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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I'm going to discuss the difference between linking an image into an illustration as we've done so far and embedding that image into the illustration. I'm still working inside Image in front.ai. I've selected the image. It's got a big X to it, showing me that it's a linked graphic. Now couple things to note here. When you have a graphic linked to an illustration and you take that illustration to your commercial printer for output, you've got to give him the images too. You have got him all those linked files so that they have those links to call from, because the pixels are not actually part of the illustration.
Illustrator is having to go out to that image file on disk in order to bring that pixel information in. Another thing to note is if you take a look at this information up here in the Control panel you can see that it lists Spanishtown dinosaurs.tif which is the name of the linked file of course, and RGB. I saved this out as an RGB image. I did not convert it to CMYK before bringing it into Illustrator. Now a lot of folks would tell you, you've got to convert that image into CMYK before you bring it in, but you don't really. Because both Photoshop and Illustrator and InDesign and the rest of the CS5 programs all use the same color engine.
So the conversion from RGB to CMYK is going to happen exactly the same way here inside Illustrator as it does inside of Photoshop, as it does inside of InDesign and so on. So you can let Illustrator be in charge of that process if you want. In any case, the other option is to go ahead and embed the pixels into the illustration file. That way if you have an embedded image you don't need that linked image file. So you have got everything inside of one Illustrator document, you don't have any moving pieces. That may sound like a great thing, but here's the problem.
Illustrator is not well suited to handling internal pixels. It doesn't do such a hot job with it. We saw that with dynamic effects when you start upping the resolution of your drop shadows and so on, the program starts slowing to a crawl, and that's true if you start embedding images as well. So, I am not necessarily recommending embedding, I'm just showing you that it's here, and why you might on occasion use it. For example, let's say that you want to take an image and you want to turn into a symbol. And I was telling you back in the Symbols chapter that's not really technically possible, but I'll bring up the Symbols panel for moment and I've seen this recommended as a technique by the way.
I think it's a bad technique, but still I'll address it here. I'm going to go ahead and drag the image into the Symbols panel. So the idea is you want to repeat the image over and over again throughout your document, and of course by golly, if you want to repeat something a lot inside of Illustrator then the symbol is the way to go, except where images are concerned. But anyway I'll go ahead and do it. I'll drop the image into the Symbols panel. Up comes the Symbol Options dialog box. So I guess I lied. I told you, you can't do it and here we can do it. So I'll just go ahead and call this placed image and then I'll click OK in order to create that symbol and that's when Illustrator turns around and says, oh actually no, you can't do that by the way.
I just wasted some of your time there entering the name inside that dialog box. So I click OK. Well, what you can do instead is you can go ahead and embed this image and notice up here in the Control panel you have got an Embed button. That's going to change a little bit of information over here on the left-hand side of the Control panel as well. So keep an eye on that. As soon as I click Embed a few different things to notice. First of all, I lose the big X. So I still have the image selected, but I don't have an X through it anymore, because it's no longer a placed graphic. So that X is Illustrator's way of telling you have got a link, when the X is gone, it's Illustrator's way of telling you, you've got all the pixels embedded inside of the image file.
Also, and this is just wacky. If you go over to layers panel and twirl open top story layer, right below you'll see this Spanishtown dinosaurs object. Go ahead and twirl it open as well. It's a group, and you can see it's a group over here in the Control panel. That's because Illustrator decided, hey, now that this image is embedded, I'm going to put it inside a group. I have no idea why it does that. There's no reason for it. I could just drag this item out of the group and drop it at the top and then the group goes way and it's no longer inside of a group. It doesn't want to be inside of a group anyway, it's just a silly construct.
Notice also up here in the Control panel the word Embedded telling you that it's an embedded image and it's CMYK. So Illustrator automatically converted that RGB to CMYK, because this happens to be a CMYK graphic. We've also got this word Image over here so you can click on it to bring up the Links panel and you'll see right there this little icon to the far right of that image thumbnail, and that tells you, you have an embedded graphic. Also if I click on Embedded, notice the pixels per inch there, 279.333 pixels per inch.
