Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating files for print, part of Illustrator CS6 Essential Training.
- View Offline
One of the most important things to remember when you begin to create artwork inside of Illustrator, is where that artwork will ultimately be displayed. After all, there is a big difference between creating files that are going to go to commercial print and for creating files that are going on the web. In this movie, I will walk you through creating a file as if we were going out for commercial print. In order to create a new document inside of Illustrator you need to go up to the File menu and choose New. Once inside of the New Document dialog box you're able to create files based upon certain profiles.
At the top here you can name your document, in this case I will just call it sample_print. Directly underneath that you're going to see a Profile section. By default it's set to Print, which is exactly what I want. So I will leave that on the Print Profile, but you can see if I drop this down you also have the ability to choose between Web, Devices, Video and Film, Basic RGB and Flash Builder as well. You also get to control the Number of Artboards, but in this case I only want the one, so I will leave that alone. Next you'll find the Size section.
This is going to be dependent on the profile that you have chosen. In this case, I pick the Print Profile so I have access to various print sizes that are used in the industry; for instance, Letter, Legal, Tabloid for those of us in the States, and then the A and B sizes for the European measurement. Click off of that to close it. You can also see that I have a specified Width and Height. If I want to change this to a unit of measurement that I am more comfortable with, like inches for instance, I can switch that here and I can see that the default letter size is of course 8.5x11.
If I were to switch that to Tabloid it should be 11x17. You can also control the Orientation from here. One of the things that's unique to a print document is the ability to create something called Bleed. Basically when you're creating a print document, it's going to have any type of effect that goes edge-to- edge on the document itself. You need to create a little bit of extra space called a bleed that goes all the way around the outside of the image. That way if there's trimming that occurs, like for instance, a business card, you don't wind up with any gaps inside of your artwork.
So in this case if I wanted to add some bleed to this document, I could add a little bit around it and all of those fields automatically populate. You can see down here at the bottom I get some information, for instance, the Color Mode of my print document is CMYK. When you're creating files for commercial print they always need to be in CMYK. You can also see that the PPI is set to 300. Now that might not make sense considering the fact that Illustrator is a vector program and there's technically no need to worry about resolution. In this case, the PPI references what happens to things like effects when they are rasterized and outputted outside of Illustrator.
In most cases you'll want this set pretty high if you are going to commercial print. You can also determine whether or not it's aligned to the Pixel Grid. In this case, it's set to No. If you want to make any changes to these you click the Advanced Tab right here. Then you can make changes to the Color Mode, the Raster Effects settings and the Preview Mode, as well as Align New Objects to the Pixel Grid. If you go into print you need to leave this top one alone. The Raster Effects settings, you can change those from Screen, Medium to High, but again if you are going to commercial print you probably going to leave that on the High setting.
Preview Mode; you can set this to Default, Pixel or Overprint. If you choose Pixel it's going to show you a rasterized representation of your artwork as it would be outputted. If you choose Overprint it's going to attempt to show you how the file would look as printed. In this case, I will stick with the Default Preview for now. We'll discuss Preview modes in-depth in a future movie. Finally, when you're ready to create your document you simply hit OK, Illustrator creates the document for you, and as you can see I now have my Tabloid sized 11x17 document and this red line around the outside indicates that bleed that I put into the document as well.
So now if I have a background graphic that goes the full width and height of the page I need to extend it all the way out to that red line so that when it gets trimmed there is no gaps of white around the outside. Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of how to create documents for print inside of Illustrator, utilizing the New Document dialog box and some of the different profiles that are associated with it. In any case however, you should always take the time to get the right specs and information from your printer, or your client that's hired you, so that you create a document that's exactly to the specifications that they need.
But in some cases, I realize that you are not going to get that information and so that's why it's great that you are working inside of Illustrator because Illustrator allows you to create artwork that's real flexible. So if you get the size wrong, you can always take the artwork, resize it and repurpose it into the right size and dimensions.
- Understanding vector graphics
- Creating and setting up files for print or web destinations
- Selecting and transforming objects on the page
- Creating spot colors
- Applying fills, strokes, and gradients to artwork
- Adjusting appearances and effects
- Working with anchor points and paths
- Drawing with the Pen tool
- Creating text
- Managing layers
- Creating and using symbols
- Printing, saving, and exporting artwork