Tagged: Illustrator

Easily edit existing Graphic Styles in Adobe Illustrator

Reader Brian recently asked if there is a way to modify a Graphic Style in Adobe Illustrator once it’s already been created and applied to objects on the artboard, without creating a new style and relinking all your objects to the new style. The answer is yes, you can edit the attributes of a Graphic Style once it’s been applied to objects. In fact, it’s quite easy.

Selecting the Style

The first thing you need to do is click the style you wish to edit the attributes of in the Graphic Styles panel. Note: You’ll find it helpful to have both the Graphic Styles and the Appearance panels open at the same time. Now take a look at the Appearance panel. You will see the attributes listed of the Graphic Style you just selected, including fills, strokes, effects, etc. (see image at the right)

Now for the adjustments

Adjust the attributes of the style in the Appearance panel to your liking. For example, I’m going to change the green color of a Graphic Style I’ve applied to some objects to a blue color. As you can see in the image below, editing the Appearance of a Graphic Style is simple. Just select the attribute from the Appearance panel list and edit away. In this case, I clicked on the green fill icon which pops up the Color Picker. I then selected a blue color. As you can see in the image below, the preview of the Style at the top of the Appearance panel has updated to reflect the new fill color. At this point, we’re ready to apply the newly edited attributes to the existing Graphic Style. All you have to do is hold the Option key down and drag that little preview icon at the top of the Appearance panel to the preview icon of the style in the Graphic Styles panel and drop it on top of the style, in this case, the green style I had selected earlier. Note: It’s important that you hold the Option key down while you drop the icon. If you don’t, you’ll simply be creating a new Graphic Style, not updating the existing one. That’s it. All the objects on the page that had the original green Graphic Style applied to them should automatically update with the new blue colored Graphic Style we adjusted.

Free vector browser window and Web site elements

Every once in a while, a truly useful piece of free vector art pops-up on the Web. VectorTuts has made available one of those must-have downloads in the form of Firefox and Safari Web browser windows, complete with buttons, location bar, scroll bars and other browser assets. The browser windows and elements are perfect for using as mock-ups for presentations, as well as dropping screenshots into for showing off your Web designs in your portfolio. You can also grab a set of really nice watercolor brushes for Adobe Illustrator while you’re there. Both the browser windows and the watercolor brushes are free of charge, and can be used in personal or commercial projects. You can download them exclusively from VectorTuts.

50 Free plaid-pattern swatches for Illustrator

ColorBurned is offering 50 plaid-patterned swatches for Adobe Illustrator users, free to download. Plaid patterns can have countless uses for fashion design or textiles, graphic or web design, package design and more. What makes this set so great is that each seamless vector pattern has been converted to a swatch. Swatches are great because of the flexibility that they provide. You can perform a number of transformations on them including scale and rotate without affecting the shape of the object they are applied to. A brief tutorial on how to install swatches into Adobe Illustrator is included. Scroll down below all the preview images for the download link.

Adjusting kerning and tracking with the keyboard in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorKeyboard shortcuts save so much time and repetitive action. Rather than wasting clicks adjusting the kerning/tracking in the Type panel in Adobe Illustrator, try using the keyboard shortcuts: Option + Left or Right Arrow Keys = Increase or decrease kerning/tracking Command + Option + Q = Resets both kerning and tracking to zero

Hiding panels in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorMost-everyone knows you can hide all the panels in Adobe Creative Suite apps like Illustrator simply by hitting the Tab key. But this leaves you hitting the Tab key over and over if you want to select different tools and don’t know the keyboard shortcuts Instead, try hitting Shift + Tab to hide all panels EXCEPT the tools panel. This will leave you with a mostly clean artboard to fill the screen with, yet still leave quick and easy access to the Tools you use most!

Select all the objects on an Illustrator layer with one click

Adobe IllustratorIf you build extremely complex files in Adobe Illustrator, you’re most likely smart enough to build your files carefully using the layers feature. Building your file using layers not only helps you stay organized, but it makes it so much easier to edit your files later. It’s not out of the ordinary for me to have 5 to 10 different layers in an Illustrator file, so this tip comes in very handy. To select all the objects on any layer, simply Option + Click on the layer name (not the layer icon) in the Layers panel.

Isolate your grouped objects for editing in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator CS3 offers users a convenient way to edit grouped objects called Isolation Mode. In previous versions, in order to work on an object that was grouped with other objects, you would have to switch to the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), and then contend with trying to see just the path of the object you want to work on mixed among all the other paths. Isolation Mode allows you to double click an object you wish to work on which is grouped with other objects, and edit it as if it were no longer grouped. The advantage is that Illustrator doesn’t actually ungroup the objects, it just isolates them for you. It also offers the added advantage of fading out the other objects in the document to make it easier on the eyes. To exit Isolation Mode, simply right click (Control click) on the page and select Exit Isolated Group.

Quickly changing the ruler units setting in Adobe Illustrator

If your preferences are set to show the ruler units in Inches in Adobe Illustrator and you happen to be working on a Web graphic, you can quickly change them to pixels (or several other measurement units) by right-clicking (Control + Click for one-button mouse users) on the ruler and selecting Pixels from the drop-down menu. I can see the use for Points, but does anyone actually use Picas anymore?

Use Tilde to create outrageous Illustrator patterns and shapes

If you’re looking for something a little different for a background in Adobe Illustrator, try holding down the Tilde (~) key while dragging out a shape using one of Illustrator’s shape drawing tools such as line, circle, square, etc. Holding the Tilde key forces Illustrator to repeat the shapes in rapid fashion as you drag your mouse around the artboard. For fun, I set all the shapes to the same color, then went back and randomly chose a few dozen shapes and made them a different color, then set all shapes to Multiply in the Transparency panel. Try it and you may find yourself busy for an hour or so. Thanks to BittBox for the tip.