Using Symbols in Adobe® Illustrator®
We're gonna take a little look at symbols. Symbols are they're a life saver and they're a time saver and a space saver when you work with illustrator. If we're working on our projects and suppose that I'm working on an ad here and what I wanna do is I wanna take that backpack and I wanna show it in three different colors or five different colors or something like that. Instead of me taking this backpack object and just copying it three, five, 10 times down there, we can actually take that backpack and save it as what's called a symbol. A symbol is saved in the document and it's basically a master backpack in this case, we can drag out copies of the symbol and if we edit the original symbol all of those copies will update it automatically. That's one of the best parts about symbols, okay. Select the backpack, I wanna select also the little blend thing we've got in the middle, so go ahead and drag across select, if you don't mind. Actually we need the zipper too, so you might want to shi...
ft click on the zipper or drag across that one too. Now, look on the right over here and you're gonna see the symbols panel. It looks like a little three leaf clover or whatever right there. The symbols panel is where we can go to save these. Now I've already got one saved just in case, you can actually see it over there. Symbols, by the way, are awesome. If you decide never to use these in your art work you can use symbols to learn how illustrator, how people build things. If you look down to the lower left down here and click on this little library button, it looks like a stack of books way down there, there are a ton of symbols or pre-done artwork built in here that you can just drag out and see how it's built. This is, I learned a lot by doing this. So if I go in here, if you take a look like one of my favorites is um, there's like retro, there's all kinds of stuff in here, like primitive, all these kinds of things. You can actually take these little pieces of artwork, drag them out and you can use them in your designs. But they are what are called symbols. So there's a ton of different libraries built in here that you can use. Now you can use your own or create your own which is what we're about to do, okay. So, I know, once again, probably exploring the libraries, but make sure that your backpack is selected and to make or save this as a symbol so we can reuse it we can just come over to the symbols panel, there's a bunch of ways to do this. Down at the bottom, you're gonna see new symbol. That button down there, if you click on that any selected artwork will be saved within the symbols panel, become a symbol. So go ahead and click on that. And it's gonna ask you, it's gonna say, alright, well, what do you wanna call this? Let's just call it uh, call it pack. That's fine. It's gonna have a lot of things in here you don't need to touch, okay. There is something called an export type, don't worry about it, it's useless for most of us, okay? The big thing is right here. We have two kinds of symbols we create. We have a dynamic symbol and we have a static symbol. Dynamic symbols are brand new. These just came in I think this version, 2015. Dynamic symbols we're gonna see how they work, I'm not even gonna try to describe em, okay. Static symbols are old school and something we will use, I will show you this as we get in, okay. The rest of the stuff we don't need to touch right now. Come down here and click okay, you're gonna see it says it's gotta be expanded, don't worry about that, just click okay, no worries. And there we go. You will notice they bring it in front of the apple, mine went in front of the apple now out there. That's fine, just send it behind the apple, get it behind there. Object arrange, send to back. There we go. Okay, look at the symbol thumbnail in the symbols panel and you're gonna see a little plus in the corner. That indicates a dynamic symbol. The rest of the symbols in there except for the other backpack I made are not dynamic. Now here's what I mean by dynamic. Let me just, I'll just show you this, just sit back for a second. When we used to make symbols, if you wanted to use them in your document, matter of fact, we can used them in just about any document, the symbols we save right now are only saved in this document, okay. This is one of the reasons why you guys, I like the whole library thing. This kind of can, nah, not totally, the library can actually kind of replace it a little bit, symbols, because it's linked, right. It's not the same thing, it's similar. I'm gonna take that flower, and I'm gonna drag it out. Cool, I got a flower, k, I can go out here and scale it and do some different things, I'm using the shift key. And I can just set it right there. Now, what if I want a bunch of these, I'm gonna drag these out. I'm gonna say, hey I want a bouquet of flowers, we're just gonna put a bunch. Alright, that's good enough. Now, I look at those flowers and I'm like, ah, that's cool, I want one of them to be blue. I can't do that, okay. All these flowers are basically locked, they are linked to the original symbol. For me to update them, I have to go back to the original symbol, and if I double click, I can go in there and start to make my edits. I'm gonna zoom in here so we can see this. I