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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to open an illustration inside of Photoshop. We will see both how to open an illustration and how to place an illustration and what the differences are, and in the next exercise I'll show you how to from Illustrator save out a layered Photoshop file. So they both offer different advantages, as we'll see, it depends on what you are looking for. In all cases you are going to be converting the illustration to pixels, because after-all Photoshop brokers in pixels. The great thing is that you are able to basically use Photoshop as a print engine. So if you are having any problems, whatsoever printing your Illustrator graphics, you are losing your transparency, your live effects aren't working, your gradients are dropping out, anything can happen, whereas if you use Photoshop as a print engine, if you go ahead and rasterize the illustration in Photoshop, then you know it is going to print correctly.
The downside of course is that you are working with pixels, but you can specify any number of pixels you want. So I'm going to start things off. I'm working inside this Smart queen.psd document. I'll tell you why in just a moment, but for now just ignore that on screen. I'm going up to the File menu. I'm working inside Photoshop. That's very important. Choose the Open command or press Ctrl+O, Command+O on the Mac and of course, I'm working with Photoshop CS4. That's also very important. I'll go ahead and grab Goodbye overprints.ai here inside the 12_exporting folder, and I'll click on the Open button, and I'm greeted by this dialog box, and notice that Photoshop is savvy to Illustrator's multiple artboard. So you can select the artboard that you want to open. I'm going to go ahead and open the first one, the poster art, and then you can specify a size in which you want to work.
So I can enlarge it to actual poster dimensions, if I wanted to, I could change the width value to something very high indeed, and the height value will change in kind. Of course, I would be rendering from vector, so we are still going to get super sharp details. However, for our purposes here, because this is going to take long enough, I'm just going to keep the Width value at 7.5 inches, I'm going to Constrain the Proportions of course, Resolution, 300 pixels per inch. Now I could raise that resolution value, if I were really trying to rasterize this illustration with the intent of ultimately printing it, and I wanted my text to look super sharp, and all of my graphic elements to look very sharp as well. Then I would probably take this resolution value, up to something like 600 pixels per inch, you could even go higher than that, if you wanted to, if you are using Photoshop as a print engine.
However, that will take a while for the illustration to render, so just because I don't want things taking too long for us, I'm going to go ahead and set this Resolution value to 300 pixels per inch. That will still take long enough. You can specify any Color mode you want. We are working with a CMYK document, so one would naturally open it in the CMYK format here inside Photoshop, but you could switch to something else, you could switch to RGB if you wanted to. All right, but I'm going to leave it CMYK, Bit Depth, eight bits, per pixel, per channel, is the way to go. You can up it to 16. It's going to take longer, it's going to give you a more massive file, and it's not going to provide you with any benefits. Illustrator does not calculate its colors and 16 bit per channel, so there is no reason for you to do so within illustration that you are converting over inside Photoshop either.
So 8 bits per pixel per channel is fine, but you definitely want Anti-alias tuned on. That's very important because you are converting these smooth vector outlines to squarish pixels, right? You need Anti-aliasing to avoid the jagged edges, and that's it. Everything as we see it is the way we want it, I'm going to go ahead and click OK. Oh by the way, you can enlarge your thumbnails if you want to. So you can switch these thumbnails to a larger size, if you want to be able to inspect them more carefully. All right, I'm going to click OK. That doesn't affect the rasterization process at all. Now speaking of the rasterization process, it's quite slow, so the lower the resolution, the faster it's going to go. The higher the resolution, the slower it's going to go, and a 300 PPI file does take a little bit of time.
Just because you are watching a video here, we are going to shorten the process a little bit, and edit it down, but your process may go slower, and there is the rasterized file, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on it, until we get it zoomed to 100%, and you can see that these details look quite fine I think. Now if I were to zoom farther than 100%, I'm just going to see big pixels, but that does afford us the opportunity to see the Anti-aliasing those gray pixels along the edge of this black line are the Anti-aliased pixels, if we didn't have them, we would have very jagged edges right there.
All right, so that's one way to work. Now notice that we do get a single layer file, but for all intents and purposes, it's a flat file because it's just that one layer. Everything has been smooshed onto that one layer here inside the Layers palette, so we might as well go ahead and convert it to a completely flat file by going up to Layer menu and choosing the Flatten Image command, and that will render out just that one background layer. Now I'm also doing that for another reason, because you I want to show you the other way to work. Now that we have a full size version of the illustration here inside of Photoshop, let's get rid of it, I know its strange advice, but let's do.
By pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Command+ Delete on the Mac to fill this image with white, because I want to show you the advantages of placing an illustration into a Photoshop document. I'm going to go up to the File menu, and I'm going to choose the Place command, and then I'm going to select that same exact document Goodbye overprints.ai, click on the Place button, select which of the artboards I want. It's going to be this first one. Notice I don't have all those rasterization options, because this time it's going to happen on the fly. So click OK, and you'll see this proxy of the illustration with an X through it, and in the old days that was really useful, because then you could sit there and scale the illustration to exactly the size you wanted it to be, before you rasterize it. Now thanks to Smart objects, you don't really have to make that decision upfront. You can change your mind any time you like. So I'm going to press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to rasterize that illustration, and it's going to take pretty much the exact same amount of time it took a moment ago to render it at its full size, at 300 PPI and so on, because that's what you are doing in this case too. You are pretty much performing the exact same process. Once again, we are going to perform our exact same process, and quicken this progress bar, make it go away that much faster, and here is the finished version of the Place file.
