Working with Panels
Working with panels is the easiest thing to learn when working with Illustrator. I know pretty much about them and how they work, but what I’ve learned is the Application Frame. If I go to the Windows menu and click “Application Frame” (though I don’t see it), I deselect it if there’s a check mark on the left side. This will make the document a free-loading window. I rather have the application on my windows if I did Illustrator on my Mac computer, so if it’s deselected, I’ll click on the “Application Frame” again, and it’ll isolate Illustrator from everything else within the operating system. I’ve also learned the application frame is the Mac-only option, and it behaves almost the same thing as it does on the windows.
The panel side (on the left), is where I’ll be using different kinds of tools when working on Illustrator. If I notice that the window is a bit small, or not in the correct size that I want, I’ll click on the two-way left arrow at the top-left of the panel. When I click it, it collapses. I prefer on the panel side not to be collapsed, because I would see the color and the stroke panel (at the bottom of the tools) a lot easier, and find whatever tool that I want to use. The panel on the right are the ones that will give me additional options of whatever it is that I’m working on Illustrator. If I don’t know what do the icons represent, or their names, I can hover my mouse over them, click and drag the outline to the left to see their names, or even better – click on the two-way left arrow to make them even more noticeable. One thing that I’ve learned if the panel is not expanded, and I want to see it, I go to the window menu and click whatever panel I want. I select the panel that is collapsed, it’ll expanded it. I click the same thing again, it’ll automatically collapse.
The Control Panel
I’ve learned that if I click on the object that is not grouped to another object, it is labeled “path”, and if I click on the object that is grouped, it’s labeled “group” on the very left corner of the control panel. I have the ability to put the control up or down to the screen. To do so, I go to the very right and click on the icon that has 3 dot and 3 lines next to each other, and click “Dock to bottom”. The control panel will be located at the very bottom of the screen. If I click “Dock to Top” the control goes back to where it originally was. I also have many different options when I click on this icon, but I rather not click on one of them because I may be able to use them anytime I need to. I’ve also learned that if I don’t have the control panel, I can go to “windows” and select “control”. This very important to use when you need to select on option if you don’t have one.
Rulers and Guides
I never really used rulers on my projects, but I finally learned how useful they are by watching this video about rulers and guides. I’ve learned I can change the 0,0 reference point of the rulers. Doing that, I go and click on the center (at the top-left of corner) of the rulers and drag to the top-left corner of the artboard. When I let go of the mouse, the 0,0 points are updated. I now understood that selecting an logo or an artboard and using a ruler to come up with a measurement is very difficult, so I go to View> Rulers> Change to Artboard Rulers. When I click on it, the 0,0 anchor point changes based upon the active artboard depending on what artboard I click. The rulers update and become more or less sensitive, when I zoom in or out of the artboard. I will be using guides as well, and some of the aspects that I’ve learned is clicking on the cursor within the ruler, either horizontal or vertical, and drag out a guide. If I picked horizontal and I want a vertical guide, I hold down the Alt key. I don’t want to move the guides on accident when working on other things, so I go to View> Guides> and click on “Lock Guides”. If I wanted to turn off the visibility of a guide, I go to the same thing, but click on “Hide Guides”, and “Show Guides” if I wanted to turn on the visibility back on. To clear the artboards, I click on “Clear Artboards” and all guides are deleted. What’s interesting is I can change the unit of measurement by right-clicking on the rulers. I can select what measurement I prefer, and when I do that, the rulers are updated and displayed based on the unit.
Guides and the Grid
To open a grid, I go to View>Show Grid. The Grid will show up on the artboard. Grid can be very useful to move an object and place it in the right area without any trouble, because as you move the object, it snaps into the gridded lines. But that won’t happen unless I go and click on “Snap to Grid” in the View menu. Another thing that I’ve learned is you can change the color and size of the grid. I go and click on “Preferences”, which is in the control panel next to “Document Setup” on the right side. This opens a dialog box, where you could also change to Style from Lines to Dots, Gridline every (the grid boxes), and the Subdivisions. If I click OK, those changes that I selected are updated. There are times that I don’t want the grid to be noticeable, even I want the object to snap into it, so I move my mouse to View and click on “Hide Grid”. As long I have “Snap to Grid” selected, I’ll still have that behavior when I click and drag the object around. With that been said, I finally learned how helpful Grids can be when positioning any content on Illustrator.