Speed, Efficiency, and Productivity in Adobe Illustrator - Get Faster with Illustrator Tips & Tricks | Anne Bracker | Skillshare

Speed, Efficiency, and Productivity in Adobe Illustrator - Get Faster with Illustrator Tips & Tricks

Anne Bracker, Graphic Designer, Adobe Max Speaker

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11 Lessons (59m)
    • 1. Introduction - Speed and Efficiency in Illustrator

      1:05
    • 2. Setting Up Your Workspace for Speed

      6:08
    • 3. Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts

      11:29
    • 4. Selecting and Isolating Objects

      8:49
    • 5. Appearance Palette and Graphic Styles

      6:02
    • 6. Setting Up Actions in Illustrator

      5:58
    • 7. Setting Up Symbols

      5:01
    • 8. Creating and Using Templates

      4:53
    • 9. Using color quickly

      7:39
    • 10. Project Color Scheme

      0:36
    • 11. Final thoughts - Connect with me

      1:00
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About This Class

As graphic designers, after you learn the fundamentals of Adobe Illustrator, the next step is to learn how to work efficiently and get FAST!  This means you have to think about your workflow differently.

In this class you'll learn tips, tricks, and techniques to increase speed and efficiency, which in turn will increase your productivity. Imagine completing your design projects in HALF the time!

You'll learn new ways to change the way you use the Illustrator tools, and we'll go over everything step by step.

Here are the topics we'll cover in this course:

• Setting up your workspace to work FOR YOU and optimize speed
• Illustrator keyboard shortcuts - these are absolutely essential to working quickly
• Selecting and isolating objects easily 
• Appearance palette and graphic styles and how they work together
• Using actions in Illustrator - we'll also go over how they work and how to set them up
• Setting up symbols - change all existing instances with one click
• Creating and using templates - don't reinvent the wheel: reuse elements, work smarter, and pick up speed
• Using color quickly - we'll introduce a few tools you might not know about 

For this class you'll need a computer with Adobe Illustrator CC, although most of what we cover can still be used on older versions, like CS6 and CS5.

All the extras you need for this Illustrator speed course are available for free in the Resources section, including:

• ShieldSecurity.jpg, a drawing of an icon we'll create in class

• Keyboard shortcuts by video - PDF document

• Google ad sizes - AI document

• Selection and Isolation - AI document

• To download the free Google Montserrat font, go here: https://fonts.google.com/download?family=Montserrat

This class is geared toward intermediate to advanced level Adobe Illustrator users, so it's best to know your way around the Illustrator interface and how it's used. 

Get ready to learn all about design productivity, speed, and efficiency. Let's dive in!

