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Targeting v Selecting?

Nov 6, 2012 5:58 AM

I have seen quite a lot (on tutorial videos and textbooks) about the differences between Selecting an Object and Targeting an Object, but (with the acceptance that I am probably dumbest kid in class) I am not entirely sure that I fully understand the difference.

 

Can someone offer me some guidance on the difference? or, at least, create an analogy on the differences.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 6:07 AM   in reply to Paul Stedman

    Kind of need to see it in context. My intial feeling is there is no difference.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 6:32 AM   in reply to Paul Stedman

    There will be huge differences once you have to deal with groups and layers (and the like).

     

    I have done a video on it some time ago, but it is in German: https://vimeo.com/20012040

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 9:02 AM   in reply to Paul Stedman

    Consider these

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 8.57.00 AM.png

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 8.57.17 AM.png

     

     

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 8.58.01 AM.png

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 8.58.13 AM.png

     

    Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 8.57.32 AM.png

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 10:08 AM   in reply to Paul Stedman

    In other words the double circle in the target column in the layer's panel or item selection in the Appearance panel indicates the target of applying eventual effect.

    For example you can select a group that appears as the same selection on the artboard but the target can be different if you select it by Shift clicking on target circle for each item of the group in the  layer panel. Then applying an effect will add the effect to each item in the group instead of one effect for the group item as indicated in the Appearance panel. And in order to have Clear Appearance available for such group in the menu of the Appearance panel, the group or rather its individual items, must the selected in the same way.

    Another example is if you have a path selected on the artboard, the target of an eventual effect is the path object, but if you click (highlight) a stroke or fill component of the path in the Appearance panel, you are changing the target and the effect will be applied only to this component (item in the Appearance panel).

     

    and one more example with a drop shadow effect targeted to the group item on top and at the bottom is a copy of the same group but the effect is targeted to each item in the group - you can see the difference in the appearance of the shadow.

    Capture.JPG

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 12:33 PM   in reply to emil emil

    This is an interesting discussion. Prior to this I had never heard of targeting.

    I have been using Illie pretty much since she was invented.

    So obviously I know how to use layers, effects and the Layers panel.

    I also know (obviously) that it makes a difference whether you apply an effect to separate objects or to a group and that you can only do either of these by selecting the objects first. It’s the method of selecting that matters.

    However where did this word Target come from? I think I prefer to Apply effects rather than to target them.

    Or is there a diffence between applying and targeting?

    Certainly targeting does not mean the same as selecting but what does targeting mean?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 1:04 PM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    Certainly targeting does not mean the same as selecting but what does targeting mean?

     

     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 1:51 PM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    I'm not sure where I've learned that it is called 'target' but I'm sure I've seen it somewhere and I didn't make it up. With my poor English I assume any word from others that makes some sense is good enough to be the right term.

    I'm fine with any words as long as we know what we are talking about.

     

     

     

    @ Jacob,

    thanks for the laugh

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 2:35 PM   in reply to Jacob Bugge

    Exactly Jacob. Why do we need more words for things we do almost by second nature?

     

    Actually I assumed that targeting was something that women drivers do instead of what we blokes call steering.

     

    (Sorry girls.)

     

     

    And Emil: I’m not at all sure that we do know what we’re talking about.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 3:16 PM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    ... I’m not at all sure that we do know what we’re talking about.

    there is a saying "when money doesn't help, more money will help" I guess the same counts for talking - just keep talking and eventually this will be figured out

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 3:31 PM   in reply to emil emil

    Actually I think that what people are on about is this:

    So much is done with smoke and mirrors these days (with effects and stuff) that the positioning of objects in their preview mode can far removed from the positioning of the vectors (what you see with the preview turned off). That’s why you sometimes select things by accident with the preview turned on.

     

    However I think that we can do without the word Targeting.

    At least I have survived in blissful ignorance of its existance in Illiespeak until now :-)

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 3:57 PM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    ...However I think that we can do without the word Targeting...

    Yes we can but they are already using it

    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/illustrator/cs/using/WS714a382cdf7d304e7e0 7d0100196cbc5f-61fba.html#WS714a382cdf7d304e7e07d0100196cbc5f-61f7a

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 4:01 PM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    steve fairbairn wrote:

     

    However I think that we can do without the word Targeting.

