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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 the Output and Graphics options inside the Print dialog box, which allow you to print color separations, for example, but they are only applicable to PostScript Printers. So let me show you how that works. I'm going up to the File menu and I'm going to choose the Print command, Ctrl+P, Command+P on the Mac, and then I'll switch over to Output. Now notice that I can only print a composite image, right here, composite full color image to a full color printer, for example, or print a grayscale version of the image to a black and white printer. But what about my separations, I want to be able to print color separations.
Well, you can't do that with a non- PostScript printer and each of these printer set is hooked up to this network that I have access to. They are all non-PostScript printers here. So if I want to gain access to some PostScript functions and PostScript is the industry standard print language that's used by just about every commercial service bureau out there. If you want to go ahead and prep your job for PostScript, then you switch over here to Adobe PDF, which encapsulates PostScript essentially. So I'm going to go ahead and choose PDF, and that will act as my printer, the PPD is set to default Adobe PDF 9.0, which is the most recent version out there.
If I were to click the Print button right now, I would actually generate a PDF file. But I could just go ahead and save these settings with my document by clicking Done and then my commercial printer could decide whether the overwrite my settings or not, when they get around to printing the job. Currently, Mode is set to Composite. As I said, that will print a full color version of the illustration to a full color printer but I want to print the separations, and I could either print separations and this would be the individual Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks, along with this guy, my spot color Pantone 200 C.
I could either print Host-Based Separations, which means that I put Illustrator in charge of the separation process or I could leave the Raster Image Processor that's part of the printer, I could leave it in charge and that might be a software or hardware based script. Now if I were actually there at the commercial printer, and I had access to that PostScript device, I would probably choose in-RIP Separations but because I'm going to a PDF file, I'll leave Illustrator in charge. The Emulsion and Image settings, those are totally up to your printer, they are going to use what they need, most likely, it's going to be Up (Right Reading), and Positive.
Now you might want to go ahead and adjust the printer resolution. Once again this is determined by the printer, not you. But if you are just trying to get a sense for how things are going shake out, you might want to go with one of the high-end industry standards, which would be either 100 lpi, that's the screen frequency there, the number of halftone dots per inch; and 1200 dpi, that's the printer resolution; or we could go something higher like 175 lpi and 2400 dpi if we wanted to. I'll settle for this for now. The 100 lpi, 1200 dpi works out just fine.
Now notice that we have access to each one of our five inks. As I said, the four processes, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black as well as Pantone 200 C, the spot color, and we can see the screen frequency. They are all at 100 lpi, thanks to my printer resolution setting right there. And the angles that the halftone dots, they have to vary, so that you don't end up getting more ray patterns, or any other weird funky patterns out of your final print job, and they are set to these values by default. The only thing worth sort of noting here is that we do have one guy, the Pantone 200 C, whose screen angle is the exact same as Black, but you may have notice our Blacks and our Pantone 200 Cs don't really overlap each other anywhere inside the illustration and that's pretty typical that your blacks and your spot colors are going to be independent of each other.
Note that you have this option to covert this spot color to process if you want to, so if you don't want to pay for a fit thing because every time you add spot color inks, you add expense to your job, you have to pay for the ink, you have to pay for the plate, you have to play for the time, etcetera. So if you don't want that, if you just want to boil it down to the CMYK equivalence, which by the way may deliver a different color, but still it can be worth it. Then you'd say Convert All Spot Colors to Process and notice that final guy goes away. It will get gobbled up now into the other inks. This also renders smooth, the need for us to have done any trapping because now we didn't need to do trapping because we got rid of the Pantone color and we are expressing it as Magenta, Yellow, and Black, meaning that we are not going to have any change for gaps, regardless of registration problems.
You also have this Overprint Black option, which will overprint all black inks inside your illustration. So if you haven't really taken the time or care to make your specific objects overprint as we did, we made these columns of black text overprint. So we already took care of that, and otherwise, throughout my illustration, I have used rich blacks, so I don't need overprint black. But if you would wish to setup your illustration differently using rich blacks instead of just regular old 100% K blacks, then you can turn-on this check box in order to overprint all.
