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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 this exercise I am going to show you what to do if Illustrator ignores one of your operations as you're recording an action, and this does happen with an alarming degree of frequencies. So the way it works inside of Photoshop, basically, is just about everything that you can choose from a menu gets recorded inside of an Action. In Illustrator it's about half of the commands get recorded, the other half get ignored. But you can always force a command if need be. So, let me show what I am talking about. I'm going to go ahead and clean up my Actions Sets a little bit.
That testSet turns out to work really well. So I'm going to call it something like successSet and click OK and then I am going to double-click on dekeSet and I am going to called this one badSet and click OK. Just so I remember that I don't want to use those, although they were the basis for the successSet. So I might as well keep them around until at some later date I decide to throw him away. Next, I am going to click on Save for Web PNG 8/64. Let's say, what I want to do right before I really save out the PNG file I want to include a Copyright Statement and I want to go ahead and build that into the Action.
So I'll click on the Action name, click on the Record button, then I'll go up to File menu and choose the File Info command. Or you could press the keyboard shortcut if you want, but if you are working along with me just actually choose the command so you're you sure everything is working. Then inside of the dialog box go ahead and mark it up any old way you want. Now I could sit here and fill out all the fields manually. However, it's going to turn out to be a little bit of a waste of time. If you decide to fill out the fields, because I'm warning you in advance Illustrator is going to ignore you why then, take the precaution of after you get done filling out those fields choose the Export option from the lower right corner of this dialog box here and go ahead and Export out an XMP Metadata Template.
That way later on when you need to bring that information back, so you don't have to retype it all, you can go ahead and choose Import and then choose that template. Or if you're lucky it'll appear automatically down here at the bottom of the menu. In my case I have already saved one in advance. So I am going to just click on TNG, those are the initials for my company. Then I'll say, sure, I want to clear the existing properties. That's fine. Click OK and I'll end up adding information about me, my company, my site, and so forth, and then I'll click OK. Now of course, I mean how could Illustrator ignore this? I just spent like, four or five minutes or something inside this dialog box and yet it did.
It was just like -- Not paying attention to a darn thing I am doing! So anyway, what I've got to do instead, I want to keep recording by the way. I'm going to go up here to the flyout menu and I'm going to choose Insert menu Item. You can enter the menu item if you want to and then can do a Find or you can just go up to the File menu, in our case, and choose File Info. So now that you've really got Illustrator's attention you can choose the command and it's going to say, oh yeah, File Info. I heard of that one.
Then click OK and it gets added to the list. Now stop, because that's the best we are going to do. So I'll go ahead click that Stop button. I wanted it to happen before actually Export the File. So we'll do File Info first and then save the file. Just to check whether this works or not I am going to have to go ahead and revert this file by going to the File menu and choosing the Revert command and then I'll say sure, yeah, I want revert. That sounds great. Then wait a few moments for Illustrator to do its thing. You'll know that it's reverted the file when it throws the Title tab to the right-hand side.
All right, now I'm going to go ahead and play back this Action by clicking on it and then clicking on the Play button. Up will come the File Info dialog box. This is the minor tragedy of things, and when I say minor I mean absolutely major. It doesn't know anything about what I entered into the dialog box. It just knows that I want to bring it up on-screen. There is no way to turn off the dialog box, because this little area is blank. So it's always going to come up. So that's why you really need that button down there. You're going to have to babysit this one, as I say, a little bit tragic.
Go ahead and click on that button for that XMP Template you created and then click OK, what have you, click OK again, and then it'll go ahead and save out that file. Let's see if it worked. Once again, I'll click on Go to Bridge and then I'll go ahead and scroll up to Musical-revue.png, which should have just gotten saved over, because Illustrator automatically saves over those files as you export them. Now I'll go to the File menu and choose File Info here. I should see all that information I entered a moment ago, and it didn't.Well, now that's good, actually, in a way because I can show you what the problem is.
I wish it had worked, but if you run into the same situation let me show you what's up. I am going to cancel out of here, dad gummite! I'm going to go ahead and click on the boomerang to return to Illustrator and I'll go ahead inside of this Action, Save for Web PNG 8/64. I'll double-click on Save for Web, right there. Because I do have my File Info inside of this file, that's all good to go, because that played successfully. Here is the problem: you go up to this tiny, little dinky flyout menu right there and you choose Edit Output Settings, you really have to dig for this one, you go to HTML and you choose Saving Files and then you drop down here to this check box; this is comical, and you turn on Include XMP.
Isn't that just the best interface designed you've ever witnessed? Then click OK in order to accept that modification. Now click on the Save button and then click on Save. Notice it's going to replace the file by the way. I'll click on save. It doesn't ask. Just does it. That's so awesome. Now I am going to switch back to the Bridge in order to see if it worked this time. There is my file, Musical-revue.png. Let's go ahead and click on it. Go back to the File menu, choose the File Info command and celebrate. Woo hoo! There is all of my information.
See how easy that is. This might not actually be the best way to annotate your files with copyright information, but it does give you a sense of some of the hoops you have to jump through when recording actions and how to foresee inclusion of a Many command using the Insert menu Item option inside the Actions panel.
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