Transcripts

1. Introduction - Speed and Efficiency in Illustrator: Hi, Skillshare. I'm Ann Bracker and I'm back today with another Adobe Illustrator class and this one is all about speed, getting faster in Illustrator. I've been working with Illustrator for about 20 years and when I was a beginner and even intermediate level Illustrator user, I would sometimes say to myself, isn't there a better way to do this, a faster way and it turns out that usually, yes, there is a faster way. We're going to be looking at a bunch of ways to pick up speed and efficiency in Illustrator. You'll learn how to set up your workspace strategically, keyboard shortcuts and how to get faster with them, and ways to select and isolate what you want to work on because that is half the battle is selecting things. Then we'll jump into more advanced methods of gaining speed, like using actions, symbols, and templates. This is an intermediate to advanced level class so you'll definitely need a basic understanding of Illustrator to get the most out of this class. So let's get started. 2. Setting Up Your Workspace for Speed: I'm going to first quickly go over how to set up your workspace to work for you. Your workspace, instead of having a bunch of crazy palette and windows all over the place in Illustrator, you should really start off with something like essentials and then customize it from there, so that's what we're going to do today. Let's get a new document open. We'll just go to print and use a letter and we'll go to workspace essentials and then workspace reset essentials. Now your workspace should look pretty much exactly like mine, hopefully. Now let's get in here and customize this. When I'm working on a laptop, I usually only have two columns because the work area gets too small if you have all of these extra palettes or even a third column. I'm just going to set up this workspace the way that I like. If you find that you're using palettes and windows more, you're going to want to have those in your two columns. First off, I'm going to grab layers. I'll just click on the word and pull it out like this. Then I'll click on the very top, this bar up here, and hover on this column, and that'll give me a new column. You probably saw that blue line when we snapped and that's something you're going to be looking for whenever you're setting up your workspace. Next, we need stroke and I'm just going to hover down here until I get that blue line and just snap it in. I'm going to double-click on the word and that will toggle through three views of the stroke. I like to have the one with all the options. You can also go up here to show options if they're not showing yet. Let's get graphic styles and we'll pull this one down and snap it underneath the stroke palette. You'll see that when you open some of these windows, they already have some bundles inside them. If you don't use transparency or wherever it happens to be very often, you can pull that out like this and just x to the corner and get rid of that one. Let's go to Window appearance. Your appearance and graphic styles work together so they need to be in separate palettes. I'm going to pull the appearance down and snap it to the bottom of graphic styles. Next, we'll get our character palette and to bring that up, you can just hit Command T and we'll snap that to the very top over here. We also need color, so let's get swatches up. We'll pull that right underneath character. We need art boards, we'll pull that one in under here. Now, I don't use properties and libraries, so I'm going to pull that out and get rid of it. I know those two things can be very valuable, so you might want to leave them in there, but for me and the way I work, I don't need them. Then finally the aligned tool, we can just hit Shift S7 to get that one up and I'll pull it right underneath art boards. I have all of my windows setup the way I want over here. Now it's time to set up our toolbar. When you first open Illustrator, you get this basic toolbar and we really need to use the advanced version so I'm going to click on these three dots and then come up here and go to advanced. A recent update of Illustrator has made these icons able to be moved around within the toolbar and so they can get out of order. If you find that's happened, come down here to the three dots and then just go up here and reset. It's grayed out because mine's already reset. Now our toolbar and our workspace is all set up the way we want so let's go to Window, Workspace and New workspace and we can save this as workspace 1. We'll say, "Okay." Now, if you happen to accidentally pull some of these out or do anything different, or you decide you want a different layout maybe, you can just go into Window, Workspace, New workspace, and save it as workspace 1 and then you can just override it so then it'll save the update. I noticed I forgot one palette that's really important and that's the color palette. I'm going to come up here to Window color, and I'm going to slide this one right into the character palette. Now I don't need open type, so I'm going to get that out of there. But color, color guide, character and paragraph, I have them all in the same one. You're probably thinking, well I have to use the character and the color palette all the time, why would I put them in the same palette like that and I'd have to click the tabs? But what you can do, is learn the keyboard shortcuts for those. Now I know I showed you character a minute ago and that was Command T that we'll toggle it on and off and then color is just F6, so now we have the color up. Now we don't have to click on these tabs, we can get to those just by hitting Command T and F6. The other keyboard shortcuts that I really recommend learning based on your workflow are Shift F7 for alignment, Shift Command F9 for the Pathfinder, and Command F10 for the stroke palette. Those are the ones that I really use a lot. They're definitely the most helpful for me so hopefully you can get some use out of those keyboard shortcuts too. I will mention that when you're learning a new keyboard shortcut, you should really stick to learning one at a time. It's really hard to learn five new keyboard shortcuts at a time. Just get used to one and then after you're really comfortable with it, just start adding the others in one at a time. I used this custom workspace for a very long time, many years actually, but now I have a few different workspaces depending on the type of project I'm doing. I create icons for Shutterstock and I have a workspace specifically set up for that because it uses a lot of symbols and actions. If you find that you are using certain palettes for certain workflows, go ahead and save the two or three different workspaces and then switch back and forth between them, depending on what you're doing. 3. Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts: When I started noticing that I was getting faster on Illustrator, I also noticed I was clicking on the toolbar less and the menu less. I also found that I was actually clicking on the art board less. So if you can manage to reduce those three things, clicking on the menu, toolbar and art board, you'll find that you're picking up speed because those things take time. Now granted, you're going to have to click sometimes there's just no way around this is Illustrator. But if you can reduce those clicks, it will definitely help you to become faster. How do you reduce clicks? Keyboard shortcuts. That's what this section is about. In this lesson, we're going to be using a ton of keyboard shortcuts to make an icon. You can get my sketch for this in the resources section. I'm going to create a new layer and lock a layer the artworks on. Now we're going to be covering a lot of keyboard shortcuts in this little section. I've got a keyboard shortcuts resource that you can print off if you want to. I'll also put the shortcuts on the screen so you can see exactly what's going on. Alright, so first I'm going to hit L to get our circle tool and I'm going to draw this shape right up here. I'll hit D to get a white fill and black outline and we'll put it right here. Now for this part, I want a straight line so I'm just going to go ahead and hit M. I wanted to go about right to there. Now we'll use another circle. I'll just option drag this one. Then I"ll pull this handled down a bit. Alright, so we've got a few pieces here and we've almost made half of our shape. I'm going to click this box and just make it a little bit bigger, go all the way up to the top here. We've got these three overlapping shapes. I'm going to hit V to draw a square around all of them with the selection tool. I'm going to hit forward slash to clear the front color, which is the fill color. Now we've got just outlines. We've got a black outline only. Now we can see a little better what's going on. Alright, so I'm going to hit Shift + M, which gives us our shape builder tool. Now we can combine the things we need and get rid of the things we don't. I'm going to combine these three by clicking in here and just dragging across all three. Now if we hit Command Y, we can see that has all become one shape. I'll hit Command Y again. Now we'll hit option and drag it across these. Now what that does is subtracts that from your shapes. So that gives us this nice little curve right here. I'll hit Command Y again and you can see what's going on. Now I'll hit A, which is your direct selection tool and click and drag this point all the way down holding "Shift." If we Command Y now we can see that we have half of our shield. Now I'll hit Shift + M again, hold "Option" and just delete these by dragging through them. You have to hold "Option" to get it to delete. Now we'll Command Y again. Now we've got half of our shape already. Now, we don't want this much curve on this shield. We want it to be a little more like this. We can use are A tool, Direct Selection and pull this up like this, and maybe P and minus and delete one of these points and we'll Command Y again and see how that looks. I think it looks pretty good. Now I'm going to hit V to select this hit O, which is a reflect tool and then Option click one of these points anytime you have a tool selected and you hit "Return," if that tool has options, it'll bring that dialog box up, which is really a lot faster than coming over here and double-clicking it to get your options. All right. We have our reflect options here. Okay, and I want a vertical copy. I want preview checked if it's not already and I want a copy of it. So when we hit copy, you'll see that it's added a copy right over here. Now we can hit V, select everything, and I'm still in Command Y mode, that's the preview mode. I find it can be a lot easier to tell exactly the points that you're working with instead of what might be in the background. Let's hit Command Y to get out and you can see it's hard to look at right now. But if we Command Y, it becomes easy to see the paths. Now let's hit Shift N and we'll just drag across these two pieces. Now we form the shape that we want. I'm just going to move this over a little bit. Now to get this inner shape, I'm just going to add a stroke to this that's really sick. If you highlight in the stroke section, you can hold "Shift" and increase it that way and it'll increase it a lot. Then we'll align stroke to the inside. This is pretty close to what we want. I'm going to drag and hold "Shift" and "Options" so that I can keep this live stroke. But for this version, I'm going to go to Object, Expand Appearance. I use expand appearance so often that I've set up a keyboard shortcut for this, so that's Shift Command E. If you want to set up your own keyboard shortcuts for some of these menu items. You can do that by going to Edit, Keyboard Shortcuts and then finally the one you want, ours is under Menu Commands, Objects, Expand Appearance, and then clicking here, and then just typing whatever you want. We'll say "OK." When you do that, it'll ask you if you want to overwrite the set or create a new set. You should definitely save your set of keyboard shortcuts because if you shut Illustrator down, they won't be there next time unless you've saved them. All right, let's go ahead and expand the appearance of this. Now we have two shapes. We've got our inner shape and our outer shape. I don't really want a solo black shape with the middle cutout so I'm going to hit G from my G tool, which is the group selection tool. This tool is great for selecting pieces of a shape. If I click on this edge, it only grabs that outside bit and if I click on this, it only grabs the inside part. So I use this one all the time. Now if you hit G on your keyboard, it is probably going to go to your gradient tool unless you've already set this out. But I would really recommend setting up a keyboard shortcut for the group selection tool because it's so handy. Anyway, I'm going to select this inner shape, Command X, Command F to paste in front, and now we'll just change this to some other color. Now when I move this away, it's not part of this shape anymore so let's make that a darker tonal. Now when I highlight these, I noticed that they have strokes on them, so I'm going to hit X to get the stroke in front. Hitting X will toggle these back and forth to the active one. Now that that one's in front, I'll hit the forward slash key to remove any strokes they might have. Okay, and so now the shield is done. I realize we clicked a lot and we went through the menu a lot. But it's way less than if you hadn't used any keyboard shortcuts at all. Now we're going to make the padlock. I'm going to hit M for my rectangle tool. I don't really want this to be blue right now so I'll hit D to get a white fill and a black outline. Now, I will hit M again to get the top part. You can absolutely draw all this with the pen tool, but it's not going to be as exact as using shapes. All right, let's get that top arch. Now I'm going to Command Y. I hit Command Y a lot just for selection purposes. In this case, if I tried to select these top two, I would either have to just click on each one holding "Shift," which is a long way to do it. Because if I tried to use my A tool, the direct selection tool, I would just click and drag this piece and that's not what I want. So I'm going hit Command A, will hit A and then draw a box around just these two points. Now we'll use the round corners and just completely round this. Now we'll hit Command Y again, and that's the result, which is pretty nice. Okay, so let's click on this piece and bring to the front Shift Command right bracket, and we will create a stroke only for this. I'm going to hit X to bring my fill to the front. Then I'm going to hit the forward slash or question mark key. I'll get into my stroke over here and hold "Shift" to make it quite a bit bigger quickly. I think that's good. 20 points a click on the box. Now I have a white fill on a black outline, but I don't want a black outline at all so I'll hit X to bring that to the front and then I'll hit forward slash to clear it and now hit X again to bring the white to the front. I've got my eye dropper tool. I still have my box selected, so I'm going to Shift click this stroke to color the box, the stroke color. I think I also want to round these corners, so I'll hit A and pull these in just a little bit. There we go. That's looking a little tall, so I'll click and drag it down a little bit. That looks just about right. Now we'll make this little piece in here. We're going to hit L and draw a circle, I'll hit D to make it a white fill and black