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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
I have gone ahead and reverted to the saved version of Knot number 3.ai found inside that 21_photoshop folder and then in this exercise, we really are going to check out Photoshop. We are going to rasterize this graphic inside Photoshop, and you may recall that by rasterize, I mean we are going to take a bunch of vectors like we have here inside of Illustrator and we are going to convert them to pixels inside Photoshop. Now you may wonder why in the world would you do that? Are you out of your mind? After all these vectors are going to print at the full resolutions of the output device which could have like 2540 dots per inch or even more than that and we are going to get this insane quality out of this graphic, whereas if we take it in the Photoshop, then we are converting it to pixels and then we have resolution issues and the results could be jagged.
Why would we do such a thing? Well, it's an insurance policy. It's basically what it comes down to. This graphic is basically, pretty darn and complicated from a print perspective, and there is a lot that could go wrong with it, because we have so many dynamic effects. By the way, the biggest problem based on my copious experience in this department, the thing that's mostly likely to go wrong with this illustration is the gradients. Some little bit or chip or part of a gradient can just drop out on you during the printing process and we have a lot of gradients going on.
We have got this radial gradient, this big one in the background. Then we have got all these gradients inside of these circles inside the circles and then the little circles have different gradients inside them by the way. And then we have got all the gradients that are inside of this live paint object. That's just asking for trouble, to send this live paint object out there. Then we have got some Transparency as well, even though I would say that's the least of our problems but we do have this Drop Shadow that's got some translucency associated with it and it's got a Blend mode in the form of Multiply and to make matters even more precarious, I have gone ahead and taken these grainier objects and I have blended between them.
So we are asking a lot of the entire raster image process, that's key to the printing. We are asking a lot of that technology and if any little thing goes wrong, then not only is it going to mess up our illustration but it could compound. So one little problem could snowball into all kinds of other bigger problems. So the best way to go, is to just go ahead and convert it in the pixels in Photoshop at a very high resolution, mind you, and that way, you know that what you see is what you are going to get. Now you may have some color shifting going on but you are not going to have anything drop out.
As long as it survives the rasterization process inside Photoshop, you know you are good to go. So that's what we are going to do. Now before I shift to Photoshop here, I want to show you one thing and I am going to go up to the File menu, and I am going to choose the Save As command, and I will just go ahead and call this file something like, Knot number 3alt, I am not really going to save it. I just want to show you the dialog box here. So I will click on the Save button. In order to rasterize an image inside Photoshop, you need to make sure that this check box is turned on, Create PDF Compatible File. That's got to be on.
It is on by default but don't go turning it off because then Photoshop won't be able to interpret the file and you won't be able to place the file into InDesign and you will have all kinds of problems with it. So I am going to Cancel out of there. I just want you to know what's going on inside that dialog box. All right, so there is a variety of different ways to rasterize the graphic. You can rasterize directly inside of Illustrator by going to the File menu and choosing the Export command and then you can export to one of the many pixel formats that are offered and we will be seeing that but we are just straight for when rasterization is concerned.
I prefer to do it inside Photoshop because then you can see it happen as you do it. So here is how. I am going to go up to this Go to Bridge icon in the Applications bar, and click on it and that will take me to the Bridge. If you are working along with me, make sure that the Bridge is directed to the contents of the 21_photoshop folder inside your Exercise Files folder. You should see that file some place in here. It's called Knot number 3.ai. Again, if you are working with me, make sure you open this file. There is a bunch of other files that look like Knots but this is the one we are working with for now. I am going to go ahead and right-click on it and then choose Open With and now choose Photoshop CS5, and that will go ahead and switch to CS5 and if you weren't running the program, it will take a moment to start up, and then you will see the Import PDF dialog box because after all, this is a PDF compatible Illustrator file, so Photoshop is working from the PDF information.
If you want to see this guy bigger than this tiny itsy-bitsy small thumbnail why then go ahead and switch the thumbnail size to Fit Page and then you will see a bit, all-be-it jagged version of the graphic. That's fairly non indicative but still. Make sure Anti-aliased is turned on, you want that. You have a bunch of different cropping options that are available to you. I don't really think much of these guys because where rasterizing an illustration is concerned to file from Illustrator, there is a lot of duplication going on but basically you have two big differences. You have got the Bounding Box which is just going to go ahead and try to rasterize all of the artwork that it can get to.
In our case, the artboard is too small to contain all the artwork. So we are cropping down into this border elements. If we want to expand things a little, we could go ahead and choose Bleed Box, and that's going to expand the image slightly outward into the bleed boundaries that I had setup. So I have an 18 point bleed surrounding the artboard. But it doesn't really help us that much but still we do get a little more information going on there. So in other words, the upshot here is that there is no way to expand Photoshop's ability to take in the entire graphic. None of these options are going to expand beyond the artboard or beyond the bleed size.
Bleed Box is as big as you can go. So you can experiment with the other ones if you want to but I am telling you, that's the best we are going to do for now and you might say well, what can we do then? Can we expand the Width and Height values? No, that's just going to give you more pixels, it's not going to expand out into the border elements. What we need to do is go back and change the file in Illustrator and we will do that but for now, I just want to walk you through the options that are available to you here. Constraint proportion should be turned on. I don't recommend you change the Width and Height values unless you have a specific purpose for doing so, instead, you can tweak the Resolution value and what I usually do, if this is going to be a piece of final output, I might take it as high as 600 pixels per inch, which is great, that's going to give you a ton of resolution and you want a ton of resolution for a vector file, the thing is when you print an image to a postscript base printer, the default behavior is to go ahead and down-sample the image to 300 pixels per inch.
There is ways around this but unless you specifically ask your printer to do it, then the image will be down-sampled. I might sometimes, use 600 if I just want to hope against hope that I am going to get really super smooth results, or I might enter 360 or I might just settle for 300. In any event, it's going to be hard to tell the difference, quite frankly, unless you get out a loop and take that loop to the page after it gets printed, and very few people beyond you, are going to do anything like that. There are not too many viewers of your artwork that are going to whip out their magnifying glasses. Then otherwise, you are not even going to able to tell the difference between this and the actual vector file.
Then you could switch the mode if you wanted to. I am going to go ahead and switch to RGB and I am just doing that because I want to quicken the process a little bit but if you are going to pre-press output, you would stick with CMYK and then there is no sense in suppressing the warnings because you are not going to get any. Just click OK and then wait it out. And it is going to take a moment for the rasterization process to occur and here is the final rasterize version of the file, at least according to the settings I have just established, and I am going to go ahead and zoom in there to 100% and you can see what great detail we get and notice how smooth the gradients are.
Everything is looking just awesome. Nothing is dropping out. This document looks to be absolutely perfect to me. The only problem, if I zoom back out there, is that I cut off the border elements and I would like to go ahead and get those back but I didn't have anything dropped out in terms of the gradients, or the dynamic effects, or the live paint object or any of that. It didn't cause Photoshop any problems whatsoever, whereas it could very well, cause problems for a postscript printer. So when a document starts getting complicated and it has a lot of dynamic effects, do yourself a big favor and rasterize that image at a high resolution here inside Photoshop.
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