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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
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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