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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Over the course of a day of using Illustrator, you'll find yourself opening and closing panels, repositioning them, and at some point your screen may get messy. For example, maybe I will go ahead and expand this panel dock. Maybe I wanted to get a closer look at some of the layers, so I brought up the Layers panel on its own. By the way, you can just double-click on a tab over here to collapse that panel temporarily as well and then double- click to reveal it and maybe there are some other panels that you just don't use as often, so you went to the Window menu and for example, open up the Flattener Preview panel, which happens to be a pretty big panel to work with.
I will also open up the Align panel, maybe put that about over here, and before you know that your whole screen can be filled with panels. In fact when panels are floating, it's certainly possible to position one over the other so they're partially hidden or maybe even completely hidden. Sometimes you just want a way to stop that madness and start all over again. Well, with Illustrator there had to be a feature called Workspaces. Adobe refers to your workspace as everything you see on your screen. A combination of your document window, your Tools panels, the rest of your panels and there's a way inside of Illustrator to capture all the information and save it as a workspace.
In fact, if you draw your attention to the upper right-hand side of my screen you'll see this word here called Essentials. Illustrator comes with several preset workspaces and one of them is called Essentials. If you click on this button, you can actually preview all the other workspaces that come with Illustrator. For example, there is one called Automation. Essentials. There are several that match other applications. For example, setup Illustrator make it look like I'm inside of FreeHand, or InDesign, Photoshop, or for performing a variety of other tasks. But for now, I am just going to re- choose the Essentials one to reset my workspace back to the default Essential setting.
It's important to realize though that Essentials doesn't really mean your personal essentials. It's basically a generic setting that Adobe came up with to create a level playing field for everyone. However, you may have your own personal essentials. Now, this is your first time using Illustrator or if you're pretty new to Illustrator, you may not be completely comfortable with the user interface to know what your essentials are. However, as you spend more and more time with Illustrator, you'll get a feel for which panels you use most often and how you like things positioned on your screen. When you reached that point, you're ready to save your own customized workspace.
For example, I'm a big fan of using the Appearance panel. We will learn more about that later in the title, but for now, I'm going to come over here and actually drag the Appearance panel up on to my screen and I'll put that right here. I like to use the Artboards and Layers panels also, so I will drag that group out and once I expand it I'll simply take this and also drag it so that it now gets combined together into this one floating panel dock. I really need some more room to view all my layers, so I'm going to go ahead now and expand this downward just a little bit.
And then what I'll do is I will take the entire panel dock and move it over here to create a second panel dock. Now, I can access these as I need to and I have this information just as I want it. So what I want to do now is save this workspace so that later on, at any time I can return it back to this workspace and this layout just the way that I like it. To do that, I will come back to this button. It's actually called the Workspace Switcher and I'll click over here and choose Save Workspace. I'll call this one Mordy. Although, at times, I also like call it My Happy Place. This way, I know that I always return to my happy place.
But I'm going to click OK and now you can see that my workspace name appears right here. If I were to switch to something else, for example maybe now I wanted to do some digital painting. I'll choose now to the Painting workspace and all the tools that I might need for painting are now available to me. But if I want to go back to my own personal essentials, I can switch back to my own workspace and get the settings just the way I want them. Remember, you can always create more than one workspace. So depending on the kind of work that you do, you may have one for heavy type editing, one for just design exploration, or one for doing color studies.
Feel free to create as many as you need, giving yourself more time to focus on your task at hand and less worrying about the user interface itself.
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