Join Mordy Golding for an in-depth discussion in this video The improved Appearance panel, part of Illustrator CS4 New Features.
Back in Illustrator 9.0, Adobe introduced the Appearance panel and I have always spoken about in my teachings how important the Appearance panel is when you are working inside of Illustrator. Well, now inside of Illustrator CS4, the Appearance panel gets a makeover and that's really fantastic to the point where the Appearance panel now really needs to be the main focal point of how you work inside of Illustrator. Let me show you. I'm going to ahead to the Appearance panel and drag out the tab, just so that we can see and focus directly on what we are seeing here inside of the panel. Now I'm going to start off first by drawing a regular rectangle here. In the past the Appearance panel just showed me the settings or attributes for any particular selected object group or layer, but then I would need to go elsewhere to make those changes.
Well now the Appearance panel allows me to specify settings directly through the panel itself. Let me show you. So I'm going ahead. I'm going to select this particular rectangle. Notice now it's says that I have a black stroke that is 1 pt. If I wanted to change the stroke color, I can simply click on it and I get the pop up right here. Change it maybe to green, for example. If I wanted to change the stroke width itself, I can do that again, right from the Appearance panel. I can choose the Fill setting here. I could go on the bottom here and choose to duplicate the selected items. So now I have two fills on my object. I will press undo for a second here. I jsut want to show you if I wanted to change or modify some of the stroke settings some more, I could actually click on the word Stroke and access the entire Stroke panel, again directly through the Appearance panel.
So there is almost no need for me to even to go to the Control panel or to the Swatches panel, to the Stroke panel; they all are available now, all these settings directly from the Appearance panel itself. Now if you wanted to add a live effect, you can go to the Effect menu, for example, let's say I wanted to add a Drop Shadow. I will go up and I choose Stylize. Then I will choose Drop Shadow. Click OK to take the regular settings that's there and now I have this shadow that's been applied to this shape right here. Notice that the Drop Shadow appears here within an underline. One click on that Drop Shadows allows me to bring up those settings. We go ahead and add some Offsets here, let's maybe do, offset that by 6 points and click OK and I will get the Drop Shadow that's down there. So to edit shapes, I can very easily do a single click on the effect itself.
Now if you look to the left, you will see that there are eyeballs here very similar to the eyeballs that you find in your Layers panel. So this allows me to actually hide that effect. So if I wanted to see what this object looked like without the Drop Shadow, but I don't want to remove the Drop Shadow. I just want to see what it looks like without it. I could simply hide that by un-checking the eyeball. Now the Drop Shadow is no longer on the object. Then I can go ahead and I can click on this again to bring that Drop Shadow back. This is actually fantastic because it allows me to experiment and to control the settings for any particular object group or layer that I have selected. Let me focus on some of the object that I have here in my file and you get a much better idea what I mean by this. So I was working on this particular license plate design, it's a Hawaii license plate and I have here this word 1LSATR8R (ph: Illustrator). If I click on this, you will actually see this is actual live text.
I can click on this and I can select this. I'm actually using a font here called Helvetica Rounded, which you may not have loaded on your system if you are using this file. It's called appearance_panel.ai. But you can of course substitute any other font for that if you would like to and you will notice that over here, when I click on this object in my Appearance panel, it says that I have my Type object targeted and I have several different Fill shapes here and I also have a Stroke which is set to none. Now if I wanted to see the settings for each of these fills, I can click on this twirldowns and I could see the settings here. Let's go ahead and expand this Appearance panel here and I could see that each of these fills have different settings. For example, this bottom fill here is filled gray and has a Transform effect, the Gaussian Blur and an Opacity setting set to Screen and that's what gives me the ability to apply this embossed look on this license plate.
But as I'm working, I can experiment with my design and basically turn on and off these different settings. For example, I could just hide the whole bottommost fill over here and now that particular part is gone or I can hide this particular fill right here as well or let me go ahead and turn those fills back on again and let's see what this would look like if I had taken off the Gaussian Blurs. So in this way, as I'm working with my particular file, I could experiment with it, see how the settings are and work with it. This way I may be able to apply maybe several effects at once and then quickly just toggle the visibility of each of those particular effects as I work with them. And again it's very easy for me to make changes directly. If I wanted to change the Opacity, I can simply click on that, change the Blend mode here from Screen to something else.
If I wanted to change the fill color, I can access all this right here. Very, very simple. I could also of course change any of these as well directly from the Swatch panel. If I Shift-click on this right here, you will see that I bring up the sliders here and I can of course Shift-click here as well to change between the RGB, HSB and CMYK sliders. So very easily I could really work with my artwork directly through the Appearance panel without having to go elsewhere. So it's a tremendous amount of power. The Appearance panel is now far more easier to use. I can even access effects directly through the Appearance panel. So rather than go digging through the Effect menu and try to find an effect here, I can go straight down to the Appearance panel and choose to apply an effect, for example, 3D, directly here through the Appearance panel.
- Using the new graphic styles behavior
- Previewing separations
- Working with the improved Smart Guides and alignment features
- Simulating color blindness
- Understanding changes to the default Pathfinder behavior