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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise I'm going to show you how to save a PNG graphic, a PNG file. I'm still working inside Goodbye overprints.ai found inside the 12_exporting folder. I'm still looking at the contents of artboard number 2. I would like you to be doing that as well if you are working along with me. I am going to go up to the File menu, choose Save for Web & Devices and we are still seeing the last applied settings which are my GIF settings right there, 32 Colors, 50% Dither, notice that. Now what I want you to see down here is the size of the file, 35K. So a pretty small file compared with the original 1.25 megabytes and it looks pretty darn good. Of course, now I should make very clear these JPEGs and these GIFs and these PNG graphics they are all image files, they are all pixel-based image files. You cannot open them inside of Illustrator. You can place them, but you can't do any sort of vector work on them.
You need to keep that .ai file around because that's your original good vector file. These are just files that you would post to a website. You could edit them a little bit in Photoshop if you wanted to, but generally you don't. You just post them. All right, but I want you to see 35K, dinky file. Watch what happens when I switch to PNG-8. The whole idea behind the PNG file format just so as you know, GIF is a copyrighted file format. It's actually owned by this group called CompuServe which in the old days was akind of an AOL thing, except without the snazzy graphics. And PNG was created by a group that was sick to tears of GIF and they were trying to create an open source alternative.
So PNG-8 is designed to pretty much exactly emulate GIF, except to be better and it is. Notice if I choose PNG-8, all of my settings will remain intact. I'll go ahead and choose that. I have the exact same palette, 50% Dither, 32 Color Selective palette right there. Everything is exactly the same. 29K, I just dropped 6K off the size of this graphic. So why wouldn't you use PNG instead of GIF? Why indeed? Mostly these days you would use PNG instead of GIF. PNG is supported by all the major browsers. The only reason you would use GIF is if you are appealing to folks who have very old browsers that don't support PNG and you want to make sure that you are supporting everybody. And also there may be certain rules at your company and they may require you to use GIF instead of PNG. So that's something to look into as well. But PNG is better, make no mistake about that.
Now if you are feeling like well, okay, it's great that we are reducing the size of the file and the numbers of colors inside the graphic and so on and so on, but I don't care about that. I just want the best version of this graphic possible. Then you will switch from PNG -8 to PNG-24. So PNG-24 is better than everything we have seen so far. It's better than GIF and PNG-8 because it supports 24 bit graphics, meaning that you have available to you the entire array of 16.8 million colors in the RGB space and notice when I choose PNG-24 my Color Table goes away, because there is no Color Table anymore. You have all the colors available to you.
It's also better than JPEG and that there is no compression whatsoever associated with it. It's just Lossless compression. That is to say there is compression that's totally lossless. So you are not going to get any of that chunkiness associated with your image files. The size of the file will jump. It will be higher than any of the others. So it's 104K, but its way down from the original. It's less than a tenth of the size of the original illustration and its supports transparency, which as you may recall JPEG does not. So we can turn on this Transparency checkbox and notice that Translucency. So we have an 8-bit transparency channel and actual real alpha channel at work here inside of this image and all we added was about 4K worth of data to this file, so it's not that much bigger and we do have translucency inside of our drop shadow. It looks totally beautiful and then we will click the Save button. Of course, do not turn on Interlaced. That is another one of those incremental display options that's just bad.
Go ahead and click on the Save button at this point. That's good and you will go ahead and save out your PNG image. Click on the Save button. And this one will go ahead and open in Photoshop. Let's switch over to the Bridge, once again. There is my PNG file, right there my Goodbye-overprints.png file and I'm going to double-click on it. There is the GIF file by the way, in case you want to look at it and there is my PNG file. I am going to go ahead and right-click on it and choose Open With and choose Photoshop in order to open the image inside Photoshop, so that we can see it here. Right after the JPEG that I already had open, and there it is. Notice we've got transparency. In the background we actually have an independent floating layer. Is that not awesome? So we could take this and we could introduce it into a larger Photoshop composition as well, which proves something very large about PNG graphic, they are extremely versatile. Not just useful for web graphics, but useful for all kinds of other image applications as well, and they look great.
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