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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 discuss two page attributes that are specifically applicable to printing directly from Illustrator, whether we are printing this file from Illustrator to a local printer, something in the building that's connected to a network or directly to the computer itself, or whether we are prepping an illustration for pre-press to send out to a commercial print house. Either way, you want to keep track of trim size and bleed size inside of your illustration. What in the world am I talking about? Well, let me demonstrate. I have opened Murderous assets CS4.ai, you may want to go ahead and open. If you don't have the fonts, you would open Murderous outlines CS4.ai, both found inside the 11_printing folder. All of the three artboards inside of this document, they are all the same size.
So to check out what size they are, I'm going to go ahead and switch over to the Artboard tool by pressing Shift+O of course. We are just clicking on the tool and by default, the first artboard is selected and I can see it up here in the Options bar that it's 504 points wide and 648 points tall. What in the world does that mean, in inches? Let's go ahead and press Ctrl+R or Command+R on the Mac to bring up the rulers, and then I'll right-click on this ruler right here and choose Inches, and then I can see-- That would be a Ctrl-click on the mouse, if you have a right mouse button. You will see that this document measures 7 inches wide by 9 inches tall.
And then of course, if you are curious how big it is in centimeters or something along those lines, you could choose that as well, and I apologize, since I'm working here in the United States, we don't know anything about the metric system, we never will. We will be the only people on the planet one day. I am going to press Ctrl+R, Command+R on the Mac to hide that ruler and I'm just going to press the Escape key in order to return to the standard Editing Mode here. So I just want you to know, we have got three artboards, they are all 7x9 inches. That will tidily fit on your A4 page and your letter size page and all that jazz in case you want to print this document.
But that is the trim size. So in other words, by default, Illustrator is set up to only print the area inside of that artboard. Anything that sloughs over outside the artboard, like all this extra red right here, this red gradient area, that will not print by default. You can force it to print if you want to, but by default, it won't. And also, Illustrator will go ahead and give you trim marks right here at the boundaries and the corners that is of this trim size here, which is represented by the artboard. So the artboard and the trim size are one and the same. It will go ahead and add trim marks so that your printer can cut your page for you.
The thing is that's going to work out just fine for my other two pages. So for Page 2, for example, you notice that I have got a white background. So, there is no issues there, we will just have a nice trim size, and we don't need to have the ink go all the way to the edge of the page, so we are fine. We don't need to bleed. Then I'll switch over to Page 3 or artboard number three if you prefer, the same thing, that t-shirt fits tidily on the page in its entirety. It's just back here on Page 1. I'll go ahead and click on this little first button, actually to save myself the time of choosing one all the time.
Back here on Page 1, we have this gradient that exceeds the boundary, and so in order to make that work, we need to go ahead and establish a bleed. The reason being if the printer goes ahead and trims this red to the exact size of my page, and then the printer has to turn around to trim the pages manually. I mean with knives that are actually slicing the pieces of paper. Why then, we are going to have a little bit of a white edge at some place where the paper is exposed because not everything is going to be done exactly right. We need a little bit of a wiggle room and that's where bleed comes in.
So what I have done is I have setup some bleed artwork here, and I'm going to show you how I did that in just a moment. But let's let Illustrator know that we have a bleed. By going up to the File menu, and choosing the Document Setup command, you could also much more easily just click on this Document Setup button right there in the Control palette, so that's what I'll do. Right here at the top, you can see that we have some bleed options. Right now the Bleed is set to 0. I would go ahead and make sure this little Chain icon is on. You only want to turn it off if you want to set each bleed independently. Now my printer asks for a pica-and-a-half of bleed, which is 18 points by the way, and that is industry standard, you will find some commercial print houses want more bleed than that. In my opinion, that's an awful lot.
I would prefer that they gave me a little more wiggle room than that by having a smaller bleed. But anyway, they want a big, chunky, quadrants bleed, is what that boils down to. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that and then you are going to see this red outline here. I'm going to click inside of my zoom factor and press Shift+Down-Arrow and then press the Return key or the Enter key here on the PC in order to take in the entire bleed. So this would be the boundary of the bleed, and now we are ready to print this document. This red gradient would extend to this red boundary right there and if the red gradient goes outside that bleed boundary that's just perfectly fine. You just want to make sure that you have enough of whatever material you want to expose all the way to the edge of the page to fill in that bleed boundary which we do.
Now I want to show you how I made this bleed artwork. I'm going to click right there, right at the trim size, at the boundary of the artboard. This is the rectangle that makes up the gradient artwork and if I were to drag it to a different location, you can see the entire thing moves, and I have established this by of course dragging with the Rectangle tool, filling it with the gradient, using the Gradient tool by the way, in order to establish exactly where the gradient lies, and I'm going to be discussing the Gradient tool in all kinds of detail in a future chapter, in a chapter in Part-2 of this series.
But here is the salient point. I'm going to switch back to my Black Arrow tool here. Here is the really important stuff. Here in the Appearance palette, I want you to make sure that the Appearance palette is visible. If you twirl open the Fill as I have, you will see this item right there called Transform. That transform in our case doesn't have to be assigned strictly to the Fill, because we don't have a stroke. So it could be assigned to the path in general like so. I'm going to get exactly the same effect as you see here. So I just dragged it up to the top of Appearance palette so that it's assigned to the object as opposed to the attribute. Then I'll click on Transform. Make sure the Preview checkbox is on so I can see what I'm doing. I would make sure that all of my scaling is happening with respect to the center of the shapes, and my origin is set to the center right there, and then you can see that I have got the Horizontal Scale value set to 114 % and the Vertical Scale value set to 110 %. I could take those values down if I wanted to.
I will press the Down Arrow key for Vertical and you can see a change in the background. I just want to make sure that it doesn't go into the bleed. It should say outside the bleed boundary, just to keep things safe, and I'll take this guy tighter to the bleed as well. Now notice that I'm having two different percentages for Horizontal and Vertical to get the same results here, and the reason is because it is a relative change, and the document is narrower than it is tall. So it requires a smaller percentage assigned to the Vertical value to do just as much damage here as the larger Horizontal value. If that makes sense.
All right, if it doesn't, I'm going to click the OK button in order to apply these changes and this is what we have. We have an industry-standard bleed set up inside of this document and this is going to serve us extremely well when we go to print the document in a future exercise.
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