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Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop

All right, so here is the deal. I have been burned by Illustrator artwork in the past and nothing against Illustrator because you know I love the program, but I have had artwork that you would think would print just fine. The toughest thing it had going was some gradients and yet the gradient is abruptly dropped out at some point, like in the corner of the artwork. All the sudden the gradient goes white or something along those lines. I have had such problems enough that I have decided that it is worth eliminating those problems from my life entirely. So, let's imagine you take an illustration, you place it into InDesign, you give it to your commercial printer, you print ten thousand copies of a book and then you have a problem with the output. Who is to blame? Is it Illustrator's fault, is it InDesign's fault, is it your commercial printer's fault, is it most likely the output device's fault? Who cares? All that matters is you have got egg on your face. So, what I have learned the hard way, folks, is that the easiest thing to do is to give up and go ahead and rasterize the artwork in advance inside a Photoshop because after all, and you should know this about printing in general, anytime you print your artwork you are rasterizing it.

Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop

All right, so here is the deal. I have been burned by Illustrator artwork in the past and nothing against Illustrator because you know I love the program, but I have had artwork that you would think would print just fine. The toughest thing it had going was some gradients and yet the gradient is abruptly dropped out at some point, like in the corner of the artwork. All the sudden the gradient goes white or something along those lines. I have had such problems enough that I have decided that it is worth eliminating those problems from my life entirely. So, let's imagine you take an illustration, you place it into InDesign, you give it to your commercial printer, you print ten thousand copies of a book and then you have a problem with the output. Who is to blame? Is it Illustrator's fault, is it InDesign's fault, is it your commercial printer's fault, is it most likely the output device's fault? Who cares? All that matters is you have got egg on your face. So, what I have learned the hard way, folks, is that the easiest thing to do is to give up and go ahead and rasterize the artwork in advance inside a Photoshop because after all, and you should know this about printing in general, anytime you print your artwork you are rasterizing it.

You take a rectangle that's 100% Postscript compatible, you print it, it gets converted to printer dots, which are pixels, the printer pixels. Now, there is a ton of printer pixels. Like I was saying in the previous exercise a typical print resolution for a high end imagesetter might be 2540 DPI, 2540 dots per inch, linear inch. So, inside of a square inch you have got like a gillion pixels, but you are still rasterizing it. So, if you take the time to rasterize at a very high resolution in Photoshop in the first place then you are going to see exactly what your artwork looks like and you may uncover new problems that you didn't know about, as we are about and then you can fix them.

Then there are no tears. Everything goes exactly the way you expected to go and so I'm going to show you how it works in this very exercise. If you are following along with me, you will need access to Photoshop. Now, the great thing about the Creative Suite is that if you own any skew of the Creative Suite, you own both Photoshop and Illustrator because they are the core products of the Creative Suite. So, if you got Illustrator, you probably have Photoshop, but if you don't just sit tight and watch me work. I am inside the Bridge. I have the Bridge trained on the 21_transparency folder. I have selected my Final sans frame.ai file. I'm going to right-click on the said file or if you don't have right mouse button on the Mac you would press the Ctrl key and click and then choose Open With and then choose Adobe Photoshop CS4. That will switch you over to Photoshop, assuming it's already running. Now, I'm looking at the Import PDF dialog box because of course my Illustrator file has PDF embedded in it and then I'll go down to the thumbnail size option and I'll choose Fit Page so I can see my artwork bigger, just for the sake of looking at it.

Now, you can either open the entire artwork or you can just open any images inside that artwork and so this would permit me to open the image and extract it out of the Illustrator file. But I'm going to go ahead and just say no, I don't want to do that. I want to open the pages. I want to open the entire artwork and rasterize it out. Then notice over here we have a few controls that we can work with and what I suggest you do is increase the resolution of your artwork. Currently we are seeing the artwork at its actual physical size, which is 5.583 inches wide by 7.667 inches tall. But what really matters is that it is going to get rasterized at 300 pixels per inch to 1675 pixels wide and 2300 pixels tall.

Well that might not be enough and what I'm going to suggest you is that you rasterize your artwork to at least 600 pixels per inch if you are preparing for commercial output. At least 600 pixels per inch and possibly more like 1200. Now, that's about the highest you need to go. You do not need to rasterize at full resolution of your printer, like something like 2540 would be such extraordinary overkill as to be ridiculous and that would give you a 790 megabyte file. You would be approaching a 1 gig file flat, which is insanity my friends.

