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Mordy Golding demonstrates how to be more productive, efficient, and creative by taking advantage of Adobe Illustrator to create pixel-perfect web graphics and interactive Flash content. Illustrator CS4 for the Web investigates the pros and cons of pixel- and vector-based web graphics, demonstrates efficient workflows, and explores the creative options available in Illustrator. Mordy also covers design techniques, such as creating typography that works well on screen, adding reflections, and making Flash animations. He discusses new Illustrator CS4 features, including using multiple artboards, bringing art into Dreamweaver, and utilizing Flash Catalyst. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we know how to create slices inside of Illustrator. We know that there is two types of slices. There are User and Auto Slices and that we can define slices either manually or using the object based method. But we haven't spoken about yet though is what to do with those slices once we have created them. So let's take a look at how we adjust the settings for each of our slices. In this document, I will start off by creating some object-based slices. I go to my Layers panel. Let's go ahead and show the Slices layer, again, those are the objects that I created into the grid and I will turn off all different layers right now. I will press Command+ A or Ctrl+A on Windows, to go ahead and select all my objects, then I will go to the Object menu, I will choose Slice and then Make to turn them all into slices.
Let me deselect these objects right now. Let's go ahead and choose the settings from maybe this slice right here. I will click on it to select it and I go to the Object menu, I will choose Slice and then I will choose Slice Options. This brings up the Slice Options dialog box. Now the first thing you notice right here is where it says Slice Type. In Illustrator, you actually have the ability to choose that a slice itself is set to No Image, Image or HTML Text. So let's take a look at what each of those mean. No Image simply means that particular area of that particular cell has no artwork exported whatsoever. If I choose Image, which is really the standard for most slices, it simply means that whole area that's encompassed within that region gets turned into an image and gets exported when I save my web graphic.
Finally, there is an option here called HTML Text, this option is only available when you actually select a text object and turn that into a slice. With the HTML Text option chosen, when your table gets exported, that text actually is converted to live HTML text within that cell. In my opinion, though, I don't find that as useful because usually the live text that I am adding, comes later on a stage, for example, when I am inside of a Dreamweaver but for now, I will leave this slice set to Image. Next, I can choose to name my slice. When I export my artwork from Illustrator, as you can see here in this particular table, I have seven slices. That means that I will end up with an HTML file with a table inside of it and that table will reference seven different images. Each of those images, obviously, has a name. Now by default, Illustrator just adds its own name using the slice number but if I wanted to, I can actually go and give the slices specific name. As we learn about more ways to use slices inside of Illustrator, we will see where that comes into play.
Now that brings us to probably one of the most exciting parts about slices themselves; URL because the slice really, as a separate image, does have the ability to contain a link, meaning that I can click on that particular region and be taken to a different location or different web page, altogether. For example, if I want that a user goes to my web page and clicks anywhere in this region, and gets directed to another area, I can simply type in a URL, for example, I will type in http://www. lynda.com. I could also choose a target, meaning _blank, _self, _parent or _top, and if I am using different frames or if I want to be able to have this particular link open up in the new window, I can add that as well.
I can also specify a message and some Alt text. Alt text is actually very important if you are working with website that should be accessible. For example, people who are visually impaired, actually have the artwork that appears inside of website, read to them. Whatever you specify in the Alt text, it gets read to those people using the screen readers. Finally you have the option for a Background. Currently, the background is set to None but by clicking on this button here, I can actually choose any of the color that I want Illustrator a background for that slice. In reality, if the slice is an image, this really is not as useful because the image itself covers up the background. However, if elements inside of the slice are transparent, for example, if I save it out as a transparent GIF file or if I am working with a HTML Text slice, then the background does come into play.
Let me click Cancel here, and I will you there is one another important way that I work with slices inside of Illustrator. Sometimes, I take the grid, as you see it right here, and I use this as a basis for how I build my pages inside of Dreamweaver. If all I am looking to do is to build that a HTML base table, this is all that I need and I might be working with another designer who is working on the actual artwork that's going to go into this slices but using the Slice Option dialog box is not the only way to change the settings for each of the slices. I will click Cancel here. Now last you choose the option here under the File menu called Save for Web & Devices and doing so this brings up this particular feature and right over you will see there is slice select tool. I can actually double click in any of these slices and bring up that same Slice Options dialog box. In fact, when I am working inside of Illustrator and I want to change a setting for a lot of different slices in my layout, I find it much easier to do that right here on the Save for Web & Devices dialog box. I will make my settings here, click OK, double-click on the next slice, choose its settings, so on and so forth.
When I am done, I will go ahead and click on Done button and returns me back to my layout without exporting any graphics. Now that we know how to apply settings to our slices, we can explore many different ways to take advantage of all these features.
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