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Using the Symbolism toolset

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Using the Symbolism toolset

Once you have created a Symbol Set inside of Illustrator, the fun really begins, because underneath the Symbol Sprayer tool in the tool bar, you will find a whole collection of tools, which are referred as the Symbolism tools. I'm actually going to come over here to the far right and choose to tear this off, so that we see all the tools up here and these tools will each allow us to change the appearance or a look of this particular symbol set. For example, right now all these particular flowers look very nice, but they all look exactly the same. So let's see how these tools are going to help us change the appearance. The first one here is called the Symbol Shifter tool. I can use this tool to shift around the symbols inside of the symbol set. It's important to realize that with my regular Selection tool I cannot select one individual instance here and make an adjustment. All I have is one over all object called the symbol set. However I can use a Symbol Shifter tool to go ahead and shift these symbols around inside of this symbol set. This is where I got that saying called my area of influence, which is what I call this circle that I see around my cursor as I move it around.

Using the Symbolism toolset

Once you have created a Symbol Set inside of Illustrator, the fun really begins, because underneath the Symbol Sprayer tool in the tool bar, you will find a whole collection of tools, which are referred as the Symbolism tools. I'm actually going to come over here to the far right and choose to tear this off, so that we see all the tools up here and these tools will each allow us to change the appearance or a look of this particular symbol set. For example, right now all these particular flowers look very nice, but they all look exactly the same. So let's see how these tools are going to help us change the appearance. The first one here is called the Symbol Shifter tool. I can use this tool to shift around the symbols inside of the symbol set. It's important to realize that with my regular Selection tool I cannot select one individual instance here and make an adjustment. All I have is one over all object called the symbol set. However I can use a Symbol Shifter tool to go ahead and shift these symbols around inside of this symbol set. This is where I got that saying called my area of influence, which is what I call this circle that I see around my cursor as I move it around.

If I make my area of influence much smaller then I can affect just smaller amounts of symbols, whereas if I make a very large area of influence, then I could shift or adjust many, many of these symbols instances all at the same time. I'm going to go ahead to make it somewhere around the middle over here, so I can adjust them. I'll go ahead and shift these around a little bit and I'll choose the next tool over here, which is referred to as the Symbol Scruncher tool. This allows me to click and then see how the symbols themselves, the instances are kind of attracted or drawn towards my cursor as I move it. The result is they become more dense or closer to each other. As I click and drag, I can see how they affect all the symbols that way.

If I hold down the Option key on my keyboard -- I'm on a Mac but if you are on the Windows machine, you can hold on the Alt key and you can see that basically that spreads the symbols apart. It reverses the effect. I'll let go the Alt key right now and I'll start to bring them closer together and I can quickly start to adjust these little bit by opening it up just a little bit. Again you can use a pressure-sensitive tablet to control how fast or how quickly these move when use this particular tool. I'm going to switch to this one here, which is called the Symbol Sizer tool. That allows me to click and drag and adjust the size of these. Let me go ahead and undo that for a second here because I went ahead a little bit too much. I can go ahead and make them a little bit bigger. I can hold down the Option key or the Alt key again to make them smaller.

Now you can start to see that I had a symbol set before, that I had a whole bunch of flowers, they are all exactly the same. But now I have shifted some of them around and I have made some of them bigger and some of them smaller. The next tool here is called the Symbol Spinner tool, which allows me to apply Rotation attribute to each of these and as I go ahead and click and drag you see little arrows pop up on the screen, which allow me to rotate them. What's really interesting and what's kind of important to note about the Symbolism tools, is I'm not clicking on one particular symbol and they are also all not rotating at the exact same rate. You can see that things that are closer to the center of my area of influence rotate much faster than things that are more towards the edge or the outside areas of my areas of influence. In this way I get a very natural and organic feel to the kinds of transformations that I'm applying. One of my favorites is the next one here; it's called the Symbol Stainer tool. I can choose this particular tool, then I go to my Color panel and choose a color, for example I'll choose Yellow and then as I click and drag on this, I start to change or tint to the colors that are there. If I click very lightly, I start to see that I can still introduce that color on to that. Again the Option key reverses that effect and I start to bring back the original color. I can add other colors by simply clicking over here. For example, something that's more closer to red and add a few of those there as well.

The beauty of this is that these are all still symbols. All I'm doing is I'm making certain changes to the instance of the symbols. For example, this tool here called the Symbol Screener tool allows me to play with transparency. I can use again the Option key to slowly bring back the Opacity level of those as well. So now I have created a very nice looking design. The last one here called the Symbol Style tool allows me to play with graphic styles. I won't go into that right now, it's more of an advance feature. If also requires a lot of memory, so it does takes some time for Illustrator to make those calculations. But again the basic premise of this particular design concept is, that I could use a single symbol instance but yet come up with a very, very nice organic feel and design.

Of course, these are all still instances of a single symbol that appears inside of my Symbols panel and anytime you know that I could also replace symbols because symbol instances on the artboard, are simply placeholders for graphics that appear inside the Symbols panel. So for example should I right now highlight the Highway Surf symbol I could choose from the flyout menu to replace the symbol and now anywhere where I have used that flower, now actually changes to that Highway Surf symbol and our Highway Surf symbol has lot of different elements inside of it including text and even a drop shadow but all of the settings such as the colorized settings that I have, the sizes, the rotation, the opacity levels, all will take effect and then everything will remain the same but my design will update just with this one here.

So the way that I look it, working with symbols has two main benefits, first of all you get repeating graphics, which are easy to manage, second of all you can have whole lot of fun with them.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48502 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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