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Recording a practical action

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Recording a practical action

In this exercise I am going to show you how to record a practical action. I'll also show you what to do if something goes wrong. Here I am still working inside Musical review.ai found inside the 30_actions folder, and I've created this new action, Save for Web PNG 8/64 and I am still recording. Now if you decided to stop recording at some point in time, which is just fine, by clicking on that square stop button, then go ahead if you're working along with me and click on the Begin Recording button, to begin recording once again. So that's all you have to do to reactivate that action and get it going.

Recording a practical action

In this exercise I am going to show you how to record a practical action. I'll also show you what to do if something goes wrong. Here I am still working inside Musical review.ai found inside the 30_actions folder, and I've created this new action, Save for Web PNG 8/64 and I am still recording. Now if you decided to stop recording at some point in time, which is just fine, by clicking on that square stop button, then go ahead if you're working along with me and click on the Begin Recording button, to begin recording once again. So that's all you have to do to reactivate that action and get it going.

Now let's say I look at my illustration and I see that my text is selected, and I don't really want to have my text selected, so, I could go up to the Select menu and choose a deselect command or it's perfectly acceptable to use keyboard shortcuts. Even the keyboard shortcuts I've given you. Illustrator will not record the shortcut, it will record the command that the shortcut is playing. So I'm just going to do that, I am going to press Ctrl+Shift+A, Command+Shift+A on a Mac to deselect the text, and now let's say in my peripheral vision, I notice that that operation just got recorded.

So I just threw in a Deselect All, darn it. What do you do about it? Well, here is what you don't do, you don't go out to the Edit menu and choose the Undo Command. Even though that seems like the logical thing, especially because it says Undo Action panel, so maybe it's going to undo the addition of the Deselect All. If you choose that command, watch what happens, don't do this with me, please, just watch. You will go ahead and undo the creation of your action in the first place, that's funny. All right, so we don't want that. Go up to the Edit menu, if you did it along with me just for larfs, then in order reestablish my action I would go ahead and choose Redo Action panel, and notice not only does it restore the action complete with Deselect All, but I'm recording again.

This is amazing, I've gone backward and forward in time. Here's a real solution, if you make a mistake and you record something you didn't mean to, then just go ahead and stop, and this goes for by the way if you meant to record something and Illustrator wasn't paying attention, which happens too. Go ahead and stop the recording. Then grab that step in our case, throw it in the trash and then start recording again, so that's all it takes. All right, now I am going to go up, because here's what I really want to record. I'm going to go up to the File menu and choose Save for Web & Devices, again, I could use the keyboard shortcut, mash your fist as if I wanted to, and that's going to bring up this big Save for Web & Devices dialog box.

Now, notice that the original image is 1.1 MB, and the JPEG version at high compression is going to be 113 K. So that's a big savings, right? We lost 90% of the file size. We only have 10% of the file size left. But I think we could do better than that, and specifically I'm interested in creating an action for PNG after all, PNG 8-bit 64 colors, and I'll show you why. Because if I zoom in on the this text at the bottom of the illustration, you can see that it's kind of starting to fall apart, because of those compression artifacts, and PNG, even though it's going to introduce some dithering, is going to better retain the integrity of that text.

So I am going to go ahead and switch from JPEG to PNG-8, right there, and then I'm going to switch down the colors too, because notice I only lost a little bit in file size. I went from 113 K down to 107 K, that's not enough of a savings. I am going to go ahead and switch those colors down to 64, and we will introduce quite a bit of dithering as you can see, and I've got the Pattern set to Diffusion and the Dither value is all the way up at 100%. So that means that our gradients are going to suffer quite a bit actually, but our text is going to look impeccable, and this is a text heavy document, so I'd rather focus on that.

That's about all I am going to do inside of this dialog box. Now I am going to go ahead and click Save. But before I do, I want to show you something. Let me go into make this dialog box a little narrower, so we can see the Actions panel in the background. Notice it hasn't recorded a darn thing. I've been spending a lot of time inside this dialog box. You could change as many settings back and forth if you want, all Illustrator is going to do is record your final settings. And again, it's not going to record the speed at which you work or any of that. So I will go and click Save. Notice it still has not recorded anything, so I'll go ahead and find my 30_actions folder there in the Exercise Files folder, and I'll go ahead and save the PNG file there, and click the Save button.

And that's the point at which it finally wakes up and says, hey! You did something; I'll go ahead and record it. Let's go ahead and stop actually, because this is the end of this task. But if you twirl open this item here, you will see that it records every single setting that's available inside that dialog box. So whether you touched it or not, Illustrator went ahead and tracked it. It also goes ahead and tracks the location into which you save this file, which as you'll see is a little bit of a pain in the neck, but we'll come to that later. So that's how you record a practical action inside of Illustrator.

In the next exercise I'll show you how to play it back.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

134 video lessons · 28452 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
      58s
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
      33s
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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