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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.
We already know that one way to apply a symbol to a document is to drag that symbol right from the Symbols panel out onto your artboard. However, if you wanted to create some kind of a design where you have many different repeating elements, for example, I have this Hawaii Flower symbol, and I'm going to hold down the Option key to actually drag out a few copies of these, or I could just drag out some more here. I wanted to create some kind of a background where we had a whole bunch of these flowers around. It would obviously become somewhat of a drag, get it? To actually add all these instances onto my artboard. There has got to be a better way. Well, there is a tool inside of Illustrator called the Symbol Sprayer. It's kind of like a can of spray paint that you could just spray symbols all over your document. Let's take a look at how that works.
I'm going to go ahead and take my Arrow tool and delete all these instances that I created. I'm now going to come over to my Tool panel, and I'm going to choose this option here called a Symbol Sprayer tool. The way the Symbol Sprayer tool works, if I move my mouse around on the page, I see there is a circle there. That circle is what I refer to as my area of influence. When we get to the next movie you'll understand more about why I call that, although some people might refer to this simply as a brush size. You could change that size by using the bracket keys on your keyboard, the same way that you might change your brush size inside of Photoshop. But for now I'm going to leave it set the way that it is.
You would then choose a symbol or highlight a symbol on your Symbols panel, in this case I'll choose a Hawaii Flower symbol, and now just click, and then drag your mouse button around. Notice I'm now spraying these flowers all over my document. Now the Symbol Sprayer itself is an interactive tool, what I end up creating over here, is something called a Symbol Set. Take a look over here in the upper left hand corner, and I see that I have here something called a Symbol Set. If I go into Outline mode, I see that I've created one instance basically, and inside of that one instance is a whole bunch of other instances of that particular symbol. Now with that particular instance, or that symbol set still highlighted or selected, I can continue to add more symbols to that particular symbol set. I can also hold down the Option key on a Mac, or the Alt key on Windows, and as I click and drag, I'm actually removing symbols from that particular set. So it becomes a truly interactive element.
I can either add symbols, or remove symbols, simply by either dragging inside of that shape, or Option or Alt dragging on top of that shape as well. What's really cool about the Symbol Sprayer tool also, if I double click on the tool itself, I get a whole bunch of different settings for it, including this ability to actually specify pressure. If you do have a Pressure Sensitive Tablet, by using the Pressure option here, I could adjust the intensity, which means that the harder I press, the more quickly these flower instances are added into my Symbol Set. We'll explore some of the other options in the next movie. I'm going to click Cancel here, and we'll find that there are whole bunch of things that we can now do to this Symbol Set, now that we've created it.
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