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Using the Symbol Sprayer tool

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Using the Symbol Sprayer tool

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.

Using the Symbol Sprayer tool

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 72289 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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