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When you are working with symbols, you have the ability to create some really interesting designs by utilizing some of the Symbol tools that are available to you in the Tools panel. The main tool is called the Symbol Sprayer tool, and that's what we are going to be focusing on in this movie. I am going to create a new blank document by hitting Command+N or Control+N on my keyboard, and then I will just accept the defaults by hitting OK. I'm then going to come over and grab the Symbol Sprayer tool, which is located right here. If you click and hold on the Symbol Sprayer, you'll notice that you get several other tools in here as well, that are related to symbols: the Symbol Shifter, which allows for the symbol to be rearranged inside of a Symbol group; the Symbol Scruncher, which scrunches symbols together; the Symbol Sizer, which allows you to resize symbols on the fly; The Symbol Spinner, which allows you to rotate symbols; the Symbol Stainer, which allows you to stain symbols with a certain hue or color; the Symbol Screener, which allows you to sort of screen other symbols on top of one another; and then finally, the Symbol Styler, which allows you to paint on symbols with graphic styles that you've saved.
You'll also notice, here on the right, you have this small arrow which you can click; that will give you all of the Symbol tools in their own free-floating panel. So I will keep those out, so we can use those. I am then going to adjust the size of my Symbol Sprayer brush, which works just like any other brush inside of Illustrator. You hold down the Left Bracket key, and it decreases the size of the brush; hold down the Right Bracket key, In this case, I am just going to reduce the size of the brush quite a bit, and then I am going to come over and grab the Vector Grime symbol.
You have two ways of laying down symbols in Illustrator: you can simply click and drag across your page, and it will drop symbols wherever it chooses to, or you can point and click. So I can drop one here, here, here, and maybe even up here; let's move this panel out of the way. As you can see, when I drop symbols one at a time, it puts them in a group together; this is called a symbol group. I then have the ability to edit these individually, using these tools. Let's take a look at some of them now. Let's utilize the Symbol Shifter. I can come in here with the Symbol Shifter, and just click and move this inside the group.
The Symbol Scruncher, if I use that on this one, it's going to draw the symbols in closer towards it. You see how the shape kind of leans in towards the other one? I just let go, and they move in ever so slightly. I can do it again if I want to, or use one of these to move the others; just depends on what you want to do. It's just a way of tightening up the spacing between them. I then have the ability to use the Sizer tool as well. I can click and hold to increase the size; I can hold Option or Alt and click to reduce the size. And I can use Command+Z or Control+Z to undo that.
I also have the Symbol Spinner, which I can then rotate how the symbol is in the group as well. I will undo that as well. Then I have the Symbol Stainer tool. Now, these are black and white objects so the Stainer tool is not going to work so good on these, but if you are using a color symbol, it would work pretty well; I would actually stain it with a color that you choose. You also have the ability to do Symbol Screening, which allows you to screen different ones behind each other, almost like creating transparency effects. And then finally, we have the Symbol Styler, which again, allows you to pick a graphic style, and then paint the graphic style onto the symbol.
For now, though, I am going to leave these symbols like they are, and I will just bring them over to the center, like so. You can utilize the Symbol Sprayer in any way you choose. Once you click away from the symbol group that you're creating, you can switch back to the Symbol Sprayer, and you can create an entirely new group. So each time you deselect after using the Symbol Sprayer, you're automatically creating a new group. So while you have this group selected, if you switch to the Symbol Sprayer, you can actually add to the group. I will hit Command+Z or Control+Z to undo that.
Symbol groups are very flexible in that regard; you can simply add or remove symbols from them at any given time. In any case, the Symbol Sprayer tool is a really neat little tool, that allows you to do a lot of different stuff, like paint patterns, or just freehand paint anywhere on the canvas. Whether you're using symbols that you've created yourself, or just using the built-in symbols, the Symbol Sprayer is a great way to get those out there, and to keep them grouped together as well.
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