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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.
Before we learn how to actually set the correct settings for all of our slices, we have to learn how to define the slices first. There are actually a variety of different methods for defining slices inside of Illustrator. Each have their pros and cons. So the next three videos we'll cover these different methods. In this video, we're going to talk about creating slices manually. Now if you've been using a program like Photoshop, for example, to create web graphics, you may be familiar with defining slices in a manual way using something called the Slice tool, and the same thing exists here inside of Illustrator.
I'm going to zoom a little bit on this page over here. And say I wanted to define some kind of a slice. I do as some guides that I've already set up in this document, which can help me out, because as we will find out, the Slice tool does allow us to snap to certain regions. But I'm now going to go here to my tools panel, and I'm going to choose this Slice tool. Notice, by the way, this is different than the Knife tool inside of Illustrator. The Knife tool allows you to cut vector objects. The Slice tool is used specifically for defining web slices. I'm going to take this tool right now, move it over onto the screen, and say, for example, I wanted to just draw a slice around this region right over here.
I would start by clicking and dragging to draw a rectangle, and when I release the mouse over here, I now have defined a slice. Notice that Illustrator automatically creates these other slices for me also, and we will discuss more about this in detail as we will learn more about slices. Remember that overall, slices are really meant as a way to build an HTML table. A table needs to have other cells. You can't have one cell floating in the middle of the page. So when you define a cell, Illustrator will automatically create the other ones that are necessary in order to have that cell live on the page as well.
By default, as we can see over here underneath the Object menu, if we go down to where it says Slice, there's a setting here called Clip the Artboard. Illustrator will automatically consider the boundaries of your artboard as the boundaries of that table. What I just did now is I used the Slice tool to manually define the region for a slice. Now like I said before, if I have some guides set up, this kind of helps me out a little bit. It's almost like drawing a regular rectangle. However, we want to make sure that our slices are always going to be precise, which is very difficult to do when eyeballing it this way with the Slice tool.
For example, I found that if I'm not really very careful, if I want to start drawing another slice here, for example, that would kind of touch up right against this one, if I am off by even just a little bit, I'm going to get some extra slices created for me. So you have to be really careful when using the Slice tool to define your slices, but this is a really quick and easy way to define slices based on regions. So, for example, if I wanted to have a slice that was just arbitrarily over a certain area, I don't have any object to finding that slice, but I have the freedom to really kind of put this slice anywhere that I want to, because the Slice tool allows me to do that.
Now as I said before, if you're not perfect about setting up your slices, you could get overlapping regions, or you may not have the slice positioned in the exact location that you want. It's important to realize that the Slice tool can only create slices, but it can't modify them. If you want to adjust the slices themselves, you would then come back to the Tools panel, click and hold your mouse button down on the Slice tool, and you'll see a little pop-up show up here. You can now choose the Slice Select tool. The Slice Select tool allows you to click on a slice to select it, and when you select it, you have the ability to modify it.
Notice if I go kind of to the edge of the boundary here of these slices, a little double-headed arrow appears, and I can now modify that slice. Basically, a slice is a special kind of object that Illustrator is creating. It creates a no fill, no stroke rectangle that's called a slice object, and I can only modify it using the Slice Select tool. So I can actually make changes to it by mousing over to it, but again, it's not the easiest tool to use. If you're familiar with Photoshop, you may find that the tool snaps very nicely to guides, and Illustrator really takes a lot of close work, zooming in really close to making sure that the slices are just right as you're working with it.
Of course, you can use the Transform panel to help position these slices as well, but it can be a little bit extra work. Keeping that in mind, there are two other great ways to create slices inside of Illustrator, and we'll start talking about the next one, meaning using guides to create slices, in the next movie.
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