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Adjusting the Flattener settings

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

Video: Adjusting the Flattener settings

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.

Adjusting the Flattener settings

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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Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals

182 video lessons · 37879 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 42m 7s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      1m 58s
    2. The Welcome screen
      3m 2s
    3. Creating a new document
      5m 6s
    4. Advanced document controls
      4m 43s
    5. Saving a custom New Document Profile
      8m 46s
    6. Changing the document setup
      4m 21s
    7. Special artboard controls
      4m 58s
    8. Accepting artboard changes
      2m 19s
    9. Saving a document
      4m 33s
    10. Closing a document
      2m 21s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Adobe Bridge
      56s
    2. Opening an illustration
      4m 45s
    3. Modifying an illustration
      6m 27s
    4. Saving changes
      4m 58s
    5. Introducing Adobe Bridge
      8m 41s
    6. The all-important file type associations
      3m 20s
    7. Navigating inside Bridge
      4m 23s
    8. Previewing and collecting
      5m 55s
    9. Using workspaces
      6m 41s
    10. Customizing a workspace
      6m 14s
    11. Cool Bridge tricks
      8m 17s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      35s
    2. Keyboard increments
      5m 12s
    3. Scratch disks
      3m 48s
    4. Changing the user interface and setting Appearance of Black
      4m 14s
    5. Best workflow color settings
      9m 17s
    6. Synchronizing settings across CS4
      3m 2s
    7. Working inside tabbed windows
      7m 14s
    8. Organizing palettes
      5m 4s
    9. Saving a custom workspace
      4m 12s
    10. Zooming and panning
      4m 19s
    11. Using the Zoom tool
      3m 3s
    12. Navigating the artboards
      5m 5s
    13. Nudging the screen image
      3m 3s
    14. Scroll-wheel tricks
      2m 8s
    15. Cycling between screen modes
      4m 39s
  4. 1h 22m
    1. The Wedjat (or Eye of Horus)
      55s
    2. The line tools
      2m 57s
    3. Introducing layers
      5m 10s
    4. Creating ruler guides
      6m 18s
    5. Creating custom guides
      5m 16s
    6. Snap-to points
      5m 25s
    7. Organizing guides
      5m 43s
    8. Making a tracing template
      3m 42s
    9. Drawing a line segment
      4m 29s
    10. Drawing a continuous arc
      5m 28s
    11. Drawing a looping spiral
      6m 5s
    12. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 20s
    13. Joining open paths
      7m 31s
    14. Aligning and joining points
      6m 34s
    15. Drawing concentric circles
      4m 41s
    16. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      5m 34s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the shape tools
      3m 5s
    3. The traceable Tonalpohualli
      2m 52s
    4. Drawing circles
      4m 38s
    5. Enhanced Smart Guides
      4m 1s
    6. Aligning to a key object
      4m 29s
    7. Creating polygons and stars
      5m 4s
    8. Using the Measure tool
      3m 47s
    9. The Select Similar and Arrange commands
      3m 56s
    10. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 8s
    11. The amazing constraint axes
      5m 26s
    12. Grouping and ungrouping
      3m 35s
    13. Flipping and duplicating
      4m 12s
    14. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      5m 24s
    15. Cutting and connecting with Scissors and Join
      3m 31s
    16. Tilde-key goofiness
      2m 53s
  6. 1h 41m
    1. The ingredients of life
      54s
    2. Fill and Stroke settings
      4m 22s
    3. Transparency grid and paper color
      5m 47s
    4. The None attribute
      5m 4s
    5. Color libraries and sliders
      3m 39s
    6. Industry-standard colors
      4m 38s
    7. Using CMYK for commercial output
      6m 39s
    8. Using RGB for the web
      7m 23s
    9. Color palette tips and tricks
      7m 18s
    10. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 35s
    11. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      6m 46s
    12. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 38s
    13. Dragging and dropping swatches
      5m 0s
    14. Paste in Front, Paste in Back
      4m 54s
    15. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 28s
    16. Pasting between layers
      4m 41s
    17. Joins, caps, and dashes
      6m 50s
    18. Fixing strokes and isolating edits
      7m 12s
    19. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 57s
  7. 1h 50m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 20s
    2. From primitive to polished art
      2m 42s
    3. Using the Blob brush
      5m 46s
    4. Resizing the brush and erasing
      4m 15s
    5. Selection limits and methods of merging
