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Mordy Golding demonstrates how to be more productive, efficient, and creative by taking advantage of Adobe Illustrator to create pixel-perfect web graphics and interactive Flash content. Illustrator CS4 for the Web investigates the pros and cons of pixel- and vector-based web graphics, demonstrates efficient workflows, and explores the creative options available in Illustrator. Mordy also covers design techniques, such as creating typography that works well on screen, adding reflections, and making Flash animations. He discusses new Illustrator CS4 features, including using multiple artboards, bringing art into Dreamweaver, and utilizing Flash Catalyst. Exercise files accompany the course.
Like just about any design medium web design has its own set of challenges. And one of those challenges is around color. In other words if you specify a color on your computer screen, how do you know that that color is going to display correctly on other computer screens? Think about that box of crayons that you had when you are growing up. Maybe you had their uber-pack, you had like 256 crayons. Wow! That's a lot of colors. But what if your friend only had 16 crayons in their box? If you created some kind of a graphic or some kind of picture or drawing with your crayons and you want your friend to create the exact same drawing, could they possibly define the exact same colors and draw with the colors that you have? They don't even have the colors that you do.
Well, think less about color management and about the display themselves, but think about the graphic cards that are inside of other people's computers. Some graphics cards are far more capable and can draw many more colors than others can. In fact, if the computer is asked to draw a color and it can't create that particular color, it uses something called dithering to try to simulate that color. Sometimes those colors can look really bad. So as a designer sometimes what you try to do is just design or use a color that is kind of the lowest common denominator. You are sure that just about every computer screen out there can draw that color correctly. From a technology point of view computer graphics cards support something called VGA.
This is pretty much the lowest common denominator today. VGA supports the drawing of 256 colors. Now across Mac OS and Windows, which are the most popular computer platforms out there, they differ in about 15 colors, which leaves you with about 241 colors which we refer to as web-safe colors. We are sure that if you use one of those colors, you are guaranteed that that color will display correctly on those computer screens. Now inside of Illustrator you can access this library of 241 web-safe colors pretty easily. Let's switch over to Illustrator and I will show you what I mean.
I will start by coming over to my Swatches panel. From the bottom left-hand corner I click on this icon that will allow me to load additional swatch libraries. By clicking there I can scroll to the bottom and see something called Web. All of the colors that appear inside of this panel right now are what we refer to as web-safe colors. So as I am creating my web design if I use colors only from this collection, I am pretty sure that they will display correctly on any device. As a designer you may find it somewhat difficult to see the colors or choose from them in this is kind of non-intuitive way. There is another library that exist inside of Illustrator called VisiBone2, and I will basically click down here and scroll down to where it says this item.
While it doesn't look that intuitive at first blush, if I kind of resize the panel in a way that all the corners have white squares inside of them, I can see that they kind of appear now as a Color Wheel. In this way I could more intuitively choose a web-safe color. Now I will be honest with you, as a designer I don't appreciate being limited to only work within a certain range of colors. And nowadays most people do have monitors or graphics card that do exceed the limit of 256 colors. And what can really be helpful is as a designer knowing who your target market is.
For example, if you are creating something for artwork that's going to be displayed or viewed mainly here in United States, most people do have modern hardware and they will be able to see more colors. So feel free to use whatever color you would like. However, if your web designs will be viewed from third world countries that may not have the latest in hardware, you may want to limit yourself to using a web-safe color. Let's take a look over here on the Color panel itself. Notice that I have the ability to choose RGB values. But on the left side over here there is a little square, a cube, that's indicating that the color that I have chosen right now is not a web-safe color. If I were to click on that cube, Illustrator will automatically find the closest web-safe color and it's kind of snap to that particular color.
And you notice that the values here are set to 51, 51, and 51. However, when you are working with HTML, colors are specified using something called hexadecimal. It's basically a code that is contained of either numbers or letters that are six digits long. Basically the Red, Green and Blue values are each represented by two characters. To get the hexadecimal value of any color, simply go over here to the flyout menu and choose Web Safe RGB. Now you will notice that as you move these around, this particular case here, the hexadecimal number for this color would be 993333. Personally when I am creating web graphic inside of Illustrator, I try to use the hexadecimal values. That way I can easily copy and paste them into other applications, for example Flash or Dreamweaver.
Finally, another way to specify colors is simply come down here to this little Swatch icon and double-click on it. That brings up the Color Picker. Here you can easily move your slider up and down on the Color slider right here, choose a color here and see immediately values that are CMYK, RGB or the hexadecimal value all in one location.
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