Join Angie Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Grouping objects, part of Learning Illustrator CS6.
There are times where you want to keep your objects on a single layer, but you may want to treat them as a group. And here are a couple of examples of where you would find grouping useful. Want I want you to do is open up Grouping Start AI if you have access to the Training Files folder, and you can follow along. You can also open up Grouping Animations Start AI, so we have two files for this section. We're going to start with Grouping Start AI. And in here you can see I've got 2 layers.
One with my bear in the background, and one with this grid of squares here. Now if I open up that layer, it's easy for me to select that as a layer. I want to create a reflection basically of this. So, if I was to duplicate those shapes, it would be virtually impossible for me to be able to determine which shapes belonged with which of the grids I was working with. So, I what I can do is group these together into one single group. So I can go to Object > Group, and I want you to watch what happens in the Layers panel when I do that.
It groups them together into an individual item. So I can call this Grid 01, okay? And now it's much easier for me to duplicate that. I can just select the Selection tool, hold down the Alt key and then that shows me that it's going to create a duplicate copy and I can click and drag and use my smart guides, just to align it. So that I can use this to create a shadow. And it's very easy for me now to select those as individual groups.
If you have a look at the contents. Contents look exactly the same. So it would have been virtually impossible for me to work logically with all of those as individual elements. Now, another reason for creating a group. Is if you've done a drawing with lots of individual body parts. And you'll see that this bear has lots of individual body parts. It's made up of lots of different shapes. And you can see all of those shapes in there. I can select them independently of each other by clicking on the Target menu.
But by grouping them together, it means I can also Switch Visibility On and Off very quickly for those elements within the Layer. So, as well as having Objects within Layers, you can have Groups of Objects within Layers and it just helps you organize things a little bit better. So, let me just Create a Copy of this. I can also Create a Copy by Dragging the Group onto this button here, the New Layer button. And that's going to duplicate that group. So, now I've got two bears in there.
I can use one for the shadow and one for the regular bear. Now, if I want to just adjust that one and make a shadow from it, what I need to do is just move it to a different location and we could just reverse scale it or something like that. There's a few options that we can use for placing that into position. I've just used the Bounding box there to very quickly, roughly position it where I want to. And I can use the Bounding box to move and scale that group as a single item.
Now, another reason that you might want to do grouping is if we go to Grouping Animation Start, and you'll notice here I've drawn this little character, and if I open up my navigator you'll be able to see the whole character, and there we can have a look at her. And you'll notice that what I've done is drawn different body parts on different Layers. So, I've got her spectacles or glasses, her eyebrows on separate Layers and I've created this for an animation. Now, some animations I may want to animate the mouth and the head separately and the eyes I might want to move around.
In other animations, I might just want to have the head moving backwards and forwards, not having individual animated elements like eyes and eyebrows. So, grouping allows me to group these elements together into a single Layer. I may not necessarily want to animate the glasses. I may just want to have the head bobbing backwards and forwards, in which case, it's a bit of a waste of time having all of these on separate Layers. Now if I was to group them. I'm going to select the elements.
I'm going to select the hat. Hold down Shift, select the Jaw, the Head, the Pupils. Everything that should be on the Head. And then I'm going to go to Object Group. Now the only thing with that is it places it all onto one Layer, but if you open up the group, you'll notice all these individual elements are back to being individual objects. Which makes it really difficult for me to navigate. Or to change it if I want to go back to individual elements. So another option, if we go to Undo group.
Is actually to select the Layers, so holding on shift and clicking on the Layer names to select the ones I want. And I can hold down the Cmd key or Ctrl key on Windows to select Non Contiguous items. What I can do instead is go to the Win menu. And choose Collect in New Layer. And what Collect in New Layer does is it places all of the elements in, but as individual grouped objects. So, I still have access to the glasses and all the individual groups like the head group. Still is easy to select.
So, sometimes instead of grouping, you're better to actually collect the art work into a single Layer. Now, it doesn't work with the Hat Layer. You'll see that the Hat's now behind, in front of her neck. So, I would then just move that back into that Layer there. And switch that back on. So, sometimes grouping works, but sometimes you're better to collect into a new Layer. And by doing that you maintain the groups and the naming structure that you'd already set up for those Layers. It just places them in there as kind of sub Layers, if you like.
- Setting up a new document
- Navigating within the workspace
- Understanding layers and objects
- Creating images from shapes
- Applying color
- Using the Appearance panel
- Creating shapes with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
- Working with the Pen and Pencil tools
- Tweaking, exporting, and saving artwork