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puzzled about how Illustrator works

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#1
Dennis McClendon

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After 21 years using FreeHand, I'm trying to switch back to Illustrator—at least for one new client.  It's always hard taking over a complex file that someone else created, but I can't figure out how much of the idiosyncratic structure is just the different metaphor Illustrator uses.

 

First, under the Layer "Station Names" it looks like there are 200 sublayers, each with one station name on it.  Is this normal?  Why aren't all those labels on a single layer?

 

Second, I can't find a style anywhere that defines the station names.  How do I change all of them to a different typeface?

 

Third, will that automatically change all the white halos that have been created for those names?  It looks like those are separate text objects.

 

Finally, how can you make haloes for only a couple of characters out of a label?  When individual characters are selected, the Add Stroke option in the Appearance Palette is grayed out.

 

Thanks, folks, but if you're helpful . . . more questions may follow.


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#2
Unit Seven

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Hi Dennis,

 

1) While it is possible to have sublayers these may not actually be sublayers—Illustrator's layer pallete lets you drill right down to the object level. The fact each one has the name make's me suspect you are looking at the actual text object. In this case it is setup as you expect. If they can't be expanded then they are not a sublayer (or group).

 

2) The style can either be applied as a character (Window > Type > Character Styles) or paragraph styles (Window > Type > Paragraph Styles) accesable in the appropriate tool pallete—linked and able to be changed once and will update all the features (assuming they are not overidded). This works similar to styles in InDesign or Word.

 

A more common and likeily way it's setup is that the settings are applied to the object itself and applied via the character pallete (Window > Type > Character) . In this case you should select all features and adjust as needed.

 

3) Select the characters with text tool and use the stroke pallete not the appearance pallete—appearance works on entire objects and above.

 

Hope that helps!


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Miramar, Wellington
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#3
Liz

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Hi Dennis,

 

I can add a few more ideas. (I'm using CS5. Which version are you using?)

 

1) Here's how you fix it so that the palette only shows the layer names:

 

  1. Click on the upper-right corner of the Layers palette

  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom for “Panel Options...”

  3. Click the check box in the pop-up window that says “Show Layers Only.”

 

2) To change typefaces, you can also use Type > Find Font and do a search and replace. If there are type layers that you don't want messed with, just lock those layers first.

 

3) You can also select the type objects with the selection tool, click in the upper right corner of the Appearance palette and choose “Add New Stroke.” Then drag the Stroke layer below the Fill layer and edit to make your halo. BUT: The annoying thing is that, after you say “Add New Stroke,” Illustrator will clear the current fill. If you have a swatch for the type fill color, it's not so bad to just reassign it, but it can be tedious. (And note that if you choose “Add New Fill,” Illustrator will basically just slap a layer of black over your current type fill.)

 

Hope that helps... and holler if you have any more questions!

 

Liz


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#4
Charles Syrett

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Dennis, as I think I told you once a while back in a private conversation, I made a valiant attempt to switch over to Illustrator a few years ago. I used it for a couple of months and then went back to FreeHand, for the sake of production efficiency.

 

There were various things that just didn't work for me, such as AI's inscrutable Graphic Styles, its join functions, and its cutting (or knife) functions. Also, to make a lot of basic things work properly I had to download add-ons from various sites (such as Nathaniel Kelso's), but then found that some of them didn't work any more, or had disappeared. But the real killer was that I could find no way to select a few objects and then "Export selected Objects Only".

 

FreeHand just.....works. B)


Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com



#5
Dennis McClendon

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Yeah, but this client expects their transit map to be maintained in Illustrator, and it's time to become bilingual.  So I'm trying hard not to think about how easy something would be in my native language, but to break through and figure out how to also speak Illustrator.  I've invested in two Snow Leopard Macs to ensure I can speak FreeHand for my own purposes for several more years.

 

Thanks folks.  I'm using CS6, and I finally found the Character Style and Paragraph Style palettes yesterday afternoon, so things are looking up.  I still have a lot of trouble figuring out how to add on to an existing line that already has a handle extended.  Some of the bus route lines consist of two or three unconnected segments and I can't figure out why, except maybe just laziness.  (No part of this map has ever been in GIS).  And I very much miss FreeHand's "Bendomatic" for shaping smooth corner curves.


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#6
tom harrison

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For something similar to the "Bend-o-matic", go to Astute Graphics and buy the VectorScribe tool as a plug-in. Worth every penny.



#7
Dennis McClendon

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A couple of new interface things:

 

How do you create a connector point in Illustator?  These would be curve points with only one Bezier Curve handle extended.  I use these a lot for linework like freeways or railroads where curves should spring from straight segments.

 

How do you zoom in on a particular element at, say, 800%?  If I choose View->800%, it's centered on the whole page and not the selected element.

 

Where can you set fill and stroke in the same panel?  Everything seems to require toggling between one or the other.

 

I'm scared to death that I will accidentally set the Text tool down on a line, which Illustrator interprets as me wanting to put text on a path, rendering the line invisible.  I could wipe out entire bus lines without noticing.  Is there any way to turn this, um, feature, off until you specifically want it?


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#8
razornole

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For the path I use the pen tool (P), click on the line and drag and release in the direction I want to go and it will create a bezier line.

 

To zoom in I hold the alt button and zoom in with my wheel on mouse.  I've never had the need to specify what percentage, I zoom in until I see what I need to work on.

 

I use the color panel for fill and stroke (F6).

 

I've always duplicated my line work for text and put it on its on layer, not sure if you can turn that feature on and off. 

 

kru


"Ah, to see the world with the eyes of the gods is geography--to know cities and tribes, mountains and rivers, earth and sea, this is our gift."
Strabo 22AD




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