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1.2 Working with Dynamic Symbols

In this lesson you will learn how to use dynamic symbols, which let you create multiple instances of a master symbol that retain their link to the master symbol even when their shape and visual attributes are altered.

1.How to Work with Dynamic Symbols in Adobe Illustrator
3 lessons, 11:19

Free Lesson
1.1
Introduction
00:35

1.2
Working with Dynamic Symbols
09:40

1.3
Conclusion
01:04


1.2 Working with Dynamic Symbols

[MUSIC] Hello everybody, and welcome to Envato Tuts+. My name is Simona, and we are about to start learning all about dynamic symbols here in Illustrator CC. Now, the symbols are nothing new in Illustrator. But the dynamic symbols are a new addition to Illustrator CC, and I would like to show you how they work. First here, I have a little icon of our little one-eyed robot. And this we're going to turn into a symbol. But first let's explore the symbols that are already in Adobe Illustrator. So here I'm going to move this out of the way and then we're going to open up the symbols panel here in the toolbar. I'm going to drag it out so you have a better look. You can see here that Illustrator comes already with a set of free symbols. You can find them when you go and open up the symbols library and here you have an array of symbols to choose from. Now I picked here a palm tree. So in order to use the symbol you can just drag it out onto the art board and now we have an instance of a symbol. Symbols work really great because once you drag them into the symbols palette and you made them into one, you can drag as many instances out on to the art board and they all look the same. And what's great about it, it keeps the file size really small. Now let's select the symbol here and let's resize it. You can rotate it resize it, flip it. You can do anything to an instance of a symbol. And in this case I actually want another symbol, so you could just select it, copy and paste it or you can select the thumbnail here in the symbols panel. And then go to Place Symbol Instance, and it will place another one on the art board. As you can see, this is the symbol that I've changed in size and this is the original one. Now I'm placing it on top of here, and now I actually want to change the instance of the symbol. For example, I would like this part down here to be blue. Now when you select the symbol and you make changes to it, it will be reflected to any other instance of the symbol. So if you have ten of those palm trees on your art board, they will be updated at the same time. Now on top of here you can see the button and its symbol or you could break the link. Now breaking the link to the symbol means that it will be outlined and you can do whatever you want with it and it will be independently from the symbol in your symbols panel. So if you make any changes to the original and the link is broken, this particular one will not be updated. So first, let's select it and let's click Edit Symbol. You will get the pop up and it will tell you that you're about to edit the symbol definition. And meaning anything you do here will be applied to all other instances on your art board. So let's click OK now we're in editing mode. You see we did not actually leave the art board. We didn't get an extra pop up. You can still see what's happening on the art board but now you can select the palm tree and its elements on its own. So if I now go with the direct selection tool and select this shape down here I'm just going to change it into blue. You can see that it hasn't been updated to the other palm tree. This is because we are still in the editing mode of the instance. Now in order to exit, all you have to do is find this little arrow here that says Exit Symbol Editing Mode or you could actually double click on the art board or press the Escape key. I just pressed the Escape key for now. Now you can see that the other instance has been updated as well. Now, you might say, that's nothing new to Illustrator. I've worked with symbols before. I know how to alter them. I know how to update them. Now let me show you what is so different about dynamic symbols. So here I'm just going to drag the palm trees out of the way, and then I'm going to select all of the shapes of my little one eyed monster or robot here and I'm going to drag it into the symbols panel. Now on the pop up we'll get the name, so I call him just robot then I leave the movie clip as the Export Type. And now here you can see the symbol type. We have two choices, Static Symbol or Dynamic Symbol. Of course here we want to have Dynamic Symbol selected. Now let's click OK. Right away you can see that there's a difference here in the thumbnail. Compared to the Palm Tree, our little robot here has a plus sign. You can see it here on the bottom right corner. This is indicating that it is a dynamic symbol. Now I'm going to place a few more of these robots onto the outboard, and then we're going to alter them. So let's say I have about four here. Each of them of course, I can change the size of them. I can select the other one. I can even rotate it if I want to. And then if I wanted to, I can also change the color. But instead of changing the color via the editing mode for the symbol, we can actually change it directly here on the art board and it will not be updated to all of the instances. So here let me show you. All we have to do is select the direct selection tool and then I'm going to select the shape. And now you can see that we are actually selecting the shape. I see the fill color and I can give it a different color. Now let's say I'm going to give it a red. And as you can see, now we have a red robot. All of the others are still looking the same, because they're still part of the same symbol. But we've changed this particular one into red. But remember, this one still belongs to the original symbol as well. But this way, we can actually change any instant on the art board individually without having to break the link to the original symbol. Now this wasn't possible with the other static symbols. And here if I take the direct selection tool, and I try to select any shape in here, you can see that I still get the box around. And I cannot select any shape in between. So again, to see the difference, if I have the direct selection tool on my dynamic symbol, for example this one here, I can change this again into a different color. But again they're still the same symbol. Now what if I actually wanted to make a small change to these symbols. And I want this change to be reflected on all of my instances while you can still do this. Now for example, let's select this one here and then we still have our symbol buttons on top, and then we're going to Edit Symbol. We get the same pop up. We'll still click OK. And now I'm inside of the symbol, the original one, and now I can make changes to it. For example I want to have two antennas. So I'm going to create a copy and then I'm going to rotate it slightly, select the other one, rotate it as well and put it in place. Now again you don't see anything happening to the others but watch when I exit the mode. So I'm going to click up here the arrow to exit and look all of the instances have been updated. But I still keep the other colors that I've changed individually and I can keep continuing also to edit the other ones. For example if I want to change the color of the little feet down here, and even change the top part into a totally different color. I can do this and it will not be reflected on the others, but if I make a change within the symbol itself it will be updated to all of the instances. Now there's one more thing that we can do as well. I've selected this particular one here that I have altered. Now, if we look at the button up here, I see Edit Symbol, Break Link and also Reset. Now, what if I don't like what I've done and I would like to reset it to the original symbol that I have here in my symbols panel? So all I have to do is actually select the button Reset and it will reset the simple to the original one. So this way I can easily update my icons either for the web or for the UI, whatever you are creating. And you have them all in your symbols palette and you don't have to recreate or copy paste like crazy. Now one last thing I would like to show you. If we are going to look at the palm trees here, what if you find a symbol in your library that you like that is not a dynamic symbol, like the palm trees? Well we can change this static symbol into a dynamic symbol as well. So we'll just select the palm trees thumbnail here in the Symbols panel. And then we're going to this little icon down here, the Symbols option. Now when I select this you will get the pop up, you'll see the Symbols Options, the Name, the Export Type and the Symbol Type. So instead of Static Symbol, we're going to switch it to Dynamic Symbol. So here I'm going to switch it and then click OK. Now, when I go back to the palm tree, and I would like to actually change another element just on one instance, I can now select things with the Direct Selection tool. So for example, here I can change that back into let's say a beige without affecting the other one. And again I also have to option, if I select the symbol instance, to Reset it, Break the Link, and Edit it right here. And this is it, this is pretty much what dynamic symbols are all about. So it's not that it's super new but with dynamic symbols we have many more options to actually create alterations to an instant and still there a link to the master symbol.

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