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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right. We're still inside of the Print dialog box, I have switched to the Advanced option right here as you can see and that takes us to our Flattening options. So here's the idea. When you're printing from Illustrator to a PostScript printer, Illustrator is doing the best it can to convey raw PostScript information to the printer. Then the printer can do the most beautiful job of rendering your vector as possible. But some things are outside of the realm of PostScript and those things are outside the realm of PostScript, fundamental things like gradients. But also, live effects, drop shadows, all that good stuff. Anything that's not just a plain old everyday vector has to be somehow converted so that PostScript can understand it, and that conversion process is known as flattening inside of Illustrator. We'll be discussing flattening in a lot more detail when we take a look at the Flattener Preview palette in a far-flung chapter.
But here are some options that are available to you. For one thing you could print this whole darn thing as a bitmap. You could just say you know what, I'm worried something could go terribly wrong and this is only a Defcon option by the way. If something is going terribly wrong, then you turn on Print as Bitmap and it will definitely output. But the resolution is going to be questionable and you might end up having some rough areas inside the graphic here and there, but you know, you're not going to have any dropouts. That can be a problem in Illustrator and complex illustration sometimes. Some little weird corner will just drop out and turn page white or some other color. That's your DEFCON. If something goes terribly wrong you've got that. Otherwise, you want to turn your attention to these options here.
Now you do have the option of throwing away your Overprints if you want to. That's going to be my default setting when I'm working with a composite printer like this one. If I were working with my settings that I was trying to establish for Adobe PDF for my PostScript simulation, then I should see Overprints set to Preserve and I would definitely want to preserve my overprints to the best of my ability those with the overprinting colors and also preserve any overprinting colors. This especially becomes an issue if you're overprinting on top of reduced opacity settings. That can get pretty dicey for the printer to pull off. But you would try to either preserve it or if you're working with a composite printer like this full color Studio Printer, then I would go ahead and change this. I can't do a preserve in that case. That's why I switched away to Discard. I could do a Simulate though, I could try to simulate those overprinting colors and that's what I would prefer to do, when in doubt.
Then we have the option of selecting a Transparency Flattener Presets. So transparency is one of those things that's outside the realm of PostScript. So what do you do in order to try to simulate a reduced opacity setting? Well, what Illustrator is going to do in most cases is it's going to look at each single one of these weird intersections like if you were taking two objects that have flat fills and then they intersect at some point and they sort of interact with each other, whether it's because of a Blend Mode or an Opacity setting. Why then Illustrator is going to take that intersected area and it's going to draw it as a separate vector graphic and communicate that to the printer. It gets dicier though if you have two gradients that are intersecting each other, because there is all sorts of opportunities for different colors to manifest themselves.
So, lot of work on Illustrator's part, not really something you need to worry about too much, but you do have the option of saying, I want you to do your absolute best in high resolution or you can slough off a little bit in the name of getting the job done and actually printing successfully at medium resolution. More likely than not you don't want low resolution, but let me show you the difference here. We will switch to Medium Resolution, which is the default setting, click on Custom so that you can see what's going on. This gets a little technical, so either you're going to understand what's going on here or you're going to take a big nap, this kind of stuff that I find makes people very sleepy.
We've got a Raster/Vector Balance and what this is saying is try very hard. Notice we have Vectors on one side and Rasters on the other side, and rasters mean pixels that we're converting the vector outlines to the nearest pixel equivalents. So at this point we're saying, well, really try to do your best to make everything vectors, but some of those drop shadows and some of those other things, I realize you're going to have to write those as pixels. So go ahead and do that. Or you could try to hit it up to a higher setting if you wanted to, but for now just leave it there. Line Art and Text Resolution, if it's going to be rasterized, then do it at 300 pixels per inch, which is pretty high. Gradient and Mesh Resolution. If you're going to raster them, which it will maybe do on the fly, then rasterize those at 150 ppi and the reason that's lower is because those are continuous transitions and you're not going to really see the resolution inside of a gradient the way you are on the edge of a character of text, for example.
Should you Convert All Text to Outlines? No, if we wanted to do that we would have already converted them, because if we do that we lose all the hinting and all that good stuff. Convert All Strokes to Outlines. That's a great idea. That's okay. That's not going to hurt anything. Then Clip Complex Regions, well, sure. If you have to rasterize a region and convert it to pixels, then go ahead and clip it inside of a sharp edge to vector. We'll see masking and clipping and all that good stuff in future chapters, but just note for now that's a good thing. All right. I'm going to cancel out. I just wanted you to see those options here. If we were to switch to High Resolution and click on Custom, we would see that it's going to do its absolute best to maintain vectors. It's never going to give us rasters. It actually will give us rasters sometimes when it has to, but 100% of the time that it doesn't have to, it will deliver vectors.
Those times that it has to do rasters, it's going to go nuts on Line Art and Text Resolution. 1200 ppi. Awesome! Gradient and Mesh Resolution will be 300 ppi. So that's good, and it's not going to convert anything down here. Those checkboxes are all going to be off. If I had to come up with a preference, this is what I'd do. I would start with Medium Resolution and either leave it just unchanged or the change I would make is I would click on Custom and I would say why don't we go ahead and make the Line Art and Text Resolution 600 ppi? So split the difference.
Gradient Mesh is probably just fine as is but if you have any concerns whatsoever, bump it up to like 200 ppi, leave these guys turned on, don't mess with this one, so just change resolution values. That's it, click OK and then you have your own custom setting. Now, I tell you how to make your own custom settings and save them later on down the line, but this works well enough here inside the Print dialog box. Finally, let's go to the Summary option. You're going to see a long summary of everything that's going on inside of your document, fine. You're also going to see these warnings. This document contains artwork that requires flattening.
That would be the drop shadows. Definitely flattening going on with those drop shadows, because there is no such thing as a PostScript drop shadow, it's going to have to be rasterized or converted to just tons and tons of vectors. The document contains overprinting. That is not a bad thing, but anyway, we get a warning for and we knew about the overprinting. We've set the overprinting on the type, for example. The Document Raster Effects Resolution is 72 ppi or less. I was scrapping about this earlier in an earlier exercise. That's back here at Graphics. Remember how the Document Raster Effects Resolution -- what's going to be used for the drop shadow, for example, is 72 ppi. Any dynamic effect if it has to be rasterized will be 72 ppi. That's no good, so let me change it. Can't! This value can be edited from Effect > Document Raster Effects Settings.
So I believe I already beat that one but it's still-- I just can't tell you how much it irritates me. Not only does it tell me there that I can't do anything about it, it tells me here it's a big old problem. So you click on the Done button in order to save your work inside this dialog box so far and then you would join me in the next exercise when I tell you where we have to go to get this final part of the job done.
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