So that's still the resolution, but if I click on Embedded and I choose Link Information, that same command we saw in the previous exercise. This time it's going to tell me, all right, the Size is 0 bytes. What that means? It's nowhere near 0 bytes, by the way. It's huge actually. But it's zero bytes on disk, because there is no linked graphic. There is nothing linked to it. So it's zero. Anyway, also notice that all this NA stuff, because there's no links. Then here inside Transform, it tells me this thing is transformed to 25.776%. Where did that come from? It was just 100% a moment ago.
I didn't scale this graphic. Well, it's telling me what the image would be. At 100% it would be 72 PPI. So because it's 279.333 PPI, why then, it's actually scaled down to about a quarter size. So that's all that means. Anyway, I'm going to click OK. I just wanted to show you that. I'm going to drag this image now by its edge and I'm going to drop it into the Symbols panel. Now up comes the Symbol Options dialog box and I'm going to call this guy embedded image, and then click OK. Now I can create a symbol. So no problem.
So now I could replicate this image over and over inside of my graphic. Problem is, you could already do that with the linked file just as efficiently as if you were using a symbol. So there is no reason to go this route. Also, I'll go ahead and undo that modification by the way and hide that Symbols panel. So I press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. There are a few other things you can do with embedded images. For example, you can go up to the Edit menu choose Edit Colors and choose of this really bad old- school color editing commands.
For example, you could Convert the image to Grayscale and it will look like this. This might be the single worst way to convert an image to black and white that there is. Photoshop offers a gazillion ways to do it, all of which are several times better than what we're seeing here. So again, there's no reason to go the embedded route, except you've got one file that contains the image and you're not going to lose your linked graphics when you take that image off to a commercial printer. So it's kind of up to you. I'm going to undo the conversion to grayscale by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac.
Now some folks will recommend you do embedded images so that you can take advantage of the Photoshop effects that are down here at the bottom of the Effect menu, but you can apply for example Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. That's the command that you can apply to a linked graphic or an embedded image, it doesn't matter which. It is a pixel level modification, but it's applied as a dynamic effect from the Appearance panel however you go. I have to say where editing images is concerned I don't recommend you apply Photoshop effects to placed images inside of Illustrator. All of these effects are found in Photoshop proper, so that's the better place to apply them.
Then finally here's what I want you to see. This is the big thing about embedded images. I'm going to switch over to the Bridge by clicking on the Go to Bridge icon up here in the application bar. Notice I've got a couple of different versions of this file. Image in front, which is the one with the placed version of the graphic. That is 20 megabytes on disk. If you're not seeing the size of the file, what you do is you press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box. You switch from General here to Thumbnails in the left-hand list, and then you go ahead and turn on your Show options.
And one of them will be Size, for me it's the last one. You could just turn on a check box and choose Size from the list as well. Then you click OK in order to accept your modifications. I'm going to click Cancel, because I already had it set up that way, but I can see that this is a 20 MB file. Still pretty darn big, but as I soon as I embed that graphic, check it out it grows to 47 MB almost 50. So it more than doubles in size, thanks to the fact that I embedded that image and again, Photoshop is very good at handling pixels, Illustrator very, very bad.
So I don't recommend you go that route, but I did want you to see it. Now what do you do? I'll go ahead and return back to Illustrator. What do you do if you have embedded an image and you want to undo the damage? Well, obviously, in my case I could press Ctrl+Z and Command+Z a few times to get back to the linked image. But here is another way. You can go up to Image, that image link up there in the Control panel to bring up the Links panel and then you can click on Relink and that will bring up the Place dialog box and then you click on Spanishtown dinosaurs.tif file again, and make sure Link is turned on. Notice Replace is going to be turned on automatically even though it's dimmed.
Then I'll click on Place and then Illustrator goes ahead and replaces the embedded version of the graphic with the linked file and we'll see an X through it as well. If Illustrator hangs for you, if you're not seeing a change, it's just acting like it's working or something. Just click someplace in the interface and it should update. That is the difference between linking and embedding. The simplest explanation is linking good, embedding bad where photographic and pixel-based images are concerned. The more elaborate version of the story is go ahead and link your images if you want to keep things lean and mean inside of Illustrator and you want the program that turn along at a nice pace.
If you're more concerned about making sure that every single piece of the file is inside the larger document container here in Illustrator, then embed, but do that as your last step before you hand the file off to your commercial printer.
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