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Saving PDF files

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Seeing Through Transparency

Video: Saving PDF files

When saving files out of Illustrator, you can choose from a wealth of different formats and probably one of the most popular formats that are in use is PDF. Now it's important to realize that PDF is kind of like a wrapper technology. It's simply a file that can contain information inside of it and that information can really be many, many different types of file formats or with different settings. Now specifically with our topic here in this training title, we have the ability to put either a live transparency into a PDF file or we can put flattened transparency into a PDF file.

Saving PDF files

When saving files out of Illustrator, you can choose from a wealth of different formats and probably one of the most popular formats that are in use is PDF. Now it's important to realize that PDF is kind of like a wrapper technology. It's simply a file that can contain information inside of it and that information can really be many, many different types of file formats or with different settings. Now specifically with our topic here in this training title, we have the ability to put either a live transparency into a PDF file or we can put flattened transparency into a PDF file.

It's pretty much our choice. So what I want to cover in this movie is how to save a PDF file and how to determine what kind of information goes into that PDF file. So I'm working with this file here. It's called label.ai and I'm going to go to the File menu here and choose Save As. Next for the Format here, I'm going to choose to save this file as an Adobe PDF file. I'll click Save and that brings up the Save Adobe PDF options dialog box. Now there are many settings in PDF itself like Compression, Marks and Bleeds, Outputs, so on and so forth, but I want to talk about two things specifically that are related to transparency.

First of all, there is compatibility. There are many different versions of Acrobat that are out there or more specifically there are different versions of the PDF language. For example, if I go to this pop-up menu, we can see there's Acrobat 4, Acrobat 5, Acrobat 6, 7, and also 8. These are different versions that Adobe has published. Now the actual PDF language that's used by Acrobat goes by a different versioning system. For example, in Acrobat 4, Adobe published a PDF language version 1.3.

With Acrobat 5, Adobe published PDF 1.4. In fact the way that I always remember this is that I add up the two numbers. So, for example, PDF 1.3, one plus three equals four, that means that that PDF language version is attributed to Acrobat 4. Whereas if I think about PDF 1.5, one plus five is six, so that means that that was the language that was used when Acrobat 6 came out. However, from a perspective of transparency, it's important to realize that Acrobat 5 or PDF language spec 1.4 was the first version that supported transparency.

In other words that means that Acrobat 4 did not support transparency. So if I would have saved my file with a compatibility of version PDF 1.3, that would mean that if my file contains transparency, that information would get flattened into that PDF file. In other words in your mind, you should think of Acrobat 4 PDF 1.3 as EPS or PostScript. In other words, it's a line in the sand between this version and all other versions that come afterwards. Acrobat 5, Acrobat 6, Acrobat 7, and Acrobat 8 all support native transparency, meaning that if I save a file with this level of compatibility, it means that if I do have transparency in my file, that transparency lives on when I create the PDF.

That means if I open now the PDF file inside of Acrobat, that transparency is still alive. It has not been flattened yet and if I need to make last minute changes, I can do so because my file has not been broken up into those atomic regions. However, if I save my file with Acrobat 4 compatibility that means that my file now is flattened and even if I get to Acrobat, it's too late. That file already has all those settings baked into place. It's not a bad thing to note, by the way. If you flattened your file, it just means that when you get the file to Acrobat, if your printer, for example, gets that file, they can choose to reflatten your file using different settings because your files is already flattened.

In fact, in the next movie when we talk about some PDF/X, we will talk about when it is most beneficial for you to actually create a PDF that has flattened transparency inside of it or not. Now let's say I do choose to actually save my file using the Acrobat 4 format, which would now mean that my file contains flattened transparency. What settings does Illustrator use in order to perform that flattening? Well, the answer is that I would now go to the Advanced setting right over here and here I have that preset and I can choose which preset I want Illustrator to use when it flattens the information that now gets put into this PDF file.

It's just important to realize that if I were to choose compatibility of Acrobat 5, this setting is now grade out because there is now no way for me to flatten the transparency because that version of Acrobat does support live and unflattened transparency. So if you want to think about it, PDF gives you the best of both worlds. You can choose to save in a standardized format and you can choose whether or not that format contains live transparency or flattened transparency. Now which one should you choose and at what time? Well that's something that we will talk about in the next movie when we talk about something called PDF/X.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. The history of vector transparency
      4m 2s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      26s
  2. 6m 21s
    1. Transparency living in a world of PostScript
      2m 56s
    2. Transparency...it's everywhere
      2m 13s
    3. Transparency across Adobe applications
      1m 12s
  3. 42m 20s
    1. Deconstructing the Transparency panel
      7m 48s
    2. Adding transparency to gradients
      4m 59s
    3. Using the Isolate Blending setting
      5m 20s
    4. Understanding how overprints and knockouts work
      6m 26s
    5. Using the Knockout Group setting
      6m 47s
    6. Using the Knockout Group setting without a group
      6m 2s
    7. Understanding the Opacity & Mask Define Knockout Shape setting
      4m 58s
  4. 36m 26s
    1. What is an opacity mask?
      3m 37s
    2. Learning from channels in Photoshop
      7m 20s
    3. Creating an opacity mask
      6m 44s
    4. Editing an opacity mask
      5m 31s
    5. Using a gradient as an opacity mask
      4m 44s
    6. Using image pixels as an opacity mask
      4m 4s
    7. Using a complex appearance as an opacity mask
      4m 26s
  5. 53m 30s
    1. Understanding transparency flattening
      5m 58s
    2. Learning the two rules of flattening
      8m 1s
    3. Understanding the concept of complex regions
      7m 47s
    4. Exploring the Transparency Flattener options
      11m 44s
    5. The relationship between flattening and stacking order
      8m 22s
    6. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      8m 3s
    7. Creating and sharing flattener presets
      3m 35s
  6. 24m 37s
    1. Working with PostScript (EPS) files
      7m 22s
    2. Placing Illustrator files into InDesign layouts
      3m 59s
    3. Copying graphics from Illustrator
      2m 41s
    4. Saving PDF files
      4m 41s
    5. Using the PDF/X standards
      4m 36s
    6. Printing files from Illustrator
      1m 18s
  7. 34s
    1. Next steps
      34s

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