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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to Symbols inside of Illustrator and symbols originally grew up around multimedia applications such as Flash professional where they were designed to serve as containers for graphics. So, for example, somebody who's coding in Action Script could identify a graphic as an object. So Adobe added symbols to Illustrator in order to support those other applications but over time symbols have grown up into their own thing, they are useful if you are just printing your graphics, they are useful if you keep your illustrations inside Illustrator and never trade them with other applications.
Because what they allow you to do is create multiple instances from a single core graphic object. And I will show you how that works here. I am working inside of a document called Yellowstone detail.ai and this is a detail from a map of Yellowstone National Park and notice that we've got all sorts of repeating objects on this map. We've got this little bicycle, we have got this campground, we've got these picnic tables and so on, and they are identified in the Symbols panel. To get to that panel, you go to the Window menu and you choose the Symbols command or if you want remember this keyboard shortcut, its Ctrl+Shift+F11, Command+ Shift+F11 on the Mac.
Even better is to look for little clover icon inside of this panel strip right here. I am going to go ahead and click on it. It will bring up the Symbols panel as you see and notice that we have a total of eight symbols at work inside of this illustration and every single one of these picnic tables for example, is an instance of a symbol that is defined here inside the Symbols panel. So each one of the symbols, the core symbols is like its own little mini illustration. It contains all the path outline information, all the text objects, all the fills and strokes and dynamic effects even, better work in order to create this symbol and then everything that see out here in the illustration window is just an instance.
It's just a duplicate that's linked to that original symbol definition. So that means that, if I need to at any given point in time, I could edit and update every one of these little picnic tables in one fell swoop. For example, let's say that I want to set the picnic tables against the green background instead of a black one, so couple of different ways to edit a symbol here inside of Illustrator. One is to double-click directly on the instance inside of an illustration, in which case you'll get this alert message that's telling you that you're about to edit the symbol definition and any edits to that symbol will affect all instances, do you want to do that? And if you don't want to see this message any more, you click Don't Show Again, I am just going to click OK.
So we can see that we're now in an Isolation mode but we can see a dimmed version of the full graphic in the background. Now I'm tempted because of this to say, well, Gosh, I am going to move this guy over to this neutral location, so I can see what I'm doing and I will edit it here. But if I do that and I leave it this way, check this out. I will Press the Escape key to escape out of the symbol isolation mode and apply my changes in which case all of the little picnic tables move to new locations. That's the real problem. So I am going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo my change and go back into the Symbol Isolation mode and then I'll escape out, because there's another way to do this.
You can double-click on the symbol inside the Symbols panel in which case, you won't get any warning this time around and you'll entirely isolate the symbol, so you don't see anything else. All right, now I am going to go ahead and zoom in on my graphic right here. If I try to select it with a Black Arrow tool, I am going to select the entire thing, so I am going to grab my White Arrow tool. So I am going to go ahead and Alt+Marquee or Option+Marquee, these two shapes right there and then I'm going to make sure my fill is active, and I am going to switchover to the Swatches panel and I'm going to apply a shade of green, like so.
And then I think I will go ahead and grab these little benches right there, and I am going to scoot them outward. So I've got my Keyboard Increment set to 0.2 points and I'm seeing that by pressing Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box. I just want you to see, how I am working, in case you are working along with me and then I am going to press the right arrow key, something like five times in a row to move that guy out there and then I will grab this one. So I'm Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on this little bench and I will press the left arrow to the same number of times, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, I believe it was and I just want to scoot those guys out, just ever so slightly.
So we just have a slightly different effect. Also I think that looks a little more comfortable for the park patrons. So now, at this point, having made my modifications, I can escape out of this mode and save my changes, either by clicking on the left pointing arrow in the upper left-hand corner of the screen there or by pressing the Escape key, that will take me out. Now, I'm not necessarily going to see my changes, because I am zoomed in on entirely different portion of the graphic. So I will just go ahead and zoom up. And now you can see that not only has the symbol changed inside the Symbols panel but so has every instance of that symbol changed out here inside the illustration, and that is the power of symbols here inside Illustrator.
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