outline we'll center it up a bit. Then I'm going to zoom in with my Z tool. I'll draw a box. Now I only want to change these bottom two points, and I want to use the A tool to select those so I'm going to hit Command Y, draw a box around them and then hit S Return. That brings up my scale options. We'll change the uniform to 150 and see how that works. You can have preview turned on and we might want 200. Alright, that's looking good. We'll say "OK," Command Y again. We can change to our V tool and click and drag this down. We'll hit Shift F7 to go to our aligned palette, Command Minus to zoom out a bit. We'll start up here and draw a box around everything and then come over here to our align and center everything up like this. Now let's Command Y. Highlight both of these, and then Shift N. Combine them with the shape builder tool. Command Y again, and we're good to go. Now, I really only touched on a few keyboard shortcuts in that whole thing and there are so many more. I think a good rule of thumb is if you find yourself using one tool a lot, go up and set a keyboard shortcut for that and then remember it. If you keep using keyboard shortcuts over and over it'll become like typing and you'll get to where you don't even realize how many keyboard shortcuts you're using and you'll get much faster. Now after you get a lot of keyboard shortcuts under your belt, you can test yourself by hitting the Tab key and all of your palettes and toolbars and everything disappears. Then see how well you can work like that. Eventually you'll have to bring him back to select something. Like I said, you can't use keyboard shortcuts for absolutely everything. But it's just a good way to test yourself, so hit Tab to bring them back. Oh, and another quick tip that's an excellent way to present your artwork to someone like your boss or something so they can see without all the tabs and stuff in the way. 4. Selecting and Isolating Objects: In this next section, we're going to be talking about something that's actually overlooked a lot of times when we're talking about speeding up our workflow, selection and isolation. If you want to follow along with this section, you can go to the Resources section and open the "Selection and Isolation" file. This is a file that just has a bunch of icons in it and you'll probably find that some of these are not grouped. Groups are very, very helpful when you're wanting to isolate objects. We have a pale blue background here. We've got some icons that are not grouped the way they really should be, and we only have one layer. I'm going to keep everything on this layer. Although usually I would just take that background, put it on another layer and lock it, we'll just keep it here so I can show you a different way of selecting and locking things. Now we can either take this layer and click "Command 2" to lock it, or we can just do "Command Y" for the preview mode and then we can select things easier without accidentally hitting that background layer. Now in our appearance, we can see that this one is already a group, so we don't have to worry about that one. But anything that's not a group, for example, this one, oh, and I accidentally selected the background, I'll hit "Shift" and deselect that. Now I have got just this one, but in our appearance we can see that it doesn't have group here. We'll hit "Command G" to group that. Let's make sure all the others are grouped too. Oh, here's another one, "Command G" and "Command G". Now I'm going to hit "Command Y" and get back to this view. Let's say we want the top row and maybe this line down here. A great way to select things is to draw boxes and then hold "Shift" and draw more boxes to deselect. I'm going to draw a box around all of these things. That has selected the background also. We don't necessarily want that, but if we hold "Shift" and draw a box from here that will deselect the background because we had "Shift" held down, and it will select this one. Now if we hide "Command 3", then will "Command A" and just delete, and then we'll unhide everything. Option "Command 3". Now we only have the icons that we want to work with. We got rid of our background, we got rid of the other icons, and we're good to go. Now, as I mentioned, groups are really handy when you're wanting to move things around and isolate them. But what if you want to click and move something within that group? That takes us back to the group selection tool, which is very handy, that's exactly why there's for. I'm going to zoom in with my "Z" tool. zoom in on this piece here. Let's say I want to move this lightning bolt up to the edge. I'm going to hit "G" from my group selection tool, or you can come up here and choose it here. All I have to do is just click that piece. I can move it around, even though it's still in a group. If I hit "V" and do this, I'll select that whole group and if I hit "A" and try it, I run the risk of doing something like this, accidentally pulling a piece that I don't want. "G" will just select that piece within the group and move it around. Now another cool thing is this had one more piece in the group. Let's just add this little square up here. I'm going to group that. You can click one with the "G" tool, click again, and it will give you each piece as it has been grouped. It's hard to explain. If you click on the lightning bolt, click again on that selection. It will give you the next part of that group and if you click again on that selection, it'll give you the next part of that group on out until you have every part of that group selected. It all depends on how you originally prepared this group. It's going to select the groups within the groups if that makes sense. With selection, the way to really get quick is to use boxes. Draw a box around the thing you want, or the three things you want, hold "Shift", deselect this one, and then you can move those two around. Use "Command Y" to easily select pieces without selecting something that you don't want. Now I'm going to revert this file back to the original so that I can show you what the "Q" tool does. I showed you how to select these by using boxes and deselect the ones you don't want and hold "Shift" to add to that. But the "Q" tool makes it even easier to select parts of a group by just lassoing around what you want. I'm going to choose "Q" and I'm willing to lasso around these things. I only want this part of this one down here. Everything that's a blue filled color is what I've selected and everything that's white, I have not selected that. I'll hold "Shift" and grab those two points also. I'm going to cut those with "Command X", delete that, and get rid of those, and then paste in front and you can see that I've got just those points that were selected. If we zoom in down here, this is now an open shape. We'll hit "Command Y" so you can see you and I'm talking about. We have this open area here. If we get our "A" tool or "Direct selection", draw a box around those points and hit "Command J". We now have a closed shape here. Depending on what you're working on, that can be really, really handy. If you only want certain points, it's really great. Another interesting thing about the "Q" tool if you use it and you only happen to get some of the points, you can lock that with "Command 2" and then option "Command 2" will unlock it and it will grab all the points. You might not find yourself needing that as much, but I use it all the time to select the whole shape. Now, I also want to mention select same "Fill Color" and select same "Stroke Color". These shapes have a few different colored strokes on them and a lot of different fill colors. If we want to select the same color of stroke, we can come up here to select same "Stroke Color". That's great, it got all of the blue