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In Illustrator CS5 Web and Interactive Design, Mordy Golding shows how to create pixel-perfect graphics for use in web sites, video compositions, and mobile apps. This course covers a wide range of workflows, from creating online ad campaigns, web sites, icons, to taking art from Illustrator to Flash Professional. Sharing tips, tricks, and creative techniques along the way, Mordy provides insight and instruction for taking projects from initial concept straight through to production. Exercise files accompany the course.
I'd like to show you what I think is probably one of my most favorite features, one of the most favorite things about using Illustrator specifically for creating web graphics. Now we know that Illustrator's strength is that you can create these vector-based graphics that can be resized for any purpose or just about any need. At the same time, we know that when we are designing web graphics we try to actually build our graphics to the sizes that are needed and we use the pixel dimensions to do that. However there are times when we create some graphics, maybe for one site, and then you find out that you have another web site that you need to actually build that graphic for.
And the pixel dimensions are slightly different. So as we will see in this video we can actually use the Save for Web dialog box, to resize artwork for just about anything that we might need. Now notice I have a file open, it's called monthly_specials.ai, and you can see that I have some artwork that I have created. This is actually created at a pixel dimension of 300 x 250. If I select the rectangle here - which is the background color - I can see in my Transform panel it's set to 300 x 250. However, it's kind of floating on a larger artboard that I have inside of my document.
I am doing this purposely because I want to show you a feature that you have inside of Save for Web. So I am going to go to the File menu here and choose Save for Web & Devices. And then on the far right over here where it says Image Size, we will talk about an important setting that appears right over here. It's called Clip to Artboard. Now normally inside of Illustrator, the Clip to Artboard feature is on by default. I am going to click on this setting and click Apply and you can see that Save for Web now is clipping my artwork to the size of my artboard, which is set to 800 x 600. So you can see now that my artwork is kind of floating in the middle and I have all this transparent area around the edge, mainly because right now I am set to a GIF here, with Transparency turned on, which by default chooses that color and makes it transparent.
However, I don't necessarily need to set my artboard to the exact output size that I need. Because if my artwork is going to be the size that I need, in this case 300 x 250, and I have nothing else inside of this artboard or this document for that matter. I can uncheck the Clip to Artboard feature and choose Apply and Illustrator will automatically sense the size of the artwork, or you can say the bounding area of my artwork, and set my files size to be that exact amount, which is 300 x 250, as you can see right over here.
So just know that when you are using Save for Web, you have the ability to use this Clip to Artboard setting to get the results that are looking for. Now of course, if I choose to save my artwork right now, it will get saved at these exact pixel dimensions. But let's say I decide that this needs to go on another web page and the specifications there are that the width of this graphic has to be 350 pixels. Well, you can see over here there is an option called Constrain Proportions. When you check that, a little lock appears. That means the Width and the Height are currently locked in proportion.
You can uncheck that. You will see the lock goes away. I really don't want to right now uncheck that. I want to keep that on. Because I do want my artwork to scale in proportion. I don't want it to stretch it anyway. But I can simply come here to Width and change it to 350, click Apply, and Illustrator automatically resizes the graphic to that specific dimension. Now many times, as you probably know when it comes to web design, what's probably most important is the width. We don't really care necessarily about the Height because the page will simply expand or flow as we need it.
But we want to make sure that the width is going to be correct or to the right size. So here I can really dial in just about any pixel dimension that I need. And because all of my source artwork is vector, Illustrator just simply re-rasterizes it here inside of the Save for Web dialog box to the size that I need it at. If I need to go smaller, I can simply come again here to the Width, type in maybe 200 pixels. Remember you have to click on the Apply button, and now it resizes to the size. So really it's a great way instead of you having to manage multiple sizes and multiple versions on my artboard.
I create one size and then just export it at the size that I need. Now we'll say one thing there are times. If you're making a large difference in the size, you may think about different design elements that appear inside of your artwork. For example, at really, really small sizes maybe I wouldn't have the prices, or I would have the layout a little bit different here, or maybe at really large sizes I would have room for maybe additional information. So of course we are not talking about creating a small little postage stamp, and then making that in a much larger size. In those cases the content may change.
But for small changes, for example, you have some artwork that was designed to 200 pixels. Now you needed at 220. You don't have to worry about scaling or resizing things in the artboard inside of Illustrator. Simply come here to Save for Web and exported at precisely the size that you need.
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