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3.2 Grouping

Now that you know about objects lets find out how to deal with really creating more complex objects with groups. Let's create a new Illustrator document again and we'll call this Groups. Now, say we want to make something pretty simple, right? We want to do, I don't know, a beach ball. Well, I'm going to make a circle. And then I'm going to start in the center, hold down Option. Then I'm gonna start in the center and hold down Option. Drag out until I get to each side. And make a second circle. Start in the center again, hold down option. Start in the middle, and grab and make a third set of circles. That's a pretty good-looking beach ball. Let's add some color to it too, so we'll select our inner-most beach ball and we're gonna make that red. So we can use the appearance palette, or we'll just grab from the swatches palette, we'll click on red. Now, you can can see here, we didn't really go into colors before, but I can go into the color palette and choose the inside, and then make that red. The swatches, and I can choose the outside stroke, and I'll hide it. Remember that none of that hides the stroke. Then these out here are white, good, but hide the stroke. And then out here we probably want them to be red again. And the stroke we need to hide. That's a pretty decent beach ball, so we'll just use that as our starting point. In fact, I may select it all, just rotate it a little bit, so it has a little bit of ball-i-ness quality to it. Now since we made all these things individually, like the inner circle and the other circle and the outermost circle. Undo, undo, undo to bring those back. These things are all still their own objects. Well, what if we want to move them together? Yes, we can use the selecting motion of dragging over everything and moving it, like so. But oh, I'm clicking around a lot. Maybe I forget, or I want to just grab a piece of it and then I forget that the other two will move with it. Well, that's where groups come in. You can select everything by dragging a box over it and then grouping it. You can do that in a few ways. You can go up to your objects menu, at the top and select group. Over here, we can see you can hit Cmd-G on a Mac, and that will group as well, that's what I like to do. Finally, you can right-click, right in the middle of what you selected, and you can select Group from here. So there's three ways to group things, because grouping is pretty important. Now that those are in a group, you can see if I click off and just grab, say the white circle, all three come together. If I grab the outer circle, all three come together, if I grab the inner circle, you get the idea. More importantly, in the appearance ballot down here, you can see this object has become a group. In groups the only property they contain is contents and opacity. So that now this is a group, I can say make it 50% see through, and they all change. Well there's one more interesting thing to groups and that's the fact that you can go inside of groups. And what do I mean by inside, well let's show you. Double click on this group and you can see up in Illustrator's bar that we're inside layer one and we're inside of a group. And here you can see I can move everything around independently again. In fact, I can change all their positions. I can even change all their colors. And then I can come up here. Just hit the back button twice. And when I move these around in a group again, now if I try and change their color while they're in a group look what happens. The group, the entire group becomes the color, so it blanket covers everything in the group with the same property, let's undo that. We're gonna go back in by double-clicking. And I'm gonna show you another way to escape from a group. Just put your mouse somewhere not inside the group and double-click. That's another way instead of using the arrow. So double-click to get in, go off and double-click again. We still have our group. Let's go inside the group one more time, because there's one additional feature that you should see. Things that are acted inside of a group are separate from the way you assign things to a group. What do I mean? Well the easiest and the most simple property, other than effects and all this crazy stuff is just transparency. So if I select this orange circle, and I make it say 50% opacity in the transparency palette, we'll get into transparency a little bit later. And then there's blue, and I make the blue here, that I select, Say 60%, somewhere around there. And then I double click and exit the group. The blue and orange are still at their respected 50 and 60% opacity. But you can see here that the group opacity, if I click that, is still at 100%. So I can actually dial down this opacity to 50% and what did I do by doing that? Well, if the orange was 50%, I cut that in half, right? So now the orange is really 25%. The blue was 60, cut it in half that's 30 and the red was 100, cut that in half, it's 50. So you can see, you can even keep going. I could make a new object here that is purple. I can select everything. I can right click and group that. And now my group, you can see the opacity is back at 100 percent. So I can drive it down again. Basically, you can have endless amounts of groups. You can just keep adding things and making it, right click, part of a group. And every time you make something part of that group, gets its own default properties. Now if you've done stuff that's a little crazy and you want to select something that's in a group, but you don't want to get inside of a group, that's what our Direct Select Tool can do. So I can use Direct Select Tool and, say, select this big circle and I can move it like it's not in a group. The direct selection arrow won't honor the fact that something is in a group. It doesn't care, it just says, this is an object, I can grab it, I'm gonna do it. So I'm gonna select this purple thing and hit delete, cuz I don't want it in that group anymore. And I'm gonna move this one over here, but then when I grab the regular selection tool and grab this purple thing You can see it grabs the entire group. Finally, if you've grouped things too deep or you just don't want it grouped anymore, you can ungroup things. And let's watch what happens there. If I right click, select my object and right click, I can go to Ungroup. Now if I select these, you can see the opacity of the group, the transparency is 20. You can see the appearance down here is at 20. If I right-click and ungroup that, it resets and loses that group property. So it says, okay, the group was 20, but we're not a group anymore, so we're just gonna throw out that 20%. Finally, this beach ball was a group. And this was a separate thing. So I'll delete that. We cut everything in half. Our group here was 50% see-through. Let's right-click and ungroup it. Here we go, we basically have ungrouped back to the point where we have all separate objects again. So, you can see grouping, ungrouping can be a very powerful thing, especially if you're going to start getting into applying shadows and complex shapes. You'll really wanna use groups to become more powerful, not less powerful. And it's a tough thing to manage, so you've gotta remember when something is in a group, or when something is not in a group. And you have to look for key indicators that Illustrator or tells us, whether it's selecting it all and looking in the appearance palette, or double clicking on something and seeing if Illustrator tells you it's a group in the bar. There's a lot to look for, but this is the concept of groups and you're really going to want to use it when your scene gets complex. Once you have, and I'll group this with Command G, once you have 25 of these balls. You don't want to actually manage every single little circle. You just want to manage them all like they're beach balls, because that's all that matters to you. And, in fact, I think I'll grab my pen tool, because this calls for a little sand. Throughout these lessons I really want you take time and try and play with the objects that we create. I mean, Illustrator is gonna give you a lot of tools. And I expect that when we hit a certain point, especially around week three, that, you're pretty comfortable with making these simple objects. And you're ready to start trying some more adventurous things. Whatever that means for you and whatever that means- An hour a day, two hours a day. Just try and get comfortable, even with 15 minutes a day. Or maybe you're just comfortable already doing a lot of this stuff. Know that this is how groups work. This is how creating objects work. And start thinking about making more complex things. And in fact, things are gonna get even cooler and more complex when we get inside layerless thinking. That's coming up next.

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