Options vs symbol tool

When we spray with the “Symbol Sprayer” tool, we saw that our mouse pointer change into a circle (1) with an icon of an aerosol inside.
This circle is the area where all the instances, which occur in a symbol set will be processed. But more about editing symbol sets in the next section of this lesson.

You can change the diameter of this circle by double clicking the “Symbol Sprayer” tool in the toolbar.
This opens the “Symbolism Tools Options” dialog.
In the top box, you can adjust the diameter, that is the editing area of the circle.
The shortcut for this are the square brackets on your keyboard “[” and “]” (QWERTY keyboard).
The AZERTY keyboard users should change these settings in the “Hot keys” dialog (see Lesson 6) under the “Tools” section.

Intensity: Allows you to specify how quickly the change occurs (the higher the value, the faster the change).

Symbol Set Density: Assign a value here to set the spacing between the copies of the symbols in the set (at a higher value, the spacing between the copies of the symbols in the set is smaller).

Method: To set the way symbol instances to be changed for the tools that are going to be discussed in the second part of this lesson.

         User-defined: if you want to change the symbols gradually relative to the position of the cursor.
         Random: To change the symbols in the area under the cursor randomly.
         Average: To change the symbol values gradually into a line.

Show Brush size and Intensity: this indicates the size while you use the tool.

Symbolism Tool Options
The options for Symbol Sprayer (Scrunch, Size, Spinner, Screener, Stainer and Styler), only appear under the General options when the “Symbol Sprayer” tool is selected.
These options determine how new symbol instances are added to symbol sets.
Each option has two choices:

  1. Average
    Adds a new symbol with the average value of the existing symbol instances within the brush radius. A copy of an instance is added to an area with the existing symbol instances, with an average 50% transparency and 50% transparency of existing instance, and a copy that is added to an area where there are no existing instances, is fully opaque.
  2. User Defined
    Application specific preset values for each parameter: Density is based on the original size of the symbol.
    When size is the original symbol size,
    when rotation of the mouse direction is used (or no direction if the mouse is not moved),
    when Screening is used at 100% opacity,
    when painted with the current fill color and the full amount of color used,
    and when the Style used is the current style.


Different symbolism tools

When you have drawn symbol set, you can edit the different symbol tools.
These tools can be found under the “Symbol Sprayer” in the tool bar.
It is very easy to work when you do not always need to press a button in the toolbar, to see and select the underlying tools.
In Illustrator, you can detach anything that you find on the menu. Something like the detachable menu in the former Office applications.
To detach the menu from the toolbar, click and hold the mouse button until the submenu appears. And when this sub-menu appears, choose the arrow pointing to the right.
This places an additional toolbar with the buttons in your document. Do not fear, this submenu is still present in the tool bar, even when the new menu bar closes.

This is not only for the “Symbol Sprayer” tool, but for every tool in the tool bar, where there are underlying tools. That is if there is such a black triangle next to the tool from the toolbar.

Now, back to the several symbol tools.

Each tool will change the appearance of the symbol.

I will just go over this with you.

With the first tool “Symbols shifter”, we move the instances in the symbol. How many instances you will move depends on the diameter (editing area) of the circle.
I already explained how to resize this “editing area”.
If you wish to change the stacking order of an instance, hold the Shift key on your keyboard while you click on an instance. This brings the clicked instance to the foreground.
Clicking the instance with the Shift key and the Alt key, moves it into the background.

The second tool “Symbols Scruncher” does just the opposite, it places the instances closer together.
Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard pressed when you want to place them further apart.


The third tool “Symbol Sizer” will increase the size of the instances in the editing area. If you also hold the Alt key on your keyboard pressed, it reduces the size of the instances.


The fourth tool “Symbols Spinner” rotates the instances.
Just click the instance and drag the mouse pointer in the direction that you want to rotate the instance.

The fifth tool “Symbol Stainer” changes the hue of the instances.
Select this and select the fill color that you want to use for coloring in the Color panel.
And click and drag over the instances you want to change the color.
Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard while you click or drag to reduce the degree of coloration and to display more original color of the symbol.
Hold the Shift key pressed to maintain a constant degree of coloration.

The sixth tool “Symbol Screener” adjusts the transparency of instances. Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard pressed to remove this transparency.


And the last tool “Symbol Styler” can apply a style to one or more instances.
Select a style in the “Graphic Styles” panel and click or drag onto the place where you want to apply a style.

As you notice, the “Graphic Styles” panel is in the library of panels.

You've completed Lesson 9