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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.
Years ago, Adobe was getting inundated with requests from people who wanted to put their illustrations into Microsoft applications, most notably PowerPoint. So Adobe came up with an approach that involved converting the illustrations to the PNG format, to the Portable Network Graphics format, PNG. We have already seen that format once, but it was such a big thing, such a big deal for them, that they decided to dedicate an entire command to this one procedure. I'm going to show it to you, then I'm going to show you what's wrong with the command, then I'm going to show you the better approach.
So I'm still working inside Goodbye overprints.ai, found inside the 12_exporting folder. If you have been working right along with me, then your Boards layer is turned off and you need to turn it back on, because this process here is not adversely affected by the Boards layer, and of course the boards that are sitting there on the second artboard, these wonderful creatures right here. All right. So I'm going to go up to the File menu and I'm going to choose this Command, Save for Microsoft Office. Gets an entire command dedicated to it. You will see, there is not much going on here. You just say what the name of the file is; your file type is going to be PNG. You can't do anything about that.
I'm just going to call this guy Microsoft queen or something along those lines, and click on the Save button. Then I'll watch for a few progress bars to go by, fair enough, and then the job will be done, as soon as this progress bar goes away, I'm waiting, there it is. We are all done. That was the end of that process. So you certainly didn't need a trainer or a training video to tell you how to do that. You would think not. Here is the problem. It's a disaster. I'm going to switch over to the Bridge. Basically, this command got broken by multiple artboards inside of Illustrator and some other stuff too. It's just a rotten command. I'm here inside the Bridge and you can see Microsoft queen.png.
Now, if I were to double click on it, it's going to open in Fireworks. So tell you what, I'm going to press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac, because I want to use Photoshop for this, because there is just less falderal going on inside Photoshop than Fireworks. I press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box. I would switch to File Type Associations right here. I'm going to scroll down the list until I see Portable Document format. I'm not seeing it yet, there it is. Portable Network Graphics is what I mean. Pardon me. Currently it's set to Adobe Fireworks CS4. I'm going to switch it Adobe Photoshop CS4, and then click on OK to accept that modification.
Now I can double click on this Microsoft queen thing, you can already see it's not right, but double click on it to open it up inside Photoshop, all three artboards inside one image. So it's not artboard sensitive. Also, what was the Resolution, we weren't able to determine that. Let's go ahead and press Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac to zoom this image to 100%. We will stick with the Boards actually, they are fairly telling and they are fairy attractive in their bleakness. You can see that the Anti-Alias thing isn't actually all that well done, it's fairly spiky. We have a few jagged edges going on here, especially around this circle. It doesn't look too good. I'll go ahead and zoom in and you can see what I mean. That's a bad circle out of Illustrator, and of course here inside of Photoshop.
It's not like Microsoft applications deserve -- I mean, well, you might argue that, but just because you are using PowerPoint you don't want dreadful results, you don't want like Illustrator punishing you or something. That's ridiculous. So I'll go ahead and zoom back out here. The illustration by the way was rendered out. If I go to the Image menu and I choose the Image Size command or press Ctrl+Alt+I, Command+Option+I on the Mac, we can see that the image was rendered out to a Resolution of 150 pixels/inch, mas o menos, approximately. But the Height is 13 inches. What gives there? Well, it's really 9.5 inches, which includes the bleed. That's the 9 inches of the document Height plus the quarter inch of bleed on each side, and that altogether adds up to 9.5 inches.
But it's just that we have this huge amount of space at the bottom of the graphic, there is empty space here that's down here at the bottom. I'll go and toss it upwards so we can see it. I don't know, it's inexplicable, I don't know where that's coming from. We don't have any space at the top and we don't have any space over on the other side of the t-Shirt either. That got cropped tight, as you can see here. So I'm not sure exactly what's going on. I can tell you we have no Transparency, it's 100% Opaque. The picture I'm painting is one of no control whatsoever, and that's no good, we deserve control. So I'll show you the better way to work. Assuming that PNG is the best file format, and we are accepting that from Adobe. Adobe apparently tested all kinds of different file formats to see which one was going to be most compatible specifically with PowerPoint, but with the larger world of Microsoft applications as well. So we are just assuming they got it right and that PNG is the way to go.
So assuming it is, here is the better approach to PNG. You can either, back here in Illustrator of course, you can either go up to the File menu and choose Save for Web & Devices, if you just want to save a single artboard. But what if you want to save all three of your artboards to PNG? Then you go to Export right here. Then you would choose PNG from the Save as type pop-up menu. Obviously I have done this before. I'll go ahead and call these guys Microsoft queen, and I say these guys because there is going to be multiple versions of this image, one for each of the artboards. So let's go ahead and turn on the Use Artboards checkbox and set it to All, to get all three of them.
Now, click on Save, and you will be invited to specify a Resolution. That's a good thing. So you would probably go with 300 ppi, or well, for PowerPoint maybe you just go for 72 ppi because you are doing a screen presentation, totally up to you how you decide to go in this case. Test them out. See what works best for your workflow. Anti- Alias should definitely be on. Interlaced should definitely be off. There is your Preview. Do you want transparency? Let's go ahead and retain transparency, why not, for of course the second and third artboards. Click OK in order to save off those files. You are going to see the progress bar, and the amazing thing about this is this progress bar is going to go absolutely as fast as it did just a moment ago when we were working without any controls whatsoever.
So now, it's done, I have saved off all three of my files. Let's go check them out here inside the Bridge. I have, notice this, Microsoft queen-01. So Microsoft queen is still the same way it ever was. That's the image that we saved off using the Save for Microsoft Office Command. But these other guys, queen-01, queen-02, and queen- 03, they are independent files. Let's just go ahead and open queen-02 here, Microsoft queen-02, because that's the one that's got some sensitive transparency going on. We have an independent layered image. It is shown to me at 33% right now. So let's go ahead and press Ctrl+Alt+0 or Command+Option+0 on the Mac in order to zoom it to 100%. You ask me? That's much better Anti-Aliasing. That looks a heck of a lot better than what we saw just a moment ago. Check out that circle, it is a much cleaner circle this time around, and I think much more deserving of your appreciation than that horrible thing that we just got a moment ago. We have the transparency and we have the full Drop Shadow. So we have incremental translucency.
We are also going to see transparency by the way, if I switch back to the Bridge and open up the 03 illustration right here, which is the t-shirt, we are also going to see transparency behind the t-Shirt and a well rendered collar, don't you know? Thanks to our smarter approach to PNG inside of Illustrator.
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