19 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2010 8:11 AM by DocPixel-BMW

    Selecting objects

    HJMann42 Level 1

      After having the choice of Freehand or Illustrator sixteen years ago I chose Freehand for ease of use. Now being forced to use Illustrator,

      I'm having a hard time with a few things. The most prominent is the selection of objects under objects. The "Select>Next object below"

      just does not seem to work well. Is there anyway in Illustrator to duplicate Freehands control/shift commands for selecting object below objects?

      This is driving me nuts.

      Help is greatly appreciated.

      J.Mann

        • 1. Re: Selecting objects
          Doug Katz Level 4

          No. (Spoken as a former FreeHand user myself).

           

          Rest assured you will gradually (maybe kicking and screaming) learn to simply forget such conveniences ever existed. You'll manage to select objects under others by:

           

          a) locking the top object (command-2) so a click selects the one you're after;

          b) hiding the top object (command-3) so you can see and select the one you're after;

          c) select from the layers panel instead of the artboard.

           

          All are inferior to FreeHand's (and InDesign's) method. I find I now use c) instinctively.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Selecting objects
            HJMann42 Level 1

            Thanks Doug,

            My God, after Adobe buying Macromedia and now dumping Freehand without even incorporating some of Freehand's best

            features, that's just stupid.

            Anyway, thanks for the tips. These are what I've been using as a workaround. I was hoping that there were some

            hidden ways to do it.

             

            Thanks again,

            J Mann

            • 3. Re: Selecting objects
              Harron K. Appleman Level 4

              I used Freehand only briefly in another life, so I don't understand. However, I would like to understand.

               

              Is it just a question of changing the default (assigning new) keyboard shortcuts for 'select next object above' and 'select next object below'? If so, this is easily done using Illustrator's keyboard shortcut customization feature.

              • 4. Re: Selecting objects
                mec_os Level 3

                if you right click on an object in the pop up menu you get the option to select:

                 

                first object above

                next object above

                next object below

                last object below

                 

                this differs from the shortcut (mac) option + command + ] (or [) in that it will select the object directly below or above instead of the next object in order of placement.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Selecting objects
                  HJMann42 Level 1

                  Harron,

                   

                  I don't know about any keyboard default selections.

                   

                  In Freehand it used to be so easy to make selections.

                  You just used the selection pointer, highlighted the object, then held down a combination of shift+control (mac) and

                  worked you way down a set of stacked objects.

                  In fact there were a whole slew of time saving features.

                  I thought for sure that Adobe would incorporate them.

                  I was wrong.

                   

                  J Mann

                  • 6. Re: Selecting objects
                    [scott] Level 6

                    Illustrator CS5 now has a select below function similar to other applications. Hold down the Command/Ctrl key and you can repeatedly click through a stack of objects selecting each object below.

                    • 7. Re: Selecting objects
                      HJMann42 Level 1

                      Thanks Scott. Is CS5 out. Are you using it?

                       

                      J Mann

                      • 8. Re: Selecting objects
                        JETalmage-71mYin Level 3
                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}I used Freehand only briefly in another life, so I don't understand. However, I would like to understand.

                        Harron,

                        Illustrator's menu selections, Next Object Above/Below--the ones with setable keyboard commands--are pretty much useless. They select the next/previouis object in the z-stacking order (wherever they are in the document), not under the cursor click. For the desired behavior, Illustrator requires using the cursor menu commands, which are not addressable with keyboard shortcuts. This has been the complaint for literal decades. The cursor menu commands were only recently added, and they are hideously slow and tedious compared to FreeHand's behavior.

                         

                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}Illustrator CS5 now has a select below function similar to other applications. Hold down the Command/Ctrl key and you can repeatedly click through a stack of objects selecting each object below.

                        Scott,

                        that's great news.Long overdue, but great news.

                         

                        Everyone,

                        Understand, though, when comparing any such detail manipulation features between FH and AI, it often isn't a simple matter of copying the detail feature itself. Inferiorities often remain because the feature is affected by the larger context of FH's general selection scheme as opposed to AI's.