strokes. This is actually a fill, so it did not get that one, but it got everything that has that color. But what happens if you want to select all the strokes? All the strokes in your whole document? This actually is a little work around. I'm going to hit "M" to draw a little rectangle. I'll hit "Slash" or the "Question Mark" key to clear the fill. Hit "X" to move the stroke to the front and then hit the "Slash" again. Right now we have no fill or stroke on this rectangle. Now we'll come up to select same "Stroke Color" or "Stroke Weight", it doesn't matter. We've got a few things and that also doesn't matter why they're selected. Then we'll come up to select "Inverse". Now it has selected every single stroke in the whole document. Now this one up here is a fill. It looks like a stroke but it's actually a fill and that's why I didn't select it. Let's change all the strokes to red. You can also assign a weight to them so they're all exactly the same weight. That can be really handy depending on what you're working on. For me, since I work with icons a lot, that is a lifesaver. One more bonus tip for you, if you're working with a lot of different shapes and you finally or accidentally clicking on things that you don't want to click on, you can select those shapes and send them to the right, a 1,000 pixels. Let's do that. I'll hit "V", "Return" and will send this 1,000 pixels and zero vertical. Just wanted to go to the right and then make sure your angles are zero. We'll say "Okay." Now let's go over, I'm going to zoom out and I'll take a look at these shapes. I was in "Command Y" mode and I just got out of that by hitting "Command Y" again. Now let's convert these all to rectangles. We don't want any extra height or width. Now we've got little rectangles. I'm going to send these back exactly where they were, so I'm going to hit "Z" return and then put a minus symbol in front of the 1,000. So minus a 1,000 and zero vertical, and we'll say, "Okay". Now hit "Command 0" and we've got these little guys exactly where they were. For me, I just use this as an extra way to isolate things. Now I realize you can double-click and get your isolation mode, but I really don't use this very much because things have to be grouped a certain way for it to work correctly. I'd rather just send things to the right, work on them and then send them back. 5. Appearance Palette and Graphic Styles: In this section, we're going to be talking about appearances. Appearances are really a great time saver if you're adding a lot of extra strokes or fills or shadows to any object, whether it's text or say, a rectangle. I want to show you how appearances and graphic styles can work together and make your life a lot easier. First, let's get a new document open with command N. I'll hit return. I'm going to hit T and type a word. We'll just put awesome in there, quick tip if you want to get out of a text box so you can easily choose a different tool without clicking off of it. You can hit escape, and now you have the option of changing tools without typing in that text box. I'm going to hit V, and then we'll just drag this to be quite a bit bigger, and I'm going to throw a different font in there. I've got my swatches up now, so I'll hit command T to get my character palette. We'll just go with Arial Black, and I'm going to hit command U to make it uppercase. Now you're in a text-box, so you tried to switch tools. Now, you're going to notice that you just type in there. To get on your text-box easily, you can either command click or just hit escape, and now let's go to our appearance palette and start building out this appearance. Normally, when you first type something, it goes right into this character's area. If I double-click that, you can see the fill here. We don't want that because you can't really build much more than a stroke and fill in your character's area. I'm going to get this and just drag it to the trash. Come up here to the type, make sure you're clicked on type and command forward slash. Now we have a fill and a stroke in our type. I'm going to get a red stroke and bump that up a little bit, and we'll pull this behind the fill. You have to get over on the side not here or you'll change things. You have to get in this area here to pull it behind like that. I'm going to increase it a little bit. We've got some minor points going on, and we can fix that by lowering the minor limit to about four. There we go. I'm going to space this out, option right-click a little bit, and now I want a red drop shadow behind it. I'm going to select both the fill and the stroke and option drag below. This fill and stroke are exactly behind the other fill and stroke. They have the same attributes, so they're just basically a copyright behind there. We'll click on the fill first and go to effect, transform. Let's move it two points to the right. Preview and see that we have, that's not enough. We'll put it 10 points, and then we'll also put the vertical at 10 points. If I do this little drop-down carry it, you can see that transform is here. I'm going option drag it on top of my stroke. Now we have an offset shadow and I realize this is not the most beautiful graphic in the world. But bear with me is probably not going to get better, but this is just an example. Let's go ahead and change that fill to red. Now, so it's really offset, it's a little far. Let's click on transform and we'll put it back down to five. I'll delete this one and then just option drag this one again. This is a little better. Now we can also add effects to this. If you do add the effect, make sure you've clicked on type up here. Otherwise, it'll add that effect to the stroke only or whatever you have clicked. We'll go to effect, warp and we'll put an arch on this. That looks about good. Then we'll highlighted the whole word and maybe we'll just switch it back together a little bit. I see we have some canning issues here, so get in between the A and W [inaudible] that over until it touches, and let's see what we have now. I'm going to shift command A to deselect. That looks awesome. Back before illustrator got appearances, you would have to build this all separately so you arch it in the copy and paste it behind, and then you'd end up with about four different layers that all say awesome on them. It was just fine until your boss says, we don't want it to say awesome anymore and we wanted to say fabulous, and then you have to type fabulous four times instead of just once, and then if you decide to change canning, you had to remember to do it to four layers and it was just a mess. If we want to change our word now, all we have to do is type it and it maintains the arch and maintains all the drop shadows and strokes and everything. It's really handy. Now, if you type a new word and you type your original awesome word again, let's say you want all these affects on awesome. We'll hit the eye tool and click ones. We don't have any stroke or fill, it probably if we hit command Y, we have the same font and size, but we don't have any of the effects that we've put on this, and that's where graphic styles comes in. Let's click back on our fabulous, decide the word type. You'll see this icon. Just click that and drag it into graphic styles, and that gives you all of the styles that were applied to that graphic. Now we can choose our word and choose that graphic style. It actually applies it to anything, text. If we wanted to make a rectangle, it will apply it to that too. Graphic styles and appearance can really speed up your workflow and make your files so much easier for whoever gets them after you. Maybe you're a designer and a production artists will need to change this word to 500 other words. This will make it so easy for them. 6. Setting Up Actions in Illustrator: