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Understanding the composers in Illustrator

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

Video: Understanding the composers in Illustrator

When it comes to setting type, there's a concept called composition. That's the act of taking the actual words itself, flowing it into a frame that has a specific width, and then depending on the actual type size and the font and the different hyphenation and justification settings that you use, Illustrator goes ahead now and puts the different words on each line. As it analyzes each line that it puts into this paragraph, Illustrator decides whether or not it should hyphenate, how much spacing it should add, again, all based on the hyphenation and justification settings that you set.

Understanding the composers in Illustrator

When it comes to setting type, there's a concept called composition. That's the act of taking the actual words itself, flowing it into a frame that has a specific width, and then depending on the actual type size and the font and the different hyphenation and justification settings that you use, Illustrator goes ahead now and puts the different words on each line. As it analyzes each line that it puts into this paragraph, Illustrator decides whether or not it should hyphenate, how much spacing it should add, again, all based on the hyphenation and justification settings that you set.

However, when it comes to actually setting type, typographers often refer to the way that the type looks on the page as being the color of the type. For example, when I look at this paragraph here on the left side and I look at the paragraph here on the right side here, I can see certain differences. My eye is drawn, not only to the actual letters themselves, but also to the whitespace that appears in between each of the words. Now, when there's a lot a whitespace in between all the words, we refer to those as rivers, because I can kind of draw visual lines that connect these whitespaces, and that makes type very, very difficult to read, because my eye is drawn just as much to the whitespace in between the words than the words actually themselves.

If we look over here on the left side, I don't see that many rivers here at all, and so we refer to this as having good color, whereas this text over here may not have such good color, because I see a lot of this whitespace that appears in between each of the words. So for the most part, when I'm setting text inside of Illustrator, I want to avoid these rivers that may appear inside of my text. Now, let's first understand exactly how Illustrator goes through the composition process, and then we'll understand a little bit better about how we can have Illustrator help us out in getting better color for our paragraphs.

Now, in this case here, if I select this paragraph, I go to my Character Settings here, I see I'm dealing with Chaparral Pro Regular, set at 22 points over 30. So Illustrator has that setting already. It also knows how wide my frame is here, so it flows the text inside of it. It puts the word "Sometimes, the most powerful," but it sees the word powerful doesn't fit on the line. But because it fits within the Hyphenation zone and the Hyphenation settings that I've set, and because the Justification settings allow me to have this amount of space between each of the words, Illustrator decides it's going to put a hyphen here, and then it goes to the next line.

Now it has these few letters here left over from the previous word, and then it starts to say, okay, I have room for the word "way to express your," but it doesn't have the ability to squeeze the word feelings on this line, because according to my Justification settings, this is the amount of space I can have between each of my words, and the word feelings wouldn't fall into my Hyphenation zone either. So Illustrator says, well, that's all we've got here. Now it forces the word feelings to the next line, and then so on and so forth. In this case here, I have some odd spacing.

I have the word "anything at all" and then Vibrant here, but because the word anything here didn't fall into the Hyphenation zone here, or the spacing didn't really give me the ability to adjust the text here on this line according to my Justification settings, Illustrator now is looking at the word "anything at all Vibrant." It knows the word color can't fit here, so there's not really much I can do. So I get a lot of space on this line. The same thing applies to this line here. I have a lot of space between the word color and artful and between artful and composition.

When it comes to this line, Illustrator says, well, I can fit "and aromatic scent combine," all these together on one line, because I'm allowed to now reduce the space by the amount that I specified in my Justification settings. So here Illustrator can go ahead now and give me a line that is very, very tight. But the problem that I have now as a type designer is that I have a very loose line followed by a very tight line. So that immediately draws my eye to these whitespaces right over here. If I have a paragraph that has a lot of open spaces, I'm not drawn to those spaces.

It's the contrast that draws my eye to those areas. But again, because Illustrator analyzes each line on its own, one at a time, Illustrator doesn't realize that, oh, this line is tight compared to this line that is loose, because right now it's only focusing on this one line. It doesn't know that the previous line was a loose line. Likewise, when it's composing this paragraph and it's looking at this line right here, it sees that I have a loose line, but I mean, it figures, that's all it really can do. It doesn't know that the next line is going to be tight and that's going to cause this contrast problem.

Let's take a look now at what the Every-line Composer does. The Every-line Composer takes a look at the entire paragraph. So as Illustrator starts setting these lines here, it says "Sometimes, the most powerful." It goes ahead and hyphenates the word powerful. Then it sees "way to express your feelings is not by saying anything at all," and it realizes that these lines over here are very, very tight. But I may get a bigger problem later on when I start to see that I'm going to have some spaces here. So Illustrator actually brings the word anything and hyphenates it and brings it up to have a tighter line here, so that it doesn't have as many spaces on the next line.

In other words, it's compensating one line, knowing that there's going to be another problem later on. And when it gets to the spacing problem later on anywhere else in that paragraph, Illustrator looks back towards the earlier part of the paragraph to see how can I reflow some of that text so that these problems don't occur later on in the paragraph? Meaning that when I'm using the Every- line Composer inside of Illustrator, I'm always looking at the overall color of the paragraph, and if I see any areas where there's very, very loose or very, very tight lines, Illustrator will make an adjustment to the entire paragraph.

