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Real World Tips For Using Illustrator's Objects, Groups, and Layers

Chapter Description

Just as there are benefits to keeping an orderly desk, there are advantages to using groups and layers for adding structure to your files. In Adobe Illustrator CS2, groups and layers not only offer a convenient way to manage objects in a file (as they did in earlier versions of Illustrator), but now they can also control the appearance of your file. Find out more in this informative chapter by Mordy Golding.

Putting It All Together

The importance of the Appearance palette is obvious. Without it, you have no way to edit multiple attributes applied to an object; you have no way to edit attributes that are applied to groups or layers; and you have no way to edit the properties of a live effect.

The importance of the Layers palette is equally apparent. Without it, you have no way to understand the hierarchy of a file and you have no warning as to when a simple action like grouping or ungrouping will change a file's appearance.

But it's deeper than that. The Appearance palette is like the Matrix—you can look at it and see the underlying makeup of any Illustrator file. By using the Layers and Appearance palettes together, you can quickly and efficiently reverse engineer any file that you receive ( Figure 3.42 ). If you're a production artist who needs to know every detail about a file, or if you're trying to troubleshoot a particular file, these two palettes will be your best friends.


Figure 3.42 Don't trust everything you see on the artboard. It's easy to create a single object, group it by itself, and then apply a 50-percent opacity setting to the object, the group, and the layer. The result is an object that prints at 12.5-percent opacity. The meatballs in the Layers palette should be an indicator that you need to take a closer look.

Throughout the remaining chapters of this book, you'll learn how features like clipping and opacity masks, envelope distortions, and placed images are all easily identified in the Layers palette. You'll also learn the importance of using layers when you're creating Flash animations or SVG files for the Web.