In this lesson, we're going to talk about setting up actions in Illustrator. This is something that saves me a ton of time, and really has increased my speed. For this lesson, go ahead and open up the selection isolation document that we opened earlier. I build icons a lot and I noticed that I always have to do the same things to these icons over and over. Based on that, I've set up actions that helped me to do those tasks really quickly and easily. You'll want to set up your own actions that match your workflow. Mine are probably not going to work for you. But I want to show you three that might fit into your workflow that I use all the time. The first one that I use all the time is Cut, Paste, Group and Hide. Whenever I make an icon, I'm working in here, I'm creating all of these pieces and they're not grouped together yet, but I always see the have them grouped when I upload them to the stock sites. To do that quickly, I'm going to set up an action. Let's get our actions parred out. We'll create a new set. I'll call it actions for me, and then we'll create a new action inside that set. This one will be called Cut, Paste, Group, Hide. The cool thing is we can set a function keys. I'm going to go ahead and set this to F3. I've already got F3 use for other things. It's going to add shift and command. Now I have to push Shift Command F3 for this to work because everything else is already taken. We'll record and now it's recording every action that I do. You have to keep that in mind when you're creating these. Try to remember to shut it off and try to remember not to do a bunch of actions that you don't need. I'm going to select this icon. We're going to cut it Command X, and that'll unlink it to anything else that might be grouped from. Will Command F to paste in front. We'll group it, Command G, and will hide it Command 3. Now, this one was already grouped, it wouldn't allow me to record group. I had to ungroup it and then group, but that's all I wanted to do. I'm going to stop the action and then we'll click in these and just delete those two ungroup ones, and that's it. The action is ready to go. Now if I highlight this, I can just hit Shift Command F3 and it runs through that action. This one obviously doesn't have more than one piece, so we don't need to do it with that, but we'll do it with all the rest of these and you can see it running through that action. The reason I hide everything at the end is so it gets out of my way. I don't have to worry about accidentally selecting it. But now everything is hidden, I can do option Command 3 to unhide all. Now each one is its own separate group. All right, so that is the first action. Now the second one is vertical aligned to key object. Since I'm always making an icon sets, they need to be aligned vertically. I'll quickly run through how to set this line out. Will create a new action under actions for me, and I'll call this Vertical Align to Key Object. I'm going to choose F6 for this. You have to be careful about what you choose here because F6 is also the keyboard shortcut that toggles your color. Maybe we don't want to use F6. Will use shift F6 and we'll record. The steps for this are highlight three objects or two objects or whatever, then just click one, and that sets your key object. Then you can come down here to your aligned palette and click the second one to align vertically. That's it. Now you can also set up one to horizontally aligned to a key object. and really what this is doing is just aligning it. You have to set that key object and then he can do Shift F6 to align them. These are already aligned, and it doesn't look like doing anything, but it is. All right, so let's set up our third action. The third action will delete all of the unused swatches, and I use this constantly. Let's set up a new one here, delete unused swatches, and we'll put this one at Shift F2. So now will come out to the swatches palette, do the little fly out, select all unused and delete, will say yes. If the color is being used somewhere in your document, those are the colors that are going to stay in the palette. Everything else should be gone, and that's it, will stop this. Now let's add a bunch of colors, a little do color group, okay, delete that, and now let's see if it works. I'm going to hit "Shift F2", and it sees those colors are not in the document, and it will select and tried to delete them and you always have to just hit "Return" to say yes, I do want to delete this swatches. Now, once you have your actions, you'll want to go ahead and click on this folder level and then come out here and save your actions. You can save them on your desktop if you want. Just keep them, because once you close Illustrator, they will not be there anymore. There's a place located down in your library, probably application support or something like that where your regular actions live and if you can put that file into that folder, that will make them persistent, basically, they will always be available no matter what document you open or how many times you restart Illustrator. Now you're going to want to see why it repetitive actions you're doing in your own workflow and setup your own actions. Some things are not selectable with actions. Sometimes they won't record. There are ways around that, but I'm not going to get into those today, but almost everything can be recorded. If not, you can use scripts that there are a whole other ballgame. They're not nearly as simple as just running through what you want it to do. Actions are just a quick, easy way to record an automate tasks. 7. Setting Up Symbols: The next thing we're going to cover is symbols. Symbols can really be used in two ways. One, you can create a symbol palette of very common shapes and things like that, that you use, and then pull those out into your document as needed. The other way to use them is, if you have several different instances of the same symbol, you can switch all those out in one click. I'm going to show you both ways. I'm going to start a new document and click on our symbols palette. This symbols palette comes preloaded with a few symbols that I have never used, I don't think in my life. We're just going to go ahead and select all of the unused and delete them. I'm going to draw a few shapes that I use commonly, and maybe a triangle. I am going to give them a black fill in a white outline by hitting D and then shift X, and then I'll hit X to bring the white to the front, and then clear it with four slash. We need to set these up as separate symbols. I am going to click and drag into my symbols palette. When I create symbols, I use graphic and static symbol. Dynamic means you can do a little more, you can change some of the colors and things without actually changing the symbol itself, but I rarely use that, so static is fine for me. So we'll say okay, and we'll do that with all of these, and the space is so small that we can't fit them all. I'm going to go up here to the fly out and choose thumbnail view. Now we have a view of everything in there. I'll delete these, and now we can pull out the symbols we need whenever we need them. When you pull a symbol out, it'll still be linked to this original symbol, so the first thing we'll do is expand it with command E. Now we can rotate, change things as we need, make copies, delete parts of it with our shape builder tool. We can quickly and easily build some pretty interesting things. Something else that's nice to keep in symbols, are customer logos that are already colored the way they should be colored with the correct pantones or whatever. You can also keep black versions of the logo, white versions, and then all you have to do is just click in here and pull them out, resize, rotate, or whatever you need to do, although probably