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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.
Back in chapter 4, we learned all about making selections inside of Illustrator. In other words, if I click on this object with my Selection tool, I can say that I've now selected that object. However, when it comes to appearances, we're going to learn a new term, something called Targeting. When I make a selection, I'm referring to the path itself. But when I'm targeting something, I'm talking about the appearance of that object. In this case, with this object that would mean I'm targeting the Fill and the Stroke.
So let's understand what that means. When I click on an object to select it with my Selection tool, I'm selecting the path, meaning if I now hold down my Option key and create a copy of that path, I am doing so, or if press Command+C, go to another document and press Command+V to copy and paste that object, I'm dealing with the path itself. However, say I wanted to change the opacity of this object. I wanted to make it transparent. Well, I'm not making that path transparent.
Remember, the path itself has no appearance. So what I'm doing is I'm making the Fill and Stroke attribute transparent. So while I have the path selected, I need to have the Fill and the Stroke targeted for me to make that opacity change. The good news is is that you don't need a separate tool, or you don't even have to do anything to target these attributes because Illustrator does it automatically. Whenever you select an object, Illustrator uses some kind of internal intelligence, something called Smart Targeting where Illustrator figures out what needs to get targeted.
In this case here, since I've clicked on this path to select it, Illustrator also went ahead and targeted both the Fill and the Stroke of that object so that should I make some kind of a change to the appearance, I can do so. For example, in this case here, I'm going to go to my opacity slider. I'm going to change to about 50% and click Return. And now you can see that my entire object, or in this case here, the Fill and Stroke, now have an opacity setting of 50%. However, what would happen if I only want to change the opacity of one of those attributes? For example, I want the stroke to be full strength.
But I want to be able to see through just the fill of my object. I would need some kind of a way to select the path but then only target just the fill without targeting the stroke. We can actually do this directly through the Appearance panel. So I'm going to press Undo and then taking a look at the Appearance panel, I'm going to click right here on the Fill to select the Fill. What I've actually done right now is not selected the Fill, but I have targeted the Fill. So remember, my object, the path itself is selected.
I used the Selection tool to click on it. But I then went to the Appearance panel. And I targeted specifically the Fill of the object. What this means is if I make an appearance change now, that appearance change only happens to whatever is targeted, in this case, the fill. So with the Fill right now targeted, I'm now going to go to the Opacity slider. Change it to 50%. And you'll notice that right now just the Fill itself became transparent. However, the Stroke remains unchanged and at full strength.
You can see that in the Appearance panel by clicking on these little triangles that appear next to the Fill and the Stroke. You can see here the Stroke has Default Opacity. However, the fill has its own separate opacity setting, which is currently set to 50%. I was able to do this, because I targeted just the Fill itself. Now this concept of targeting is going to be very important, and it's really going to become more easy to understand as we start using the appearances more and more. But at this point, you should have a solid understanding that even though we have separate objects inside of Illustrator, we can also treat each attribute, or the appearance of every object, completely on its own.
So I can have one setting applied to the Fill and a completely different setting applied to the Stroke. And I'm not referring to Color here, but I'm referring to other attributes as well. In the next movie, we'll see why this is so important because we'll find out that inside of Illustrator, a single object can contain multiple attributes. And I don't mean just one Fill and one Stroke, but maybe two or three strokes, or two or three fills, or a combination of those. So remember, we can select objects.
and we can also - manually, if we want to - target individual attributes for those objects.
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