can start to do like, I'm gonna get rid of center thing here, like this, that, this, that, there, that looks great, k. Now I'm gonna get out of it. Really, I'm gonna get out of it, and if you take a look, you just updated all of the symbols and all those ones out there. Now that, that's what we've had forever, okay, we could not edit them out there. If we really wanted to edit one of these flowers out here I would have to come up here and you're gonna see a button called break link. That means, it will never update if the original symbol updates, okay. We now have dynamic symbols. Dynamic symbols are awesome. You can edit them independently, okay, and we're gonna do that. So I wanna have you guys do this with me. I wanna use this backpack, we're gonna put two of them out here, k, we can scale them to do things but why don't you take the backpack or the pack right here, the one you made, drag it out and just drop it out there. It's gonna be big, don't worry. Let's go ahead and scale it, make it a little bit smaller. So use your shift key, hold down the shift key, drag the corner, make it a little smaller, let go of the mouse, let go of the shift key. And just drag it right over here. There we go. Now that right there, you guys, in your art board, it's called a symbol instance. It's an instance of the symbol, it's still linked, it's there, it's linked, if we go to this symbol right now, and we double click and edit it, it's gonna update that symbol, k. What I want you to do is this, take that symbol, and we're gonna make a copy of it. This little symbol instance down here. So we're gonna option drag it across or just copy paste it, okay. Some I'm gonna option drag of to the right here and make a little copy of it. Let go of your mouse, then your option key. You can also just copy paste and move it, that's fine. Alright, come back to your symbol over here and go ahead and double click on it in the symbols panel. Double click on the symbol. It kind of goes into like an isolation thing so it says alright, there's your symbol, let's edit this thing. Now if we decide, we're like, ah, let's do this, let's change the color of one of these pieces, okay for instance, so, or we can move the zipper or do something like that. You know what, keep it simple. Take the zipper and just drag it up maybe. Put it up here. It's a really simple change, okay. You'll see that we are in an isolation mode, you can see it right along the top there, k. If you just simply press escape right now, or click on the arrow, right up here. You're saying you're done editing the symbol. K, so I'll click on the arrow up there, that's fine. Now take a look at all the instances out there. They've all updated. This is the power symbols, these things are awesome, they really are, it's a great way to be able to make it so that you can go out and have one single instance, one single symbol rather, and update that. Now this is also the power of a dynamic symbol. With a dynamic symbol, what if I'm telling you that I want these two backpacks down here, one to be red and one to be green, for instance. In the past, we'd have to go to these symbol instances and we'd have to break em, and say ah, they're not gonna update anymore, that's fine. But because this is a dynamic symbol, I can't even say that right, dynamic symbol, we can now edit these right here. Zoom in to those little backpacks if you don't mind, I'll go to my zoom tool, and I'll zoom in. In order for us to edit these now, and there's only so many edits we can do. The edits we can really do are gonna be changing things like color, gradient, and that's pretty much it. Go to your direct selection tool, this is how you have to edit a dynamic symbol. You have to go to the direct selection tool, so select that, come out here, and click on one of the panels, like the blue panel right here for instance. It's gonna select that one shape, can you guys see that? Go pick another color, I just clicked right in the blue, it's selected, it's kinda hard to tell, but it's selected. Now we probably gotta go over to the swatches panel here and pick another color. I'll pick like a red because I want this to be a red backpack for instance. We can edit it, which is cool. So I can keep going all the different panels here, clicking on them, picking it. Like I said, it's gotta be this tool and we can make a different color backpack. You can do this for every one of the instances. Here's the mind melt though, okay. These are still linked to the original symbol. If we go to the original symbol and delete the zipper, or make it something, get rid of the bungee stuff we did, these will update still, just not the color. So that's why these are dynamic, okay. I can't even tell you how much these are saving me as far as, 'cause I do a lot of web and we have a lot of buttons, a lot of different things that we do and I create one single button as a symbol, I drag a bunch out and I can change each one a different color. So we have dynamic. Is that making sense to everybody? Is that kinda, it's kind of a lot to pull in, I know, a little Greek, but um, those are symbols. If you can just simply remember honestly, that with symbols we have the original and we have instances, and they're linked together. That's the main feature, that's the big idea behind symbols that I love.