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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.
In his exercise I'm going to show you four, kind of four different ways to play back an action inside of Illustrator, and you'll see that each one of the ways offers its own benefits. So I just want you to be aware of every single thing that's available to you, and then you can pick or choose which is your favorite, I guess. I'm still working inside Musical review. ai found inside the 30_actions folder. I've got this dekeSet action set here inside my Actions panel. Therein is a single action called Save for Web PNG, which contains a single recorded operation, I'll go ahead and twirl that close, so that we can see, Save for Web and that's it.
All right, so what you don't want to do is just double-click on the action, because if you do that, you'll bring up the Action Options dialog box, that's great if you want to rename the action or assign a different color than Orange for example, or adjust the Function key, I would have sworn, I assigned Ctrl+Shift+F5 or Command+Shift+F5 on the Mac. Anyway, I'll go ahead and make that modification as long as I'm here. But I you want to play that action back, you click on it, or you can click on an individual step, a single operation inside of an action if you want to, and then you drop down here and you click on the Play button.
So if I do that, then I will bring up the Save for Web dialog box, and then I guess I would make whatever modifications I wanted to. I'd click Save and then go ahead and save my file. Anyway, I am going to cancel out for the first of several times here, because there are a variety of different ways to work. Another thing that you can do, and this is a strange little keyboard trick, but you Ctrl+double-click, or Command+double-click, again, either on the action name to play the entire action or Ctrl+double-click on a step to play that one and only that one step, which can sometimes be useful for troubleshooting.
So I'll go ahead and Ctrl+double-click or Command+double-click on the action name, up comes the dialog box, et cetera, and I cancel out. Another thing that you can do, and this is very useful if you're working in an environment in which you're trying to automate the Illustrator for other folks, so you have two or three or 100 people slaving away for you, and you have some very specific tasks you want them to do. Then you can set up actions as buttons, and what you do is you go here to the Actions panel, click on the flyout menu and switch to the Button mode, and then your buttons will line up in a couple of different columns here.
And I think you actually get many different columns if you make the Actions panel wider, yes, indeed you do. And you can see that in our case, our button is orange, because I've changed the color of the button to Orange when I first made it, and you can see my keyboard shortcut as well. If you just click on that button then that's going to go ahead and play it back and what's great about this, once again if you're trying to create actions for other folks, is unless they know that you have to go over to the flyout menu and turn off Button mode to get back to the Edit View, then they won't know how to edit your actions.
So they can't make a big mess of them, hopefully. I am just going to go ahead and switch back out by the way, because we can't get any work done inside the Button mode, you can just play back actions. The final thing you can do of course is go ahead and press the keyboard shortcut, so I'll press Ctrl+Shift+F5 or Command+Shift+F5 on the Mac, and that goes ahead and brings up the Save for Web & Devices dialog box. Here is the big problem. Are you seeing any automation so far? I mean it's great that I can playback this action and it's wonderful that Illustrator has gone ahead and remembered my settings and I can go ahead and riff off the settings if I need to, or if I decide, gosh! You know, what's with this band of lines in the K and O and so forth.
If I want to get rid of them I am going to have to up the number of colors, may be to 128. Is that going to give me better results? Yes, indeed it does. Okay, so that's fine. So you can change your mind as you work here, but not only did Illustrator not generate the file yet for me, I still have to click the Save button in order to bring up the Save Optimized As dialog box, and then click Save again. That is not automation to my way of thinking. I'm not getting my work done any faster. The reason this is happening is because you are seeing the dialog boxes.
Illustrator has decided that you should see those dialog boxes as it plays back the actions. Well, in my opinion you shouldn't see those dialog boxes, especially if you're trying to rip through an entire folder full of images, you don't want those dialog boxes popping up all the time, you don't want to have to be babysitting the program, you want it to work automatically, and I'll show you how to do just that in the next exercise.
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