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Working with photographs

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Working with photographs

In addition to working with vector artwork inside of Illustrator, you can also work with and manipulate photographs as well. Although Illustrator is not the best program for manipulating raster-based graphics like this-- that's better served in a program like Photoshop-- it can handle raster graphics. You can actually place them in here much the same way you can in Adobe InDesign. So, in this movie, I'm going to be exploring how to bring photographs and other artwork into Illustrator that might be of a raster-based nature. So I'm going to do that by going to the File menu, and choosing Place.

Working with photographs

In addition to working with vector artwork inside of Illustrator, you can also work with and manipulate photographs as well. Although Illustrator is not the best program for manipulating raster-based graphics like this-- that's better served in a program like Photoshop-- it can handle raster graphics. You can actually place them in here much the same way you can in Adobe InDesign. So, in this movie, I'm going to be exploring how to bring photographs and other artwork into Illustrator that might be of a raster-based nature. So I'm going to do that by going to the File menu, and choosing Place.

So, let's pretend here that I'm bringing in some product shots that I'm going to be selling here on the Robot Toys web site, and I'll just go out and grab inside of my Chapter 8 exercise files folder, there's a folder called Assets, and then there's a folder called robot photos. I'm going to select car_bot1, and I'll place that in. And you can see it comes in just as a regular object. Go to File > Place, bring in green_bot2, hit Place, and I'll make sure these line up. And I'll put this one sort of in the center. And then finally File > Place and we'll get red_bot1, place that in, and line him up, something kind of like that.

Then I'll grab all three and I'll make sure they're aligned up by aligning to the vertical center just like this. I want to make sure that my settings are set to Align to Selection. Then I will horizontally distribute them evenly across each other. And now I'm going to copy those, and I'll paste them on top of each other with Command+F or Control+F, and then move them down just to create another row. So there are my products. It should be noted that each time you place a file into Illustrator it is linked to the original file, and if you happen to move this document or the original document, you'll get a warning box from Illustrator open saying that the file is missing and needs to be replaced.

In order to alleviate that, what you can do is select an object like this and you can choose to embed it into the document. The problem with that is embedding raster- based graphics, especially high-res graphics or Photoshop documents with a lot of layers, is that you increase the file size of the Illustrator document immensely, and that might not be such a good thing if you are sharing things across a network or trying to show things to clients or even someone in your own workgroup. So you might want to think twice before doing that. My suggestion is to open the high-resolution photographs that you have up in a program like Adobe Photoshop, open them up, crop them, optimize them, save them for the web, and then place them into this document.

It makes the file size a lot more manageable. If you'd like more information on how to crop and optimize images for the web and Photoshop, you might want to check out my Photoshop for the Web course that is now available in the lynda.com online training library. Once you have your documents in here like this--these are just JPEGs--you can manipulate them, move them around just like you can any other Illustrator object. There's no difference between them other than the fact that they are not scalable vector artwork. They're just standard raster-based graphics. In addition to the JPEGs, you can also place Photoshop files in here as well.

So, if I go to the File menu and choose Place, I can navigate out to my Chapter 08 folder, and there's a repairbot.psd file in there. I can place that in, and that comes in just like this. And I can move it up into place, something like that. You can see here that it needs to be actually behind the logo. The logo needs to overlap that a little bit. So in order to do that, what I'm going to do is toggle open the content layer, and I'll move the Layers panel out so you can see it.

I will move the logo to the top of the stacking order like so, and then I can just reset my workspace, and there we have it. I'll zoom in a little bit so you can see exactly what's going on. So this is just a banner ad that I've created for their REPAIRBOT service, repairing the broken robots. And this is nothing more than a Photoshop document. And anytime I want to make a change to this, I can select and hit Edit Original. Adobe Photoshop will launch and that document will open.

When I open this up, it may give you a warning saying that some text layers contain fonts that are missing. That's okay. I'm not going to be changing any of the fonts, so I'll just hit OK. So, once I'm in here, I can make any changes to this I want. So if I needed to move the robot a little bit, I could select layer 1 and just kind of move him over a little bit to the left. Then I'll save that. If I can go back into Illustrator, it's going to tell me that some files were modified. Would I like to update them? Yes, I would. See, the robot moves over to the right. And so anytime I make a change to that outside of Adobe Illustrator, Illustrator is going to know that and it will automatically update.

But, as I said before, placing big Photoshop documents into your Illustrator file really increases the file size, especially if you embed them in there, so you might want to be cautious when you are working with files like that. In this case, it's not that big of a file, and I could always go back in later and save this out for the web inside of Photoshop and then bring it back into Illustrator as a flattened JPEG or something. But for now, for the mockup purpose, I think this works pretty well. Maybe the client is still working on it and would need to make changes. So it keeps it flexible by leaving it as a placed PSD.

So, hopefully by now you have a better understanding of what Illustrator's capabilities are when it comes to placing images into your web design mockups, and also the best practice for how to get them in here, as far as opening them up somewhere else and optimizing them ahead of time. And even though we try to incorporate as little imagery as possible into our web designs so that things load a little bit faster, on the web, you still can't get around using graphics altogether. Not everything can be replicated through HTML and CSS.

You can't replicate photos that way. You have to use some sort of photographs, and so this is the quickest and easiest way to do just that.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 24997 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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