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How to Use Live Effects with Adobe Illustrator

Learn how to use live effects with Adobe Illustrator from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.


This is how to use Live Effects in Adobe Illustrator. So, essentially, what Live Effects are are the ability to take an object that's on your Illustrator art board and apply an effect to it that does not actually change the object itself. That way, you can alter the effect and change the appearance of the object, but the object stays the same.

So, we're going to take a rectangle over on our Tool panel, going to drag it out. You can change it to any color. We're going to make this one red. And, we are going to find some effects.

Now, on the top of your window in your menu panel, you'll see the Effect menu, and if you scroll down, you'll notice there are Illustrator Effects and Photoshop Effects. The difference is Illustrator effects are totally scalable because they're vector effects. Photoshop effects are bitmap effects, so they can get blurry or they're not going to scale completely with the size of your artwork.

So, we'll go into an Illustrator effect. And, let's say we want to... let's say we want to change it to scribble. Slide this over, and we'll click preview. And if you look in the window, you'll notice there's now a scribble effect on it.

Now, what this did was, all it did was create a scribble effect appearance. It's not actually changing your default shape. So, we're going to click okay, because this is a live effect. And when we click this, it might be hard to see...and I'll change the color to yellow...but the red box is still around it in the shape of our original rectangle. So, we can actually click this. Let's say we want to change the shape to something else. The Live Effect will stay the same, but we can still change the shape so that it still applies.

So, we'll grab one of the anchor points using the direct selection tool. We're going to grab this one. We're going to pull it out, and you see the Live Effect continues to mold with the shape, no matter what the shape is.

Let's add in an anchor point with the plus button. We're going to click that anchor point after we click on the line segment, and we're going to pull it up, and we still have the same effect, different shape. And with Live Effects, you can remove, let's go back to our original rectangular shape...and if I wanted to show it as a solid color again, I can simply remove the Live Effect.

And the way you do that is you either go to your Layers panel, and you open the layer with the effect that's on it, and you click the circle and drag that appearance from that circle into the Trash can. Or, you can go into your appearance panel. You can click Window, Appearance and it will come up on your right window panel area. And then you look for the item that you want to get rid of, which is Scribble, and you can drop that in the Trash can, and it will get rid of it.

Now, if you wanted to ever go back in and you wanted to change the Live Effect in your appearance panel, you go to the item like this, where it says Scribble, and you click that, and that will bring up our Scribble menu. And, we can change our settings, and this goes for any Live Effect. So, it's not limited to just this.

And that is how you work with Live Effects in Adobe Illustrator.

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