                         

                        A case-in-point is Illustrator's long overdue ability to perform alignment/distribution on anchorPoints. It is still inferior and illogical compared to FH, because it is limited by Illustrator's more general inability to distinguish between a path being selected as an object, as opposed to its merely having all its anchorPoints selected. That in turn is related to AI's primary dependence upon the white pointer (always starting at the bottom of the heirarchy and working your way up) as opposed to FH's single black pointer which starts at the top of the heirarch and lets you drill down to any depth with a single tool. It's what, to a FH user, makes working in AI feel like trying to eat spagetti with a knife.

                         

                        Hopefully, this long overdue select-through shortcut will be as effective as it is in FH. We'll see. In FH, it works quickly and reliably, not just with whole paths, but with anchorPoints in close proximity. It becomes one of those fluid things you don't even have to think about as you work.

                         

                        JET

                        • 9. Re: Selecting objects
                          Harron K. Appleman Level 4

                          Thanks, HJM. I think I understand now: It's not keyboard shortcuts per se but modifier keys in conjunction with mouse clicks. I can see how that would be a good feature.

                           

                          Scott, I'm trying to imagine how this works. The Command/Ctrl key currently toggles between selection tools. I'm guessing it doesn't matter which selection tool is active for this drill-down to work?

                           

                          {Bumped by James. Thank you, sir, for the additional information.}

                          • 10. Re: Selecting objects
                            [scott] Level 6

                            It's a second click, Harron.  First command-click is just a standard click.. second command-click in same location drills down.. third command-click, same locale, drills down, etc. It does take a tad bit of getting used to and there is a preference item to turn it off if you don't like it.

                            • 11. Re: Selecting objects
                              [scott] Level 6

                              HJMann42 wrote:

                               

                              Thanks Scott. Is CS5 out. Are you using it?

                               

                              J Mann

                              Not yet and sort of.

                               

                               

                              I have a late beta version of Illustrator CS5 which is a legitimate beta and not an illegal torrent file.

                               

                              The retail version won't ship for another couple weeks I think (Late April according to the order tracking).

                              • 12. Re: Selecting objects
                                Harron K. Appleman Level 4

                                Thanks, Scott.

                                • 13. Re: Selecting objects
                                  thuth Level 1

                                  I have just switched from FreeHand to Illustrator for all new projects. Obviously having 10 extra years of development means there are some great things that I can take advantage of in AI-CS4. For example, transparency in gradients rocks! I am also digging Isolation Mode. And of course seamless copying into Photoshop is high on the list.

                                   

                                  I did pre-press work in college around '91. After graduating I went to work in one of the first digital service bureaus. I used both FH and AI daily. But when I began doing creative work a few years later, I went with FH because it seemed more logical. I valued the true multi-page workflow, I felt it had a superior pen tool, and powerful color management capabilities. I also liked the advanced features including pasting photos or objects into shapes which just worked more like how I thought it should. I have now used it daily for more than a decade.

                                   

                                  But one day, an OS change is going to finally break it. Plus I am hoping to expand my creative dept. and the kids learn AI, as they should. You can't teach a defunct tool in the schools. So I am switching. I am committed to it.

                                   

                                  But like Harron I am also ripping my hair out trying to figure out a logical way to affix Illustrator's strange selection metaphor in my mind. Something that was so simple and intuitive to me before is now agony. And unfortunately it is something very basic to working on anything.(!)

                                   

                                  I swear I can come up with common point selection scenarios that I used to do in FreeHand within object groups that are not even possible in AI-CS4.

                                   

                                  I wish the AI developers would learn and work in FreeHand so they can share the frustration we feel. There is a real reason FH users complain about this.

                                   

                                  -Tony

                                  • 14. Re: Selecting objects
                                    [scott] Level 6

                                    Honesty Tony Those of us that started and stuck to Illustrator don't have a great deal of issue with selections

                                    • 15. Re: Selecting objects
                                      thuth Level 1

                                      Good to hear, Scott.

                                       

                                      I'll get there eventually. I just thought it would go quicker than it is.

                                       

                                      I pretty much rushed right in and tried to get up to production speed as fast as I could, probably taking on too much at once.

