by infinite_resolution


April 9, 2009

Keeping Up Appearances

Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Marketing Manger


Until I became assimilated into the language of Illustrator at Adobe, the term “appearance” didn’t mean much to me, despite the fact that I’d used Illustrator for years. The Appearance panel? Nice for basic object info, I guess. Terms like “expand to basic appearance?” Huh? Wouldn’t one “reduce” or “diminish” to basic?

Was I ever missing the boat! It took watching in-house Adobe pros and in-the-know customers who really grasped the power of Appearances and the Appearance panel to wake me up. Now I can’t understand how I ever used Illustrator without the Appearance panel, and in Illustrator CS4, it’s truly one of my favorite features.

I’m going to let the pros on the team give you the real skinny info on Appearances and the Appearance panel in posts to follow, but let me share with you my “a ha!” moment and (hopefully) inspire you to check it out.

The “a ha:” it happened watching Matthew Richmond of the Chopping Block at FITC several years ago, where he was presenting from his bag of Illustrator tricks (he has many) to a packed room. It was his Appearance panel tips that rocked the house. He’s much more lively in person, but he does a great intro to Appearances and Live Effects here, for Illustrator CS3.
The Block has a beautiful new blog with lots of cool posts. Here’s yet another Matthew tip that uses the Appearance panel to let you “design/draw your asterisk off.”


Oh yeah, all this has been in Illustrator for some time. Wait till you see what’s new for the Appearance panel in CS4…


  • By Cheryl - 4:45 PM on April 9, 2009  

    “Wait till you see what’s new for the Appearance panel in CS4…”Um, CS4 has been out since last year. Hi Cheryl, yes that’s true, but not everyone has upgraded yet. This comment was directed to those who haven’t used CS4 yet. -=Brenda

  • By Tom Hart - 3:20 PM on April 23, 2009  

    You AI bloggers have it so easy. When I was on the Illustrator team back in ’98 I had to trudge 10 miles through the snow to write on the blog. What Blog? You mean the stone tablet we had to chisel? Seriously, it is exciting to be able to reach out to our users this way. Glad you are still one of them!-=Brenda

  • By Jason Burnett - 9:04 PM on January 5, 2011  

    I am using Illustrator CS5 on a friends’ computer and there is no appearance panel. Do you know how I can get this to work? I have searched and searched and nothing seems to allow me to add the appearance panel. Even though, I am sure that I have used it before on this same machine. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Great blog, btw.

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