How to use dynamic symbols

How to use the new dynamic symbols in Illustrator CC tutorial and how to recolor / change width / add dash etc in seconds in 2018 2017 2015 etc

Dynamic symbols in Illustrator

how to use dynamic symbols for Illustrator tutorial
  1. Select a path or paths to be used as a dynamic symbol in Illustrator

  2. Drag to the symbols panel in Illustrator

  3. Select the dynamic symbol option

  4. Give it a name

  5. Click OK

  6. Use with the direct selection tool to recolor / change stroke etc


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


Basic : Dynamic symbols means a single artwork can be initially red (as the master) but combined with the direct selection tool, the instance can now be blue and green etc in seconds without any change to the master (still stored away in the presets panel).


Panel display : To save them, simply select the correct type when you add the artwork to the presets panel (which can be found in the window menu). As soon as it is added, the only difference you will see is a small little icon '+' in the bottom right beside the artwork in the panel.


Use with standard tools : You can also use the new shapes with all the features of AI such as the sprayer tool. You can also simply drag an instance to the artboard and use that as you would before such as expand and add opacity and blending modes, just now the new artwork can be quickly re-colored in seconds instead of having to expand the art etc You can select the instances as before with the selection tool. You can add effects to the artwork as before. You can still use them with the appearance panel such as adding strokes etc.


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Select individual parts of design : You can select the items as before by using the selection tool. You can also select the individual parts of the shape by selecting the individual parts using the direct selection tool.


Change color of parts : If you have a new shape with say a green outer rim and a red inner core and you can now use the direct selection tool and select the green path then the color of the fill will change to green and if you select the red part of the new shape then the color in the fill will change to red.


You can then change the individual part from red to orange or any other color. Any change you make with the direct selection tool to the color will not change the master which will remain in the preset panel untouched.


Generate more instances : You can select the master again and drag another instance to the document / artboard. The instance will be a copy of the current master so none of the changes to the other instances will be attached to the new instance. You can then again select the direct selection tool and select individual parts of the path and change the fill, stroke color, width / weight, dash etc. You can then repeat this with a new instance from the master and so on.


Using the direct selection tool you can change the object's individual parts. The easiest way is to de-select the entire path and then click the individual parts.


Change the following properties : Fill color

Stroke color

Width such as changing it from 10pt to 20pt

Dash settings etc


Location / position of path

Add effects such as live transforms to the individual parts

Blending modes


Examples : You can see some examples on the right of paths. The first rectangle is an instance with green fill and green stroke, the next instance (using the same master preset) is one with a red fill and a yellow stroke and the stroke width / weight has been reduced using the direct selection tool. The bottom left instance shows a brown fill with a dash style added again using the direct tool. And so on.


Literally 1000s of designs can all be based on the single source preset and that can be modified at any time say turning the square into a totally different path


Edit master also : You can double click the master in the presets panel and change the vector shape in numerous ways and change the font, change the color etc of the type and then exit out of the editing mode. All the instances will then be updated accordingly so all the items will be set to the fill / stroke as well as before and all the transformations will be added as before.


Sets on site : It should be noted that all the sets on this site were created pre the changeover to the addition of the new type and so if you wish to convert them, the easiest way is to drag the artwork from the presets panel and expand them via the object menu and re-drag the new art to the preset's panel and select the new option. Not ideal and it is a pity that Adobe did not supply a convertor tool.


Keywords : How to use dynamic symbols in Illustrator Tutorial



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