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Taking Advantage of Layer Strategies in Adobe Illustrator CS5

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Whether you want to create multiple versions of a single object or you're building incredibly complex artwork, layers can be very helpful for controlling and keeping track of your Illustrator art objects and documents. Brian Wood, contributor to Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book, demonstrates strategies for making layers really useful.

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Controlling Layer Appearance

Controlling Layer Appearance

Suppose you need to create a series of objects that all have the same type of drop shadow or some other effect. Instead of applying the effect to each object, you can apply effects and other appearance attributes to an entire layer or sublayer. This approach can be a great way to keep the effect options consistent on each object, and any new object added to the layer or sublayer will have the effect applied automatically. Here's how you do it:

  1. Create a layer or sublayer; then create a series of objects on it.
  2. Click the target button to select it. The target button is in the Target column to the right of the sublayer or layer name in the Layers panel (see Figure 7).
  3. To apply an effect, open the Effect menu or click the Add New Effect button at the bottom of the Appearance panel, and select the desired effect. Notice that the effect is applied to all objects on the layer (that is, wherever it can be applied).

This technique also works if you drag-and-drop content from one Illustrator document into another.

Figure 7 Applying an effect to an entire layer.