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Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 20 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 20 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

20. Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Adobe Illustrator?


Explore the Interface


Create and Save New Documents


Zoom and Navigate


Working with Artboards


Introduction to Layers


Rulers and Guides


Shapes and Drawing


Aligning and Combining Shapes


Pen Tool


Manipulating Stroke and Fill


Creating and Editing with Color


Painting with Gradients


Getting Started with Patterns


Adding Text To Your Document


Formatting Text


Strokes and Variable Strokes in Adobe Illustrator


Rotating Objects in Adobe Illustrator


Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Adding Photo Images in Adobe Illustrator


Working with Linked Content in Adobe Illustrator


Packaging your Project for Handoff in Adobe Illustrator


Best Formats to Save Your Files


Select Like a Pro: Layers, Groups, & Other Unique Tools


Edit Paths Like a Pro in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Knife & Scissor Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Join Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Isolation Mode in Adobe® Illustrator®


Pen Tool Shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator


Other Drawing Tools & Methods in Adobe Illustrator


Transforming Techniques in Adobe Illustrator


Shortcut to Reflecting Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Exploring Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Work Smarter with Graphic Styles in Adobe Illustrator


Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator


Type Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Masking Your Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Creative® Cloud® Libraries in Adobe® Illustrator®


Capture Artwork with Creative Cloud Apps & Adobe Illustrator


Tracing Raster Images in Adobe Illustrator


Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Symbols in Adobe Illustrator


Using a Perspective Grid in Adobe Illustrator


Crash Recovery in Adobe Illustrator


GPU Performance in Adobe Illustrator


Curvature Tool in Adobe Illustrator


App Integration in Adobe Illustrator


Creative Cloud Libraries in Adobe Illustrator App


Shaper Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Smart Guides in Adobe Illustrator


Text Enhancements in Adobe Illustrator


SVG Export in Adobe Illustrator


Lesson Info

Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

Now we're gonna go in and we're gonna add just a little bit of content. I'd like to actually add a little box, and just a teeny bit of text, and show you how to do a drop shadow, and a couple other cool things to kind of introduce you to what are called effects. So let's draw a box first. We already have a box out there. Let's just use what we've got. Go ahead and click on this gray box that's already there. And I just want to resize it a little bit. We're gonna make it a little smaller. We're actually gonna put a picture up at the top up there. And we're gonna use this as a way to cover part of the picture with some text over it so we can read the text a little bit more easily. So come up to the top of the box. And let's just resize it or scale it from the very top middle there, just drag it down. And we'll make it look something like this. Go ahead and drag the bottom, middle up. Make it a little bit narrower. There we go, something like that. And I'd like to fill that with a black c...