      6m 39s
    6. Cloning and auto-duplicating
      6m 45s
    7. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 7s
    8. Moving by the numbers
      5m 15s
    9. Using the Reshape tool
      7m 47s
    10. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 14s
    11. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 43s
    12. Styling and eyedropping
      5m 28s
    13. Making a black-and-white template
      2m 27s
    14. Scale and clone
      4m 57s
    15. Enlarge and stack
      5m 46s
    16. Positioning the origin point
      6m 59s
    17. Using the Rotate tool
      3m 55s
    18. Using the Reflect tool
      4m 15s
    19. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      6m 48s
    20. Rotating by the numbers
      6m 12s
    21. Transforming the tile patterns
      7m 52s
  8. 2h 4m
    1. Next-generation text wrangling
      55s
    2. Placing a text document
      5m 38s
    3. Creating a new text block
      6m 1s
    4. Working with point text
      3m 57s
    5. Selecting the perfect typeface
      5m 48s
    6. Scaling and positioning type
      8m 57s
    7. Leading, tracking, and lots of shortcuts
      5m 54s
    8. Adjusting pair kerning
      6m 55s
    9. Eyedropping formatting attributes
      3m 54s
    10. Flowing text from one block to another
      8m 28s
    11. Creating and applying a paragraph style
      7m 39s
    12. Rendering the text in graphite
      5m 55s
    13. Creating a scribbly drop shadow
      5m 17s
    14. Advanced formatting and bullets
      7m 43s
    15. Setting Area Type options
      4m 57s
    16. Justification and the Every-line Composer
      5m 52s
    17. OpenType and ligatures
      7m 19s
    18. Fractions, numerals, and ordinals
      9m 7s
    19. Swashes and small caps
      5m 40s
    20. The amazing Glyphs palette
      8m 12s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Points are boys, handles are girls
      1m 20s
    2. Placing an image as a tracing template
      6m 56s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path
      6m 8s
    4. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      6m 50s
    5. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      9m 7s
    6. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 29s
    7. Defining a cusp between two curves
      6m 59s
    8. Replicating and reshaping segments
      8m 30s
    9. Converting anchor points
      7m 55s
    10. Deleting stray anchor points
      5m 1s
    11. Separating and closing paths
      5m 43s
    12. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 55s
  10. 1h 40m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 34s
    2. Exploring the Appearance palette
      9m 54s
    3. Snip and Spin
      8m 3s
    4. Adding a center point
      4m 12s
    5. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 42s
    6. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      5m 54s
    7. Saving and recalling selections
      6m 20s
    8. Rotating is a circular operation
      8m 32s
    9. Lassoing and scaling points
      5m 28s
    10. Using the Transform Each command
      4m 11s
    11. Using the Magic Wand tool
      8m 1s
    12. Eyedropping live effects
      9m 58s
    13. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 50s
    14. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      7m 59s
    15. Scalloped edges with Pucker & Bloat
      5m 16s
    16. Expand before you merge
      4m 17s
  11. 1h 26m
    1. The new pleasures of printing
      44s
    2. Outlines and artboards in CS4
      7m 35s
    3. Setting trim size and bleed
      7m 17s
    4. Creating custom dynamic crop marks
      3m 41s
    5. Working with the Separations Preview palette
      7m 42s
    6. Trapping an object with an overprint stroke
      8m 20s
    7. Placing multiple artboards into InDesign
      5m 17s
    8. Working with the Print Tiling tool
      4m 55s
    9. Setting the General Print options
      6m 9s
    10. Setting printer marks
      5m 16s
    11. PostScript-only output and graphics
      9m 10s
    12. The Color Management options
      6m 56s
    13. Adjusting the Flattener settings
      7m 32s
    14. Setting the Raster Effects resolution
      5m 32s
  12. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator does pixels
      51s
    2. Illustrator, PDF, and Save As formats
      8m 15s
    3. Saving an illustration for the web
      6m 13s
    4. Saving a continuous-tone JPEG image
      10m 1s
    5. Saving a high-contrast GIF graphic
      6m 26s
    6. The versatile PNG format
      4m 45s
    7. Saving a scaleable Flash (SWF) graphic
      11m 0s
    8. Opening and placing an Illustrator file in Photoshop
      12m 44s
    9. Exporting a layered PSD from Illustrator
      12m 57s
    10. Exporting to Microsoft Office and PowerPoint
      7m 24s
    11. Sharing with InDesign, Flash, and Photoshop
      12m 12s
  13. 1m 4s
    1. Until next time
      1m 4s

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