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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, so you are finished with all your image manipulations here inside of Photoshop. And yes, I like the little cracklies inside of the whites of the eyes. I think they look great. What do you do now? If you want to take this composition and place it in Illustrator, and you know you are not going to copy and paste it and embed it in Illustrator, you are going to go ahead and place the file. But how do you get it to a point that it's ready for Illustrator to use? Well, you could just take this layer composition if you wanted to, and I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Colorized chic.psd. You could place it directly into Illustrator as is but that would be giving Illustrator more information than it needs, and you would require more of Illustrator than you would want.
It basically increases processing time and what's the point of that. We might as well distill everything down to a single layer if possible. And then you want to presumably convert the image from RGB to CMYK, since we are working inside of a CMYK illustration in Illustrator. And then finally, you would want to save the image out as a separate PSD document so you don't lose your work. All right, so here is how that works. That's what we are going to be doing inside this exercise. Now there's two different ways to approach this image, one, if it has a background layer. So if at the bottom of the Layers palette, you see a layer called background in italics, and it has tons of other pixels going on. It has got a photograph or something like that.
And you want to preserve all that information, then you would go up to the Layer menu and choose the Flatten command in order to merge everything. And my Deke keys for Photoshop, which is available along with my Photoshop CS4 One-on-One series that's part of the lynda.com Online Training Library. That file gives you a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F or Command+Shift+Option+F on the Mac for Flatten. So that you can flatten the image to just a bunch of flat pixels, you end up with a rectangular image, no transparency. So that's one way to work. That's not what we are going to do in our case.
If you have a background layer that has nothing on it, it's just white, that would be in a different composition, one that you are creating on your own. You would click on that background layer and you would press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. And then without a background layer, you would then go up to the Layer menu, and choose Merge Visible, which does have a keyboard shortcut regardless of whether you loaded Deke keys or not. And it's Ctrl+Shift+E, Command+Shift+E on the Mac. But anyway, choose Merge Visible and you get this effect right here. Now in my case, it's going to be called B or W because it's named after whichever layer was selected, but you can call it anything you want. I'll just call it image, let's say, and that's all.
Now then, our next issue is that we are working inside of an RGB image as you typically are inside of Photoshop. So every digital photograph begins in RGB, which is red, green, blue. However, if you are going to bring the image into the CMYK illustration as we are, this is not something you absolutely have to do because Illustrator will take care of the transformation from RGB to CMYK on the fly. It will take care of that conversion for you. But you might get better results out of some operations inside of Illustrator and you are going to get a bigger smile on your commercial printer's face, if you go ahead and make sure that this image is converted to CMYK inside of Photoshop. So to do that, go up to the Image menu, choose Mode, and choose CMYK Color. And this by the way assumes that you have a defined RGB space and a defined CMYK space as you do if you loaded my Best Workflow CS4 settings way back when.
So if you have got those settings that we loaded back in the Bridge, then you will be performing a proper conversion. So you would go ahead and choose CMYK Color. You are going to get a message however telling you that this is not the only way to work, you can also use the Edit > Convert To Profile command if you want to convert to a different CMYK profile. That's not a problem for us, so just go ahead and click OK. And we'll retain the layered image, which is very important, but it is now converted to CMYK. So we still have our checkerboard transparency in the background. If you switch over to the Channels palette, you are going to see that you have got a CMYK image. Instead of RGB you now have Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black channels.
You also have the two alpha channels. Let's go ahead and click on one, Shift-click on the other and then Alt- click or Option-click on the Trash Can to avoid the error message. So again, I'll do that since I just decided to raise through that. What I did was this, I clicked on hair mask, I Shift-clicked on filter mask, so they are both selected, something you can do in Photoshop CS4 that you couldn't do in the old days. You can select more than one mask at a time. And then notice if you click on the Trash Can, you are going to get a warning. That's why I recommend you Alt-click or Option-click on the Mac to bypass the warning.
Now go back to the Layers palette, now we are ready to save. What I want you to do is go up to the File menu, don't choose the Save command because you will overwrite your original image that has all the layers intact, and you don't want to do that because you will destroy the layers. They are not imaginary. They are real things that existed that you got rid of. So you need to choose Save As or Ctrl+ Shift+S if you like. And then what I'm going to suggest you do is save the image to this file right there, Sepia image.psd, go ahead and save over it. That's just fine. But make sure the Format is set to PSD, or you can also work with TIFF if you want. TIFF also supports transparency between Photoshop and Illustrator. But I think your best bet when in doubt is to just go with PSD.
Make sure to save the layers. Do not turn that checkbox off. And then you do want to save your ICC Profile that's also very important. And then Lower Case Extension doesn't really matter, but I leave it turned on here on the PC, and then click Save. Now in my case it's going to ask, do I want to replace the original? I say okay, I do because I want to show you what that looks like when we switch back to Illustrator, and import this image in the very next exercise.
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