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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, I am going to show you how to work with a vector-based smart object here inside Photoshop. Now I haven't saved my results yet, because I am going to do it in front of you. Now that we have a layered file that includes a smart object and this background item, we need to choose a different format than TIFF. We could go ahead and save to the TIFF format because TIFF does support layers, but that's not the conventional standard. Most folks don't expect to see layers inside of their TIFF files. Also, TIFF in my opinion doesn't handle layers as elegantly as the native PSD format. So here's what we are going to do.
Go to the File menu, choose the Save As command if you are working along with me, and we'll switch the Format from TIFF to PSD right here on the top and that's a Photoshop document format, by the way. I am going to go ahead and call this guy Smart knot; I want to save all layers, of course, I want to go ahead and save the ICC Profile as well which is Adobe RGB in my case, and I'll click on Save in order to save that document. Now we have a progress file as well. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom out from my image illustration here.
Notice that my knot is so very small by comparison to the background artwork, which is not surprising because I just got done reducing its size in the previous exercise. Well, one of the great things about Smart Objects in Photoshop is that you can scale and rotate and otherwise transform them as many times as you want without incurring incremental damage. For example, check this out, with the Vector Smart Object layer selected here inside the layers panel, I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command, and that's how you scale and rotate layers inside Photoshop incidentally, or you can press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac, to enter Free Transform.
I am going to go ahead and make this thing even tinier. Notice by the way, that Photoshop remembers that I scale this layer to 50% and it says a slightly different Height value, but that's okay. I am going to take it down to a really tiny value; let's say, 4%. So we have this tiny, dinky little knot here in the middle of the image and I am going to press the Enter key a couple of times in order to accept that modification. Now, I'll zoom in so we can see that this is really very small item. If you see the screen flashing a little bit, that's just a redraw problem. This is the actual real knot at this point in time, and if I zoom any farther than 100%, then I am just going to get bigger-and-bigger pixels because Photoshop is rasterizing this information on the fly.
Now, if this were a typical layer, if I'd just gone ahead and pasted this artwork as pixels by which I mean I would have selected that Pixels option in the previous exercise, then I'd be in pretty bad shape. This would be the real resolution of my image. This would be all the pixels that I have left. Let me show you what that looks like. Don't work along with me, I am just showing you something for a moment here. I am going to right-click inside this layer and I am going to choose Rasterize layer, which goes ahead and gets rid of that little icon in the lower right-hand corner of the thumbnail. So we no longer have a smart object.
And now watch this if I go ahead and zoom out from that star, and I once again go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform or press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. And let's go ahead and expand the size of this object, notice it's now saying 100%, even though it said 4% a moment ago, it's saying 100% now because it's as big as it gets; we got rid of the smart object information. So, if I turn on that link and I say, all right, well, let's take it up to, I don't know, 1200%, let's say, really actually it has to be bigger than that, doesn't it? Let's try 2000%.
That's going to change the Height value to 2000% as well. This doesn't look too promising so I'll press the Enter key or the Return key a couple of times, and it does get better but that's as good as it gets. It looks like garbage. We've definitely lost all that vector-based wonderfulness. Whereas, if I back-step a couple of steps here, and I am going to do that by the way from the History panel, I am going to go up to the Window menu and choose History, because Photoshop's Undo mechanism is different than Illustrator, and if you are not familiar with it, it's just easier to work from the History panel.
I am going to go up here to before Rasterize layer, so I am going back two operations because I don't want to rasterize this object. Notice now that we've got a little icon back here in the lower right-hand corner of the thumbnail that tells us that we do indeed have a smart object. Now, I'll go ahead and hide the History panel; we still have a very tiny, little knot, that's okay now. I am going to go up to the Edit menu, choose Free Transform yet again and I'll turn on that Link icon and notice now it's saying, Width 4%, Height 4%. I am going to change both of those values to 100%, and if I now accept that modification by pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac a couple of times, notice that Illustrator is rerastering the file on the fly based on the original vector-based data, and now I am going to zoom in here and we get just excellent super-smart result.
Now, what's interesting about it is we can go beyond 100% as well. If you were to go back to the Edit menu, choose Free Transform, Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac, you can increase these values by as much as you want. That means you are going to get a gargantuan knot that's going to take over your entire image. However, you are still going to get super-smooth results because you are still working from the original vector-based information. All right, I am going to press the Escape (Esc) key in order to escape out of that Transform mode. So far so good, we've got the star scale to the right size, we've got this excellent looking background.
In the next exercise, I am going to show you how to apply a bevel effect, and we are also going to see how you can edit this information, this specific knot file inside Illustrator.
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