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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, we are going to save our artwork as a JPG file for use on a website, presumably, or you could e-mail it to somebody. Do whatever you want with it. Now I have called this document, I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Goodbye overprints.ai found inside the 12_exporting folder. So called, of course, because I got rid of the bad overprinting. Nothing wrong with overprinting in general, except when you apply it to a color you oughtn't to, such as white. So now we will be able to see our text. I'll go up to the File menu and choose Save for Web & Devices to bring up the big old Save for Web & devices dialog box.
Oh! Look at that. I didn't check which page was active there. I'm seeing my surfboard and my skateboard here. Let's go ahead and cancel out. That's because if I look down in the bottom-left corner of the illustration window, even though I'm looking at page 1, I actually have artboard number 2 active. All I need to do is click on an object here in artboard number 1 in order to make it active. Then I'll click off in order to deselect that object. You can now see artboard 1 is active. That's what I need. Now I'll go up to the File menu and choose Save for Web & Devices again. We should see the queen in four regalia. I'm also looking at the 2-Up display, so that I can see the original version of the file over here on left and the optimized version on right. I'm going to zoom in actually on this right-hand graphic. I'm doing this the same way. I would zoom in inside Illustrator proper by Ctrl+Spacebar clicking inside the illustration or Command+Spacebar clicking on the Mac.
If you look closely, you are going to see that we have a little bit of banding associated with this gradient here and the reason is because we are using GIF. GIF reduces the size of the graphic by reducing the number of colors inside the graphic. So instead of allowing 16 million different color variations, assuming we were going to RGB here, which we are, incidentally. When we are going to the web, we are automatically going to RGB and incidentally, we are automatically going to the sRGB variety of RGB, even though this is starting out as a CMYK graphic.
Instead of being able to take advantage of the entire 16.8 million color variations that are available to RGB, we are reducing things to a maximum of 256 colors. So we are dithering the colors, that is, introducing dot patterns in order to simulate other colors that are missing, but that's not enough to make up for a gradient. We are still going to get banding inside that gradient. So where you have gradients inside of an illustration, especially, as many as we have inside of this one, then you want to switch over to JPG instead.
So let's go from GIF to JPG right there. JPEG is great for continuous tone photographs. So if you have any photographs inside of your artwork, that's the way you would work as well. It's also good anytime you have lots of gradients inside of an image or subtle transitions between colors. You want to maintain those subtle transitions. So things like blends, and gradient meshes, and other fountain fills that we will see in subsequent chapters of this series. Anyway, I'm going to switch over to JPG. We will see the gradient smooth out. You may notice still a little bit of banding, but not nearly what we were seeing associated with the GIF version of the graphic. Now currently, my JPG is bigger. Notice that, it's 117K, where a moment ago we were seeing, I believe, an 80K graphic.
We can change that, if we want to. We can reduce the quality of the graphic. Notice that we have this Quality setting right here. We can go down as low as Low, which is going to reduce the Quality setting to 10 in this case. The Quality setting here can vary from 0 to 100. So you can either enter your own value or choose one of the presets. That's the way it works. Now notice, if we go as low as 10, which is awfully darn low-- I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here-- we are going to have some horrible transitions. Notice how, for example, this frog graphic right there, Shenbop as he is called, goes from looking mighty good actually in this pixel display of Shenbop over on the left-hand side, to mighty bad inside of the JPG version.
If you look very closely, you will see what's happening is JPG is breaking up the graphics into a bunch of cubes. So there are 8x8 pixel cubes, a total of 64 pixels in these little blocks here. The blocks as opposed to cubes; cubes would be 3D, but anyway, these blocks right here. What's happening is JPG is nailing down the top-left color and then it's changing all the other colors inside of this block to be as similar to that top-left color as possible, while still maintaining some semblance of order inside of our graphic.
The amazing thing is when I zoom out, he looks terrible. Zoom this far in, but when I zoom out, he starts to actually make a little more sense. So JPG, especially this far out, it, kind of, works. It's not good. I think that graphic looks pretty awful, actually. Especially in all these little artifacts. These JPG compression artifacts around the text just look rotten. However, it's fairly amazing that it looks as good as it does, given how bad it looked when we were zoomed in. But a JPG setting of Low. The lowest I would ever go is Medium, but the thing to bear in mind is you may have certain requirements at your website.
