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Exporting an image file

From: Up and Running with Illustrator

Video: Exporting an image file

Now as you know by now Illustrator is a vector-based drawing program. That's why you can zoom in on any detail inside your artwork and see it render in razor-sharp perfection. Now what's happening when you're viewing a piece of artwork on screen, is that it is in real time being converted to screen pixels, this process of converting vectors to pixels, is known as rasterizing. The same thing happens when you print our work is converted from vectors once again to printer pixels and that is called rasterizing or rasterisation as well.

Exporting an image file

Now as you know by now Illustrator is a vector-based drawing program. That's why you can zoom in on any detail inside your artwork and see it render in razor-sharp perfection. Now what's happening when you're viewing a piece of artwork on screen, is that it is in real time being converted to screen pixels, this process of converting vectors to pixels, is known as rasterizing. The same thing happens when you print our work is converted from vectors once again to printer pixels and that is called rasterizing or rasterisation as well.

This is a computationally intensive process, most of the time it should work out beautifully for you. But every blue moon something can go wrong and I want you to know what the solution is. Am going to go ahead and press Control+1 or Command+1 on a Mac to back out to the 100% view size. I am working inside of a file called Complex illustration.ai, and it's found inside the Exercise Files folder and it takes advantage of a high-end feature that we will be discussing in this beginner course that's known as Gradient Mesh.

I f you want to learn about Gradient Mesh then check out my Illustrator one-on-one video series, in which I show you how to create this very piece of artwork. Now in my experience, that thing that is most likely to cause printer problems is gradients, weather simple gradients which can cause problems or very complex gradients like these basically little strip of color can drop out and absolutely ruin things. If you experience printing problems, or you want to anticipate them or even if all you want to do is take a piece of Illustrator artwork, and send it over to Photoshop and make some additional edits there, here is what you do, go up to the file menu and choose the Export command which brings up the Export dialog box.

Notice this Save as type option. If you click on it you'll see a bunch of different file formats that you can export to, not all of them are image formats but some of them are, things like JPEG, for example, it's a pixel-based image format, here is the native Photoshop PSD format, there is PNG which is very popular as well. However, the most reliable format for this purpose is TIFF so I am going to ahead and select TIFF. If you're working inside of a multi-artboard document, you can turn on the Use Artboards check box and then export each our board to a separate file.

However, my file features just one artboard, so I will turn that check box off, and then I will click on the Save button. Inside the TIFF Options dialog box, here's what I want you to do, leave Color model set to whatever it's set to by default then drop down to Resolution and crank that up to High which will dial in a Resolution value of 300 pixels per inch, which is the great industry standard for commercial reproduction. Generally speaking, you want to leave Anti-aliasing set to Art Optimized Super Sampling that should work the best, then turn LZW Compression on, it's off by default you want it on, because it will result in a smaller file on disk.

Note that this is lossless compression, so it's not going to harm a single pixel in your final file. Byte Order features PC and Mac, you might figure you just go ahead and select the platform you're using, for example, I'm working on a PC but I could just as easily select Macintosh this one just does not matter. Every application out there that supports TIFF for about the last decade has supported both variations in the file format. Make sure to leave this check box Embed ICC Profile turned on, then go ahead and click the OK button and wait, it'll take a few moments to save that file because it's a pretty intense operation.

In my case I have already exported the TIFF version of the image in advance so I will click Cancel, and let's go ahead and switch over to Photoshop to see what that image looks like, and you can see that it looks absolutely great. I will go ahead and zoom in on the image all the way to the 100% view size and we are seeing all kinds of wonderful smooth detail. In fact, there is not a single thing wrong in till I come to this "H" in the word Chem, I'll go ahead and zoom in and it looks like we have something of a jag. So either something went wrong with the export process or some thing is little bit off inside of my Illustrator file, to see which it is or go ahead and switch back to Illustrator and then, I'll go ahead and zoom in on that element like so and it looks like that jag is actually part of the file.

Now to see, if it's a function of the path outline, I will go up to the View menu and I will choose Outline or press Ctrl+y or Command+y on the Mac to switch to the outline mode and sure enough I've got a little jag at this location. If it's a problem I to go ahead and fix it then Saved my file of course as I described in the previous exercise and then export a new image file. If I decide it's not a problem in my case that's what I am thinking this is a no problem at all. Then I just leave things alone, but at least, I would know before I go to print that file.

Now I am going to return to the View menu and choose the Preview command or press Ctrl+y or Command+y again and zoom back out in order to take in the full version of the illustration and that's how if a one things go wrong you can export a version of your artwork as a pixel-based image file.

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Up and Running with Illustrator

26 video lessons · 20089 viewers

Deke McClelland
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