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There are some times when you'll actually using effect inside of Illustrator not to change the appearance of artwork, but rather to help you work a little bit faster inside of Illustrator with your artwork. Now there may be times if you're working on a kind of design that uses many different patterns--patterns, if they are complex, can not only slow down re-draw time when you're working inside of Illustrator, it can really slow down print times as well. In fact, it's not uncommon for me to see people take really complex artwork that uses tons of patterns inside of Illustrator and bring them into Photoshop and try to print them from Photoshop because it even prints faster there, even at a higher resolution.
Well, you don't have to go to that extreme at all. In fact, you can use an effect to temporarily turn a vector object into a raster-based object, and in doing so, when it prints out of Illustrator, it will print as a raster. But it still remains fully editable as a vector object inside of Illustrator. Let me show you what I mean. I have right now a document called performance.ai. It's simply a regular rectangle that's filled with a pattern. Now if you are finding that it's taking a really long time to get your file printed out of Illustrator, you can simply select the objects that have the patterns applied to them and maybe even target just the fill of those objects like I'm doing here, and then go to the Effect menu and choose Rasterize.
Now the Rasterize dialog box appears. I am going to choose a high resolution of 300 pixels per inch, because I do want to get nice output on my printer, but now I will click OK. As an effect, Illustrator now converted that fill to a rasterized version of that fill. Now if I am printing to like an ink jet printer or even a laser printer for proofing in-house, it's doubtful that I will see any difference at all between my vectorized version of the pattern or the rasterized version of it. More importantly, from my perspective this will print out a lot faster because Illustrator and the printer doesn't need to calculate all of that vector information.
However, from the perspective of working inside of Illustrator, that pattern is still a regular pattern, which I can edit and make changes to. So again, if I look at my fill right now, I see that I have the rasterize effect applied just to the fill, and I will get speedy performance as far as re-draw and printing when I'm working. But if I am sending this artwork to maybe a high-end printer for a really, really good proof that I might want to use to present to a client, I can simply turn off the Rasterize effect and then go to print. Likewise, when I send the file out, for final processing, I'll just simply take that rasterized effect and drag it to the trash, at which point that I know I'll get the best output when my print service provider actually produces a file.
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