     

    I don't think we can. Only hours ago a question about transparency was solved (transparency was hidden deep in layers in that case). The fact that it was applied deep down there might well have been caused because someone mistook  targeting for selecting (or vice versa). It's important to address stuff precisely so people can learn stuff correctly, so that they know what they're doing.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 4:48 PM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    ... Or is there a diffence between applying and targeting? ...

    I would say that using the word 'applying' suggests that something will be applied or more specifically effect or new appearance will be applied resulting in a change, while 'targeting' doesn't necessarily result in a change and there is always a specific target with any kind of selection that will receive the effect if such is applied.

     

    they could have use another word instead of target for example focus but I think there is a need for a word there to describe this.

     

    edit: When I look at it again, I think the description of my example with the drop shadow effect in post #5 is not very good and using the word applied instead of targeting will make more sense in regard to the attached image or at least on the image I should have selected (targeted) the items with the changed appearance (shaded dot) to be also double circled dot, but I wanted to show the end result and made it in rush hoping it will be obvious what it is about anyway.

    I should have made an additional screen shot of the stage with the target circles shown as double circles (targeted) and no effect applied yet, then the description would have made perfect sense.  Sorry if that caused a confusion.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 5:09 PM   in reply to emil emil

    The distinction between selecting and targeting is perhaps subtle, but very important. Targeting defines the level at which attributes are applied. Selecting a single object – a path, a group (acts as a single object), a compound path, etc., also targets that item; selecting multiple discrete objects targets them individually, so that attributes are applied to each individual object. Selecting a layer; that is, clicking in the Layers panel to the right of the target icon (the circle or "meatball") targets all the individual objects in the layer, so that attributes are applied at the object level. Targeting the layer, by clicking the target icon, causes attributes to be applied at the layer level. The second ring on the target icon shows where the targeting is.

     

    Have to go. More later, if necessary.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 5:54 PM   in reply to emil emil

    Ok, disregard my example in post #5, now I made a better example hoping it is not confusing.

     

    Three images left, middle, right, and a copy of the same group on top and bottom of each image.

     

    The left image is the state of targeting. On the top, the group item itself is the target and in the group at the bottom, the individual items in the group are the target selected by Shift + clicking the target circle in the Layer's panel

     

    The middle image is after the effect was applied and the state of targeting still remains the same so, eventual new effect will still be applied to the same items

     

    The right image also shows the effect applied but the targeting has changed because I deselected all and selected the two groups with the black pointer which gives different targeting for the group at the bottom making the group item itself a target for applying eventual effect.

     

    Untitled-2.jpg

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 7:55 PM   in reply to [scott w]

    I say Scott's reply is the most accurate except if you are applying an effect to a layer inwhich case it has to be targeted in the layers panel.

     

    If you select a group on the canvas and apply an effect it applies to the who group and if you drag an item into that group whether you targeted in the lyers panel or you have applied it to the group on the canvas object brought into the group will have that effect applied as if it were targeted.

     

    with a layer that will not work unless the layer was first targeted and then thye effect applied.

     

    the other usefulness of targeting is that you can target a path or object in that group via the layers panel and apply an efffect to that path within the group without applying the effect to the whole group but you can do that with the direct select tool as well. You can certainly do it with isolation mode but that is more a question about not accidentally editing otheer objects in a group or on a layer while editing a specific object with in a group or on a specific layer.

     

    So it might be a question of more readily understanding what you have done by using one method all the time so you can more easily manage what you have applied or changed.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 10:01 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    Wade_Zimmerman wrote:

     

    ... the other usefulness of targeting is that you can target a path or object in that group via the layers panel and apply an efffect to that path within the group without applying the effect to the whole group but you can do that with the direct select tool as well...

    It makes more sense to work as you describe it but actually if you select all objects in a group entirely with the direct selection tool either by drawing encompassing selection box or by holding Alt/Option and Shift clicking on all objects,  the target will be on the group and not the individual objects but if you leave at least a point form an object in the selection not selected then the target will be on the individual objects.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2012 10:21 PM   in reply to Jacob Bugge

    Jacob Bugge wrote:

     

    Certainly targeting does not mean the same as selecting but what does targeting mean?

