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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
All right, so here's the thing. When you're saving and you're exporting files, if you've got that little line in there that has a file name, then you are going to keep saving over that file, unless you open up the dialog box, and manually change the name. However, if we can get rid of that file name and I am going to show you how to do it, then Illustrator will just go ahead and keep the name of the file, such as Musical review or Variation 1 or Variation 2, and then append the proper extension. So let me show you how that works. Now I warn you upfront this involves a little bit of mild hacking.
Basically, we're going to have to create an alternate action set and then we are going to have to open it up inside of a text editor, then we will edit a few lines of type that won't make any sense. We are just going to grab ten characters and delete them and then change a number, you'll see. And then we have got to save that out, and open it back up inside of Illustrator. Thing is, though, it works brilliantly. So, here is what we are going to do. First of all, assuming that you have been working along with me, and you created this action set here, go ahead and grab it and drag it on to the folder at the bottom of the Actions panel in order to make it duplicate.
Then go ahead and rename it, and I am going to call this one testSet, and then click OK. Now we have got this action here, called Save for Web PNG 8/64, that's fine but I am going to grab the contents of that action and throw it away. Now you might say, hey Deke, how did you do that? Just a moment ago, you couldn't get rid of that one piece of that operation where the file name was. Well, that's true, you can't delete part of an operation but you can delete an entire operation which is what I did just now. All right! So the action is active.
Now I am going to drop down here to the Record button, click on it and we are going to record a new version of that action by going up to the File menu, choosing Save for Web & Devices, or pressing that keyboard shortcut if you prefer, make sure that all the settings are intact, and they should be, because that information is stored along with the file as long as you are working inside of it. I will go ahead and click the Save again and I am going to call this file and this is very important. I want you to do the same thing if you are working along. Call it a.png. So just five characters long; a.png, that's it.
Click the Save button, and then we will be done. Now I will go ahead and click the Stop button right there, and I want you to click on testSet to make it active, go up to the flyout menu and choose Save Actions. And let's go ahead and save this guide to wherever you want; I am going to put it in my 30_actions folder, although I am not including it for you. I want you to understand that, because it's not going to work for you. Your pathname is going to be totally different from mine. You don't have the same folders on your hard drive in other words, and you might be working on a Mac instead of a PC, and so forth.
So do not look for this file for me. I'm going to go ahead and click Save and now, I'm going to open my favorite text editor, this ain't really it, but this is handy, Notepad right there. I will go ahead and click on Notepad to launch it, and you can open TextEdit or BBEdit or any of those guys, whatever you want. Go to the File menu, choose the Open command or however your program works. I'm looking at the 30_actions folder; I can't see that thing I had just made. Well that's because I'm only seeing the TXT files. So I'll switch to All Files, and then I will grab testSet.aia and click Open and then you get this long series of code, ultimately culminating in this unreadable stuff here, but toward the end, a very, very end down here at the bottom, after value.
So you'll see type (ustring), this is way at the end of the document, by the way, then you will see /value [some number, it's not going to be 64.] That's telling you how many digits are in that path name. Yours is going to be different than mine, and then you're going to see the path name represented in hex code essentially. This 67 right there, that's the letter G. This 6e is letter N, this 70 is letter P, this 2e is a period and this 61 right there, is the letter A. Assuming that you're seeing the exact same thing at the very end, I want you to grab 612e706e67.
Those exact ten characters and then press the backspace key. Don't delete anything else, don't delete this bracket or these braces or any of that jazz. Be very careful about what you touch. So again, I will show you that, 612e706e67, that's it and then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. Next take this value right here, whatever it is, yours is going to be different, and subtract 5 because we just deleted five characters.
You've got to do this, if you don't, Illustrator will refuse to open the file. It's very strange. Anyway, 64 minus 5 is 59. If you need to use a calculator, do it, make sure you get it right. Then having done that, go up to the File menu, and choose the Save command. That's it. All right now let's return to Illustrator. I am going to grab that testSet right there and bear in mind, I want you to see this, so you have a before and after sense of what's going on. I am going to twirl open, Save for Web. I am going to make it much wider, I am going to scroll down to the end, notice that it says, In: C:\Users blah, blah blah...30_actions\a.png.
Okay, so that was originally part of this information. I am going to grab this testSet and throw into trash, because we don't need that one anymore. I will go up to the flyout menu, and choose Load Actions. Go back to my 30_actions folder, click on testSet.aia. If you did everything right, you should be of the click the Open button and have it open successfully. If it complains and says this is not the right kind of file that's because you didn't subtract five properly from that number. All right, now let's go ahead and twirl open, Save for Web.
Check this out, I will go ahead, and make it wider again, if necessary. I am not sure, I need it to. Exercise files 30_actions, hey where is a.png, we got rid of it. It's gone and what that means is now Illustrator will actually respect the names of the files. All right, so I will go ahead and twirl close this action. Let's go ahead, and play it. I'm working in Musical review.ai. I will go ahead, and click on Save for Web PNG 8/64, click the Play button and oops! I've got a problem, because I forgot to turn off the dialog boxes. All right! We need those dialog boxes off.
So click on the dialog box, they're gone, good. Now go ahead and play that action back once again, and it played back. All right, I'll switch to Variation 1. ai and I'll play that action back, and I'll switch to variation 2.ai and I will play that action back, and now let's check out what happened. I will return to the bridge by clicking on that Go to Bridge button, and here we are inside the bridge, and notice there's my a.png file. I don't need that anymore, so I am going to go ahead and select it and press Ctrl+Delete or Command+Delete on the Mac to get rid of it.
Notice that Musical review.png looks right now. So it no longer looks incorrect as it did at the end of previous exercise, and we've got a Variation 1.png file that looks just like Variation 1.ai and we've got a Variation 2.png, that looks like Variation 2.ai. So in other words, we absolutely succeeded in forcing Illustrator to stop messing things up, and we can actually make use of that action without seeing the dialog boxes on a file-by-file basis.
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