or the Swatches panel at all, because I feel that they've lied to me. They don't give me the full story about what I'm seeing inside of my screen.

I do everything now through the Appearance panel, because that will always show me exactly what my artwork settings are set to. So to recap what we've learned so far: We know that the Appearance panel shows me the attributes stacking order of my artwork, it allows me to modify that attribute stacking order, and it allows me to target specific attributes to apply different settings to them. Finally, it allows me to also see all the settings for the attributes for a particular object, something I can't find anywhere else inside of the user interface inside of Illustrator.

So we're beginning to see just how valuable the Appearance panel is. This is only a beginning though, and we've barely scraped the surface of what we can actually do with the Appearance panel, which is something that we'll begin to discover inside of the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials
 
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  1. 8m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 15s
    2. Exploring the Illustrator Timeline
      5m 12s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      25s
  2. 16m 27s
    1. Starting off on the right foot
      27s
    2. Knowing the difference between structure and presentation
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding paths and attributes
      4m 56s
    4. Distributing stroke weight along a path
      2m 25s
    5. Bottoms up: Object hierarchy and stacking order
      4m 1s
  3. 51m 9s
    1. The all-important Appearance panel
      37s
    2. Understanding attribute stacking order
      6m 45s
    3. Targeting individual object attributes
      7m 32s
    4. Adding multiple attributes to a single object
      9m 31s
    5. Modifying appearances with Live Effects
      7m 11s
    6. Using multiple strokes to create a border design
      4m 36s
    7. Using multiple strokes to create a map
      5m 52s
    8. Using multiple fills to mix spot colors
      4m 59s
    9. Using multiple fills to create textures
      4m 6s
  4. 46m 2s
    1. Learning to live with appearances
      30s
    2. Basic appearance vs. complex appearance
      4m 27s
    3. Clearing or expanding an appearance
      10m 52s
    4. Controlling the appearance of newly drawn art
      5m 11s
    5. Saving appearances with graphic styles
      6m 54s
    6. Changing artwork by modifying a graphic style
      7m 39s
    7. Uncovering a treasure trove of graphic styles
      5m 1s
    8. Copying appearances with the Eyedropper tool
      5m 28s
  5. 33m 28s
    1. Why do we create groups?
      1m 48s
    2. Applying an effect to a group
      4m 38s
    3. Understanding the difference between targeting and selecting
      4m 44s
    4. Knowing the dangers of ungrouping artwork
      2m 21s
    5. Using Isolation mode to preserve group structure
      6m 59s
    6. Adding a stroke to a group
      6m 13s
    7. Adding a 3D effect to a group
      3m 36s
    8. Extending the concept of groups to type objects
      3m 9s
  6. 46m 34s
    1. Are you a layers person?
      33s
    2. Learning to use the Layers and Objects panel
      9m 27s
    3. Making selections and editing stacking order
      6m 38s
    4. Reading and using the target circles
      8m 43s
    5. Copying artwork and appearances
      5m 37s
    6. Adding effects to layers
      9m 56s
    7. Getting the most out of the Layers panel
      5m 40s
  7. 47m 19s
    1. It's more than just a drop shadow?
      48s
    2. Adding basic texture with Mezzotint
      7m 50s
    3. Generating custom textures with Texturizer
      12m 22s
    4. Adding a stroke to an image with Outline Object
      5m 54s
    5. Aligning text precisely with Outline Object
      6m 31s
    6. Adding callout numbers with Convert to Shape
      4m 36s
    7. Enhancing performance with Rasterize
      2m 30s
    8. Avoiding pitfalls when using effects
      6m 48s
  8. 31m 59s
    1. Asking yourself the "what if?" question
      33s
    2. Outlining artwork with Offset Path and Pathfinder Add
      5m 36s
    3. Adding captions with Convert to Shape and Transform
      7m 1s
    4. Creating a crosshatch effect with Scribble
      5m 44s
    5. Creating buttons with Round Corners and Transform
      13m 5s
  9. 25m 21s
    1. Working with other people's files
      36s
    2. Setting up a workspace that makes sense
      9m 43s
    3. Learning to "read" an Illustrator file
      5m 48s
    4. Controlling pixel resolution
      9m 14s
  10. 1m 2s
    1. Next steps
      1m 2s

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