     

     

     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 2:05 AM   in reply to Monika Gause

    Monika: I’m not sure that I follow you.

     

    Do you consider targeting to be the process of delving into layer stacks to see where an effect or transparency is applied?

     

    If so, you could replace it with searching, pinpointing or even rummaging.

    This has got nothing to do with selecting and I still don’t like the word targeting..

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 2:47 AM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    Steve, of course you can also target an object in order to see what's applied to it.

     

    But that's not what I meant. When you mistake selecting for targeting (or vice versa) you apply effects (or other appearances) to elements where they don't belong or don't make sense (and you or cour colleagues later have to dive deep in order to find out).

     

    For the purpose of communicating clearly and for learning to use the program I think it's very important to make the difference between the two.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 3:35 AM   in reply to Monika Gause

    So targeting means using the Layers panel to apply effects and stuff instead of working hands-on like one would normally do?

    Sorry to be obtuse but I’m not familiar with the terminology.

     

    And I still don’t see how you can mistake selecting for targeting.

    We know that you can apply effects at Layer, Group or Object level, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

    Certainly an object with an effect or transparency applied can sometimes be grouped with other items, but what has that got to do with mistakes?

    Stacks can sometimes be complex, so it may well be necessary for a newcomer to delve deep to uncover their secrets.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 3:40 AM   in reply to Monika Gause

    Steve, you don't have to like the word, or even use it, but it is the term that Adobe chose, and it's not the same as selecting. You can't apply an attribute at the layer level without targeting it (the layer) in the Layers panel. Selecting a layer is the same as selecting all the objects in the layer, and any attributes then applied will be at the object level. It's not primarily about searching or rummaging.

     

    Adobe Community Help.png

     

    Edit: If there is an effect applied at the Layer level you can also target the layer in the Appearance panel when an object is selected.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 4:11 AM   in reply to tromboniator

    That first paragraph is essentially what I wrote, the only way can apply an effect to a layer is to target it in the layers panel. Which is not the same as highlighting it. You cannot apply an effect to the layer if you click in the selection area of the layer in the layers panel that will only apply the effect to the objects in the layer but not to subsequent objects placed on the layer or created on that layer.

     

    Whereas no matter how you select a group it becomes targeted unless you enter isolation mode and use the direct select tool in isolation mode or in standard mode on the canvas.

     

    A path will become targeted as well no matter how you select it.

     

    However it might be easier to use the layer panel and use the target method to apply effects under certain circumstance in which case the ability to use targeting as a method of selection has a logistic advantage in some cases.

     

    A certainly it is an easy way to know that an object group or layer has an effect applied to it even when not apparent.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2012 7:01 AM   in reply to Steve Fairbairn

    steve fairbairn wrote:

     

    ....

     

    Do you consider targeting to be the process of delving into layer stacks to see where an effect or transparency is applied?

     

    If so, you could replace it with searching, pinpointing or even rummaging.

    This has got nothing to do with selecting and I still don’t like the word targeting..

    Well, the process is described well in the manual which is also in the image Tromboniator showed in post #23. I tried reading it again but replaced target/ing with one of your suggested words. To me with my bad English, 'searching' and 'rummaging' didn't look good at all, but 'pinpointing' made the same sense to me as 'targeting'. Personally I don't care what word is used as long people know what it means in Illustrator,  but there is a need for a word to describe this process anyway. If I had to decide, I like 'focus/ing' it is short and already used  a lot in the computer terminology to describe the currently active input fields, place of insertion pointers, and other currently active UI elements which is different from selecting or highlighting.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 22, 2012 5:07 PM   in reply to Paul Stedman

    "...When you simply select objects and apply effects or adjust opacity, the effect may not be applied as you expected..."

     

    Which should make alarms and flashing lights go off in the mind of anyone that works in UI/UX.

     

    I'm not disputing that selecting and targeting are different.  I'm saying that if the software needs to make a distinction in the first place, something has gone terribly wrong.

     

    Adobe really needs to abandon "throw every possible tool in the box, if those tools aren't enough, make new tools and throw those in the box too" approach as the main foundation of the user experience.  Note that I am not saying that that they need to remove tools that provide necessary and unique functionality, and end up with a limited consumer-level tool that leaves expert users without the ability to create what they have in mind.

