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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
As you start to place images into your documents, you will need some kind of a way to manage those images. For example, you want to know where those files exist, what happens if one of those files is missing, what are the names of those files, what types of images are they, what is their resolution. All these things can be managed inside of Illustrator through the Links panel? So I am going to start with a blank document here. We will place some images into our document, and then we will talk about ways to manage those images once they are already in our file.
I'll start by going to the File menu, and I'll choose Place. Inside of this Working with Images folder, I have a couple of images. I am going to place this one here called glories.psd. Place that into my document. Isn't that a lovely image? And now I'll go ahead and choose File > Place, and I'll choose, let's say, the bonsai.psd file, and place that as well. I'll place this image here towards the bottom of my document. And now I have two images inside of my document. I am going to go to the Window menu, and I am going to choose to open up the Links panel.
The Links panel gives me a list of all the images that are currently inside of my document. I have the glories.psd file and the bonsai.psd file. Even if I have no images selected right now, I can double-click on any of these to view additional link information. After all, these images are links. But I'll tell you that really the name of Links panel may not really be the best name for this panel, because it manages images that are also embedded. So, for example, if I take this bonsai tree right now and select it, and I choose to embed it, Illustrator still lists that image here inside the Links panel, but it gives me an icon here to let me know that this image right now is actually embedded.
I also don't have a name for that file. After all, this image now has become part of this document. So it doesn't have its own name. Now if you look at the bottom of the Links panel there are several icons here. I am going to deselect this image right here. And I'll select the glories.psd file here inside of the Links panel. And you'll see that there are these four icons at the bottom of the panel. The first one is Relink. Remember that right now this glories.psd file is an external file, which I am just referencing inside of this document.
If I decide that I don't want the glories.psd, I want to relink this to a completely different image, I would click on his Relink button, and that would allow me to choose now a different image to relink in its place. I am going to click Cancel though. There are some other icons here, once I am going to select the glories.psd file. This one says Go To Link. For example, if I had a very large file right now, and this image was somewhere in my document, by clicking on that button Illustrator would automatically zoom in to that image, and let me see it and select it inside of my document.
This icon here called Update Link is pretty powerful. If another designer right now would be working on that PSD file, and they made a change without me knowing about it, the image that I currently have linked to my document would be out of date. If that does indeed happen, a little yellow warning sign would appear next to the name glories.psd. And if were to click on this button right now to update the link, it would make sure that the image that I have in my file is the latest version. Finally, there's another option here called Edit Original.
This is an incredibly powerful feature. And the truth is it's because of this feature that I always choose to save my files as PSD files before I place them into Illustrator. You see if I click on this Edit Original button, Illustrator looks at the file type and opens up the application that created that file, allowing me to make edits or changes to that image. So, for example, if I were to click now on this Edit Original button with the glories.psd file highlighted, Illustrator will automatically switch to Photoshop and open up that image inside of Photoshop.
Notice that right now I'm in Photoshop and I see that image open. I can make any changes now, save my Photoshop file. And when I go back into Illustrator, Illustrator will automatically update that image to the latest version. I am going to close image here in Photoshop and go back to Illustrator. But you can see how powerful that workflow can be. In fact, the Edit Original is such an important feature, that whenever you have a linked image selected inside of Illustrator, you'll find that the Edit Original button appears also inside of the Control panel.
Now when you're working with embedded images, you'll notice that this option here is grayed out, as the Edit Original feature only works with linked images. So if you're working with a lot of images inside of your document, you'll find the Links panel incredibly helpful in keeping track of all your images.
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