Now, how do I control these different settings? Well, I'm actually going to go ahead now and select this Area Type object. I'll go to my Paragraph panel, and then from the flyout menu, I'll see that I have these two options here: one called Adobe Single-line Composer and one called Adobe Every-line Composer. You can see over here that this Area Type object is set to the Every-line Composer. So that's why I'm seeing much better color of my type here than I am over here. Notice I don't have any visible rivers here, whereas here I do.

To give you a better sense of exactly what these two composers are doing, let's try the following experiment. I'm actually going to go ahead now and select both of these frames right now, and from my Paragraph panel, I'm going to choose this last option here called Justify all lines. So now you're going to see that Illustrator is going to ensure that all my lines match both the left and the right sides of my frame. I'm going to take my Type tool and I'm going to go over here, let's say, to the word Time. Let's insert my cursor right here by the word Time, and I'm going to force a line- break by pressing Shift+Return on my keyboard.

Notice over here that by doing that Illustrator is forced to put "Time and again" on the next line. Because the previous line had the word "bow of emotion on it," Illustrator was forced to space out those words. It doesn't know that it can go up higher inside of the paragraph and open up the spacing here to compensate for that. Whereas if I go to the Every-line Composer and I do the exact same thing, I put my cursor now in front of the word Time and I press Shift+Return to force a return here, you can see that the Every- line Composer said, whoa, there's going to be a lot of space on that line.

Let me now open up the entire paragraph so now every line on this paragraph has a loose setting, and now I don't see any of those big gaps that appear inside of my paragraph. Now, in Illustrator, the default setting is to use the Single-line Composer, and in all reality, it's probably the better setting to use on a regular basis. That's because usually you're not working with these long paragraphs of text, and the Every-line composer will sometimes reflow your type just based on the settings that you apply.

Of course, it's always doing that because it's trying to make your text look as best as possible. Sometimes though, if you're a designer and you're trying to get your text to look one way, but Illustrator feels that may be it would look best another way, you start to get into that fight with Illustrator. However, when you want to give Illustrator the control to actually control the color of your type, and this is especially the case when you have lots of large paragraphs inside of your document, you may want to use the Every-line Composer inside of Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text
Illustrator Insider Training: Type and Text

52 video lessons · 15004 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 6m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. Art, typography, and Illustrator
      4m 23s
    3. Using the exercise files
      26s
  2. 38m 30s
    1. Knowing Illustrator's limitations
      5m 47s
    2. The three type objects in Illustrator
      11m 18s
    3. Area type, point type, and the bounding box
      4m 35s
    4. The difference between type and text
      3m 42s
    5. Unicode: consistent type for all
      4m 23s
    6. Bringing text from Microsoft Word into Illustrator
      8m 45s
  3. 39m 51s
    1. Understanding font types
      6m 28s
    2. Using the Glyphs panel
      8m 30s
    3. OpenType support and automatic glyph replacement
      9m 43s
    4. Previewing fonts as you use them
      5m 0s
    5. Converting text into editable vector paths
      6m 19s
    6. Using the Find Font feature
      3m 51s
  4. 49m 4s
    1. Setting up the document
      12m 26s
    2. Basic character settings and keyboard shortcuts
      7m 28s
    3. Kerning, tracking, and optical kerning
      13m 6s
    4. Using horizontal and vertical scaling
      4m 38s
    5. Using the Baseline Shift and Character Rotation options
      7m 28s
    6. Using underlines and strikethroughs
      2m 5s
    7. Working with small caps, superscript, and subscript
      1m 53s
  5. 46m 36s
    1. Basic paragraph settings and keyboard shortcuts
      6m 47s
    2. Setting tabs and leaders
      11m 51s
    3. Setting indents and spacing
      9m 6s
    4. Understanding hyphenation and justification settings
      10m 28s
    5. Understanding the composers in Illustrator
      8m 24s
  6. 16m 7s
    1. Threading text across multiple objects
      8m 17s
    2. Adding multiple text columns in a single object
      3m 29s
    3. Specifying an inset for area type objects
      4m 21s
  7. 32m 53s
    1. Text styles in Illustrator
      7m 6s
    2. Defining and modifying character styles
      10m 40s
    3. Defining and modifying paragraph styles
      5m 0s
    4. Understanding the style override
      5m 3s
    5. Sharing styles across documents
      2m 10s
    6. Changing default type settings
      2m 54s
  8. 37m 9s
    1. Aligning text margins and indents optically
      3m 53s
    2. Creating non-breaking text
      2m 36s
    3. Changing case
      1m 39s
    4. Using smart punctuation
      5m 12s
    5. Selecting type objects easily
      3m 20s
    6. Understanding hidden text codes
      2m 20s
    7. Checking spelling
      3m 3s
    8. Using language support to your advantage
      3m 41s
    9. Changing text with Find and Replace
      3m 54s
    10. Finding substituted fonts and glyphs
      3m 55s
    11. Wrapping text around objects
      3m 36s
  9. 16m 47s
    1. Setting type along a path
      10m 22s
    2. The difference between open and closed paths
      6m 25s
  10. 10m 57s
    1. Understanding legacy text
      4m 23s
    2. Updating legacy text
      6m 34s
  11. 1m 16s
    1. Next steps
      1m 16s

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