olor, a black fill. Go up to fill. Let's do black. There we go. All right, you can either click or press Escape. Get rid of that panel. Now what I want to do is we're gonna go out here. And we're gonna start to add some different things. I want to add a drop shadow. And I also want to show you guys a couple effects that we've got. Why don't you come over to the right over here? And you're gonna see this, I don't know, it's looks like a circle with a dotted line around it. This is called the Appearance Panel. Go ahead and click on the Appearance Panel icon. It's way over here. If you can't find it over there, you can always go under the Window menu and open it from there. The Appearance Panel, this thing is... Ah, you have to use this. There's no two ways about it in Illustrator. You have to use the Appearance Panel. This thing is gold. The reason why I say that is because to me it's kind of like a little history of the object. If you click on something you created, you're gonna see the stroke, the fill, anything else you did to it like a drop shadow and different things like that. This is where you can also go to edit and access all of that stuff. Matter of fact, if you look in here, you'll see in the Appearance Panel, why don't you drag? You're gonna see a little gripper at the bottom. Why don't you drag that down just so you can see more of the panel, what's inside of it? And at the top of the panel, you'll see the word path because it's telling you this is what you have selected essentially. So anything you select, it's gonna tell you. It's showing you the Appearance options that are selected or set in there. You're gonna see stroke, fill, and opacity. Now what we can do in here is we can affect or change the stroke and the fill. As a matter of fact, a lot of times I don't even go out to the panels anymore. I do most of it in here. Come to Fill, and you're gonna see this black box next to it. Go ahead and click on the black box once. What you're doing is you're saying, "Okay, we're gonna do something with the fill." It just selected that fill. You can now click on the arrow to the right. And you got the Swatches Panel. So it's all right here. Even if you want to, you can come in here now. And at the very bottom, you can see. You can make your own swatches. You can edit the swatches. You can do what you need to do here. So this is pretty cool. This is a great way to be able to edit a lot of the things that we've been doing. If you come to stroke, you're gonna see the slash which indicates no stroke or no color. If you click on that slash box right there, once again, it's gonna come up with both the color. You can click on it again to get the color. And right here, you can get the stroke weight. So we can change the size of it. Pretty cool. So it's kind of all in one place, all the stuff you did. A quick, easy way to get at that. Now to do things in here, there's a lot of things we can do if we want. We can do things like change the opacity. If you come here and click on Opacity for instance, it's gonna show you this Transparency Panel. And in here, we can do tons of stuff. In the Appearance Panel, we can also go in. And if you look down at the very bottom, this is one of my favorite features, Clear Appearance, this little like circle with a slash through it. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten other artwork that I'm working on or artwork that I create that I'm like, "I'm gonna start over. "This looks horrible." And I just want to remove all the colors and everything. If you click on Clear Appearance, it sets it all back to the default colors, which could be great. Down here you also see we also have Add New Fill and Add New Stroke. This is the magic. This is one of the reasons why I used the Appearance Panel. We can actually list multiple fills in here and have them blend into each other. A lot of times when I first started working in Illustrator, if I had this black box out here, and I decided I want to put like a pattern over the top of the black, but I want to see both of 'em, I'd make two separate rectangles and put 'em on top of each other. This is what the Appearance Panel is for. The Appearance Panel lets you stack fills and stack strokes on one object. We're gonna see that tomorrow. In here what I also want to do is we're gonna now add something like a drop shadow. Come down to the bottom, and you're gonna see the effects. Now the effects in here are similar, I'm gonna say kind of similar to Photoshop effects or Photoshop style effects. You will also see up here the Effect menu, right up there. Whoops. So you'll see the Effect menu. You can apply an effect from here. Or if you're at the bottom of the Appearance Panel, go ahead and click on that Add New Effect button. You're gonna see the same things right here. So two different places to do the same thing. These are the different effects we can apply. Now I want to mention these. We're not gonna go into them. But I want to mention them. You're gonna see that this is actually broken up into two sections. We have Illustrator effects and Photoshop effects. The Illustrator effects are gonna keep the artwork vector in most cases. For instance, if you look under Stylize here, you're going to see Drop Shadow. The drop shadow itself is actually going to be made of pixels or raster. The shape will remain vector. If you use any of the Photoshop effects down here, it's gonna want to take your shape and make it into pixels, basically convert it into raster when it's done. It's totally fine. You can do that if you want to. But we're gonna stick with Illustrator effects for right now. Why don't you come under Stylized here and let's choose drop shadow? This is the one everybody uses. So go ahead and choose drop shadow. It's gonna open up the dialogue box right here that we can then use. And in the dialogue box, you'll kind of get used to the way it works. There's some kind of interesting things that it does out here. There we go. I got rid of mine. So in there, the first thing you want to do is you want to actually set what's called a blending mode or a mode. We're not going here you guys. Leave it alone. This is later on, a little more advanced. This is if you want to get tricky and have like three boxes on top of each, and you want to kind of have one blend into the next, make 'em lighter or darker overall, you can use these. You're gonna see opacity. We want to change that. The drop shadow right now is gonna be really kind of dark. As a matter of fact, why don't you select Preview to see it? It's gonna be kind of dark. I want to lighten it up a little bit. So we'll just come to Opacity and change that value. (clicking) You can click all day. Or you can click on the word Opacity and type in a number. You want to try that. And don't forget if you see in any field, so if I click on the word Opacity and type in 30, I could click in another field and it'll just put in the unit. So you don't have to type in percent or inches. It'll just do it for us. The Offset is essentially how far across horizontally and vertically it's going, the actual shadow. And Blur is how blurry it is. So if we want a harder shadow, we're gonna take Blur and bring the number way down. So I can bring Blur to zero, and you'll see it's gonna put like a hard-edge shadow if I want to do that. So we've got some options here, X going right and left, Y going up and down. If you want to change the color here, obviously you can click on that little Color box right there. And it's gonna allow you to pick a different color. We're gonna leave it as this. That's fine. This is kind of simple typical drop shadow. All right, if you want to do your own, go for it. Put in different values. I'm gonna keep this as I've got it. And you go ahead and click okay. Now just like Photoshop, just like even InDesign, if you do something like this, you can always go back and edit it later. I told you that the Appearance Panel was kind of like the history of this thing. Take a look at the Appearance Panel right now. You're gonna see that is now has the Drop Shadow listed in there. And you'll see the Effects symbol to the right. So it's telling us the selected object has all this stuff applied. Now if we want to edit the drop shadow, what do you think we do here? Click on Drop. You got it. These are all links. So click on Drop Shadow right there. You can go in and just edit your effect, do what you need to do, make a change. Click okay, and you've got it. The other thing I love about the Appearance Panel here that we're gonna dive into a little bit more tomorrow is the fact that you can have something like a drop shadow. And my first thought as I got into Illustrator was I don't want this shadow. I'm gonna delete it. There's a handy little trashcan down here. I'm just gonna say get rid of it. I might want it later on. So if you look, just like Layers, we can just turn off the visibility for one of these effects or one of these things and just not have it. It's still there. You can still turn it on later, and edit it, and work with it. The cool thing is you can also do that for fills and strokes, which is kind of nutty. But you can do it. All right, so that's the Appearance. That's awesome. Now I want to show you a few other effects that we can do that are pretty neat. Why don't you come down to the Add New Effect down here, that button again? (audience chatters) And you're gonna see some of the ones, I just want to point out a few. We're gonna hit some of these tomorrow. But some of the ones that people use all the time, myself included, the Distort & Transform. My favorite effect of all time is Pucker & Bloat. I mean the name alone is awesome. But if you go to use it, it just does what it says. As a matter of fact, the fastest way to make flowers is to just draw a bunch of squiggly lines and just go to Pucker & Bloat and go (popping sound). They look awesome. They're so cool. It's cool. We've got a lot of different things we can do there. If you do want, Illustrator actually has 3D in here. Now it's not 3D like if you do 3D for a living. It's not that. It's taking something and extruding it and maybe mapping. You could take like a logo and stick it on one of the faces. And it would put in there in three dimensions. It's actually pretty cool. There's some neat things you can do there. We're not gonna do that. But you can feel free to... Let me show you real quick 'cause it's actually really cool. I'll extrude. Bam. Extrude, Preview, and you can see. It's actually gonna go in and try and extrude. And what I can do is I can use the geometry and kind of try and work with it a little bit. And we're making a three-dimensional object here, which is kind of cool.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Project Files Part 1
Project Files Part 2

