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Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening

So we already know that when working with transparency inside of Illustrator, there may be times where during the flattening process, Illustrator is forced to convert some vector artwork into raster artwork and that's mainly due to this rule number two in flattening, where Illustrator is not allowed to change the appearance of our artwork. So in cases, where Illustrator cannot maintain the appearance in vector form, it must choose to rasterize those parts of the file. So if you want to think about it in another way, Illustrator kind of has its arms tied behind its back. It cannot do anything. It must convert those areas to raster region.

Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening

So we already know that when working with transparency inside of Illustrator, there may be times where during the flattening process, Illustrator is forced to convert some vector artwork into raster artwork and that's mainly due to this rule number two in flattening, where Illustrator is not allowed to change the appearance of our artwork. So in cases, where Illustrator cannot maintain the appearance in vector form, it must choose to rasterize those parts of the file. So if you want to think about it in another way, Illustrator kind of has its arms tied behind its back. It cannot do anything. It must convert those areas to raster region.

However it's important to note that sometimes Illustrator does have the ability to rasterize things just because it feels like it. In fact, if a file is too complex, Illustrator may choose to rasterize parts of your file, simply for performance reasons. Now I like to refer to this as a second level of rasterization. The reason why I actually refer to as that is because there are ways to prevent this from happening altogether. So let's take a closer look at how this actually happens. I have an empty file open on my screen and I'm now going to go to the Symbols panel, and I'm actually going to load some of the symbols that come with Illustrator. When you go down over here to the Nature library, and I have here a symbol here called Trees 2. I'm actually going to drag that here into my Symbols panel to add it to my document.

After this I'm going to go ahead now and close that panel and let's take a closer look at what this symbol is actually made up of. Just drag it here into the screen here and let's zoom in on it. I'll come up here to the Break Link button here inside of the control panel to actually see the anchor points of this particular artwork. Notice over here that the trees are made up of a lot of anchor points. By the way if you want a little tip to find that how many anchor points you actually have in a selection, you can go to the Window menu and choose to open up the Document Info panel. Now the Document Info panel, by default, works with selected artworks. So right now I have it set to Selection Only. So right now it's giving me information about my selection. If I go down this list over here, right now it's providing information about my document, but I would like information about my object.

I can see that now this artwork is made up of 335 paths, all of them which are closed, which is comprised of 2219 anchor points. I'm actually going to leave this Document Info panel open here for a moment. We're going to come back to it soon. I'm going to delete this artwork. I'm going to zoom out over here, and what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to switch over here in my Tools panel to choose the Symbol Sprayer tool. That's going to allow me to select a symbol and spray those symbols out of my page. So I'm going to go ahead and select this particular symbol here that I've added to my document Trees 2. I'm going to start to click-and-drag and spray these on my document. I'm going to do kind of the barbarizing over here and make a lovely little forest just about right over here. I'm going to add just a few more trees to make this even more dense, lovely dense forest right here.

I'm going to switch to a different symbolism tool, which is the one down here called Symbol Screener. I'm actually going to go ahead and click-and-drag a few times to introduce some transparency into these trees. Now switch back to my Selection tool, let me just take a moment to take a look out what we actually have here. I have many overlapping symbols and we know that each of those symbols are made up of lots of anchor points and lots of shapes. Now we also know when I have transparency in my file, the transparency flattening process will now simply break down all those overlapping areas into smaller parts. By the way we refer to those small parts as atomic regions.

So maybe my particular file right now has only about 50 or somewhat symbols inside of them, but we know that each of the symbols themselves are made up of about 330 paths. Now I also know that each of those little overlapping regions will become their own new shapes. So who knows how many paths we'll have now? Will I have thousands or tens of thousands of shapes to work with? So I want to print this file before Illustrator actually flattens the file itself. It may look as a single, Wow! We've got lots of objects here. It will take me a long time to process all that information. To speed up performance Illustrator may decide to identify really complex areas in my artwork and rasterize those areas just to be able to print them faster.

So in this case, it's not that Illustrator is forced to convert areas to raster images, because it has no other way to represent them, instead it's choosing to rasterize them, only because it will be able to process those areas faster. Now we may be able to appreciate getting our printout faster out of the printer, but at the same time you may want to make sure that we have the utmost in quality in keeping our file completely vector, which also means if I save my files in EPS file I want to be able to scale it infinitely after I've already created that EPS file. Well, the good news is that I do have some level of control over this particular process. I do have the ability to tell Illustrator not to rasterize certain areas of my file simply because of performance. How do we do that? If you go to the Object menu here and choose Flatten Transparency, we know that the Flatten Transparency dialog box comes up with all these settings, and these settings here will be able to allow us to control exactly how that flattening process happen. We'll go into detail about everything in this dialog box in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29159 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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