I am going to set it to 600. And my experience in the past has been 600 is dandy, just works out brilliantly. You can look at the artwork with a loupe and it looks just absolutely splendid, crystal clear and every bit as crisp as vectors all the way through. All right, now I'll go ahead and change the mode from RGB to CMYK. There is no point in converting the mode to RGB. This is CMYK artwork, let's keep it that way and then you go ahead and click on the OK button and then you sit on your hands for a while. Now, what happened with me on this particular machine, it does run Vista. It has got a few gigs of memory and it is a modern machine and it took about 2 minutes to go ahead and render this file, which was something like 141.1 seconds to rasterize this file. All right, anyway so I'm going to cancel out. There is no sense in watching at this progress bar. You can go ahead and do it yourself if you want.

I'm just going to show you what ended up happening. This is the file here, this is the product of rasterizing this file inside a Photoshop and I should say what you really going to see is a layered file. So, you will get one layer inside the Layers palette and presumably and especially in the case of this artwork, there is no reason to have those layers because there is nothing in back that we need to composite this image with. You would only want the layers if you were going to composite this illustration with some other stuff inside of Photoshop. But I'm not going to do that. So, you just go up to the Layer menu and you would choose Flatten Image in order to render out a completely flat version of the file and then you would save it off as a TIFF file and if you are going to save it as a TIFF file, I would go up to the File menu, choose in my case Save As to demonstrate how did it and then you would choose the TIFF file format right there. Make sure to embed your ICC Profile. That's very important, then click on the Save button.

Well, actually I'll give mine a slightly different name, something slash two, so I'm not asked if I want to replace my existing file. I'll click Save and then make sure to set Image Compression to LZW. Otherwise you are going to get a big bloated file. This way you are going to get a pretty small file because illustrations compress really nicely. This is lossless compression by the way meaning that it's non-destructive. It is not going to hurt anything, none of the pixels are going to be altered. You are just going to get a smaller file. Leave Pixel Order set to Interleaved, Byte Order doesn't matter, whatever you want it to be, leave Save Image Pyramid off and then click OK.

Anyway I already did that stuff and that's what we have right here, Photoshop raster 600ppi.tiff. Then let's go ahead and zoom in on this artwork and notice how very, very smooth it is. This is the artwork here in 100% zoom size right there and we can see every single element of our graphic rendered out in super smooth detail here. Complete with anti aliasing, just in case there is any chance that something isn't going to look super smooth. Now, notice right around the artwork here, right around his jowls and stuff you can now see exactly how things are going to render out on the edges of this image. Now, you will notice some pixel action inside of the image and that's because I was telling you this is a low quality image. It wasn't in that greater shape in the first place and it remains not in that greater shape, but there is so much distracting vector action going on that I think everything is just fine and we get these nice cuts going along the edges.

Okay, so what am I noticing is a problem? One of the things I would kind of see in Illustrator and that's the quality of the Drop Shadows. Notice that the Drop Shadows are rendered out at pretty low resolutions. Now, that has nothing to do with the Flattener Preview palette that we saw in the previous exercise. That has nothing to do with the Resolution setting that we just set inside a Photoshop. This has everything to do with your Dynamic Effect Raster settings and I'll show you how those work in the next exercise when we fix these problems. But just note that we do have some choppy Drop Shadow action and we may see more of it over along here and may be able to makeup some big pixels as there as well and below the drapes too. Check those out. That's a pretty harsh Drop Shadow there. That's Illustrator Drop Shadows for you. They are not nearly as good as they are inside of Photoshop where Photoshop takes advantage of a Gaussian Drop Shadow and you get much better tapering.

But anyway that's the way they are, but you don't want those pixels right there you won't rid of those and then the other thing is notice that. Notice that we can see these lines going through Sammy's flesh right here, through his jowls, and that's because that opacity mask isn't quite working for us. The opacity mask is letting some of those stroke show through down here as well and actually where else we can them, see can see them -- Oh, My God! His stumps are still visible. That's terrible. That's really actually big problem.

Now that's not something that showed up inside of Illustrator, my friends. Let's go back to Illustrator. Here we are, same graphics before it got rasterized. Let's zoom in. Illustrator isn't showing me any stump action, but that's how the graphic would print according to Photoshop and Photoshop is the best Illustrator printing engine that there is and it is basically the most accurate as well. So, this is most likely how this graphic is going to output to a commercial printing device. So, what in the world do we do? Well, we go back to Illustrator and we fix the problems and we re- rasterize the artwork and I'm going to show you how to do it exactly that in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21463 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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