Chapter 11: Effectively Keeping Up Appearances, with Style(s)

Chapter 11: Effectively Keeping Up Appearances, with Style(s)


In This Chapter

  • Way-cool special effects with the Effect menu

  • Looking at the Appearance palette

  • Adding additional fills and strokes

  • Combining Effect settings to create different effects

  • Creating a style

  • Manipulating existing styles

Back in the twentieth century, Illustrator was a straightforward program that offered relatively few (and relatively obvious) choices. You knew when you looked at a pink rectangle that it was made with four corner points joined by four paths and was filled with a single, solid pink color. But those days of blissful innocence are past. Now that pink rectangle may really be a red rectangle that some fiend faded to 50% Opacity by using the Transparency palette. And that rectangle may not be a rectangle at all, but a graphic of an old shoe that has been disguised as a rectangle using the Effect→Convert to Shape→Rectangle command. In this world of illusions, where anything can appear to be anything else and nothing is as it seems, what’s an artist to do?

The truth is, the ability of Illustrator to make objects look different without changing the original object is amazing. Illustrator lets you do incredibly powerful stuff that would be impossible otherwise, and more importantly, gives you incredible editability. Editability, you ask? That’s one of the primary reasons to use Illustrator in the first place. The ability to go back at any time to change a small aspect of your artwork without having to redo all the work you initially put in is incredibly valuable.

Effects (and transparency) let you change the appearance of your artwork easily (again, without changing the underlying object). Illustrator has dozens of them, giving you power and flexibility beyond anything you can dream of.

In this chapter, you also discover a wonderful tool for cutting through (and taking control of) the illusions of Illustrator: the Appearance palette. The Appearance palette enables you to see exactly what secrets your artwork is hiding. If that were all it did, it’d be worth its weight in gold. But it does so much more! Beyond just seeing what’s been done to an illustration, you also find out how to change the attributes of the illustration. For example, you can alter applied effects — or delete them altogether.

You also discover how to use the Appearance palette to target only the fill of an object (or just the stroke) when you apply Transparency or Effects settings. You also use the Appearance palette to perform casual miracles that were impossible in any previous version of Illustrator, such as assigning multiple fills and strokes to a single object.

To make matters even better, you find out how to save all the Appearance settings as a style. Styles are saved in the Styles palette. You can apply a style to any object. In addition to being a quick way to apply all these attributes to objects, styles can be updated in a way that also updates all objects with those styles applied.