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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you save your documents in Illustrator, there are several different settings that come into play, and depending on what your purpose is for saving your file, meaning if you're saving it for yourself or if you're saving the file to send off to somebody else, you would choose different options. So let's go over a few of the different settings that appear inside of the Save dialog box when you're saving files from Illustrator. I am going to go to the File menu here and since this files has already been saved once before, I am going to choose Save As. I am going to throw it on my Desktop right here, Command+D on Mac OS X, by the way, is a shortcut to your desktop and where it says Format, I'm going to choose Adobe Illustrator or AI, which is the native Illustrator format.
You can see over there that are several other formats you can use, for example, Illustrator EPS or Illustrator Template, PDF, FXG or SVG files. Many people, at least in the past, have used Illustrator EPS files. However, if you are saving this file for your own purposes, meaning you are just putting it on your computer so that you can work with those files, I'd suggest that you always use a native Illustrator file format. So now let's click on the Save button because I want to go over some of the settings when you're saving his Illustrator files.
First of all, take a look over here where it says Version. Every version of Illustrator really has its own file format. If you think about it, new features are added to Illustrator over time. For example, now in Illustrator CS5, we have the ability to draw artwork on a Perspective Grid. Well previous versions of Illustrator don't know anything about artwork that's in Perspective. So if I were to save my file right now back to a previous version, for example, Illustrator CS4 or CS3, I would be losing the editability of certain features inside of my design.
So whenever I'm saving files for myself, I'm always going to be using the native version that I'm currently using. In this case, it's CS5. So I want to make sure that I'm saving my Illustrator file here for CS5. If I were saving this file for someone else to use, for example, I am sending this out to a freelancer, and they only have Illustrator CS3, or I am sending this overseas and they only had Illustrator CS, I would then save back a version for them, but I would still keep, on my computer, a native Illustrator CS5 version saved for my own use.
Another important feature here is this check box called Create PDF Compatible File. When you save an Illustrate file, Illustrator also creates an entire PDF version of that file and puts that PDF into the file itself. So really, when I'm saving a file out of Illustrator, there are two files inside of that file: the native Illustrator CS5 5 version and a PDF version, which is compatible with other applications. For example, if I want to take my Illustrator file and place it into an InDesign document, InDesign doesn't know anything about native Illustrator CS5 files, but it does know how to place PDF files.
So the file that InDesign reads when you place an Illustrator into it is this PDF Compatible File. In other words, if I were to uncheck this option right now, Illustrator would not be including that PDF file inside of my Illustrator document, and therefore if I were to place that file into InDesign, InDesign would not be able to read the contents of that document. Now if I working on an Illustrator file that only I'm using, and I am always going to be opening it up inside of Illustrator, maybe I'm never using InDesign here I'm just using Illustrator itself, I can uncheck this box here, and I can save myself some time.
First of all, my file size will be much smaller because it won't have that extra PDF inside of it, and my save times will be much faster because I don't have to wait for Illustrator to actually generate a PDF to put into that file. So unchecking this box will really speed things up for me inside of Illustrator, however, the downside is that that Illustrator file really can't go anywhere else outside of Illustrator. The nice thing is though is that if I am working on a file, I could always reopen that file back up inside of Illustrator, resave it with this check box turned on and Illustrator will, once again, put the PDF inside of it.
For now though, I am going to leave Create PDF Compatible File turned on because I am not really sure where this document may be needed. Now one nice feature now that has been added to CS5 is that when I am saving a native Illustrator file, I have the ability to save each art board in my file to a separate file. So right now I have five art boards in a single document, but if I choose this option right now, I will end up with five separate Illustrator files and each of those Illustrator files will have one art board inside of it. I am going to uncheck that though because I really want have now just one Illustrator file with the five art boards, and then I click OK to save my document.
Now I am going to click Cancel here in this case because I want to show you one other example. Many times you will be asked to provide an EPS file to send to someone else. First of all, I wouldn't suggest that you keep EPS files yourself on your own computer. Always use native Illustrator files. If somebody requests an EPS file, open up your Illustrator file and then do a Save As with a different name as an EPS file and then send them that EPS. Chances are you won't be needing that EPS file. You'll always go back to your full Illustrator file that you use, which has full editability inside of it, but just to show you some of the settings, I am going to go back to the File menu.
I am going to choose Save As. In this case, I am going to choose Illustrator EPS and then click on the Save button, and there are two important settings here that I want to point out, first of all, the version of EPS here. Currently, I'm saving this as an Illustrator CS5 EPS. There may be times where you will be asked to provide an older version of EPS, and you can access that all throughout here. If your file also contains some kind of transparency inside of it, because EPS itself does not support transparency, those elements inside of your file need to get flattened, and even in some cases rasterized, when the EPS file is created.
Now Illustrator has a Preset here called Medium Resolution settings, which is a very quick way to get output out of Illustrator. However, if you're sending out this EPS file for high-resolution output, it probably makes sense for you to choose the high-resolution preset when saving EPS. This ensures that you'll get the best results when you're printing documents that have transparency inside it. So those are the two main ways to save files out of Illustrator. Always save a native CS5 Illustrator file for yourself and if you need to, Export or Save As an EPS file with the High Resolution Preset setting chosen for other people to use.
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