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Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 36 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 36 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

36. Get to Know Your 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

Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator

All right, so yeah, we've got a lot to cover in this segment here because we're gonna talk about advanced Illustrator effects. And, once again, the word advanced I just wanna show you a lot of things that we are gonna be doing and using as you get further into Illustrator. And, one of the things I'm gonna harp on ya is the Appearance Panel 'cause a lot of us use it. I use it all the time. We're also gonna talk about something that I don't know if many people use, Graphic Styles, which can be very helpful and very useful for saving your different appearances. We're gonna talk about some, just maybe one or two Coloring Techniques. I wanna show you what's called Edit Color and recolor artwork. It's pretty awesome. A few type effects, and maybe not a ton more but maybe just more, I'll just say that, okay? All right, so I'm gonna close this up. Let's get back over to Illustrator, make sure you have it open. And, we're gonna open up a new file. So, let's go to File Open. And, let's go to the...

Day Two folder segment Two. And, let's go to Sign I'm gonna open up the final just to show you what it looks like. You do not have to open it, I'll open both of these. All right, why don't you fit the art board in the window anyway you know how. View, Fit Art Board in Window, double-click the Hand tool. All right, we're gonna make just kind of a simple little sign. And, the idea behind the sign is that we're gonna have a lot of different effects that we're gonna apply here. One of the first things that I wanna introduce you to is the Appearance Panel. And, one of favorite things to do with the Appearance Panel, taking and applying multiple strokes and multiple effects to the same object, okay. So, what we are going to do back over here in Sign Start is I have this shape. Now, if you click on this shape here you're gonna see that it is a compound shape, it's called, which means we can edit it later on. And, don't forget when you work in Illustrator if you click on something you can always kind of get an idea for what it is by looking up there, okay? You can also work with the Layers Panel, of course, to see that. But, with this selected why don't you come over to the right and hopefully you have this showing but you should see the Appearance Panel over there. If you can't find it go under the window menu and you should see Appearance. There it is right there. I am actually gonna drag mine out just so I can kind of move it around. You can leave yours where it is, it's totally fine. Now, one thing I do want you do with the Appearance Panel is take the bottom down here, this little gripper right down there and drag it down. Make it a little taller. This panel, we mentioned this, in the beginning day that this panel was all about showing you the different appearance properties that are applied to an object or selected objects. You can select a whole bunch of things and it will show you what is selected. It will show you what's applied stroke, fill. It'll also show you your effects. So, if you have a drop shadow for instance those'll get listed in here. One of my favorite things, like I said before to do is to work with the stroke and fill directly in here because it's kind of all in one place. You don't have to pick stroke or fill. And, if you look right here you're gonna see every one of these, these are called appearance properties, has a little arrow next to it. At least the stroke and the fill do. Why don't you click on one of those. And, you're gonna see that the opacity is something we can change for each one of these appearance properties. So, if we wanted to change the appearance of the fill for instance like to make it a little more transparent we can do that without effecting the stroke. To me that's awesome 'cause there's so many cook things we could do with that. And, what I'd like to do is I'd like to go out and apply a couple different strokes to the edge of this path here. I maybe want like a white and maybe like a black or a green or something like that. Instead of going and creating multiple shapes and just stacking them back on top and making one bigger, we can do that right here. With this object selected if you look at the bottom down here, lower left corner you're gonna see Add New Stroke, and Add New Fill. Go ahead and click Add New Stroke. (coughs) Excuse me. Now, this is gonna give us a lot of options here. Because, if we choose Add New Stroke what it's gonna do is it's gonna obviously put a second Stroke on this object. But, what it does is it actually duplicates the Stroke that's already there. So, it's a copy of the same thing. Now, what's really weird about this is it's actually