Now it looks the same, I mean, there might be a pixel difference here or there, but again, for all intensive purposes this is the exact same file we saw a moment ago. The difference is that it's rendered out as a smart object right there, which means a couple of different things. One thing is that we can transform this layer. We can scale it to any size we want to. So if I were to go up to the Edit menu, and I were to choose the Free Transform command, or press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac, and then I could say you know what? I want to reduce the size of this image to 20% or something along those lines, and I would click on the chain icon to make sure that I was performing a proportional resize. So once I've moved the illustration to a place where I can see it on screen here, I'll go ahead and press the Enter key in order to perform that transformation, and I have now reduced the size of the illustration, of course, to 20%.
But the amazing thing is, thanks to the fact that it's a smart object, I can transform it over and over and over again. If I were to press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac to enter once again the Free Transform Mode, notice Photoshop knows it's scaled to 20%. So it knows the size of the original illustration, and guess where that original illustration is? Inside Photoshop, it's existing inside this Photoshop document, it's not linking, Photoshop is not linking to the Illustrator file, it's actually embedded the illustration, all of the illustration as we are about to see inside of this image file, this layered composition.
So I could then say something like, I wanted to be 300%, and I'll go ahead and click on the chain icon to ensure that we have constrained proportions. Now Photoshop isn't exactly keeping up with me at this point, it's not showing, there we go. It's now showing me the 300% over there in the right-hand side. Now if I were to press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, I would wait several minutes for this to render at 300%. That's why I created the other version of the file. I performed it in advance. So I'm just going to go ahead and press the Escape key, and I'll switch over to Smart queen.psd, and this is the 300% version of that illustration. Notice I have got Goodbye overprints selected, this is my smart object, if I press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac, there is my 300% right there. The width value isn't really keeping up with me.
It's not 20%; it is 300%. That's true. So the Height values got it figured out properly. Anyway, I'm going to press the Escape key, because I don't want to perform any further modifications, but now if we zoom it in, and notice I'm always zoomed in 25% right now. I will go ahead and zoom it into 100%, there we go, and you can see that we have just as gorgeous smooth artwork sitting here. You can even, if you look closely right here, you could even see the drop off between our rich blacks, and our weaker blacks right here over on the right side, inside of the queens face. It's amazing just how much detail we can get out of Photoshop, and then finally this can still be edited inside of Illustrator. Check it out.
All I have to do is double-click on this Goodbye overprints thumbnail right here to open the embedded illustration, the illustration that's embedded inside of this Photoshop composition. I'll double-click and I'll open it up inside of Illustrator. Now I'm going to see this warning that's telling me, hey, what you want to do is you want to make some changes inside Illustrator in this case, and then when you are done, choose File > Save, and that won't save the file to disc, I'll save it back to Photoshop's Random Access Memory, and then later you would have to save the file from Photoshop, if you wanted to. I am going to go ahead and click OK, because it's my only option, and then notice I have got Vector Smart Object.ai. This is the name of this thing that's been opened from Illustrator and this is the part that just blows your mind.
I think it blows my mind. All of the artboards are here, they are all sitting there inside of Photoshop. It's just that it's only seeing the first one, because that's what we told it to do. Now I don't know of a myth that to tell Photoshop, hey, switch to the second artboard instead, other than to replace the document. I wish there was way that you could do that, and perhaps there is. I have dug all over the place, and I can't find a solution there. Other than of course, we could grab the skateboard and surfboard elements, and move them over to artboard one, and then grab the poster, move it over to artboard two. That would work and then when we came back into Photoshop, we would miraculously see the skateboard and surfboard instead, but why don't we make some other kind of chains? So like for example, let's just experiment here. Let's see what happens if we just go ahead and spell things properly, so I'll just go ahead and spell this, The Queen of Murder, the regular old way, and then press the Escape key, and then I'll close the document. So we could save or we could work this way, close the document and then say Yes, I want to go ahead and save back to Photoshop, in this case it's saying Save Changes, as if there is this file sitting on disc. That's not the way it is. I'll click Yes. It goes and saves back into Photoshop. Now we are still sitting here in Illustrator looking at the Goodbye overprints.ai file, the original file. Let's switch back over to Photoshop, and see what it's up to these days, and it's sitting there working on absorbing those changes into the layer composition. Now this is going to take quite a bit of time, I should tell you, as I said, it takes several minutes to render out these modifications, especially when we are working with a super huge version of that illustration file. Your job of course is to go ahead and wait for it, go get a cup of coffee, whatever it is you want to do, go work inside of a different application if you are bound and determined to stay at your computer, but we are going to go ahead once again and quicken the process quite dramatically in this case.
Now of course that doesn't happen to have changed anything that's visible inside of this version of the illustration, because the text is above the frog and the Queen's head. So here is what we are going to do. I'm going to press and hold the Control key or the Command key on the Mac, which gets me the Move tool all on the fly, and I'm going to drag down so I can see there is my revised text. So there it is; the Queen of Murders spelled properly. I could do a before and after view for you. Actually, how about we could go up to the History palette. Since I'm such an obsessive compulsive, let's go ahead and see here, if we were to move up to this move right there. Yup, that's the original version of her. If I were to drag her down, yes, that's the misspelled queen. Check it out, because that's going to wreck my history.
Excellent. So you can see it was different before. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that, and then I'll switch to the more recent version. Excellent, excellent. I'm finally learning how to use the software. I avoided any progress bar, it's good for me, and that gives you a sense of what you can accomplish. So the advantage of working this way, of placing the file into Photoshop, you get a flattened version of the file. That's important to keep in mind, because in the next exercise I'll show you how to create a layered Photoshop file. You get a flattened version of the file, but you also get a smart object, which is scalable forever more and you still have access to the original illustration.
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