                                       

                                      I am going to back up, sort out the selection methods, jot some notes and craft some simple exercises to drill it into my head. I am also going to try to make more use of the alternative tools like the lasso, and do more in Isolation Mode.

                                       

                                      I would still suggest that the FH methodology was quicker, more logical, and more efficient. But not enough, I guess, to save it from extinction by the Mighty Adobe Marketing Machine.

                                       

                                      To the victor goes the spoils.

                                       

                                      -Tony

                                      • 16. Re: Selecting objects
                                        DocPixel-BMW Level 2

                                        Honest"l"y Scott... I'll take that bait... and reply with a snarky reply in kind.

                                         

                                        Just because you stuck with a far inferior product and never took the time to move up to a truly professional level vector program, makes you rather incapable of making a "decent" and educated reply to someone else's experiences. Specifically when it means going backwards in technical efficiency, rather than forward... where we already were using professional FreeHand as our program of CHOICE!

                                         

                                        Now we have NO CHOICE! Other than to stop upgrading our OSes and machines I guess.

                                         

                                        Sad! Really sad!

                                         

                                        http://www.freefreehand.org

                                        • 17. Re: Selecting objects
                                          [scott] Level 6

                                          DocPixel-BMW wrote:

                                           

                                          stuff

                                          Wow, that was insulting and from someone without the guts to post under a real name.

                                           

                                          My post was tongue in cheek.

                                           

                                          For what it's worth.. there's a reason Illustrator was always #1 in market share.. even when Freehand was alive.

                                           

                                          You're grapes sure are sour, whoever you are.

                                          • 18. Re: Selecting objects
                                            JETalmage-71mYin Level 3
                                            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                                            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}I would still suggest that the FH methodology was quicker, more logical, and more efficient

                                             

                                            It was--throughout FreeHand's entire history. It's still a superior Bezier manipulation interface to all others out there.

                                             

                                            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                                            function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}where we already were using professional FreeHand

                                             

                                            Gag me. FreeHand's interface and organization is better. That doesn't make it worthy of worship.

                                             

                                            You guys of the "Save FreeHand; Save the World" camp sound every bit as irrational as the sour-grapes AI devotees who for 25 years pounded their pulpits while screaming "Multiple page?! We don't need no stinkin' multiple pages! Illustrator is a professional program!"

                                             

                                            FreeHand had the subject select-through capability two freaking decades before Illustrator.

                                            It had the Perspective Grids 11 years before Illustrator.

                                            It had a Fit To Page command in its print dialog decades before Illustrator.

                                            It could edit in preview mode years before Illustrator.

                                            It could create a compound clipping mask years before Illustrator.

                                             

                                            On the other hand, it never gained the simple ability to define a line in terms of angle and length, or a movement in terms of distance and direction, either.

                                             

                                            None of this stuff is worthy of terms like 'professional' or 'modern.' This program category is all kid's stuff. And in that sandbox Illustrator is still playing catch-up with decades ago--the amazing thing is that anyone gets excited about that, pays their $200, and thinks that's "leading edge progress."

                                             

                                            JET

                                            • 19. Re: Selecting objects
                                              DocPixel-BMW Level 2

                                              In regards to using a screen name:
                                              you do respect security reasons... don't you?

                                               

                                              re: Market-share... show the numbers.

                                               

                                              While possible, since everyone I know, as I did, always have both Illustrator and FreeHand.... for the last 25 years or so. However, when it comes down to what program we actually used continuously, day in and day out, it was always FreeHand. Illustrator has always been there for compatibility and possibly deciphering some foreign format or file like from CorelDraw. Production though and rebuilding was always done with FH.

                                               

                                              You're right though... a little to Fanboyish of me. At the time I was trying to figure out why, even with a clipping mask group, copying into PS was always bringing along the boundaries of what was clipped. As I've found out here on the forum, that's a wonderful "feature" of Illustrator's.

                                               

                                              I'm thrilled! Curious how I never even thought how great that is to do a half a dozen unnecessary steps when using FH, and pasting a layout to PS to warp to a cup. I'm so... thrilled....

                                               

                                              * Edited due to the fact that Adobe can't even make a Forum right, so that it uses standards and does automatic built-in browser spell checking!