     

    What I mean is that they need to take much more of a scenario and workflow approach to their UI/UX design.  Take select/target, for example.  The user has something (an object in AI), they have a change in mind for that "something", and they want a means to do that.  There is no reason at all that this requires two different methods of choosing which "something" or which parts of that "something" the change will be applied to.  The user is going to think "There is the thing I want to change, right there.  I need to click/select/target/whatever so that the software knows which thing I want to change, and then I'm going to tell it what change to make."

     

    I cannot imagine what on earth would cause someone to take a look at that type of scenario and workflow, and end up with "But wait...we need to have TWO different ways for the user to tell the computer which thing to change!!!"  If there are some sort of functional or UI/UX gaps that make it seem like a good idea to have two different selection methods, then fix those gaps.  But having one way to tell the computer "This thing here is what I want to apply the change to" has got to be a top requirement.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 22, 2012 9:36 PM   in reply to Digcm

    The UI feels convoluted to me but I'm not sure if I can offer a better interface based on the current foundation. If you have any specific suggestions how this can be done better, let us know.

    I tried to imagine the Layers panel interface  with only shaded circles indicating altered basic appearance and without the empty and double circles which functionality could be replaced by the highlighted items in the panel, but then the highlighted items have other functionality that can be used independently from selection like rearranging the stacking. So, at least for me, making all the current functionality more intuitive  is not an easy task. I usually jump, criticize and make suggestions when I can see clearly how things can be improved and I can offer specific details describing what needs to be changed but in this case I can't for example make a specific feature request because I don't know what specifically to ask for other than "somehow make it better" which is useless.

     

    just my 2 cents

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 22, 2012 10:12 PM   in reply to emil emil

    "I tried to imagine the Layers panel interface  with only shaded circles indicating altered basic appearance..."

     

    "...the highlighted items have other functionality that can be used independently from selection like rearranging the stacking"

     

    But you are conflating three different things:

    1. Giving information to the user
    2. The user selecting an object
    3. The user performing actions on the selected object

     

    Without going into full work mode on this , I can briefly summarize by saying that my first efforts at improving this would be to investigate changing #2 to be one consistent method, and then investigate whatever changes are needed elsewhere in #3 so that the same actions can be performed that users could perform today by the different select/target methods. 

     

    As a VERY simple example, look at the traditional cut/copy/paste that is found in nearly every GUI application.  Although #3 is different for each of them, #2 is the same.  You wouldn't design a UI so that text must be selected one way to cut and another way to copy (and another way to delete, and another way to replace with pasted text, and another way to spell check that word, etc.).  The act of selecting is not related to the action that is performed after selection.

     

    So my suggestion would be to start with separating the method of selection from the actions that can be performed after that selection. 

    Top priority requirement: Only one way to select objects (and "object" could be a sublayer, a layer, a group of layers, etc.) in the layers panel.

    Top priority requirement: Selecting the objects in the drawing itself has the same selection result as if the  objects were selected in the layers panel.

    Top priority requirement: Once an object is selected, the user can perform all actions on that object

     

    Yes, I know that is three "top priority" requirements.     Because there can be many that fall under the category of "We MUST have these to ship this product", and many that fall under the 2nd tier "These would be great and we'd like to do them, but we can live if we ship without them" priority,  and many that fall under the 3rd tier "These are nice, but very minor in importance" priority, etc.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 12:31 AM   in reply to Digcm

    Only one way to select objects (and "object" could be a sublayer, a layer, a group of layers, etc.) in the layers panel.

    Let's examine that:

    1. a. Clicking in the selection column of a layer selects all objects in it, which allows for all actions that can be performed on multiple objects selection.
      b. This also targets the contained objects in the top hierarchy for the purpose of changing the appearance.

      because b does not select (target) all objects like a but only the top hierarchy, in the attempt to make object selection only one way, we can try making both a and b to select the same objects but we got a problem with applying effects to the group objects and their content at the same time which will be not what most people would expect.

    2. Clicking on the target column selects the layer for the purpose of applying appearance to it but this also does 1 a without the b

      to make object selection one way only we can easily imagine setting the target to different items in the layers panel without affecting the current selection or lack of it. So, it would be possible to change the appearance of an object without being actually selected, and while nothing or other objects are selected. Personally I don't think I would have big problems with this once I get used to it but it would feel equally or more convoluted and weird as the current design but again it most likely would be unexpected behavior for many users.

