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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.
Many web designers are also familiar with using Photoshop for web design. In reality, you don't really need to choose between one or the other, meaning you don't have to choose Illustrator or Photoshop. There are plenty of workflows where you can actually use both of those applications together. In this chapter specifically, I want to talk about using Illustrator and Photoshop together so that you get the most out of using these two applications. Now, say that you've already started working on a design inside of Illustrator. You know, because of its object-based nature, it's very easy to quickly make changes across an entire design inside of Illustrator, but you may find that at some point you have to bring your design into Photoshop, or maybe you're working with another designer, and they prefer to use Photoshop, so you want to hand off your artwork in a way that's most compatible with them.
Now, in reality Photoshop can open up native Illustrator files; however, when it does so, it comes in as one large graphic. We want to make things as easy to work with, and as editable when we get into Photoshop, as well. Let's take a look at how some of the things are set up inside of this document. Now first of all, I have several layers here. I have kind of broken down the different parts of this document into layers. And again, there is no really need to actually break things down to layers as you're working. You can do later on, towards the end of your workflow when you start to understand the structure of how things are coming together in your page.
Now if I select this Intro area over here, I see that this background has an opacity value of 90%. If I click on this object right here, I can see that it has a soft drop shadow applied to it as a live effect. You can also see that I have several slices that already exist inside of this document. In fact, if I go to the File menu here, and I choose Save for Web & Devices, I can use my Slice Select tool to double- click on a slice, and you can that I have already applied names to some of these slices as well. Let's go back to the document here. Obviously, there are a lots of type treatment inside of this document, and my goal is really going to be to try to preserve as much editable information so that if I need to, I can make changes inside of Photoshop as well.
Now this file is currently saved as home_page.ai. It's a native Illustrator file. But for working specifically with Photoshop, I'm going to want to export a PSD file directly out of Illustrator. So I am going to go to the File menu here, I'm going to choose Export, and from the Format pop-up here, I am going to choose Photoshop (psd). Now I am going to check the Use Artboards button. This is actually going to sense the dimensions of my artboard, which is currently set to the size that I want for this page, and it's going to clip or crop it so that this way the PSD file that I get is exactly the same size that I designed it here inside of Illustrator.
I am going to leave the file name here as home_page.psd, and I'll save it in my Chapter 08 folder here, and I'll click Export. This brings up the Photoshop Export Options dialog box, where I can choose from a variety of different settings. Perhaps the most important settings here are the resolution - I am going to leave it set to 72 pixels per inch, but where it says Options here I want to make sure that Write layers is turned on and that Preserve Text Editability and Maximum Editability are both checked. Now when we preserve text editability that means where possible, all my text will still be editable inside of Photoshop.
In addition, this check box here called Maximum Editability really encompasses a tremendous amount of functionality, things like opacity applied to objects, things like slices, things like opacity masks, vector compound shapes, and a whole bunch of other settings are all preserved when that check box is turned on. So now I am going to click OK, and Illustrator now is going to create this PSD file for me. Let's head over to Photoshop here and see what happens when we open up that file. I'm going to the File menu and choose File > Open, and remember, we don't want to actually open up the Illustrator file; We want to go to Chapter 08 here and open up the home_page.psd file.
In fact, if we take a look at the file name here, because I specified to use artboards, Illustrator assigned the artboard name towards the end of the file as well. So now I am going to choose Open, and Photoshop alerts me that some of the text layers might have to be updated before they can be used for vector-based output. So I am going to choose to update that text, and now let's take a look at what we see here inside of Photoshop. First of all, I can already see that all my slices are visible. In fact, if I use my Slice Select tool here inside of Photoshop, and I double-click on the slices, I see that the name that I have assigned to the slice in Illustrator is still preserved here inside of Photoshop.
Let me click Cancel. Let's take a look at my Tag layer. In fact, you can notice that all my layers are here, but specifically the Tag, which is this little icon that exists here in the upper right-hand part of the page. You can see that there's a group, and the drop shadow was turned into its own image. So it wasn't really combining to the background. If for some reason I decide I want to make some kind of change to that drop shadow, I can simply take this entire layer and delete it and then maybe apply a layer style here inside of Photoshop to add one of the native drop shadows that Photoshop supports.
Another interesting thing is that if I go now to the Intro layer, I can see that the background, which is that path that's here, has an opacity of 90%. Remember, back in Illustrator that object had 90% opacity as well. So even the opacity settings that I apply inside of Illustrator are preserved here, and that's important because that would allow me to kind of adjust the positioning of that if I wanted to, or of course, I could lower the opacity to 80%, and I can really mess with the design that way. And finally, one of things that I really like about this workflow is that even if I look into some of these layers, for example I go to navigation here, I can see that the groups that I set up inside of Illustrator are also preserved here inside of Photoshop.
So I am really retaining structure. Notice over here, I have all these elements here that are inside of the navigation area, and if I click on this group, I can actually look at each of these individually. So if I want to define rollovers, for example, I can really start to work with each of these as I want to. I even have the logo and this background path, which is also set to an opacity of 80% here, is also easily editable. So if you ever need to go from Illustrator into Photoshop, the best way to do that is to actually take your entire design and export it as a PSD from Illustrator, which you can then open up inside of Photoshop with all this wonderful functionality still intact.
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