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Working with the Control panel

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Working with the Control panel

As is the case with most Adobe applications, Illustrator comes equipped with what I call a constant command center. By this I mean a centralized location that displays useful information and tools that are easily accessible by you, the user, at any given time. We call this command center the Control panel, and in this movie, I'll be exploring it in its entirety. So first of all, you have to know where the Control panel is. The Control panel is this strip that starts on the left and goes all the way over to the right.

Working with the Control panel

As is the case with most Adobe applications, Illustrator comes equipped with what I call a constant command center. By this I mean a centralized location that displays useful information and tools that are easily accessible by you, the user, at any given time. We call this command center the Control panel, and in this movie, I'll be exploring it in its entirety. So first of all, you have to know where the Control panel is. The Control panel is this strip that starts on the left and goes all the way over to the right.

In order to get a better understanding of the Control panel, I'm actually going bring it out so that you can see it. If you want to undock the Control panel, you take this little dashed line right here, click and drag out. As you can see, the Control panel becomes floating right out there in the middle. The Control panel is context-sensitive, meaning depending on what tool or object you have selected at any given time inside of Illustrator, the options that you see here will constantly change. Let's redock it here. At the top you can see I'll just drag it up, find the blue line, and drop it in and it goes right back to normal.

Let's take a look at exactly how the Control panel changes as I start to select different things inside of my document. If I click on a flower, you'll notice here that I get some basic controls like Fill, Stroke, et cetera. I also have the ability to change certain Brush Definitions, Opacity, Style, et cetera. Towards the end of the Control panel, you're going to notice the differences when you have things selected. Because I've got an object selected here, I get things like Recolor, Align to Selection, Transform; Isolate the Selected Object, Select Similar Objects, et cetera.

Now if I had something else selected like Type for instance, these options would actually change. Let's see how that works now. I'll grab the Type tool and notice when I grab the Type tool, all of the options update to show me type-related controls, things like the Character and Paragraph panels, Text Alignment, et cetera. The left-hand side of the Control panel remains sticky however and this is something that's new in Illustrator CS6. They actually reorganize the Control panel so that the most used options always stay over here on the left and the new contextual options pop up over here on the right.

You'll also notice depending on your screen size that the Control panel actually will Show and Hide different objects. So for instance, notice the character and paragraph links that are right here. If I were to resize my window, those disappear entirely. If I maximize it back up, they come right back. That's because the Control panel relies on your screen to determine what it displays. If you don't see something in the Control panel that's normally there, chances are there wasn't enough screen real estate to accommodate it.

If you want to find that in the Control panel, you can click right here and everything that should be in the Control panel is listed. If there are objects that you don't want to see in the Control panel, you can actually turn them off from here. So for instance, if I wanted to turn off things like Paragraph, I can uncheck it and Paragraph is removed. If I want to go back and add it back in, it pops right back up. In the Control panel, anytime you see one of these orange links, you'll know that it accesses a panel.

You click on it and the panel appears. Click on it again, the panel disappears. Same holds true with Opacity and Stroke or any other link that you see. They look almost like a web link on the Internet and that's what they're made to do. They're made to make you think that by clicking on this, something else appears. So you'll notice as I change tools, like let's say from the Type tool to the Brush tool, that my options do indeed change in the Control panel. And you'll also notice that as I switch from tools like the Type tool to the Artboard tool, my options can completely shift.

It all depends on what tool or object you have selected at any given time. The best part about the Control panel though is that it's always there. So even if you forget where the Fill and Stroke controls are, or if you misplace your Type panel, you always know that you can count the Control panel to show you the way home. Take some time and practice with it and ingrain it into your muscle memory and you'll be amazed at how it becomes an integral part of your daily routine inside of Illustrator. Whether you've got it docked to the top, the bottom, or anywhere else inside of Illustrator, you have to make sure that the Control panel is a central piece of your workflow.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 72547 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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