All right, I'm going to leave it off in the case of this particular illustration. Then I'll go to Graphics, the next option down. Flatness is a really interesting one. This is another old school PostScript thing. The idea is that when the printer draws a circle, it's not drawing a smooth continuous circle despite everything we have done with the Pen tool, and all these other tools and Bezier control handles, and all that junk, trying to get just as smooth as the arc is possible. What PostScript is actually doing is drawing these super attenuated polygons.
In other words, the polygon has a ton of sides associated with it. It has so many sides that it looks to the native eye as if the printer has drawn the circle. But if you are to loop it, you might notice that it's actually a very busy polygon. If you wanted to change that Flatness, right now its set to Automatic, which means it's going to try to do the best smoothest job possible. But if you are finding, you are having problems for whatever reason, you could turned Automatic off and then you could increase speed like so. Decreased quality. That's going to give you fewer edges to your polygons and your circles are going to start looking more polygonal as a result. I'm going to leave it the way it was set before. I wouldn't change this unless you are running into problems.
You do want to download a subset of fonts, all these settings by the way are set pretty good by the default, there is just one thing that I'm going to show you that we would want to change but I do want to explain what's going on here. Not all fonts are built-in to the printers, in fact, a very few fonts are built-in the printers these days. So what Illustrator needs to do is download the font definitions as subset of them, just those characters that are used in the actual illustration. Now if you want to make sure you hit every single character, just in case for whatever reason you are having some problems or something dropping out, then you could say Complete, go ahead and download the entire character set for, in our case, Lithos Pro Bold and Nueva Standard Italic. Those would be the three fonts it would have to download.
But we would want to leave it set to Subset. You could also say None, if you knew they were already built-in to your printer. That will be craziness though. So you would say Subset. These options are best left said as is. It's going to PostScript level 3; it's not going to be 2 most likely, unless it's a really old printer. Data format, this is a bandwidth actually, you don't have to worry about that. Then there is this option Compatible Gradient, and Gradient Mesh Printing. Now, I haven't introduce you to Gradients and Gradient Mesh yet, but I'm going to tell you right now that they go beyond the boundaries of what PostScript can accomplish.
Now there is a lot of things that go beyond the boundaries of what PostScript can accomplish. That's not really something that you need to worry about too much. But if you are having problems printing your gradients, it does happen. I have plenty of problems over the years and if you do have problems, then turning on this checkbox will go ahead and convert the gradients and gradient mesh patterns into raster images, something you might do in Photoshop, and then they will be clipped inside of a vector object. So if you turn-on this checkbox, you will get this warning that says only do this if you are having problems. I don't know why it doesn't pop-up this warning for all of these settings frankly, but only do with this if you are having problems, and see the documentation for more information. Well, good luck with the documentation. But anyway, that's what it's doing is its going to go ahead and rasterize your artwork, convert it to pixels, only the gradients though.
Anyway, I'm going to say OK, because I really don't want it, I'll turn it off. Better to leave it set off so that Illustrator attempts to render as much of the Gradient and Gradient Mesh, as it can as vector objects, just let it do with the thing in the background. This is the one frustrating setting in this dialog box in my opinion, beyond that silly error message we just saw. The Document Raster Effects Resolution is 72 ppi, and so just 72 pixels per inch. So my drop shadow, for example, on back of this green wavy pattern right here, and also if I were to switch to Page 2, and back at the skateboard and the surfboard, those drop shadows are all going to be rendered at 72 pixels per inch, that low res.
Now, you might not notice that because the drop shadows are very fuzzy, so you might not notice the low resolution. However, if you want to change it, if you want to up it to something more reasonable like, 150 pixels per inch or even 300, then you have got to go to a different command to do it. You can't do it here inside the Print dialog box. I have no idea why that is. But anyway, in another exercise, I'll show you how we take care of this issue. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you the rest of these settings but for now, just go ahead and click on Done in order to save what we have done so far, and by all means, the second you put down this exercise, take up the next one.
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