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Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools

If you look a closer look at the toolbar inside of Illustrator, you will notice that the tools are put together in these groups, like these four tools are grouped together, then you have these eight tools grouped together. Those aren't arbitrary groups. The User Interface team at Adobe tries to put the tools that are basically related to each other together in the same grouping. Now until this point we have discussed these selection tools here, which are the Regular Selection tool and the Direct Selection tool and also its little sibling, the Group Selection tool. But now let's talk about these other two remaining selection tools, the Magic Wand tool and also the Lasso tool. In fact, I'm going to use the same file that I was working on before, which is basically this making_selections file, and this is the one where we actually created this overall group that's right here.

Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools

If you look a closer look at the toolbar inside of Illustrator, you will notice that the tools are put together in these groups, like these four tools are grouped together, then you have these eight tools grouped together. Those aren't arbitrary groups. The User Interface team at Adobe tries to put the tools that are basically related to each other together in the same grouping. Now until this point we have discussed these selection tools here, which are the Regular Selection tool and the Direct Selection tool and also its little sibling, the Group Selection tool. But now let's talk about these other two remaining selection tools, the Magic Wand tool and also the Lasso tool. In fact, I'm going to use the same file that I was working on before, which is basically this making_selections file, and this is the one where we actually created this overall group that's right here.

I'm going to come here to my Regular Lasso tool here. If you wanted to select just individual objects, for example, I wanted to select maybe this surfboard here and this particular body shape right over here. I would have a difficult time in a group doing that because I have to use my Regular Group Selection tool to first, basically, select this group, and using the Option key to select this group. Hold down the Shift key and I'm also holding down the Option and the Shift keys together; on PC that will be Alt and Shift. Then I'm adding now an additional object to my selection as well. But there are times when you want to select things that are not necessarily in the same area.

Remember that there is a method of selecting called Marquee Selecting. That basically allows to click and drag, draw a rectangle, and then anything in that area becomes selected. But now if I do that, yes I get this shape and this shape selected, but I also get shapes that I don't want selected as part of my selection. Basically, what a Lasso tool allows you to do is it allows you to create a Marquee Selection, but using a non- rectangular form. So I could simply click and drag around in area of what I want to have selected. Then when I do so, anything within that area becomes selected and now I have those two shapes selected. When you are working with objects, it's important to realize that the Lasso tool works very much like the Direct Selection tool, which means that I do have the ability to use it on parts of an object.

For example, if I wanted to select maybe just the arms of a particular shape over here, I could simply go over here like this, select just the part here like this, the arms, and the top half of let's say this bodysuit. When I let go with the mouse, notice that the anchor points here I selected from the top half, but the bottom half of the anchor points here are not selected. So I have the ability to use the Lasso tool not only on entire objects, but also as I'm working within individual shapes. This actually becomes very useful when selecting things that have a lots of anchor points like Gradient Mesh so on and so forth. You have the ability to really go in and just select parts of the anchor points that you want, but using that Marquee method. So that's one thing that's there. There is another tool here called the Magic Wand tool, which is related to its sibling in Photoshop. Photoshop, if you maybe familiar with, has also this tool called the Magic Wand tool. The reason why it's important inside a Photoshop to have this tool is, as we discussed, Photoshop does not have the concept of objects.

Everything is pixel-based. So if you wanted let's say, for example, select the entire sky of a nice little sunset image and you had a sky, and the whole sky was like this beautiful orange color. So, the problem though is that there are probably lots of different shades of oranges. Each pixel in that particular photograph has different shades of orange. So if you would use let's say a selection tool and click on one pixel and say select all the orange pixels, it would only select very few pixels because there aren't that many pixels that are all of the exact same shade of orange. What the Magic Wand tool does, is it has something called a Tolerance setting built into it. That allows you to give Photoshop the ability to choose a range of different shades of orange that are maybe similar or close enough to orange that you click on.

Now in Illustrator this concept can also be applied as well when we refer to this Tolerance setting. For example, let's say I wanted to select all the yellow objects of my file. For example, if click let's say over here with my Magic Wand tool, I would be able to do that, but right now my Tolerance setting is very high and that's usually the default setting inside of Illustrator. So before we actually use the Magic Wand tool, let's go ahead and change its setting. So I'm going to go the Magic Wand tool itself and double click on it. That brings up the Magic Wand panel, which by default has a Tolerance setting set to 20. You will also notice that there is checkbox here called Fill Color. This basically is telling us that the criteria that the Magic Wand tool is going to use for selections is the Fill Color. We will see why this is significant, because there are lots of other ways that we can use this Magic Wand tool as well.

I'm going to change the Tolerance setting down to 2 instead of 20. I'll hit the Tab key to just accept that particular value. Now I come over here and I'll just click once on the surfboard. Notice that the surfboard becomes selected as does this bodysuit that's yellow. Both of these are the exact same shade of yellow. By using a very low Tolerance, I'm telling Illustrator I want you to select all yellow objects in my file. What's really cool about the Magic Wand tool here is that these are living in two separate groups. In fact, there are groups within other groups; they are nested within each other, yet I'm still able to select all the parts even though they live in separate groups. So the Magic Wand tool ignores groups. It looks at the actual attributes of the shapes, and because it has a Tolerance setting I can now choose to open up that Tolerance setting, for example, 15.

Now when I click on the yellow surfboard notice that some of the green elements in my file also become selected. That's because Illustrator now has a higher Tolerance, so it's selecting other objects that fall close enough to that range. The higher that I move that particular Tolerance level, for example, if I now go to the Tolerance and I change it maybe to 70, clicking on that exact same yellow now it selects even more objects. For example, now I get some of these objects and some of these objects selected as well. What's great about the Magic Wand tool is that there are other options that you can search on. For example, right now I'm using Fill Color, but I could also highlight the word Stroke Color. Let's turn off our Fill Color for a second now. Now if I use the Magic Wand tool, it will select by Stroke Color. Even more importantly I can choose Stroke Weight with a Tolerance of a particular value.

For example, right now if I use the Tolerance setting of 1 point, then I now have the ability to click on Objects and all objects that have a Stroke Weight of anywhere from 0-2, remember, right now if I click on let's say one particular Stroke Weight or anything within one point of the Stroke Weight that I click on, those strokes become selected. If you go to the flyout menu of this Magic Wand panel, you could also choose Show Transparency Options, which allows me to select objects based on Opacity and also Blend mode. Again, I have the ability to choose a Tolerance for those settings as well. But it probably makes most sense to use a Fill Color here. At least, that's the one that I use most often, because it allows you to again select a range of objects that are not necessarily the exact same color, but that are similar enough.

Again, that's important to remember. That you should use the Tolerance setting as you need it to identify exactly how large a range of selections you are willing to work with.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48519 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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