shouldn't be rotating a logo. Once you get all your symbols in here, the way you like them, go to, save symbol library. Now this is the path that it will automatically save them in, which means that they'll be available whenever you come over here to the fly out, and you go to open symbol library and user defined, then you can see this one is saved right here, which I did off camera, so I wouldn't bore you. This is where your saved symbol libraries will end up, if you save them in that spot on your hard drive. So that is one way of using symbols, I want to show you the other way, which involves setting up your files a certain way. For this lesson, let's open Project, Google ad sizes. I'm going to hit command O to open that. This is a great example of when it's a good time to use symbols. When you're creating Google ads, for example, you have a bunch of different sizes that your client needs, and they all are going to use the same elements. The logo will be the same, the call to action will be the same. When I'm creating a file like this, I'll keep the things that I think are going to be important and reused over to the side. We have some symbols set up in here. First we have the read more CTA, and I'll pull that out, you can see it. We also have the AB logo. If you'll notice, all of these are also pulling from this symbol. When you resize the symbol, it still stays linked to this original symbol. The great thing about having your file set up this way, is let's say your boss comes over and looks at your work and says, "Hey, I really like that AB logo, but I don't think they want that one. I think they want the one that says AB design on it." The other version of their logo, you have this logo in a bunch of places all over the place. Now if you didn't set up symbols, you're going to be copying that logo, pasting it in, resizing it for each iteration and it's a big pain in the butt. If you did set it up with symbols, watch how easy it could be. I've got the AB design logo right over here, it's not a symbol yet, but I can click on this and hold Option, and place it over top of this one. Now look, it is updated here, here, here and it's sized based on how you size that original symbol. If you're using a bunch of iterations of something, it's a good idea to make that a symbol. 8. Creating and Using Templates: For any file that you find yourself using a lot, you probably should just make a template of it. An illustrator makes it really easy to have templates that you cannot overwrite easily anyway. I want to show you how to create one of those and why you would. Let's open up our Google ad sizes document again. This is a perfect example of when you would want to create a template. This company AB design. They have a logo that they always use, or maybe two logos. They have colors that they love to have on their Google ads. They have an element that maybe they always use on their Google ads, so let's make this a template. I'm going to delete everything that's on these art boards, but I'm going to leave these elements off to the side. I'm going to hit shift F2 to delete all my unused swatches. Let's change this to small thumbnail view. Now you can see we only have the colors that are over here. Once we save this as a template, when you open it up, you'll have the sizes that you need for the Google ads that this company always uses. You'll have their logo, you'll have a CTA, you'll have their colors and you might also want to think about leaving some fonts in there if they have standard fonts that they always use. Let's back up. I'm just going to command Z until I get one of these fonts here. Now I'll command minus and get all the rest of this out of here. I think this is a good starting point for our template. One thing we probably want to do is name these ad boards as whatever size they are. So I'm going to hit shift O. I see that my control is gone, so I'll bring that backup and this one is 728 by 90. I'm just going to double-click in here and call this 728 by 90 panel one, because this'll be a rotating gif. I'll rename all of these others to match that same style. These last two are static images. If you had a document for a magazine ad or something, you could set up a template with a safe zone, maybe the bleed area and all of those things. I probably wouldn't make a magazine ad in Illustrator unless it was all vector. But those are things you can set up if you want to. Now I'm going to save this as a template file. We'll go to save as, and then we can choose AIT, which is an illustrator template. We'll call this AV design Google ad sizes and save it on our desktop. Let's close this document and open up our template which now has a different icon, than the regular Illustrator file. Look at this, the file name has changed to just an untitled document. If you go to save this, you're not going to save over that template. I mean, you can if you really wanted to, but you have to save it again as an AIT, otherwise it won't override it. The illustrator makes it hard for you to save over your template, which I love them for because I'm always doing silly things like saving over documents that I shouldn't. So let's say we build up the design. We throw our logo on. Put some pencils in there. One bonus tip if your cursor key is not moving fast enough, you can hit command K and change it. I'm going to put it at one point and then it moves much faster. We'll throw some text on here. This is just an example, but now I want to show you why it happens. Let's save this as AB design and now it's saving as an Illustrator file and I'll hit return. That's fine. I'm going to export as PNG files and I'll use art boards here. I'm going to make a new folder called a redesign and put all of those PNGs in there. We want it to be screened 72 because these are going on the web and probably type optimized. Take a look at your files afterward and see if they look nice with type optimize. If they don't resave them again with art optimized and we'll say, okay. Now when we look out here, everything is labeled with our name that we chose, and then an underscore and then the size and that is super nice. Now, nothing has actually saved in here and there's that one we threw together. Now we'll always have this template and we can set up these templates, I like to keep them in a folder on my desktop. Anytime I set a new one up, I just save up by the client name and this is great if you work at an agency too, you can just pull them up by client name and start designing right off the bat without creating all those art boards and getting all the colors and logos together, there'll be right there in the file ready for you. Yes, templates save attended time. 9. Using color quickly: This lesson is going to be all about how to use color quickly in Illustrator. I want to show you how to really quickly come up with a color palette and save each of the colors as swatches. This can be a super quick thing to do. I'm going to open up the Google AB Sizes project. You'll see that we have all of these colors. I'm just going to hit "Shift F2" to get rid of those, I'm going to select this color group and just throw it away. I'm going to go ahead and select these too and throw them away like this. Let's say you've been working on this document for awhile, you've been coming up here to this color bar and just choosing them as you go, and you haven't really been saving swatches, but now, you do want to save the swatches. Well, there's a super easy way to do that. I'm going to hit "Command A," which is "Select All," and then we'll come over here and choose "New Color Group." It's going to take all the colors in all of the vector images in your document and create a color group from them, and I always do "Convert Process to Global," and I'll show you