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Using the Symbol Sprayer tool


Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: Using the Symbol Sprayer tool

We know that when working with symbols, there is really no consequence to how many of these instances we can add to a document. After all, they don't really add to my file size. They're all just simply copies of the original piece of art that's sitting inside of the Symbols panel. Well, say you wanted to create some kind of a background of a whole bunch of flowers. I have here two symbols that I've already created, this Poppy Symbol and this Daisy Symbol, and if I wanted to add a whole bunch of daisies to my artboard, I could start to drag them out, resize them, adjust them somewhat, and get a really nice background.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 1s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 24s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 25m 52s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 18s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Mordy Golding

Using the Symbol Sprayer tool

We know that when working with symbols, there is really no consequence to how many of these instances we can add to a document. After all, they don't really add to my file size. They're all just simply copies of the original piece of art that's sitting inside of the Symbols panel. Well, say you wanted to create some kind of a background of a whole bunch of flowers. I have here two symbols that I've already created, this Poppy Symbol and this Daisy Symbol, and if I wanted to add a whole bunch of daisies to my artboard, I could start to drag them out, resize them, adjust them somewhat, and get a really nice background.

However, it's obviously going to take me a lot of work to do that. So I'm going to press Command+A and just delete all these right now. I'm going to use a tool inside of Illustrator. If you come over to my Tools panel here, there is a tool here called Symbol Sprayer tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is Shift+S. What this allows me to do is it allows me to select a symbol inside of my Symbols panel, and spray them out like spray paint all over my artboard. It's an incredibly fun feature to use, and if you have a pressure-sensitive Wacom Tablet, this feature can also be pressure-sensitive.

But for now, I'm going to use my mouse, and I'm going to ahead in the Symbols panel, and choose the Daisy symbol. Now you can see that a large circle appears at my artboard. It's kind of like a brush size inside of Photoshop. However, here inside of Illustrator, I like to refer to this circle as my Area of Influence. In a moment, when we start learning about additional tools that work with this sprayer, you'll understand why I give it that name. But for now, if you want to, you can use the Bracket Keys, that's the Square Bracket keys on your keyboard, to both decrease or increase the size of that area of influence.

I'm going to a leave it right now at its basic setting, and I'm going to click and drag with the mouse to start spraying these daisies out, on to my artboard. What happens, basically, when I release the mouse is that Illustrator creates something called a Symbol Set. Now before, when I dragged out individual symbol instances, those were one at a time, but now I have an entire set of symbol instances. This object or this Symbol Set is actually interactive in nature. Right now, that it's selected, if I continue to start clicking and now dragging to add more symbols, those symbols get added to the Symbol Set.

If I hold down the Option Key or the Alt Key on my keyboard, and I click and drag, it removes symbols from the Symbol Set. Well, now that I've added these onto the artboard, I want to start making some adjustments to them. Well, I'm going to come back over to the Tools panel, and I'm going to click and hold my mouse button down on the Symbol Sprayer tool, and I'll see that there are many other tools here, something called a Symbol Shifter tool, the Scruncher, the Sizer, the Spinner. Let's take a look at what these tools do. Just to make it easier to work with, I'm going to move my mouse all the way to the far right here, where the Tearoff icon appears.

When I release the mouse now, Illustrator turns this into a miniature Tools panel that I can put wherever I'd like. I'm going to start by selecting this tool right here called the Symbol Shifter tool. Here, I can click and drag and adjust the position or kind of shift around, the way the symbols move inside of this Symbol Set. This is why I like to refer to that circle as my Area of Influence, because all of these symbol instances are not really moving at the exact same rate. The ones that are closest to the center of my Area of Influence, move much more quickly than the ones that appear towards the outside of my Area of Influence.

Symbol instances that appear outside the Area of Influence are not moving at all. I'm now going to switch to this one, which is called the Symbol Scruncher tool. Now when I click and drag, I can see that as a move my cursor around, the symbols are attracted to my cursor and they scrunch closer together. If I hold down the Option key and I click and drag, it reverses that effect. It lets me spread out the symbols, as I click and drag. The next tool here is called the Symbol Sizer tool. As I click and drag, it allows me to actually adjust the size of these symbol instances, so I can have some really big ones by clicking and dragging, or I can hold down my Option key and perform the reverse.

I can actually shrink the size of these instances as well. So as you can start to see, I'm getting something that appears a lot more organic in nature, as I start to work with these tools inside of Illustrator. I'm not really selecting individual symbol instances here and moving them, Rather, I'm treating them as one whole, as a set, and making changes, as I move across them. The next tool here is called the Symbol Spinner tool. That allows me to click and drag and rotate these symbols in different directions. You'll see that the arrows will actually appear, and again, the symbol instances that appear towards the middle of my Area of Influence are rotating more than the ones that are on the outer edge of my Area of Influence.

Now I get to choose my favorite tool. It's called the Symbol Stainer tool. If I click on this, the first thing that I'm going to do is switch to my Swatches panel and choose a color. I'm going to choose Yellow. We all know why. It happens to be my favorite color. Well, if I click and drag now, Illustrator starts to tint those pieces of art, those instances, with a yellow color. Now I'll switch to Red, and I'll kind of drag that over certain areas. What Illustrator is doing is it's slowly adding that color to the artwork itself.

So now I get a beautiful range of different colors and textures inside of my art. The two remaining tools, this one is called the Symbol Screener tool, lets me paint with Opacity, and the last one here called the Symbol Styler tool, lets me choose a graphic style and then gradually apply graphic styles on top of these symbol instances. While we're having a lot of fun here, it's important to realize that all of these are really just one symbol, one piece of artwork, inside of my Symbols panel. In fact, if I go up back to my Symbols panel and I double-click on this piece of artwork, in order to edit it, any change that I make now is going to appear across all of the symbols that I just added to my Symbol Set.

I'm going to press Esc. I go back to my artwork here, and remember, that I also have the ability to completely swap out one piece of art for another, when I'm using symbols. So say I create this lovely design, but I want to use a completely different flower, but keep the design. Well, I'm going to switch to my regular Selection tool, and I'll select this Symbol Set. Next, I'll come to my Symbols panel, and I'll click on the Poppy flower. From the flyout menu of the Symbols panel, I'm going to choose Replace Symbol, meaning take whatever symbols are currently there and replace them with the new one that I've just selected.

Now, I can see that the artwork has updated, but my design, the rotation, the scaling, the tinting of the colors, all remains. There's no question that when you're using symbols, you can do some incredibly powerful things, but the great thing about the Symbol Sprayer tool is that you can have fun doing it as well.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
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