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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.
Now let's talk about some of the more advanced things that you can do inside the New dialog box. I'm going to go back up to the File menu and choose New. Notice that it's going to bring up the last settings that you have applied. If you are working along with me you are going to see Number of Artboards 6, Spacing 0.5 inches and so on. Now, speaking of inches we do have the Units set to Inches because that's what I did in the previous exercise, but I could switch it back to Points, the 170 second of an inch units, which are Illustrator's defaults. Yet you can still work in whatever unit of measurement you like.
So if you decide, for example, the Spacing needs to be bigger than it is now, because you're going to see that the bleeds are budding up against each other, maybe you want some visual room between those bleeds in a different new document. This, by the way, is going to create a different new document; we're not editing the existing document. Then I could enter something like, let's give it a full inch, and I'll say 1 in, Tab, and that will convert to 72 points. You could also do something like, let's say I say 100 millimeters or something along those lines, 100 mm, Tab, and then it's going to get automatically converted to points. So Illustrator will go ahead and do that mathematics for you. You can even do something as simple as one quote, the double quote. Tab, that's going to be interpreted as an inch as well and same with the page dimensions and so on.
Now notice down here we have this option that's called Advanced. If you click that double-down arrow, you will see some Advanced options down toward the bottom of the dialog box. Notice, that currently the Color Mode is set to CMYK. You can change that if you want to, you can change that over to RGB. The idea is this; this is going to be your overarching color space. Now you can still specify the color of an object either in CMYK or RGB, and by the way, in case you don't know what these mean, CMYK is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, the key color black, that's why it is K. That's for Print, that's for commercial output. Then RGB is Red, Green and Blue. Those are your screen colors. Those are the colors that are blended together in order to display an image on screen.
Now you can specify colors inside of Illustrator using CMYK or RGB, no matter what, but Illustrator is going to require you to specify an overarching space. Illustrator will go ahead and clip the colors to that overarching space. So I'll go ahead and make on the fly conversion style to CMYK or RGB. So here is the rule. If you're going to print, especially prepress commercial output, then you want to go CMYK. If you are doing screen work, for example, you are going to the web or you are sharing files with Photoshop, then you want to go RGB. So in our case, I want to stick with CMYK though because we are going to do a print document here.
Raster Effects, if you are working in print you want to have some high resolution raster effects, raster effects meaning effects that are going to be converted to pixels, things like drop shadows, for example, that's the best example there is. And in that case you want to stick High resolution for your print work. If you are going to a website, you are probably going to stick with Screen; Screen is going to be good enough. It's also going to be faster when you create drop shadows and so on. We'll be discussing that much later in the series, what's going on with things like drop shadows, live effects. Then you can split the difference with Medium too if you are going to some other destination, for example, Inkjet work, that kind of thing. I'm going to leave this set to High.
Then you have the Preview Mode, Default is going to show your vector artwork at the highest resolution possible, it's the more that you are going to want to use most of the time, especially if you are going to print. If you are going to the web and you want to get a sense of how your illustration is going to rasterize, that is, get converted to screen pixels, then you might want to go with the Pixel preview, but you can always switch this on the fly as we'll see later. Then Overprint is going to show you how the various inks inside of your illustration, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black as well as any spot colorings, how they overprint each other.
Now I actually recommend for prepress work, if you are going to be commercially outputting your illustration, I recommend you go ahead and choose Overprint to turn it on. You also need Overprint turned on to take advantage of the new Separation Preview palette. But in any case, you can either go with Overprint or Default with your print stuff, and then Pixel as I say is for web graphics. I am going to go ahead and switch over to Overprint and I'm going to click OK and we are going to generate a new document that has different settings as we see. So there are your Advanced, more or less advanced New Document settings.
If some of this is going over your head a little bit, don't worry, we are going to come back to all of it over time, it's all going to make a ton of sense. In the next exercise we are going to talk about how you create your own custom document profile. It is a little weird; you have to jump through a few hoops. I'll show you how, coming right up.
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