    3. Highlighting a layer by clicking on its name selects it for different purposes like setting it as a layer for creating new objects, and changing its stacking order which doesn't interfere with the current object and target selection as indicated in the selection and target columns.

      Here I don't see a way to unite 3 with 1 or 2

     

    Selecting the objects in the drawing itself has the same selection result as if the  objects were selected in the layers panel.

    Currently it works that way if the target column that also select objects is not used and in point 2 above I talked about its usage

     

    Once an object is selected, the user can perform all actions on that object

    To see this as current problem, we have to define what is a selection of an object considering 1, 2, and 3 above

     

     

    Just my thoughts

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 1:31 AM   in reply to emil emil

    I'm not quite following your explanations, but it is also late and this is a convoluted topic to talk about without a bunch of pictures and animatations. 

     

    to make object selection one way only we can easily imagine setting the target to different items in the layers panel without affecting the current selection or lack of it. So, it would be possible to change the appearance of an object without being actually selected, and while nothing or other objects are selected.

    That's not what I mean at all.  In fact, what you are describing sounds much closer to the current state than what I was describing.  Or...maybe that's what you meant to describe.  Like I said...its late. 

    Highlighting a layer by clicking on its name selects it for different purposes like setting it as a layer for creating new objects, and changing its stacking order which doesn't interfere with the current object and target selection as indicated in the selection and target columns.

    Which can be remedied in a variety of ways.  The possibilities would include things such as not having these actions done by a two-step process that involves first selecting it (right-click/add sub-layer; click-and-drag moves without selecting, etc.), or a quick and easy way to save and recall groupings of selections, or simply don't address it at all.  For that last one, the question is: How common is the scenario where one needs to do things with one set of objects while maintaining another set of targeting for something completely different?  And is that scenario outweighed by the reduced confusion (as has been evident in this thread) that we get when we simplify the selection process and indicators?  Of course, determining that requires a lot of investigation and formal study.

    Currently it works that way if the target column that also select objects is not used

    Yes, but things like that have to be stated, because sometimes people will take things way too literally and say "What are you unhappy about?  You said "one way", so we made "one way".  We removed the ability to also select objects from the drawing itself, just like you asked!  Because if we had left that in, it would have been two ways!!"     

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 2:01 AM   in reply to Digcm

    Digcm wrote:

     

    How common is the scenario where one needs to do things with one set of objects while maintaining another set of targeting for something completely different? 

     

    it's not possible to select something and target something completely different at the same time.

     

    What is possible though is to select (or target) something and at the same time manipulate entries in the layer panel (without selecting or targeting them). I do this regularly and would be very disappointed if that were not possible anymore.

     

    As well as my workflow relies on the possibility to target elements at different hierarchy levels. Don't try to take that away from me.

     

    Illustrator is a complex  software package, aimed at professionals. That means: you have to learn stuff and not just click your way through it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 8:52 AM   in reply to Digcm

    Digcm wrote:

     

    ....

     

    to make object selection one way only we can easily imagine setting the target to different items in the layers panel without affecting the current selection or lack of it. So, it would be possible to change the appearance of an object without being actually selected, and while nothing or other objects are selected.

    That's not what I mean at all.  In fact, what you are describing sounds much closer to the current state than what I was describing.  Or...maybe that's what you meant to describe.  Like I said...its late. 

    Currently selecting something  always targets something and targeting something always selects something but this does not always result in selection = targeting because of the possibility to target a parent or its children but not both. Because of this multiple choice they added the targeting (target column) and chose one of the two choices (parent or children) as a default. The default is inconsistent for layers and groups but the way it is may be more practical.  Selecting a layer by default does not target the layer but its children and selecting a group targets the group but not its children. The user has to click the target column of the desired item to change the default choice.

     

    Digcm wrote:

     

    ....

    Highlighting a layer by clicking on its name selects it for different purposes like setting it as a layer for creating new objects, and changing its stacking order which doesn't interfere with the current object and target selection as indicated in the selection and target columns.

