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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter we are going to cover Live Effects, those are all the settings that are available here in the Effect menu. However, it's important to realize one thing. There is a setting here called Document Raster Effects Settings. I'm going to go ahead and choose that option right here because it allows you to specify a resolution for your particular document. Now this file-- which I'm working on right now, which if you'd like to work along, it's in Chapter 14 of your exercise files. It's called resolution_settings-- was a file that I first created using the Web Profile. The Web Profile automatically chooses a resolution setting of screen or 72 pixels per inch. I'm going to show you, by the way where you find that.
If I go ahead and I type-in Command+N to create a new document and I choose a New Document Profile, there is Web, there is Print, for example, I'll choose Web. Take a look over here at the Advanced Setting where it says Raster Effects, right now is set to 72 pixels per inch. Notice if I change to the Print Profile, that changes to 300 pixels per inch. So that's where that resolution is set. Now it's important though to get your resolution set right when you first type your document because once you change the resolution later on, it could cause some problems. Now I'm showing this to you though because many people don't understand the fact that, when we had discussion earlier on in this particular video title, we discussed how Illustrator doesn't really focus on resolution at all; there are no pixels that come into play, everything inside for Illustrator is a mathematical vector-based illustration so we have anchor points and paths that can scale infinitely. So why are we talking here about Resolution? The answer is that some of the effects that you can apply, and again I can say, some of the effects that you can apply, in the Effect menu are bound to resolution because they are pixel- based effects. For example, one of them is something called the Drop Shadow effect, for example, if I click on this text right here, I can go to the Effect menu here and I can choose Stylize - Drop Shadow. I click OK, this soft Drop Shadow is a pixel-based effect. It prints as a raster, the text itself is vector- based, but the Drop Shadow beneath it over here is a pixel-based effect, which means that I really need to have resolution set for it.
So there are a couple of things to know about Illustrator itself. If you notice in the Effect menu here, there are the settings that have split up into two sections. There is something here called Illustrator Effects, for example, 3D, Convert to Shape, Crop Marks, all that kind of stuff, and then there are these items called Photoshop Effects and those are here, for example, Artistic or Blur, Gaussian Blur, for example. And what I call these are below the line effects. These are above the line effects and these are below the line effects. Obviously the Photoshop Effects all rely on pixels. For the Illustrator Effects there are some of them that rely on pixels and those are the ones that are found in the Stylize sub-menu and they are referred as either the Feather command, the Drop Shadow command or the Inner or Outer Glow command. But all the others though are all vector-based effects; you don't really care that much about the Document Raster Effect Setting at least with regards to resolution.
However, let's take a look and see exactly what happens here inside of Illustrator when we make some changes in our system. So right now I'm going to choose Document Raster Effect Settings, we are going to make note over here of the fact that right now the resolution is set to 72 pixels per inch. I'm going to leave this Drop Shadow set over here, but let's focus on this wetsuit that we have right here. We want to go ahead and may be apply Gaussian Blur to it. So I'm going to go to the Effect menu, I'm going to choose, under the Photoshop Effects, Blur and then I'll choose Gaussian Blur. And notice that right now the Blur itself is measured in pixels. Pixels, in this case, is what we refer to as an absolute measurement. No question about how many pixels you have or what defines a pixel. A pixel is defined by the resolution in your file. So right now let's choose a Radius of, let's say, 5 pixels, click OK and now I see a nice little soft edge on that.
But watch what happens now if I change the resolution of my file. I'm going to go to the Effect menu, I'm going to choose Document Raster Effect Settings and I'm going to change through a high resolution, let's say I realize now at this point, I started off a file and I designed it using the Web base profile. So it started off with 72 pixels per inch for my resolution in my document. And now I get to a point where, hey, I had this logo, I now need to re-purpose it or re-use it for some print base brochure. So I simply take that and I copy-and-paste it into a print base design or I simply come here into my Document Raster Effect Settings and I change it to 300. And by the way, it could be that I as a designer don't do this, but may be by printer who knows that I have print at a higher resolution, changes my file to 300 pixels per inch.
When I click OK, take a look at the effect that happens right over here. This particular soft edge that had on that shape is not as soft as it once was. It's a little less soft, and if you look at the Drop Shadow though the Drop Shadow pretty much remains the same, and the reason why is because if you go to the Effect menu again, the Illustrator Effects are all effects that may be pixel-based, but Illustrator does the math for you and automatically converts the settings for you. Let me give you an example. If you go here where it says Stylize and you see where it says Drop Shadow, in fact, I'm just going to come here to the Appearance panel, update the Drop Shadow by clicking on it to edit it. Take a look at what my settings are measured in. My X Offset, my Y Offset and my Blur over here are set in 5 pixels, but in reality I can set this to inches if I wanted to. I can go ahead and highlight this and I could, say, instead of being 5 pixels, I can do may be 0.125 of an inch. So because of that, the setting itself is relative, that means I'm telling Illustrator, I want to be able to offset that by a specific amount in the actual measurement and then when it comes to actual resolution of the file, Illustrator just does the math and automatically creates the right number of pixels for the file.
So basically, at the end of the day, when you are working inside of Illustrator, if you are applying any kind of an effect that is basically from the collection of Illustrator Effects, the Document Raster Effect Settings really doesn't make much of a difference to you. When you go ahead and you print, you just want to make sure that it's set to right resolution. However, if you are using some of the Photoshop Effects that we have seen here, for example, Gaussian Blur, changing that resolution, after you have created your file, could change the appearance of what your art looks like. So you just want to make sure that you set the right resolution when you get started and this is also why it's important for you to choose the right profile when you first start working on a document.
Now that we have an idea of what the resolution is inside of a file, we can probably forget about it. It's almost we know that we're always choosing the right profile, we will always be okay and we just have to keep in mind when we move art work from, let's say, a Web Profile document into a Print Profile document, you could basically adjust your blur accordingly. For example, to fix a problem here I can simply click on this object, change the Gaussian Blur to something that uses may be 15 pixels and now I get a much softer edge. Now I'm working with a higher resolution document. If this we are going to print, I would be able to then to do that. So that's just something to pay attention to. Now that we have an idea about what the Resolution settings are, we can start exploring all the other wonderful effects that appear inside of the Effect menu.
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