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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So at this point right now you have a pretty good understanding of how to create graphics inside of Illustrator, although at a very simple level, how to make selections and how to basically work your way around the interface. Now let's get a better understanding of the drawing model inside of Illustrator and at the very core of that, there is something called the Appearance panel. In fact inside of Illustrator itself I figured the Appearance panel is probably one of most important parts of understanding how Illustrator works. And I believe that the more that you understand about how appearances work, the easier of the time you will have using Illustrator. So I have this file open on my screen, it's called appearances, you will find it inside of Chapter 08 of the exercise files and I'm also going to go over here to the Appearance panel, I'm actually just going to pull out the Appearance panel so we can take a closer look at it. Let's close the Graphics Styles here, let's move this down just to the side here and focus on exactly what this means here inside of the Appearance panel. In fact one of the great things about Illustrator CS4 is this improved Appearance panel, which gives you four more options to work with.
So first let's understand exactly what an appearance is. As we had discussed way back in the beginning of this video title we understand the concept of there being a path inside of Illustrator and that path is made up of anchor points. Now the path itself is something that's there for us to see, it defines the shape itself but if you don't have any stroke or fills applied to that particular path and the path itself is invisible, it's only for us to see on a computer screen but on a paper when it gets printed out it does not appear at all. That path or that fill attribute that you apply to a particular shape is called its appearance. However as we will see there are many different attributes or things that we can do with these appearances.
So let's take a closer look. I'm going to select this particular shape right here, it's just the outline of a surfboard and I want to start to colorize this and work with this. So first of all you don't even need to go to the Control panel anymore, a lot of the settings for how you control the appearance of an object can be done directly through the Appearance panel. This is great, now inside of Illustrator CS4. In previous versions of Illustrator, the Appearance panel showed me the settings for the appearances but wouldn't actually allow me to edit those particular settings or make change to them. I would need to go elsewhere. Now I can really go ahead and make all the changes right through the Appearance panel. For example, I see right now that I have a black 1 pt Stroke in my object and I have a white Fill. Let's go ahead and change that white fill to yellow. I can click right over here on this little square and get the pop up right here and change it to yellow. This is something that I would previously have had to gone over here in the Control panel or into the Swatches panel or in the Color panel. Now I can do it right from the Appearance panel.
I also want to change my Stroke Weight. I'll click over here on this number over here and I'll change it to about 20 pt. So now what I have is basically a stroke that I have applied to this particular shape right here and I also have a yellow fill. Now we know that inside of Adobe Illustrator, there is this concept, which we call a stacking order. Stacking order means that objects are built in some kind of a hierarchy, things always appear either above or beneath other objects. For example, if I were to take this, right now this shape, hold down my Option key -- by the way one of the nice things about Illustrator the keyboard shortcuts, if you hold down the Option key or the Alt key on Windows and you click and drag any particular object that actually makes a copy of that object.
Now I have two surfboards. Now this surfboard is sitting on top of the one that was there before. I could go to the Object menu and choose Arrange > Send to Back and now that particular surfboard is behind it, right. I can always move objects either to the front or behind other objects. I'm actually just going to go ahead and delete that. One really important thing about the Appearance panel is that Illustrator is showing me not just the fact that it has a black 20 pt stroke and also a yellow fill, it's telling me settings about that particular object, or how Illustrator created that particular graphic. We don't really think about it in this way but each object on its own also has a stacking order. By default, Illustrator always draws the fill first and then it draws the stroke on top of that. Let me explain why it does that by default.
Notice that when I apply this 20 pt stroke the actual weight of the stroke or the thickness of the stroke is distributed evenly on either side of the stroke. On the inside is 10 points and on the outside is 10 points, all together that makes up 20 pt for the Stroke Weight here. If I were to change my stroke weight for example to 5 pt I would have 2.5 points of the stroke on the outside of the path and then 2.5 points of the stroke on the inside of the path. Illustrator calls putting that on the centerline of the path. There is this setting inside of the Stroke panel specifically that allows it to align your stroke to all to the inside or all to the outside. But again we will not talk about that now, by default and this is something that you should really keep in mind; the stroke inside of Illustrator is always distributed evenly along the centerline of the path.
The reason why Illustrator does that its because if you would then go ahead and have your fill be painted on top of the stroke then your fill, which comes all the way up to the edge of the path itself would cover over the inside part of your stroke over here. So you wouldn't see the full weight of the stroke. So what Illustrator does, it paints the fill first and then it paints the stroke on top of that so that way none of the stroke is hidden beneath the fill itself. However, with the Appearance panel we see that information right here. Illustrator is not just go ahead and letting me know that it has these attributes for the fills and the strokes, it's actually telling us how that particular object was created because the order in, which the way that things appear inside of the Appearance panel are extremely important, they let you know how Illustrator created that graphic. Just like as we will see about the Layers panel inside of Illustrator. Everything inside of Illustrator is drawn from the bottom up, as you keep drawing new graphic each thing that you draw that's new is basically placed at the top of the stacking order.
So in Illustrator this particular graphic was created by first applying default opacity then Illustrator painted the yellow fill and then Illustrator painted the 20 pt black stroke. The great thing about the Appearance panel though is that you have control over that and if you don't like that particular setting you can change it. You can do that by simply taking the stroke right here, clicking on that particular stroke and dragging it now beneath the fill. By doing so now I have changed the stacking order of the object itself; take a look at my appearance right now. I can no longer see that 10 points of the stroke on the inside because my fill is covering that up.
So the Appearance panel gives me the control basically to not only see and adjust the settings for my particular appearance in my object. But I could also adjust where they sit in the stacking order for each individual object and it's important to realize, as I press Undo for a second here, that the Appearance panel also has an area in the top here, which we call our target. The word path now is highlighted kind of listed here in bold and I see a thumbnail basically the attributes of that particular path, the yellow fill and the black stroke. You will notice that the target itself also appears in the upper left hand corner and as we go through the rest of the chapter here we will talk more about what targeting means. But basically as I'm working you will start seeing and understanding more about targeting, more understanding about what appearances are and now that we have just an understanding at a very basic level of why the Appearance panel is important. In the next movie we will learn about how targeting takes us to that next level.
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