Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video Libraries and content, part of Illustrator CS4 Essential Training.
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When you are working in any document inside of Illustrator, and you look at the Swatches panel, you will see there are lots of colors that are already there. There are some Gradients, there are some groups of colors as well, and we will explore how to create all these, but ever wonder where those come from? Well, each document basically contains these particular swatches. They are here because inside of the New Document Profiles, for example the New Document Profile for Print or for Web, there are already defined some swatches and other content as well. For example, Illustrator has something called Brushes. There are symbols, which is predefined artwork as well. So those things already exist inside of the file.
You can actually go ahead and you can load additional content by loading what we call Swatch Libraries. Libraries are basically collections of Swatches or Brushes or Symbols or even Graphic Styles that are external from the actual Illustrator file itself. Once those particular libraries are loaded or this additional content is loaded, you have the ability on a case-by-case basis to add those to your document. Once you have added them to your document they now live inside of that document and you no longer have to add them anymore. Anytime you save that document and maybe transfer it to another computer or give it to somebody else, that content then moves along with that particular file.
The way that you can access content or load these libraries is actually very easy; there is a button at the bottom of each of these panels. For example, where it says Swatches right here, I can go down to the bottom left hand corner where we have the Swatch Libraries menu. I can click on that and see a pop-up list of all the additional Swatch Libraries that Illustrator ships with. For example, there is Art History Libraries, Celebration, and then Color Books. A lot of times designers will have to specify colors that exists, that are already predefined based on certain standard. For example, Pantone is a very popular color system that's used by both printers and designers. Pantone systems will basically allow designers to specify a specific shade or color that printers can then reproduce very consistently, and again, they are all done basically by a book, and there is usually numbers that are assigned to those colors in that book.
Well, this is a library that contains all those colors and designers can specify those numbers as well. For example, if I choose now Pantone Solid Coated, which is probably one of the most popular of the Pantone libraries, that now shows up as a separate window here or this Library. I could then take any of these colors. For example, Pantone 123 and simply click on it and drag it into my Swatches panel, in doing so that color now is part of this document, and anytime I save this document, it won't have all these colors in it, but it will have the color that exists right over here.
It's good to note also that in the bottom of the panel itself that has the actual library are these two arrows, which actually allow me just click and cycle through all the different libraries that do exist. So this allows me to experiment and see what does ship with Illustrator, and again, it's a nice way to find the additional content that's there as well. Just to show you, if I go for example, to the Symbols panel. I can go over here and I can load for example 3D Symbols, and here is a whole bunch of artwork that uses the 3D effect. If I ever wanted to use any of these, simply click for example on this House one, drag it into my Symbols panel, and it automatically gets added.
By the way, if you ever take a symbol and you drag it directly onto your document, as we will soon see as well, that automatically adds it to the Symbols panel as well. For example, if I were to take a Color Swatch and drag it onto a shape to color that particular shape that way, even though I didn't physically drag it into the Swatches panel, because I used that color in the document it automatically gets added to my Swatches panel. Likewise, for example, I take let's say this Checkmark, I drag it in here. You will see it automatically gets added to the Symbols panel that way. So as I basically load content in external libraries and as I use that particular content in my document that content gets added to my document that this way the next time I open up the file that content is already there; be it on my own computer or be it on someone else's computer.
As we get further into using Illustrator we will see how we can create our own customized libraries as well.
- Making efficient use of the Illustrator interface
- Creating text on a path
- Using the Magic Wand and Lasso selection tools
- Working with a pressure-sensitive tablet
- Applying 3D extrusions and resolves
- Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
- Exporting files for use in Photoshop, Flash, and other applications