Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating optimized final art files, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(machinery grinding) - [Voiceover] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. In this movie I want to go over creating optimized final art files. I'll admit right up front that this is not the most glamorous aspect of the creative process, but nevertheless, it's a very important one. That is, you spend a lot of time creating precision artwork and designs and illustrations, and because you invest that much time and effort into it, it kind of defeats the purpose to then deliver final art that falls short, or the client may have problems handling the file or processing the file.
For example, if they go to press digitally, and they run into issues because of the file size or the way the file was set up and managed and ultimately delivered, so I want to show you how to take a complex vector file and simplify it and bake it down and make it more manageable and easier to use to reduce the risk of problems in production when the artwork is actually used. So we're gonna go ahead and go into this folder here, and I have a couple files here.
I have one called Optimize_Before, and Optimize_After, and I'm just gonna show you some simple information on each of these, and we're gonna make some comparisons. If you look at the Optimize_Before, it's 160 megabytes, and if you look at the Optimize_After, it's also 160 megabytes. That's because both of these files are identical. It has the identical artwork, a vector brush painting of a toucan. This was some artwork I created for Adobe, and if you look over here in the source file, you can see that both of them are also using a grainy, compiled texture that's been placed into it.
So both of these files are absolutely identical, so we want to focus on the Optimize_After file, and I'm gonna show you how I go about simplifying a file like this in order to make usage of it easier and to make handling of it by the client easier as well. So this is the Optimize_After file inside Illustrator. You can see it's a really nice vector brush illustration. By the way, if you want to know more about vector painting, check out my Vector Painting course where I show how to create your own brushes and how to pull off this style, and I even go in a little bit on how I created this specific artwork as well.
But it's a very complex file. This has literally thousands and thousands of anchor points in it, therefore, it's very memory intensive. You can see all these layers showing here, so how would I go about simplifying this file? There's several things we can do to reduce the file size without destroying the integrity of the artwork, and that's really important. So the first one is I want to flatten my artwork. It moves or merges everything down into one cohesive layer, so we're gonna go ahead and go to the Option menu on the Layers palette and we're gonna go ahead and go to Flatten Artwork, and we'll do that, and you can see how it flattens it down.
It uses the topmost layer name, so you can go into here, and in this case, we'll name it Toucan, and this flattens the design. So that's the first thing you want to do. The second thing you want to do is you may be using all kinds of brushes like I am in this one, you may be using all kinds of graphic styles as you can see showing up in here, and what we're gonna do is we're gonna clean all of these up, and the way you do that is you go to your Actions palette, and there is a command on here called Delete Unused Panel Items.
Notice that I have the Actions palette. I should point this out, 'cause a lot of people don't know about this, is if you click on here, there's a Button Mode. I keep Button Mode on all the time because I can just click these and it'll do it immediately. It's really nice, you don't have to click Play to use an action, you just click a button, so it kind of makes the process easier. What we're gonna do is we're gonna click this and what it's gonna do is it's gonna go through everything in our graphic files, everything in our brush files, and it's gonna get rid of anything we don't need or we aren't using within the context of the artwork on screen.
It's even gonna go into our swatches and get rid of any swatches that we're not using. So let's go ahead and click that button, so just watch the Swatch palette, watch the Graphic Styles, and it's gonna remove everything we don't need, because that's adding memory to our overall file. So we'll click this, and you can see how it's removed swatches, it removed all the styles aren't being used, and it retained everything needed to make this artwork look exactly the way that's intended.
So that's the second thing you want to do. The third thing you want to do, and this now is how you save your file, is we're gonna go to File and we're gonna go to Save As, and we'll go ahead and keep the name the same, and so we'll just go Save, and it'll say, do you want to replace? We'll say yes, and then this is gonna bring up another window, and then this is where you need to make some smart decisions, and that is, we want to turn off Create PDF Compatible File because when you have this checked and turned on like this, it literally creates a completely separate file of the same artwork in a PDF format so it will display it for you.
And that adds a lot of memory. That's actually where the majority of the bloat of this file comes from, so you'll want to click it off. And also, depending on what Embed ICC Profiles you have, you could click that off as well, but I'm gonna leave that on because I actually have those set up that I use on my machine. So you'll want to turn the PDF preview on so it doesn't embed a PDF preview file within this file to show you those previews. You don't need it for the final art, you already know what it's gonna look like.
So we're gonna go ahead now and click OK. Now that we have it saved, we're gonna go back to the desktop and take a look at how it improved the file size of the deliverable artwork. So now if we go back to the desktop and we take a look at the Optimize_Before, it has the embedded PDF in it and all the other unused elements such as colors and brushes and graphic styles.
We can see it here in the preview because it has the PDF embedded. Notice on this one it no longer has the PDF embedded preview but if we go ahead and look at the information on this file, it's still 160 megabytes, and if we go to this file and we look at the information on this file, notice it's now half the size, it's only 81 megabytes. We don't have the preview, which is kinda nice as shown to the left, but that's okay. We already know what the artwork's gonna look like.
It's been flattened, so there's no chance of them rearranging layers or having those kind of problems that will change the actual look of the artwork, and this is how I would provide this file to a client if they requested a vector file, that is. I say that because, actually, if something is this complex, specifically a vector brush style like this, I almost never deliver vector art like this, for this type of style, that is, because it can run into problems in terms of memory.
This one is very usable at 80-some megabytes, that's no issue whatsoever. But I still would rather give them a rastorized artwork like this, which is a high-res TIF image, at, I believe this was 350 pixels per inch, which would work just as well. It's just with the resolution independent vector art like the optimized one, they could print it a lot bigger without losing any integrity of the resolution. So this is how I'll optimize, refine my art files, and send it to a client.
I always clean 'em up so that what they get on their end is very discernible, they can understand it, they can't get confused by layers that shouldn't be there, and it just makes the process cleaner and more perfected so that it works better for what they need to use it for. This may be unglamorous in terms of creating artwork, but it'll help you deliver your artwork in a way that will ensure the best possible reproduction and ease of access to it.
So thank you for watching the DVG Lab. I hope this was helpful, and until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.