sitting on top of the old stroke. How many of you have worked with Layers in Photoshop before, okay, or Layers in Illustrator now. But, if you layer content in there you can actually change Layer order and do different things to it. The same applies to the Appearance Panel. We actually have two strokes now sitting on top. Now, why don't you do this for me, take this stroke right here and what I'd like you to do is we're gonna change the Stroke weight. Now, to do that you just, you can use the arrows you can use something simple like that. Go ahead and just make it a little bit bigger, that's fine. Okay, and go ahead and change the color. So, come right here to the color box and click on that. Just pick, I don't know, maybe like an orange or a green or something like that, that's totally fine. And, you're gonna notice that there is a little eyeball to the left here. This is how we turn off the visibility so we can keep it, but just not show it. Why don't you click on the little eye there, icon to the left of that stroke. And, notice what you see now, you see the other stroke, the original stroke sitting there. If you start working with shapes and objects and artwork as you start adding strokes and fills to it the stacking order matters. The stroke and fill at the very top is gonna be on top of every other stroke and fill, okay. And, it's in the same place so it's probably gonna cover the other one. What we can do here, which is pretty awesome, is you can take these and reorder 'em. So, I'm gonna take that big green stroke right there and if you drag it by the appearance like let's say right over here where the blank area is if I drag it down and I see a line I can reorder these strokes. And, if I let go look what I get out there. Now, what I want you to do is go to that black stroke and let's make the stroke a little bit bigger, maybe like three point. So, it's kind of weird but you've gotta sometimes, you gotta click on the size or on the Appearance Property and then you can change it 'cause you're selecting it to do it, okay? So, maybe make it like three point, actually make it a teeny bit bigger just so you can see it. So, we now have two strokes that are essentially overlapping each other, just to me that's pretty awesome. Excuse me, now what we can do if we want to we can actually have one of the strokes be on the inside of the shape and maybe one be on the outside of the shapes so they're doing something like this. The path itself is right here and the two strokes are kinda going around out to the other side. Come to the black stoke here and click on the word Stroke. That's gonna open up the Stroke Panel so we can do just about anything we want to the stroke now. If you look in here you're going to see that we have a line stroke. Now unfortunately, this is a little different kind of path. In the previous class I showed you how to create or merge shapes together using Pathfinder, that panel, you remember that? And, I said that we can make 'em so that we use the circle and the rounded rectangle. We kind of made that weird emblem thing. And, I said that you make it to where you can still edit the shapes without expanding them. That's what this shape is going on here. You can still edit these individual shapes. It's not gonna let me do this because of that. And, I don't know if you remember in the last class I said we may have to expand the shape or commit to it. I said it might as well be commit to get things to work sometimes. This is one of the reasons why, okay. So, I cannot do this right there, just look it's grayed out. I can't do it, okay? So, how do I do this? How would I go about then saying well I want these strokes to be moved away from each other, look different. This is awesome, okay. With this stroke selected, with this appearance selected you can see 'cause it's highlighted. Come down here to the add new effect button down at the bottom. What I want you to do is, let me zoom on down a little bit. Click on that button and you'll see that we have a series of effects in here. Now, effects in Illustrator are broken up into two different kinds. We have Illustrator Effects and we have Photoshop Effects. The Illustrator Effects up top there technically will not convert the vector to anything. It'll just kind of, it'll stay vector, okay? Now, the effect itself might be raster, meaning made out of pixels like a drop shadow. Okay, a drop shadow's not vector, it's actually raster. Excuse me, down here with the Photoshop Effects are if you use one of these it's probably gonna take your shape and make it into raster because a blur, it's really hard to blur a vector object without turning it into pixels, okay. So, that's something to think about when you work with effects. If you look up here in the Illustrator Effects why don't you come to Path. And, one of my favorite, favorite, favorite effects is called Offset Path. What this allows you to do is take essentially the stroke or whatever appearance is selected in there and