why in a moment. That has taken all the colors and made them into their own swatches and they're global swatches. Let's say, I don't really like that yellow color after all, I'm going to double-click it, and we'll change it to a green and you can preview to see what this looks like. Because this is a global color, it will change all of that swatch in your whole document, and that is a really nice time saver. Lets go ahead and make this blue a darker blue. We'll add a little bit of black to it, and now, we have a whole different look. This would be really great. You could save a couple of different options for a client if you wanted to show them different colors. Creating swatches that way while you've already been working is really quick and easy, but what if you want to make a color palette from scratch? I'm going to show you how to do that today, taking a color palette from a photo. I'm going to go out here to pixels.com where we can get free photos, I'll just type in colorful. I like this so much, the paint swirl together. I'm going to enlarge that, right-click on it, and save image as, and we'll just put it on our desktop, and now I'm going to pull that into Illustrator. It's pretty huge, that's fine. We'll just make it a little bit smaller, and now, I'm going to come up here to "Image Trace" and do "16 Colors" and see what that gets us. We've got a purple, dark red, a few different colors of red and pink, and green. I'm going to expand this, and now, I'm going to make a color group from this image. I'll just hit "New Color Group," we'll convert the process to global and say, "OK." We have all of these colors in here and now I usually just draw a few squares. With my "M tool I'll hold "Shift" and draw a square, "Shift Option" and drag it and then hit "Command D" a few times. The first one, I think I want this purple. A good rule of thumb when you're creating a color scheme is you need some really light colors and some really dark colors in addition to what might be in your photo. We're going to make a dark version of this purple. I'm going to hit "I" and click that and create a new one, hold "Option" command to get a dark tonal of this color. This will be our dark color, and I'll put this other purple by it. I like these lighter shades of green, so I'll choose a couple of those. We'll go with a really bright pink, and a medium pink, maybe I'll put this one down here, and then we'll get a darker red color,and I'll slide this one here, put this on up here, and we'll get a really brilliant green. Now, I'm going to highlight all of these colors and just move them down. We'll select everything and distribute our spacing. Now, I'll delete this, I will move these over, I will hit "Shift F2" to delete all my unused swatches, and now, we have a color palette all built and ready to color our images. It's always a good idea to go in here and tweak the colors, I think these two colors are a little too close together, so I'm going to double-click on that one and I'll just slide a little lighter. This one has so much gray in it. I might make this just an off-white. We'll get up here. Let's add a black outline so we can see everything a little better, and now, we have a color palette ready to go. Now, if we wanted to save these swatches, we want to delete what's on our canvas and then "Save Swatch Library." I usually just do an AI file. You can see the path it's saved under, and then we just save it as "green pink." Now, if we want to go open that, we can do "Open Swatch Library" and "User Defined," and there it is. There are a few other little color tools that I find really powerful, and the first one is "Color Guide." Let's come up here to "Color Guide," which is the side color. If we highlight all of our colors or click on the color group like this and then come to "Color Guide," now, we are giving the option of a lot of different shades and tints of our color group. I'm going to make a copy of this square, and then maybe I'll want a darker tunnel of that or a lighter tunnel. When you're using the "Color Guide" colors, you have to double-click them for them to take. Now, if I want to see some colors that go well with this green, we can highlight this color, which will give us some different options here. It's giving us complimentary colors and just options that might work well with that color. Now, we can also change this from "Shades and Tints" to "Warm and Cool" colors that go with that color. "Color Guide" can be really helpful when you're looking for colors that go well with another color. I want to show you one more tool that Illustrator has, it's called "Recolor Artwork." This is a tool that I use all the times to recolor and make my color palettes look just a little better. I'm going to highlight this entire palette and go up here to "Recolor Artwork," and this tool is very powerful, but I don't really know how to use it. I've tried to use other parts of it and it hasn't worked very well for me, so I just go straight in here to "Edit," and then I can see on a color wheel exactly where my colors are, and I always choose "Recolor Art" here. Let's say, I wanted to get these purple's a little cooler, so I can just pull all those over, and you can see that it's recoloring the artwork as I do it. We'll just move these colors around and see how they look. Maybe we'll go back to the teals and head over to the oranges, that could be interesting. I just find it a lot easier to do it this way than to use the color bar that's up in the color section of Illustrator. Now, if you really hate this and you don't like what you did, you can't undo in here, but you can click this little eyedropper and it goes back to what it was originally. You have to be careful in here. If you really like what you've done, you can always make a copy of the colors on your art-board and then just go in and further play around with them. Now, you'll notice that these swatches are no longer here in your swatch palette. You can go ahead and do what we did before, which is just "Create a New Color Group," "Convert Process to Global," and say, "OK," and now you have all of those swatches added into your swatch palette. 10. Project Color Scheme: For your project, I'd like you to create a color scheme. Pick a photo from pixels.com, one that has a few bright colors, use the live trace feature, and then use the recolor artwork to get a few different tones in there. It's best to have two or three base colors with tonals, and then a really dark color for text. Then just upload a screenshot, and that's it. Now, you can also take that color palette and create a small artwork if you want to, just as a bonus. It's not something required, but if you do that, I would love to see it. Please add it to your project's section. 11. Final thoughts - Connect with me: Now you have an arsenal of ways to improve your speed and efficiency in Illustrator. Now it just takes practice. My advice to you is to just pick one of these things, one of these techniques, and incorporate it into your workflow until you really get used to it and it becomes second nature and then add a new one. That way you won't feel overwhelmed to just not do any of it. Two things before I go, please upload your project to the project section because I love seeing what you guys create and please consider leaving me a review. It really, really helps me to have feedback because I can make my courses better if I know what to improve, that would be awesome if you could do that. If you want to check me out on YouTube, I upload there every week. You can just search for Anne Bracker, I create really short little graphic design videos and really short little Illustrator tutorials. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this class and I hope it makes you super fast. Thank you.