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So you have got transparency in your Illustrator file and now you are ready to move that file outside of Illustrator. Maybe it's going to a page layout application like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. Now, one of the standard formats that are used in graphic design for the past, I don't know how many years is EPS or Encapsulated PostScript. But remember that that file is actually PostScript, which does not support transparency. Now, Illustrator knows that it can't in anyway put a transparent object into that EPS file, because when that file does eventually get printed, it will not print or process correctly at all. Therefore, when Illustrator goes ahead and writes an EPS file, it actually takes the actual transparency and then flattens it before it creates the EPS file.
Now, we have already discussed that when working with transparency inside of Illustrator, by default, Illustrator uses the Medium Resolution Flattener Preset. Now, if I now choose to print my file, for example. I have here this Flattener Preview file, I have some transparency that exist inside of my document, I'm going to the File menu and choose to print my document. Now, in the Print dialog box, I have the ability to change to a different preset if I want to, when I choose to actually print my document. But like I said before, the default setting is always going to be the Medium Flattener Preset.
Now, I can see that by going to the Advanced Setting here, inside of the Print dialog box, and see where it says Preset here, it's currently set to Medium Resolution. But if I wanted to get a better print, I could go ahead here and choose the High Resolution Preset. Now, I'll click cancel over here, because maybe what I want to do in this particular case is actually save an EPS file. So I'm going to go to the File menu here. I'm going to choose Save As, and let's throw this on my desktop here. I'm going to choose to Export this not as an Illustrator file but as an EPS file. Now, when I choose the Save button, I get the EPS Options dialog box. Now, since this file does have transparency I have the ability to choose a preset, which determines how that transparency is actually flattened.
Now, if I don't pay attention to this at all, then Illustrator is going to use the Medium Resolution Preset, which is maybe fine just to get something printed very quickly, but we already know that the Medium Resolution Preset has that Vector Balance slider set at 75, and doing so, Illustrator does have the ability in very complex examples to actually rasterize certain areas for performance reasons. Now, when I create my EPS file, what's inside the EPS file is Flattened Information. No matter how good of a printer I'm dealing with and no matter how fancy his RIP is or how much memory he has, once I save my EPS file out of Illustrator, there is nothing that printer can change inside of the file. It's going to print the way that I actually flattened the file here when I create the EPS file.
So if I don't pay attention to this setting and I always just set it using the Medium Resolution setting, I'll always have a situation where I may not get the best type of flattening out of my document. So if I do need to use an EPS file out of Illustrator, and again that may be because I'm working with QuarkXPress for example, I'll always want to come over here to the Preset setting and at least choose to save my file using the High Resolution Preset. In this way I know that when I'm creating my EPS file, I'm creating the highest quality EPS file that I can possibly make out of Illustrator.
Alternatively, if I do have my own flattener preset that I have loaded, I could choose to select that particular preset here as well. I'll click Cancel here, because there is one other point that I want to make. You may be familiar with actually exporting or saving EPS files out have Illustrator before, but you also know that you can reopen those EPS files back inside of Illustrator, and when you select the objects in that file, it doesn't appear as there is any flattening at all. The transparency exists live just as it did when you were working inside of Illustrator before. Well, that happens because Illustrator is a smart program. It knows that when you create a document inside of Illustrator, all your transparency is live on your artboard. You can do anything that you want to do. However, when you go ahead and you choose to actually export or save an EPS file, that file will now become flattened.
Now, if you were to go ahead now and reopen that EPS file back into Illustrator to work on it and edit it, you don't want to have a file that's already broken up into pieces, you don't want to lose your editability, so what Illustrator does when it saves an EPS file is it actually saves two versions of your file within that one file. When you choose to save an EPS file, Illustrator writes an EPS file, which is the PostScript file, which is flattened, but it also saves a native version of the Illustrator file, which is in an un -flattened state, inside of that same file. So now when you go ahead and you take that EPS file and you place it into another program, for example, QuarkXPress. QuarkXPress sees the EPS file, understands that file, and places it into its application.
However, if you reopen that EPS file back into Illustrator, Illustrator recognizes its own native file that's also in that file and it reads that information instead of the EPS file. In fact, that's why EPS files are so large when saved out of Illustrator, it's because there are two versions of your file inside of that one file. So it's okay to save your file out of Illustrator using EPS, you will always know that you can reopen it to edit again back inside of Illustrator, but you just want to make sure that your Flattener Preset is set to that High Quality Preset to make sure that you get the best possible printing results, no matter where you print that EPS file.
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