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  • Adobe Illustrator Appearance Panel

    Posted on 13th August 2022 by Greta Powell

    Adobe Illustrator Appearance Panel


    It’s quite odd that of all the forty one panels that live inside Illustrator that one of the most useful is often ignored. The Adobe Illustrator Appearance Panel is impressive to say the list and quite possibly in the top three of all forty one of them.


    We cover it on the Illustrator Training Courses and show a number of different ways it can be used to create outstanding artwork.


    What can you do with the Appearance Panel?

    Like all panels the Appearance panel can be found under the Window menu. It lets you view and change different appearances to a group, object or a layer. Similiar to layers you can also shuffle the order of the objects attributes. Multiple effects such as fills, strokes and FX effects can be applied and are listed in the order they were applied.


    Using the Appearance Panel

    Illustrator Appearance Panel - part of the Illustrator Course by Greta Powell Training

    If you like creating weird and wonderful art from Illustrator shapes then the Appearance Panel will become one of your favourite tools. 


    The rather strange effect shown on the left was created from one shape in the Appearance panel, the stroke weight was adjusted and then a pucker effect was added from the fx effects menu at the bottom of the panel. 


    People often say during the training that it’s just multiple strokes applied and each one is an individual object but that’s not the case. 


    It is one object with multiple strokes duplicated from the top right burger menu. When you work with this panel you change the stacking order of the objects attributes by dragging and dropping it in the panel. In fact, if you’re familiar with Photoshop then this works in a very similiar way.


    You can see the stacking order in the video example below.


    fx Effects in Appearance Panel

    In the above video you can see a small fx slightly below the stroke attribute. In this instance its Pucker & Bloat which can make some rather interesting effects.


    These are very similar to smart filters in Photoshop where you can double click on the effect to bring up the fx options and make changes to the look of your object.


    fx Effects in Adobe Illustrators Appearance Panel Tutorial




    Global Effect in Appearance Panel

    If you have a applied an effect to one of the elements in the panel but decide you want to apply it to the whole object then simply drag the effect to the bottom ‘layer’ of the panel as shown below.


    The Appearance Panel is full of hidden design delights. You can find out more about it on our Adobe Illustrator Introduction Course which can be viewed here


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