move it away from the path, away from the object or closer to the object. So, go ahead and choose Offset Path. Now, it's gonna come up with this dialog here and I'm really zoomed in here just so you can see this. But, it's kind of weird and I hate this. There's no arrows to change the value. You've gotta type it in or do something like that. Let me just show you a tip here, kind of a nice tip. I said this in the beginning class, the beginner class but I said if you click on the label for the field it selects what's in the field. So, if I click on the word Offset it'll select that. You can actually use your arrow keys up and down now, press one or the other, to go up or down to change the values. Now unfortunately, it's gonna jump. These are big values, okay. So, if we wanna small value what we're gonna do is we're gonna go in an type it in, okay? Actually, why don't you try something like .125. If you need to type that in go ahead and type in .125. Don't forget if you see a value in there like inches you don't need to type that in, it'll do it. And, go ahead and select preview and you should see it happen, pretty cool. So, what we can do is we can take a series of strokes that we've got on a single object and start to kind of move them away, bring 'em closer. You could put, I don't know, 10 strokes on this thing and make it look really kind of neat. There's some interesting things we can do. Now, using this method it's kind of hard because you can now see that there's a gap between the strokes. To compensate for that gap if I didn't want it I might have to go in and change the stroke weight and make it bigger or try and move this offset a little smaller, like maybe .1 and then see what that looks like. Eh, that looks pretty good, okay. So, you see how it moved it a little bit closer? It's not quite there, I can see a little white still. So I might, you guys can go a little bit further here and you can do like .08. And stop me, I'm getting a little crazy. This is a thing, you just using these and you just keep going and keep going and keep going, but. Okay, so we can do this kind of offset. We can do a lot of these. Why don't you go ahead and click Okay. And, now take a look in the actual Appearance Panel. Does it look any different? Anything in there? It really doesn't does it? Why don't you come to this stroke that we just worked with and click the arrow to the left of it. Because we had that stroke selected we had that line selected, excuse me, we had that Appearance Option selected in the Appearance Panel it only effects, now, that stroke. So, it's underneath, it's part of it. You guys, we can actually apply effects that apply to everything out here if we want to, okay? There's a lot of ways to do this. There's a million ways to do this. Now, you can see right here we have offset path. What I could do if I want to edit it I could just click on it again, do my edit, be done. If I did not want that effect right there there's two things I could do. I could just go over here and say, "Eh, let's turn it off "so we don't have to see it," but it's still there. Or, you guys can figure this out, I'm sure, you can drag this thing to the cupcake down here. Or, you can just click it to delete it, okay, if it's selected you can do that to, okay? All right, is that making sense? Run with there, there's so many things you could do. It's phenomenal, I love doing this. Go ahead and close, I like to keep this very neat and orderly so go ahead and click on the arrows and collapse that. All right, now we've got the fill out here. What I'd like to do is we're gonna put a green color in the Fill, or do whatever you want, but click on the Fill box here, the Fill color. And then, you're gonna click again to be able to get the swatches, which is kind of cool. Now, I wanna show you a little trick here, a little tip that is just, I discovered this and this is embarrassing but anytime you go to pick a color anywhere, Control Panel, here, Swatch Panel, whatever if you come up to this if you click on it you see all the swatches. What if I wanna make a color right now, just quickly kind of make one up? If you hold down the shift key and you click it you actually get the Color Panel instead, which is kind of neat. So, you can mix a color right there. I don't know why it's jumping up there. It's doing some weird things, but. So, by shift clicking, now it even, this is what's embarrassing, it tells you in the tool tip hold the shift key to see an alternate UI, so anyway. All right, just click on it, don't hold the shift. Just click on it. Let's see the swatches and let's pick ourselves a color. You guys can pick a green or something like that, whatever looks good to you, okay? All right, now we've got ourselves a fill. What I'd like to do now is we're actually gonna put a separate fill on this thing. We're gonna stack fills. This is where the magic really starts to happen because if we wanna go in, maybe I wanna take, I don't know, like a texture or a gradient, or I wanna take something like a pattern and stick it in there we can have a color, a pattern, a gradient, a texture, a this, a that, and just stack 'em all on as fills, which is pretty, like I said this is where the cool stuff comes in. Come down to the bottom down here and click Add New Fill. What it's gonna do is it's gonna duplicate the existing fill that we have and let us change it. So, we're just gonna pick something else. Now, you've gotta remember the stacking order here. This green fill or this fill you have here is gonna cover the other fill, remember that, right? So, come to the top one, click on that, let's pick a different color. Why don't you just pick another color, basically? Just pick another color, all right? And, if you look you're gonna notice that it's now completely covering the other fill because it's just a color fill, right? If I turn the eye off, like temporarily turn it off you'll start to see the other green 'cause it's underneath it. What I wanna do I wanna start to throw maybe like a pattern in here, do something like that. So, come back to the fill here and click on it. If you want to you can create your own pattern. You can do all kinds of stuff. We took a look at that in the beginners class. I actually have a few patterns that we could try and use out here. Why don't you try like I have a pattern called Alyssa. You can just click on that if you want, take a look at it. I also have a pattern, that's a little funky for a gardening sign, anyway. You can try some different things here. Oh, foliage looks nice, I think, that's great. I know you'll probably disagree, that's okay. Pick what you want. And, I do wanna point this out. I have not mentioned this in the entire course, but Illustrator comes with a lot of colors, it comes with a lot of things you can work with. And, if you're looking at this stuff and you're like "that's it, really? "I gotta go make my own," no. If you look under here you're gonna see that there's a little button right here, there's a little button right there, right there called show Swatch Library menus. If you click on that there it all is. You have tons of colors that are available to you. I'm not just talking like brown, red, green. You actually have a series of gradients that are already here you can use. These gradients are pretty cool, like metal. They have metal built in here you can use. We also have a bunch of patterns already here. And, I wanna show you my favorite patterns. If you come to Patterns, Decorative, the Vonster Patterns, those are killer. So, those are pretty cool. Anyway, if you pick one of these it's gonna open up a panel, a separate panel that you can just click on to basically apply. I can say, "Hey, let's use that Vonster Pattern," and it'll just put it in there. Now, the reason why it's doing it is because that fill row is selected. It's just adjusting that one. I don't wanna get crazy here. I've gotta stop. But, you guys can go nuts. Anyway, okay, all right so we got a pattern here, that's great. Now, if you put a, wow that's not good for this. Let me change that. All right, now you can see that I've got the pattern. The great thing about patterns is that you're gonna see the color beneath it 'cause a lot of patterns do not have color between the artwork that it's a repeat, okay? I can see my green underneath, that's the green fill below. But, one of the better things you can do here is we can now go in and use what's called a Blend Mode. So, I can blend this fill into the fill below it. Come to that fill, I know you guys I just took you down a rabbit hole of colors and textures and things that you could use, but let's come to the fill here and click on the arrow right there and you'll see the opacity. Click on opacity. And, what we can do is we can change the opacity and make it a little more transparent. Sometimes what I do is to take colors and blend them. I'll make one a little bit see through, right? So, I can go to opacity here, click on the arrow and just crank it down a little bit. You can see it happen. It's kind of neat. We can also come to what's called Normal here. These are called Blend Modes. If you click on Normal how many of you know what the Blend Modes do, like all of these like before clicking on them? I kind of do, sort of, kind of have a general idea of what they do, but yeah no, I don't know. If you do that's amazing. So, what you can do is you can come in here and choose a Blend Mode. Let me zoom out, sorry. And, choose a Blend Mode from this menu right here called Normal. And, it's gonna allow you to just have the artwork blend in a little different way. Sometimes it won't work very well, but other times it will be awesome. That's not bad, okay. My point here is that when working with appearances we can do a lot. We've got a lot of filters, we've got a lot of effects, a lot of different things we can do stroke wise, et cetera.

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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