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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.
Back in Chapter 01 where we discussed key Illustrator concepts, we covered something called Selections. Now let's focus on exactly how Selections work when you're using Illustrator. For this chapter, I'm actually going to use this file called making_selections. So if you have access to the exercise files, go ahead and open that file. Selecting things inside of Illustrator is probably more important than even using any of the Drawing tools. Without knowing how to select things, it's very difficult for you to edit just about any piece of artwork inside of Illustrator. Day in and day out inside of Illustrator you'll be using the two main selection tools, the regular Selection tool or the Black Arrow and Direct Selection tool or the White Arrow.
In reality, there is a third Selection tool here, if I press and hold down the mouse button on the Direct Selection tool I'll see this something here called the Group Selection tool. We'll talk about that in a moment and we'll see that really it's not necessary to actually physically choose that tool. So first let's do a quick review of exactly differences between the Selection tool and Direct Selection tool. The Selection tool allows me to select entire objects and move them around as a whole. As you can see over here, this is actually a group of several different shapes. If I use the Direct Selection tool, I can click on parts of an object, notice here that the line that's staying behind that allows me to dive into parts of an object or I can click on individual anchor points with Direct Selection tool and move around the anchor point itself or the Control Handle for that anchor point.
Additionally, if I do have the bounding box turned on and I go to the View menu here, and I'll choose Show Bounding Box, then when you're using the regular Selection tool you will always see the bounding box when you select objects. However, on using the Direct Selection tool you will not see the bounding box. When you're using Illustrator, the Command key under keyboard or if you are on a PC, the Ctrl key basically allows you to toggle between these two selection tools. So for example, right now I have the Direct Selection tool Active, simply by holding down the Command key, it switches to the Selection tool.
Notice now the bounding box appears. As soon as I release the Command key or the Ctrl key then the bounding box disappears. As you're working in Illustrator you're constantly moving back and forth between the Selection tools. So it's important to know the keyboard shortcuts. As I said, if you are using either the Selection tools, simply hold down the Command key to toggle between the two. However, if you have another tool, for example, maybe drawing a rectangle and you realize you want to select something, again, the Command key brings your back to the last Selection tool that you've used. In this case here, the last one was the Direct Selection tool. As soon as you release the Command key or the Ctrl key on Windows, you're back to drawing a rectangle.
Alternatively, you can jump direct to these tools by pressing the V or the A keys on your keyboard. A cute way to remember that those are the keyboard shortcuts is that the V is like an inverted arrow, and the A is also like an arrow pointing upwards. In fact, the A is the shortcut for the White Arrow or the Direct Selection tool, why? Because the A has a little hollow center inside of it, which again some people refer to the White Arrow as the Hollow Arrow, again it's a way to remember that the A key is the keyboard shortcut for Direct Selection tool and the V key is the keyboard shortcut for the Selection tool. So now let's take a look at this other tool here called the Group Selection tool.
If I go ahead now and I switch to the Group Selection tool, and I now click on let's say this surfboard that we identified before that each of these surfboards are grouped, it's actually the shape and then the line that goes down the middle. If I click on it, notice that the shape itself has been selected. If I click it second time now, then the other objects inside of that group are selected, and now I can move the entire object around. So what the Group Selection tool allows me to do is basically target either a part of a group, but then without having to switch to anything else, click once again and then simply select more objects or items in that particular group. In fact, it basically works according to the hierarchy of that group. Let me explain.
Let's go back to the regular Selection tool here for a moment and we're going to change this file somewhat. I'm going to basically go ahead and click and drag to marquee select all these surfboards. I'm not going to go to the Object menu; I'm going to choose Group. We'll discuss more about groups later in Chapter 09, but for now let's just go ahead and make a group out of this. I'll also go ahead here and select all these bodysuits and group them as well. I'll use the keyboard shortcut here, Command+G or Ctrl+G. I'll do the same thing for all the flip-flops down here on the bottom, group those as well. Now what I'll do is I'll select all of these objects and I'll group them, again, pressing the keyboard shortcut Command+G or Ctrl+G.
So now if I use my regular Selection tool and I click on even this-this one surfboard, this surfboard is not only within a group on its own, but it also is part of an overall group here, and additionally belongs inside of group with all these objects together. Remember that the Selection tool itself does not really have the ability to go into a group, so it automatically selects the topmost group, which is all these objects. So if I wanted to just adjust something within this surfboard alone, using the Selection tool that would not be possible. I'm going to go ahead and de-select by clicking elsewhere. I'm now going to use the regular Direct Selection tool.
I can click and I can go ahead and I can move this-this part of the group itself of that particular surfboard, but I can't really move the entire surfboard on its own. So here's where the Group Selection tool comes into play. When I use the Group Selection tool, and I'll de-select over here, I can click once to select that piece of surfboard inside of that group, click again and it now selects the group that that belongs into. If I look over here I see that I've now selected or targeted that group. Click now another time, and now all the surfboards in that first level with that group becomes selected. Click now again and now all the other objects become selected. So each successive click with the Group Selection tool selects one group higher in my hierarchy, in my particular file.
In reality, there is no need to actually use the Group Selection tool. Because there is a keyboard shortcut that allows us to access that. I'll switch back to the regular Direct Selection tool. I'll de-select everything. If I decide that I want to click the surfboard here, and I want to adjust the surfboard but I really now need to select the group because I need to have the line moving that as well, I'll hold down the Option key on my keyboard; I'm on a Mac but if you're on a PC, hold down the Alt key, and then click again. This is the same thing right now. You can see that when I hold down the Option key or the Alt key, then a plus (+) sign appears, which means that now Illustrator is toggling to the Group Selection tool.
So it has the behavior of the Group Selection tool, basically, that's now built-in to this Direct Selection tool itself. If I Option+Click again, now this entire group becomes selected. I can move these around individually. I'll press Undo. Again, Option+Click one more time and now all of them become selected. So now basically when I'm working inside of Illustrator, I'll be using a combination of the regular Selection tool to select entire groups or if I want to select parts of the group, I'll use a Direct Selection tool. There is the keyboard shortcut here, simply go ahead and click on this object if I wanted to select the entire group, I would Option+ Click with that particular tool to make that particular thing happen.
One great thing also about Isolation mode is that there are certain things you might be able to do directly with the regular Selection tool at all times. For example, in this case if I did want to edit just the surfboard itself, I can kind of go the exact reverse. If I basically click right now, I'm selecting everything. I want to work with just the surfboards, I double-click on the surfboards and now I notice over here I'm able to isolate just this group. Click again, now this group becomes isolated; click again, this group becomes isolated; click again, now I've gotten directly into this group itself and I can't move this shape around without moving this particular line around as well. I'm now inside of that group. I haven't left that particular Selection tool, but I basically have done the reverse.
If I were to use a Direct Selection tool, I can just click once and grab that surfboard and move it. With the Selection tool, I can use Isolation mode to start off with selecting everything and then drill down directly into that particular group. So I'm just going to go ahead and press Undo. I'm going to double-click here outside of the group. Now I have exited Isolation mode. That's a basic understanding of Selection tools inside of Illustrator. Now let's focus on using some of the other ways that you can select objects, besides these particular Selection tools.
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