You may have to keep your graphics under a 30K or something horrible like that, in which case you want to reduce the size of this graphic. In the case of this one because it's awfully big, or you would want to reduce the quality, but let's say we would prefer to reduce the size. So I'm going to take this up to High which is a great setting. High, Very High, and Maximum are going to look very, very good inside of a web page. I'm going to go with High. You don't want Progressive turned on. Progressive, what that does is it displays the image progressively in three different swipes. So it looks terrible at the beginning and then it comes in with a second swipe and it looks better, and in the third swipe it looks better still.
It was designed for the old days, when graphics took a really long time to display, when our connectivity was very slow. The idea was it would allow people to see that there was a graphic there and it was coming into view as they waited. So they would be encouraged to wait for your graphic. It's a terrible idea though because it increases the size of the file and it just ensures these days that your graphic looks hideous at the very beginning of the process. So I would leave it off. ICC Profile, there is no reason to turn that on because most browsers don't support them. Blur, you definitely want Blur set to 0. You can get smaller files sizes, if you increase the Blur value. Watch, I'll set the Blur from 0.
117.7K right now. I'll set it to its maximum of 2 and press the Tab key. That reduces the size of the graphic down to 57.91K. That's great. Look at my graphic. It's blurry. Why would I want that? That's worse than the JPG Compression. Gee-whiz. All right, so let's go ahead and reduce that Blur value to 0. Then Matte would be, if we have any masking, if we have any transparency, what happens to those transparent areas. In this case, they would turn white, but we don't have any revealed background inside of this file. We will see that later. Everything is covered up, in other words, by graphics at this point.
There is my Color Table. That's only useful for GIF. If I switch over here to Image Size, however, I can reduce the size of my graphic to better fit on a web page. That's something you have to bear in mind is that this has to go on a page. Now it may be you are just going to e-mail this to somebody, in which case, leave it big. This is actually going to be a very small e-mail attachment. So it's nothing to worry about, but if you are going to make it part of a web page, you need to think about how big it's going to be, how much space you wanted to occupy? I would probably knock down the size of this graphic, it's still be very big, but I would knock it down, let's say 400 pixels wide and 514 pixels tall.
Then if you want to see this applied inside of your window here, you click on the Apply button and you will see the graphic becomes smaller. You would want to constrain the proportions, what I think, Anti-Alias is a good idea. That way you are not going to get jagged transitions and we are clipping to the artboard of course because the artboard serves as our trim size. Now, I'm not sure that I'm really liking what I see here. This graphic looks like it's being pretty munched by these resizing settings. So I'm going to go ahead and restore my original size, which is 504 pixels for this graphic. I can see that up here in this Original Size value. All right, so let's go ahead and apply that just for the sake of good looking graphic on screen here.
Finally, if you want to further complicate your life, you can go over here to this Layers option and export this document as cascading style sheet layers. You could turn that on and that would give you control over specific layers inside of your document. For example, I could say, "I don't want to see the text." So I'll go ahead and select the text layer and say Do Not Export that one. That would take that out of the loop, but that's not what we are going to do. We want to be able to see all of the layers inside of this flat JPG file. This is a flat file, no matter what you do. All right, then go ahead and click on the Save button in order to save out your image. You will be invited to locate your image some place on your hard drive.
It will go ahead and name your image, notice that, so that it's compatible with a Windows system, or a Mac system, or a Unix system. So just go ahead and most likely leave that file name alone, but you can change it, if you want. If you decide to change it, just be sure to use standard alphanumeric characters and don't use spaces. Either use dashes or underscores. Then click on the Save button in order to export that graphic and the deed is done. You now have a JPG image that you can open inside of a web browser or inside Photoshop as well.
So the deed is done, we have now exported a JPG image to that same 12_exporting folder. I'll go ahead and switch over, so that we can see it here. I'm looking at the file inside of the Bridge. There is Goodbye overprints.jpg. If I were to double-click on it, it would open up inside Photoshop. I could also of course post it to a web page, if I wanted to, but here is the final version of the graphic at 100%. So it looks pretty sweet as a fairly small JPG file. Notice that it's 956K, almost 957K in memory inside Photoshop, but the file itself, back here inside the Bridge, only consumes 117K on disc and that's what counts.
That's the file that's going to go over the web. That's the file that's going to be posted to your website. That's the file that's going to be an e-mail attachment, and so on. In the next exercise, we will check out how to export a GIF graphic. Stay tuned.
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