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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
In today's digital world our hard drives are filled with tons of files. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to find those files. Then when we do find some files, we're not even sure if those are the right files to work on or not. From a workflow perspective, one of the most important concepts in design lately has been the use of metadata. Metadata is information that describes what a file is. The problem though has always been is that where do you store that metadata. You can now store metadata directly inside of each document. This metadata conforms to the XMP Standard or Extensible Metadata Platform and while that all sounds very technical, the reality is that at the end of the day, you'll be able to find your files faster, and more importantly be able to identify the author of files and whether or not that file has Copyright Status or other information as well.
I'll just start here by creating a regular print document and I'll click OK to take the settings that we had before. I'll go to the File menu, and then on the bottom of the File menu there is something here called File Info. This dialog box that appears allows me to specify settings for my Illustrator file. For example, I could specify a title of this particular file and Author and Author Title if I want to and the Description of this document. I could also tell you the person who actually defined that particular description and assign keywords to this document.
What's great about this is that all this information or this metadata can be searched upon. In fact, the way that XMP works is that -- and again, I don't want to get too technical here, but it's important to know this, when I have a regular Illustrator file the XMP data stored in XML format in the header part of the file, which means that I don't necessarily have to open the file in order to find an information about that file. Certain databases or even an application called Adobe Bridge has the ability to go ahead and perform searches on the metadata. So, for example, if my filename was, Hello, but by keywords has specified Beach ball, if I did a search on Beach Ball then that Illustrator file would come back in that particular search. I can also specify copyright status. I can put the copyright notice here and a URL as well.
You'll also notice at top of this dialog box I have different tabs. IPTC is the standard for how metadata is actually formed. It's what we call a schema and again this little slider here on the bottom, I can actually go through all these fields. You don't have to enter information in all these fields, but of course the more information you do put in here the more easily it will be found. I can even step through some of these settings over here as well. There is one here called Illustrator. This basically determines or shows me, which new document profile was used to create that document. Again, this is helpful for other ways that Illustrator files can be used.
In the Advanced section here, I can actually see some of these particular settings that are here as well. I'm actually going to go back for a minute over here, all the way to the beginning, and just click on one setting here called Camera Data. Obviously, in Illustrator files there is no camera data because you're creating inside of an Illustrator file. However, when you snap a photograph with a digital camera, there is a lot of settings, for example, the Shutter Speed, the date and time that photograph was taken, is all automatically added into your metadata. This is great because as a human being I don't have to physically go in there and add that information, it's automatically added to the file.
There are certain things that are automatically added to your metadata inside of an Illustrator document even without you doing anything. For example, if I use several Pantone colors, different typefaces inside of a particular file, as soon as I save my Illustrator file, that information, the inks that I've used and the typeface that I've used, are included in that metadata, which means that in theory it's possible for me to go through an application like Adobe Bridge, do a search for a typeface Helvetica and then have all Illustrator files that use Helvetica come up in that search. So, working with metadata is an incredible way to really make sure that you can find the documents in the right way. It's important if you are working with a lot of files, if you work in a big organization or more importantly, if you work in an environment where you're sharing files tussling with a whole team of designers, the more metadata you add to a file in this File Info panel, the easy it will be to find that document and work with those documents moving forward.
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