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In Illustrator CS5 Web and Interactive Design, Mordy Golding shows how to create pixel-perfect graphics for use in web sites, video compositions, and mobile apps. This course covers a wide range of workflows, from creating online ad campaigns, web sites, icons, to taking art from Illustrator to Flash Professional. Sharing tips, tricks, and creative techniques along the way, Mordy provides insight and instruction for taking projects from initial concept straight through to production. Exercise files accompany the course.
So I have a file open on my screen right now. It's some kind of a banner, maybe for an advertisement that will appear on a web page, and you know sometimes when you submit ads to web sites, they require that the file size be within a certain range, meaning they only want files that are no larger than 15K, for example, or 10K. I think on yahoo.com ad banners can be no larger than 11K. So these are all specifications or limits that you need to work within. Now of course we know that we can use the Save for Web dialog box to export files in a specific file format and also to export files and mess with the settings so that we can get to a smaller file size.
But we also know that we are really trying to get ultimately is a file that looks great, but also is small in file size. Well the Save for Web dialog box actually has some logic inside of it. In fact, it's kind of a hidden feature that allows you to dial in the file size that you need, and Save for Web will do its best to try to find the settings that will match that file size. Let's see how that works. I am going to go here to the File menu and choose Save for Web & Devices and over here I can first start by choosing a certain file format, for example, say I know that I want it to be a GIF file.
So I am going to leave it set to GIF right now. Next, I am going to come over here to the flyout menu. It's a little icon that's kind of hard to see, because this line kind of intersects with it. But there is a little flyout menu right here and if you click on it, you can see some settings here and one of them is called Optimize to File Size. I am going to choose that option and a dialog box pops up and asks me what the desired file size I want this file to be. So, for example, if I need to work within their limit of maybe 11K, I'll punch in the value of 11K here, and I could choose that it should start with the current settings, meaning take a look at my Current Settings right now.
I've chosen GIF as my file format. What can you do to turn this into a GIF that will be less than 11K? And I can choose over here the current size. Right now we only have one image, so it doesn't apply, but I can choose different slices here as well. And now I am going to click OK. So you can see that now it doesn't look that great, but my file size is now 10.78K, which is under the 11K threshold that I have defined. And it automatically set my GIF to use eight colors with Selective color method and with a variety of different settings.
Now I am actually going to press and hold my Option button, or you can also hold the Alt button if you are on Windows, and I am going to click on the Reset button. Notice that when you hold down the Option or Alt key, the Cancel button changes to a Reset button, which lets you reset the entire dialog box. It's very helpful if you have made some kind of a change and you realize, nah, I don't want that, you don't have to Cancel & Close Save for Web and then re-launch it again. You could simply reset all of its settings. Well now let's see I know that I want a JPEG file. So I am going to click on the pop-up here and choose JPEG and then I can choose again from the flyout menu here to Optimize To File Size and maybe now I can go to 15K, for example, and choose OK and it'll give me the best possible settings here, Quality 38 for this particular JPEG file.
If I look here at the bottom of the window, I see it's now 14.76K again. It fits within the limits of the 15K threshold that I defined. Now once again I am going to hit the Reset button here. Again, Option or Alt+Click on Reset to go back to my original settings. I want to show you one other interesting setting that you have here. If I don't choose a particular setting here, I don't really care whether or not it's GIF/JPEG, I can go to the flyout menu, I could choose Optimize the File Size, and over here choose Auto Select GIF/JPEG. So now when I dial in a certain number, Illustrator will determine which actual file format to use, which might look best within that file size range.
And now I'll click OK and I'll see that Illustrator gave it a GIF file using 35 colors, and I get pretty good results. Unfortunately, this specific option, the ability to optimize to a specific file size, doesn't work with other file formats, for example SWF or PNG for that matter. However, if you know you need to create a GIF or a JPEG file and you know that it needs to fit within a certain file size, you can use this feature to save yourself some time.
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