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Another way to customize your user experience with Illustrator is to use custom scripts in order to make the app do what it natively can't do out of the box. A simple Google search will bring up thousands of custom scripts people have created and provided online. Once you have a script you can add it to Illustrator and start using it. Here is how you add a custom script to Illustrator. I want to show you how to use two custom scripts for Adobe Illustrator that is going to make your life a lot easier.
First we need to access our script. So if you go to your Exercise_Files folder and open that up, you'll find your custom AI_Scripts in the Ch 4 folder. You can see those here. So with those ready to place we now need to know where exactly do you place them. You will want to go to your hard drive, open that up, go to Applications and locate where you have Adobe Illustrator. Even though we are using CS6 here in this demo movie you can use these scripts all the way back to CS2.
So they're backwards-compatible that way. You'll then click Presets, your language, in this case English, and your Scripts folder. All you need to do is select your two custom scripts now and we're going to copy those over to that location and that's literally all it takes to load your scripts into Illustrator. Now you're ready to use them. Now I'm not a coder and I certainly don't know script.
That said, I know what I like Illustrator to do. So I hired a script expert to create two helpful scripts that I use all the time with my projects. Here's how they work. The two files we are going to use with our scripts is some Skull_Comps, some designs I put together, and an icon set I created for a company called Acme. In this case the first one I am going to demonstrate is the script to export out individual layers as PDF files and we're going to use our Comp file here in this folder.
We'll just open it and this is the file inside Illustrator each of the four skull designs are set up as their own layer. You can name those layers any way you want. In this case I just used the Design_1, Design2, _3, and _4. So we have four designs altogether each on their own layer in Illustrator. Now we're ready to export out each of these layers as a PDF file.
The way you do this with the script, it's all automated, is you go to File, down to Edit, and you select save_pdf_layers. Now as soon as I let go of this and click on it, it's immediately going to run the script. So we are going to do that now. And this is just to make sure you've saved all your changes, because sometimes if you don't do that, you're going to lose it. So I had them add this in when the script was written for me. So you'll just click Yes and now it does what computer does best.
Now if we go back to the Desktop to that Project folder you can see it has now created four individual PDF files. If we click Quick Preview, you can see that it's each one of the designs that we set up on the individual layers. So that's how the Script works for the PDF to export out PDFs from layers. We are now going to demonstrate how to export out individual layers as AI files.
So we're to open up our Acme project here. These were some actual icons I did for a company; not named Acme, by the way. I just want to show you overall the entire set. We're not going to export this out as a source AI file. I just start it just so you understand the context. This is an entire set of icons. So I just want to throw this in show you what that looked like before I run the script. We are going to actually throw that layer away and save the file again.
So, each of these layers in this file are named specifically. I can double-click on each layer and name it whatever I want. So this one is a monitor. So I named it Monitor_Icon, the next one is Security_Icon. So on and so forth for all nine icons. Now because this is a set of icons I am developing for a company, they want the source art. They don't want a PDF file. They need the source vector AI file.
So that's what I'm going to use my script now to export out each of these layers as their own individual AI file. So I'll go back to File, down to Scripts, select save_ai files, click on that. It will ask me again are you sure, did you save your file. We'll click Yes and once again it simply does what it does. Now this one is taking a little longer, because each of these files has some raster effects into it to have a nice glowing edge and that just makes the file size a little larger.
So it takes a while longer to process all these. But once it's done, if we go back to the Desktop, you can see that all of those files are now located in our Project folder and all the naming functions for our Layers are also intact with the filename. So that's how the scripts work, that's how you can automate your process, and make things go faster in Illustrator. There is a reason why they call these machines computers.
It's because they do a great job at computing. Using scripts is just one way to tap into that processing power allowing you to avoid wasting valuable creative time doing mundane tasks. To help you be more efficient, I am providing these two scripts in the Exercise_Files with this course so you can start using them with your own projects.
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