    Which can be remedied in a variety of ways.  The possibilities would include things such as not having these actions done by a two-step process that involves first selecting it (right-click/add sub-layer; click-and-drag moves without selecting, etc.), or a quick and easy way to save and recall groupings of selections, or simply don't address it at all.  For that last one, the question is: How common is the scenario where one needs to do things with one set of objects while maintaining another set of targeting for something completely different?  And is that scenario outweighed by the reduced confusion (as has been evident in this thread) that we get when we simplify the selection process and indicators?  Of course, determining that requires a lot of investigation and formal study.

    ...

    Well, it is quite common to do things with one set of objects while maintaining another set for different things. For example you can duplicate more than one layer at once while maintaining the current selection in the new layers. You can highlight multiple layers and double click on one of them to change common options like layer's color, print status, etc. Many of the commands from the menu of the Layer panel work on the highlighted items which does not interfere with the current selection or targeting.

    At the end your specific suggestions, don't seem to be aimed at reducing user efforts like the amount of clicks and mouse movements, but to reduce confusion and make learning easier which in production programs is always a second priority. With this I'm not suggesting that illustrator UI is very good and speedy for those who have spend the time and effort to figure it out, quite the opposite, there is a lot to be desired, for example right clicking on a item in the Layer panel should popup the menu of the panel but this is still not available in Illustrator.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2012 5:23 PM   in reply to Monika Gause

    As well as my workflow relies on the possibility to target elements at different hierarchy levels. Don't try to take that away from me.

    I wasn't advocating taking anything away.

     

    Illustrator is a complex  software package, aimed at professionals. That means: you have to learn stuff and not just click your way through it.

    Of course, many things must be learned.  But there are many things to learn, and only finite time to learn them.  This is complicated by the fact that CS is a suite, so many of the AI users may be using it as just one of many applications.  This changes the priority significantly, when comparing the situation to someone that spends nearly 100% of their time in AI and does little else with the rest of the suite.

     

    When also considering the inconsistencies across many applications in the CS suite, it means that users have to spend time learning UI quirks and differences that could be spent learning or improving their knowledge of:

    • Design/compositin/color concepts and practices (nobody knows everything; there is always something new and useful to learn)
    • Which tools and options are and are not in each software application in the CS
    • How new form factors and display technologies will affect desired design results, and what exists in CS to assist with making the necessary decisions to account for this.
    • The particular results of changes with various tools.  Many of which, regardless of existing knowledge of the concepts and the tool capabilities, will not be truly apparent until the user can try it and make adjustments and observe the amount and nature of the changes that result.
    • Business and marketing within the design industry
    • Which workflows work best for a particular user
    • What sort of workflows are and are not supported between multiple apps in the CS
    • Many, many, many, many, many more things

     

    UI/UX cannot do everything for the user.  But a proper approach should seek to simplify things that are needlessly redundant, complex, or inconsistent with other (supposedly) similar applications; all while not removing functionality. 

     
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    Feb 19, 2014 8:44 AM   in reply to Digcm

    What I mean is that they need to take much more of a scenario and workflow approach to their UI/UX design.  Take select/target, for example.  The user has something (an object in AI), they have a change in mind for that "something", and they want a means to do that.  There is no reason at all that this requires two different methods of choosing which "something" or which parts of that "something" the change will be applied to.  The user is going to think "There is the thing I want to change, right there.  I need to click/select/target/whatever so that the software knows which thing I want to change, and then I'm going to tell it what change to make."

     

    I cannot imagine what on earth would cause someone to take a look at that type of scenario and workflow, and end up with "But wait...we need to have TWO different ways for the user to tell the computer which thing to change!!!"

     

    This. Oh God Yes THIS.

     

    From a newbie perspective, I spend too much time fiddling with this. I make changes only to discover that I haven't properly Targeted or Selected, so I need to repeat, or worse yet, undo the changes that happened to be applied to the thing that wasn't Selected, but still Targeted. Or certain things like Duplicate Item aren't available if the item is only Targeted, not Selected (IIRC; I re-discover this annoyance every session with Illustrator).

     

    I'm new to Illustrator but not to graphics programs. Others don't make this distinction and somehow manage to support their users just fine. It's a pretty standard GUI thing - select an item, operate on it.

