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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.
As a designer, depending on the medium that you are creating your artwork for, you face different challenges. For example, print designers may be faced with choosing between different inks or different types of paper. We have discussed how choosing the right color can also be a challenge for even web designers, but when it comes to working with Flash itself, the fact that the artwork that we create is interactive that it changes as its use can also offer additional challenges to a designer. Let me explain what I mean. Let's say I wanted to create a button that changes over time, maybe I wanted to animate inside of Flash. Well, when I define my button and I specify how it should look, how does it look when it actually goes ahead and changes its state? Let's take this button for example; I am using a little bit more on this.
Notice it's a nice button that has rounded corners. But look what happens, if I go ahead now and I resize it. Let's say I stretch this that it should grow over time. Look what happens to the corners. Well, it was nice pretty rounded corners before, now it turns into these ugly stretched corners. Again, this is before and this is after. What are the challenges about working with graphics that you know are going to published with Flash is to find the way to have these particular elements scale gracefully. Well, the good news is that there is a feature inside of a symbol which we refer to as 9-Slice Scaling. It's way for us to kind of build intelligence into a symbol to tell that symbol how we should scale over time? Instead of waiting to get into Flash or define that type of functionality, we can actually as a Designer plug that right into the symbol, right here inside of Illustrator. And again, once I define it here inside of Illustrator, that property translates through directly into Flash.
So the first step here is going to be to define this into a symbol. I will go ahead and hit F8 on my keyboard and I will go ahead and I will call this one sliding_button. I will define it is a Movie Clip. I will leave my Flash Registration set to the upper left- hand corner here, and I will choose this option called Enable Guides for 9- slice scaling. Now I will click OK. Now I want to be able to edit my symbol. So I am simply going to come over here and double-click into my artboard. I got a dialog box which by the way if you are editing symbols all the time, you might want to choose Don't Show Again and I will click OK.
Now take a look at this, because I went ahead and I specified to turn on that option for 9-slice scaling, my symbol now appears with four guides. Two of them are horizontal and two of them are vertical. The way that I position these guides are going to make that particular symbol intelligent and know how it should scale. Because of the way that these particular guides are drawn I am left with 9 regions on my screen 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Each of these regions will get scaled in a different way. Basically, the way that 9-slice scaling works is that the middle region over here will always scale both horizontally and vertically. However, each of the corner regions here do not scale at all.
So any artwork that appears in this particular region and this region here, and in this region, and finally this one here as well, will always remain as they are. Artwork that appears in this region here and in this region here will only scale vertically. And likewise any artwork that appears within this area or this area will only scale in a horizontal fashion. So let's position our guides. What I will do first is make sure that my guides are not locked. The easiest way to do this is to use the Contextual menu. If you are on a Mac with just a single- button mouse, hold down the Ctrl key and then click to get the menu. If you are on Windows or if you have a two-button mouse, just hit the right- click button on your mouse.
Here I will uncheck Lock Guides. Now I will simply position the guides that I have the regions instead of the way just that I want my object to scale. By carefully doing this right now, I am basically telling Illustrator, this particular area and this particular area you can only scale in horizontal fashion. This one here and this one here scales vertically and the corners will always remain unchanged. In this way, when my object is scaled and it grows, I will make sure that the corners don't change and they always remain nice and sharp the way that I have defined them. Now that I am there with my 9-slice scaling, I will simply hit the Escape key to go back to my regular piece of artwork. Now here is the important thing to know about Illustrator. Because of inside of Illustrator and because the 9-slice scaling is only a Flash- based feature, if I scale my artwork here inside of Illustrator, I won't see the effects of the 9-slice scaling.
For example, I will click on this symbol right here and I will stretch it, and you will see that the corners really don't look that pretty at all. But take a look at this. If I now go to the File menu and I choose Save for Web & Devices, and I come over here-- Let's position this so I can see it better on my screen. And instead of a GIF format, I go ahead and choose the SWF format, right, for Flash. Now that I will see that the corners do appear correctly. That's because Illustrator is using the Flash Player to simulate what this particular piece of artwork is going to look like. So basically, I have added this functionality here inside of Illustrator and it will take effect as soon as I bring that into Flash.
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