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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.
Now that you've created an action set, I'm going to show you how to initiate a new action inside of Illustrator. I'm still working inside Musical review. ai found inside the 30_actions folder. What I like you to do is, assuming you're working along with me, is make sure Actions panel is open, and go ahead and click on that Action Set that you just got creating in the previous exercise. So again, don't click on Default Actions. That horse is so dead, but I really don't want you to do that. So click on your New Action and then you don't click on the record button, notice that it tells you, you can begin recording, but you get the Ghostbusters cursor telling you that you can't, and the Ghostbusters cursor happens to be accurate in this case.
The Record button is designed to continue actions that you've already started, in order to initiate a new action, you have to click on this little Page icon. So go ahead and click on the Page and then up will come the New Action dialog box, and in this case we're going to create an action called, Save for Web and it's going to be PNG 8/64 is what I'm thinking here. And let me explain what in the world that means. We're going to be choosing the Save for Web command and we're going to be saving out this graphic and many others in the future thanks to our action here.
As a PNG file an 8 bit PNG file by the way, that's what the 8 means, and we're going to take things down to 64 colors. Now Illustrator already ships with a few Save for Web Actions that are available to you in the Default Actions folder, there's a Save for Web gif and there's a Save for Web png-24, but there's none for png-8. And by the way I should say, since I was just slamming those actions in previous exercise, those are the good ones, so there's a Save for Web Actions are pretty good. All right, so anyway, go ahead and name your action, like so. And then notice, you have the option of Switching Sets, so if you had contrary to my very specific instructions Selected Default Actions, now you could change to your New Action Set instead, and then you can assign a Function key as a keyboard shortcut, this is pretty frustrating to me that you can't assign just a standard everyday average keyboard shortcut, the way you can using the keyboard shortcut command.
I don't understand the limitation here, but you can only use a Function key and you got to bear in mind that a lot of those Function key combinations are already taken up, bringing up the various panels. And so you want to be watchful of that, but for example, I could say F5 is going to be my core Function key, and I can go ahead and add Shift to it as well if I want to, and I can choose to add Ctrl here on the PC or Command on the Mac. Now you will find that sometimes mysteriously one of these check boxes is not available.
Notice here on the PC, I do not have the option of choosing the F1 key; you can on the Mac, but not the PC. If I choose F4, then notice that both the keys got turned off here, and I just get turn on Control, and even though I'm clicking on the Control check box, I'm actually changing the Shift check box, because Illustrator is kind of saying, you know what, you can't do Ctrl, but I'll help you up buddy, how about Shift? That will be your consolation prize, I don't want that, but anyway, that's just going to happen here on the PC.
On the Mac you're going to see different mysterious keyboard combinations not work for you. What I typically do is that - and I will do keyboard shortcuts for actions, because they are too much of a pain in the neck, but if you want to, you can. So go ahead give that a try. Notice Alt, also mysteriously missing option on the Mac that's just right out where actions are concerned, and that Ctrl key on the Mac, you can't assign either, just all these entertaining limitations. Anyway, note that you can assign a color, and you might think, well, why would you assign a color to an action that doesn't even really implicitly makes sense? Well, the Actions panel comes with a Button mode and this color will be assigned to that button if you so desire.
So I'm just going to take advantage of everything that's available to me here, and then all click on the Record button, and notice you now have an action, it's twirled open. So it will sit there and show you the operations as they compile. Also notice that you've got this little Red Record button that's showing up down here in the bottom left corner of the panel, and it's analogous to that red light that appears on a camcorder that shows a person that you're recording them, you want to keep the eye on this guy by the way. You're aware that you are in the process of recording, because it's very easy by the way, this sounds idiotic, but as you're recording in Action, it's very easy to just sit there and sort of do the task you wanted to record, and then kind of forget you're recording in action, and then just go about your work, and then later on you'll see this list of a few hundred operations that are just compiled.
And I say this based on copious experience, I do that all the time, but anyway, so you just want make sure that when you're done recording the action, that you go ahead and click the Stop button in order to stop. Notice that I've just spent inordinate amount of time explaining how this action works here, and nothing is happening. Illustrator is just patiently waiting for me to do something significant, so I could zoom out, for example, and then zoom back in, that's not tracked, because Illustrator doesn't consider navigation worth paying attention to, which is probably a good thing.
There are other things that Illustrator doesn't pay attention to, that I like it to pay attention to, and we have to make it pay attention to, and I'll show you that in the future. But my whole point here is you're in no hurry, Illustrator is not recording the time that goes by, it will play this action back rapid-fire faster than you could ever perform the operation, regardless of how long it takes you to record it, which is why we're going to save the actual recording of this action for the next exercise.
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