     

    I read the explanations here and many of them seem to divert into how one can target/select all elements in a group by targeting/selecting the group. Mmkay fine, but that doesn't address the basic question of why Target is different from Select. Unless Select is basically "Group Target", but I don't think so.

     

    Sorry for the vent, but yikes, for such a simple UI element, this one continues to elude me.

     
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    Feb 19, 2014 10:47 AM   in reply to tqrtuomo

    Far be it from me to argue that Illustrator is anything less than the most confused, cluttered, scattered, inelegant interface in its category.

     

    That said...

     

    Think of "targeting" as selecting things which the interface does not present to the user as "selectable" on-page objects. Examples:

     

    • You can apply multiple "Appearances" (Fills, Strokes) to a single path. Of course, what is acutally happening under the hood is Illustrator is effectively creating duplicates of the path which are updated on the fly as you manipulate the original. But those additonal "virtual objects" (my term, not Illustrator's) are not "selectable" in the normal sense as discrete objects on the page. But in the Appearance palette, you can target them individually and apply Effects to them.

     

    • Create a new Layer. There's nothing on it. It contains no objects. In other words, there are no objects on the page that can be selected. But you can "target" the Layer and apply an Effect to it (ex: Effect>Pathfinder>Add). You can then draw paths on that Layer which intersect and they will appear as though they have had the Add (union) path operation applied to them. In the interface sense, a Layer is not an object (although it is, in the programming sense), but a grouping of contiguous objects. So in this example, you have "targeted" a "grouping of objects" which contains no selectable objects. The "grouping" exists, even if there are no objects to "group."

     

    Of course, one can still argue that the separate "target" term is unnecessary, and simply say that you are selecting the Layer in the Layers palette by clicking its "meatball". But there's another way to "select" a Layer: just click its listing, as you would to drag it to a different position among the stacking order of the other Layers. But when a Layer is selected in that way, you cannot apply Effects to it (althogh the interface could arguably be changed to allow that, too).

     

    So "select" vs. "target" is kind of like "Layer" vs. "Group". Really, both Layers and Groups are groupings (sets) of contiguous objects (think of them like pairs of opening and closing brackets within in a list of items). You can apply Effects to both Groups and Layers. But a Layer can exist even if it contains no objects. A Group can't.

     

    Then there's "Attributes" vs. "Appearances". Fills and Strokes can have Apperances and Attributes and an Apperance can have an Attribute but an Attribute cannot have an Appearance.

     

    Then we could get into "Appearances" vs. "Effects." Then we could get into "Pathfinders" vs. "Pathfinders" and "Shape Modes" vs. "Pathfinder Effects" and why the Transform palette provides a proportional link but Transform Each doesn't.

     

    In motorcycling in the 70s, there was a popular rumor that the model names of Hodaka motorcycles (Dirt Rat, Wombat, Combat Wombat...) were decided after hours at the local tavern. I've long suspected most aspects of Illustrator's interface were similarly "developed."

     

    So am I defending Illustrator's interface? Nope. Am I saying devising a better one is always easy? Nope (not always). But it's not supposed to be. That's supposed to be why Adobe gets the big bucks it demands. Yet, overall, Illustrator's interface is worst-of-class in my book. That's why I don't understand why Adobe gets the big bucks it demands.

     

    JET

     
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    Feb 19, 2014 11:15 AM   in reply to JETalmage

    Think of "targeting" as selecting things which the interface does not present to the user as "selectable" on-page objects.

     

    Thanks - that's by far the most clear and concise explanation I've come across. Still seems like an unnecessary distinction, but maybe smarter/advanced users get more value out of this than I do. I have to wonder, though, whether the gain is worth more than the loss in approachability. Seems like they've focused on the trees and not the forest, doing things in this nonstandard way. Different can be better, but for such a basic UI pattern as "select an object, then act on it", one would think the payoff would have to be huge. Here, it doesn't feel like that. Shrug.

     

    Funny, too - knowing that Illustrator has been the Big Dog forever, Chosen Tool of Creative Types Who Earn A Living, I'm kinda surprised at the interface lacking polish in places like this. Wouldn't these issues have come up a few years and versions ago? How can Adobe not know how people expect the Pencil tool to work? When they went to CC, did they lay off all the people who understood things like this?

     
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