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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.
By now some of you might be thinking, you know I really like this series better, when we were looking at those Illustrator features that were fun and worked right. In this exercise, I'm going to show you a really great command that allows you to batch process a bunch of illustrations at the same time. So notice here inside the Bridge I'm looking at the contents of the 30_actions folder, and I've got these four items. I went ahead and cleaned up all those PNG files, I'm not going to give you those because if anything you're going to be creating them on the fly and I don't have that testSet.aia file in here either.
I've just got the three variations, that is Musical review.ai, Variation 1.ai and Variation 2.ai, as well as the Fabric.jpg file, that serves as a backdrop and I've got this empty folder here called Batched files, so I'll go ahead and double-click on it so you can see it doesn't have anything in it, it will in a moment. Let's return to Illustrator and I'm going to go ahead and grab that action right there and I'm going to turn off File Info, because I don't want to sit there and baby sit that darn command. In other words, I don't want it coming up on-screen and requiring me to click the button and click OK and all that jazz, let's just leave it out.
We'll just save out our PNG files. And now with nothing open, notice that I don't have a single illustration open right now, that will change in just a moment. I'm going to go to the Actions panel flyout menu and I'm going to choose the last command which is called Batch, which ask you first what set is your action in, the action that you want to apply to multiple files, and in my case it's in successSet and the name of the Action of course, is Save for Web PNG 8/64. Now I need to choose a Source for my modifications, in other words where are the files that I want to save as PNG files? Well, I'll leave my Source at to Folder and I'll click on Choose, and then I need to locate that file there inside the Exercise Files folder, it's called 30_actions, so I'll just click on 30_actions.
You just need to select the folder, click OK. And if you have any open operations inside of your Action then you might want to override them, so you're actually opening these files only. But we don't have any open operations, we didn't record the opening of a file and it's unlikely you'll record the opening of a file either. You could say Include All Subdirectories, if you have a bunch of subdirectories inside of your folder; we don't so it's not an issue. All right, now I need to specify a Destination and in my case I could go ahead and say all right, I want to save these out to a Folder.
The problem is this strictly speaking is not a save operation, even though the name of the command is Save for Web, only the Save command is a true save operation, everything else is an export. So this is considered to be an export. If you go and say Folder and you say you want to save out to that Batch folder, you're going to save strangely multiple copies of the AI file, which can be extremely confusing. So in our case, I suggest you just say None to this option. Although, what that's going to do is leave all the files open.
If you want to close them out then you're going to have to say Save and Close which is going to overwrite the original files. Now it's not going to hurt them, because it's just going to save that, Save for Web information, but if you are doing some other stuff, if you're doing larger modifications then you need have to think about that. So totally up to you how you decide to work, I'm going to set it to None, so we can see how the file stay open. And I'm going to drop down here to Override Action "Export" Commands, because we do have an Export Command inside of our Actions, Save for Web right there and it's already specifying a very specific folder.
Remember we got rid of the file name information, but we didn't get rid of the folder information and there's really no elegant way to pull that off. So better just to say, Override Action "Export" Commands and then this button will light up, click Choose, go ahead and twirl open Exercise Files once again. I'll twirl opened 30_actions and I'll click on Batched files, click OK and now we are ready to go. Stop for Errors that's fine. We might see a couple of very strange meaningless errors on the way here, we'll try it out. Click OK to see what happens and you should see the files open up and then some happen and then another file open up and some happen and then the third file opens up, look Fabric even opens up.
Illustrator goes ahead and opens the Fabric.jpg photograph. Swell! Anyway hey, it must worked, because all these files are open on-screen and notice they all have asterisks after them, which indicates that Illustrator believe some change has been made. So if I try to close Fabric.jpg I definitely don't want to save over that. So No, and then all these other ones, it's going to ask if I want to save my changes too, because by golly something happened in the Save for Web dialog box and that is save able information, you can't save those settings.
The idea being that if you exported once to the PNG format then you'll probably want to do it again, if you need to make some sort of modifications. But in my case I'm going to click No or press the N key on the Mac obviously, you click Don't Save or press the D key, et cetera, et cetera. Now of course, to close the remaining files you could press that Close All keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Alt+W, Command+Option+W on the Mac and then just press the N key a couple of times or on the Mac, you would press the D key a couple of times. All right, having cleaned everything up here inside of Illustrator, I'll switch back to the Bridge and sure enough look at that, inside of the Batched file subfolder I have PNG versions of all of my files, just imagine doing exactly that to a hundred or more files at a time in which case you would probably want to choose that Save and Close option, so that you don't have a hundred files open inside of Illustrator, but otherwise you're going to make quick work of converting multiple files at a time, here inside Illustrator.
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