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As you already know EPS or PostScript has no support whatsoever for transparency and as such in most of the work that I do, I try to avoid using EPS altogether. Now especially when working in an all Adobe workflow, for example, I know that I'm using InDesign for page layout and Illustrator for my illustration work, it's always best that I actually save my documents that of Illustrator using the native Illustrator file format, a .AI file rather than using EPS and that's because in doing so I'm basically handling off the transparency flattening for InDesign to do, instead of doing it inside of Illustrator.
In fact the way now I have to think about Transparency Flattening in my workflow in general is I want to basically delay that flattening process that would be as late in my workflow as possible. If I know that I'm printing and I'm processing my files directly out of Illustrator, then I know that I could do my flattening right when I print or export that of Illustrator. But if I know that I'm now going from Illustrator and then I'm placing that artwork into another program like InDesign, I'd much rather leave my artwork in an un-flattened state and then have InDesign handle the flattening then. Likewise, when I create a PDF document then I know that somebody else is going to be printing that PDF that of Acrobat, I may actually create a PDF file with a live transparency inside of it and let the person in Acrobat go ahead and worry about flattening of the file at that point.
In this way I just have the most amount of options available to me from a design perspective. Let me give an example of exactly what I mean. I'm here inside of Illustrator and have a file called logo_shadow. I basically created some logo and I have added la shadow to some of the elements. I did it this way to show you that normally inside of a program like InDesign, for example, I can always add/drop shadows there. But I can always add a drop shadow only to the entire artwork as a whole. But if I want to have only parts of the element have drop shadows, there is no way to do that inside of InDesign. So therefore here inside of Illustrator, I'll add drop shadows to just to the parts of my document that needed.
Next when you go to the File menu, when you choose Save As and purely for illustrative purposes what I'm going to do is I'm going to save my file both as an Illustrator file and as an EPS file. And then when we you go to InDesign, we'll actually see the difference between those two different file formats. So I'm going to start off my saving my document to my desktop using the regular AI file format, Adobe Illustrator, choose Save, I'll make sure it's set to Version CS4 and I'll click OK. Now that that file is saved, I'm going to here to the File menu and choose once again Save As. I'll go ahead at this time choose to Export or save it as an Illustrator EPS file. I'll click on Save button, remember over here on the Preset I want to specify the High Resolution Preset, click OK. Now that will save Illustrator file as an EPS document.
So now I'm going to switch over to InDesign. I'm going to create a brand new document here inside of InDesign, just a blank document and what I'm going to start off by doing is taking a rectangle or a frame here and just creating one large frame in the background and I want to fill this with the colors say for example, yellow here. I have been doing this purely because I want to make sure that you understand that when you save a file that of Illustrator that has in it a transparency effect. For example, in our case the drop shadow, that drop shadow is a transparency effect. Now if I went ahead and I save that of Illustrator without flattening it, then my drop shadow will blend perfectly to this background here inside of InDesign.
However, if I went ahead and I exported my file that of Illustrator in a flattened format such as EPS, well in that case, because my Illustrator file had a white background that file is going to show up inside of InDesign already on a white background and in that case, we'll not be able to blend with this yellow background at all. So again it just limits my design options as I'm working inside of my workflow. So I'm going to close the Swatches panel here, let me go ahead and actually hit the W key to return on my Preview inside of InDesign, it just hides all the guides. I am also going to right-click here on my screen here or Ctrl-click if it is a one-button mouse on the Mac. I'm going to choose Display Performance then I'm going to choose High Quality Display. This will allow Illustrator files to be displayed at the highest possible quality here inside of InDesign.
So now I'm going to go to File menu. I'm going to choose Place. I'm going to navigate to my desktop here and first I'll go ahead and I'll choose logo_shadow.ai. I'm going to choose Open. I'm going to place that here right into my document. Notice that over here, the background over here and the shadow blend perfectly between each other. Now deselect that I'm going to go the File menu and now I'm going to choose to place the EPS document, logo_shadow.eps. It's the exact same file but instead of saving it as a native AI file, I saved that in Illustrator as an EPS file.
Now when I place it, you can actually see that it has a white background over here, doesn't blend into the yellow background at all. And again that happened because the EPS file is flattened while the Illustrator file is not. So when you are working inside of InDesign, it's always beneficial, so just avoid EPS if you can. Now if you are working with a program like QuarkXPress, even the latest version of Quark which is Version 8, which does basically have support for native Illustrator files, it does not support the transparency amount that Illustrator has. Which means that if you have transparency in your Illustrator file, it will not display correctly inside of Quark and it may not print correctly either.
So when working with QuarkXPress, save your file as EPS that of Illustrator. However, when working with InDesign always save your files that of Illustrator as a native AI file and then bring that right here into your document inside of InDesign.
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