Ratings and Reviews


I am a pretty computer literate person but an Ai beginner i.e. I am completely new to the Creative Cloud/Adobe Illustrator. (This is also the first time I've used CreativeLive.) I think this course it is fantastic. The pace is good as is the content which progressed logically and covers all the basics you'd hope it would. The course is 2 full days' worth of material but it is broken down into segments so you can revisit or skip through as you need to. The presenter is really personable and easy to watch (even for me, a Londoner!). I would also say I think it is pretty good value for money -- I am currently enrolled on a part time course, basically doing the same sort of stuff, and I have to say this is better and a bit cheaper! I definitely recommend it to you!


A brilliantly designed course. it's almost magic. It's everything you hope for in a follow-along software class. Brian Wood has engineered it so that you start on a project that just needs basics, and then you move on to more & more complicated projects, and almost without realizing it you've learned Illustrator. This doesn't just happen -- Wood has clearly put a LOT of effort into creating this course. Here's one trivial example: he doesn't overload you with a lot of keyboard shortcuts right at the beginning -- you start with the actions themselves, using the (admittedly tedious but easy) pulldown menus, and then after you're comfortable with what you're doing, he'll throw in the shortcut. It may seem obvious, but so many instructors feel they have to give you an extensive foundation of definitions, shortcuts, interfaces, etc., before you ever do anything. Good stuff to know, but you'll never remember it. Wood has you up and working almost immediately. And he's a joy to listen to, at a perfect pace. Highly recommended.

Philippe LIENARD

Top course. Very well explained, clear, good examples, pleasant teacher. I like it and recommend it. One suggestion, it would be nice to have a detailed table of content of the course in the material. For instance, it took me quite a while to find back the part of the course where how to make a gear was explained.

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