• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint


(A quick introduction to some of the terms that you will encounter as you proceed through this book.)

Object undergoing a scale tranformation

Path (Or “object”) Any individual shape that is created in Illustrator. A path can be open (a line) or closed (no endpoints). Paths are composed of smooth and/or corner anchor points. Smooth anchor points have direction lines. Anchor points and segments can be modified to reshape any path.
Anchor point A corner point or smooth point that joins two segments of a path.
Curve segment The segment between two smooth points or between a corner point and a smooth point.
Straight segment The segment between two corner points.
Direction linesThe pair of antennae that stick out from every smooth point. To reshape a curved segment, rotate, lengthen, or shorten a direction line.
Select Highlight an object in the document window for editing. Only selected objects can be modified. When a whole object is selected, its anchor points are solid (not hollow). The Selection tool is used to select whole objects or groups; the Group-selection tool is used to select nested groups; and the Direct-selection tool is used to select parts of objects.
Layer A stack of objects that is in front of or behind other objects. An illustration can contain multiple top-level layers and numerous sublayers. The actual objects that make up an illustration (paths, type, mesh objects, etc.) are nested within top-level layers or sublayers.
Group Two or more objects that are united via the Group command so they can be moved or modified in unison.
TransformTo rotate, scale, reflect, or shear an object or create a blend between two objects.

Blend created using a circle and a star

Art brush stoke

Radial gradient

Gradient mesh

FillColor, pattern, or gradient applied to the inside of an object.
StrokeColor applied to the edge (path) of an object.
BlendA multi-step color and shape progression between two or more objects. If you reshape, recolor, or move any of the individual objects in a blend or reshape, move, or transform the path that controls the whole blend, the blend will update automatically.
Brush stroke A decorative embellishment (calligraphic, art, scatter, or pattern) that is either applied to an existing path or drawn using the Paintbrush tool.
Gradient fill A gradual blending of two or more colors within an object. A gradient fill can be linear (side to side) or radial (radiating outward from a center point).
Gradient mesh An editable object fill, composed of multicolored gradients along mesh lines, created with the Gradient Mesh tool or the Gradient Mesh command. Gradient meshes are used for naturalistic rendering.
Compound shape An editable (and reversible) union of overlapping objects produced via the shape mode buttons on the Pathfinder palette. If individual objects within a compound shape are moved, restacked, or reshaped, the overall compound shape adjusts accordingly.
Compound path The combining of two or more objects into one object—that is, until or unless the compound path is released. Where the original objects overlapped, a transparent hole is created, through which shapes or patterns behind the object are revealed.
Pathfinders The pathfinder commands determine where selected paths overlap and then divide, trim, merge, crop, outline, or subtract from them to produce non-overlapping (flattened) closed paths or lines. These commands aren't reversible, except using by Undo.
Clipping mask A command that uses an object to trim (clip) away parts of other objects that extend beyond its border. The clipped areas don't display or print. An opacity mask applies a mask based on opacity values.

Drop shadow effect

Envelope distortion

Illustration divided into slices

Appearances Editable and removable attributes, such as multiple fills, strokes, effects, blending modes, transparency values, patterns, and brush strokes.
Style A set of appearance attributes that is saved to, and can be retrieved from, the Styles palette.
Effects Commands on the Effect menu that modify the appearance of an object without actually changing its path. Effects can be edited or removed at any time.
Symbol An object that is stored on the Symbols palette. A placed symbol is called an instance. Multiple instances form what is called a symbol set. Symbolism tools are used to modify instances.
Liquify Seven tools—Warp, Twirl, Pucker, Bloat, Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle—that are used to reshape an object or objects. By pushing and pulling on an object's edges with one of these tools, you can reshape the object like you might sculpt a piece of clay. Many of the Illustrator effects also produce distortion.
Envelope A special kind of container that is used to produce distortion. When you distort an envelope, the object(s) within the envelope conforms to the distortion. Both an envelope and the object(s) it contains are fully editable.
Action A recorded sequence of editing events that can be replayed on any document or object.
Optimization The process in which file format, storage size, and color parameters are chosen for an image in order to maximize its quality, yet still enable it to download and display quickly on the Web.
Slicing The division of areas in an illustration. When exporting an illustration using Illustrator's Save for Web dialog box, you can choose different optimization formats and settings for each slice in order to achieve faster download speeds. A separate export file is generated for each slice, containing the object or objects within it. Three types of slices can be created in Illustrator: object slices, text slices, and user slices.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint