Lessons: 32Length: 4.1 hours

Next lesson playing in 5 seconds

  • Overview
  • Transcript

4.5 Symbols Palette

Now we know how to align things, we know how to use the path finder, the type tool, and we just did a lot of cool complex stuff with strokes. Well now, there's something that you should be interested in, which is symbols. Symbols are essentially graphics, that become a single object within your scene. You can't really edit them. You can't really do much to them. But you get some cool abilities that you don't get with normal objects, by using symbols. Now, I typically don't have my symbols shown by default. And I'm gonna come and pull out the symbols palette, just so we can see what we're working with here. Now, symbols are basically graphics that I can place into my scene. Take a cube symbol, and throw it in there, and look at that. There's a Rubik's Cube, and it's ready to go. You can also see that, with symbols. I basically just have the ability to move them around. So let's drag out this cube. And you can see I have a Rubik's Cube symbol here, and it's ready to go. And I can size it, and I can rotate it, but there's not too much more that I can do with this symbol. Likewise here's a bow. These are all premade things that come with Adobe Illustrator. It's kinda cool. Some crop marks and a color pattern. We have here some sort of floral thing and an ink splatter. Now, if you remember about expanding. We can go to object and expand. Hit OK, and we essentially get the object back. We can direct selected and move around and what have you. But the point of a symbol is something that you can save, something that you are gonna use a lot of. So lets say I like this cloud, only I want to add a few more details to it. I'll take my paintbrush, and give it a couple of shadows here, here, here. I'll do one there. Select all the shadows, those are strokes, so I'm gonna change the stroke color to very light gray. And that's my cloud. Now in the symbols palette, I can come and say, make a new symbol, name it something like cloud, hit OK, and you can see, it basically just gets a simple box around it. Now I can drag as many of these into my scene as I want, whenever I need them, right? So if I know I'm gonna be using clouds all the time, this is pretty valuable to keep a library of symbols that I use. Another thing you get with symbols is the symbol tools. So let's come over here and look at this tool, the symbol sprayer. This is essentially a spray bucket that when I select the cloud, and spray. It's gonna create a bunch of clouds. You will also notice that when I use the selection tool, that they all get selected together and I can double click and they're still all together. And I double click again, and there's really no going any deeper, they're all one object. So there's not a whole lot of versatility I get by doing that, but it's a very quick way to make a lot of something. You may want to, for example, make space stars and put them on a black background to make some sort of space scene, or clouds like this, right? And fill up your sky with clouds or birds or something. Once you symbol spray, though, let's hold down and look at all of our other symbol tools. Here's the symbol shifter. This allows us to take the stuff that was sprayed, and shift it around. So I can kind of push it and make it fit my needs. We also get the symbol scruncher, which slowly pulls these things, closer and closer together. And, you can see things are moving around here. It kinda makes the whole screen freak out a little bit, but Symbol Sizer tool's pretty basic. You hold down and it makes things bigger, these individual symbols. Now you can hold that option. And I'll shrink them. Just a little bigger. I'll make those smaller. I got some bigger around here. The symbol spinner tool is basically what you would think. You can use the arrows and redirect. These clouds in basically any way your heart desires. The stainer tool is very interesting. What you do, is you first pick a color, and I'll pick. And it starts to infuse these things. With some gold, you can see the white isn't really picking it up. But those grey lines are now becoming gold. The simple screener tool is pretty simple, right, you click it, and obviously, off and click to make things more or less transparent. And the more on the center you are, the more or less transparent you're gonna become. I'm gonna take my symbol spinner, just correct this one cuz it's bugging me. [LAUGH] There's also a Symbol Styler tool, which is just a specific, specific work flow that I don't think it's even worth covering. But you can see here now, we can resize this, and we get pretty good versatility. And that was all relatively quick, with just a few clicks. So, doing this type of thing would be normally kind of nightmarish. But symbols allow us to sort of increase the speed of our work flow. Right here, I'm gonna take that spinner and just correct these guys. So we have to select the symbol first, then with that symbol spinner, make their arrows pointing up. Well pretty cool stuff. And that's the symbol tool, and the symbol palette. Illustrator comes with a lot of symbols built-in. The ones that you see here aren't that exciting, but you can go into its menu, say Open Symbol Library, and get, for example, the flowers pack. That'll open up a whole new palette, and you can see I can drag in some wonderfully complex flowers, that are all just there by default in Illustrator. So if you are in the need of something quick or you don't really have any time to be just making your own stuff, you can use. The tools that illustrator comes built in with. Let's see here, we're gonna go and open up, how about now, do the heirloom category. We get these whole other things, and you notice, when I drag one of these onto the scene, right? This looks like some sort of family tree layout. When I drag one of these onto the scene, it gets added to the symbols palette, over here. So that palette essentially becomes all the things you used in this document. Now, you can have complex documents that have very full symbol palettes. And other documents, or virtually empty ones. But that's it's way of saying, okay, you've used all these. So even if you close the heirloom or the flower bucket. The ones that you used, anyway, like this one that I deleted, is still there. And with anything, you can select a symbol. Say, I'm never gonna use it again then trash it. Or, if you make something and you think it's cool enough to be a symbol, instead of clicking the little new symbol icon, you can simply drag it right into the symbol palette and it will create a symbol that way. So, symbols. That's what they are. They're pretty versatile. Again they're not something I use all the time, mainly because it's just so specific, of a case where I find that I need them. But a lot of people love them, that's what symbols are, that's what they do. Coming up next, we're gonna be using, a tool that Photoshop users probably enjoy, or at least know of. The magic wand.

Back to the top