Exporting transparency from Illustrator
Exporting transparency from Illustrator
All right, so here I am looking at the product of our real world blending, it's called Finished lightbulb.ai found inside the 22_transparency folder. The thing you have to bear in mind here is even though this graphic looks pretty darn spiffy actually when you come right down to it, it's based on a very limited collection of simple paths. If you press Ctrl+Y, or Command+Y on the Mac, you will see that this is all we got. These are all the paths that we are working with. The most complicated of which is this light bulb outline which isn't terribly complicated by the way. Everything else is pretty darn straightforward and yet, we are able to achieve this effect here in the Preview mode if I press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y again.
Thanks largely to these gradients that work in our background as well as our blend modes, opacity settings, and dynamic effects. So, with all these digital wizardry heaped on these path outlines, are they going to print? That's the big question here. Well, you can take care of the process yourself, rather than relying on your commercial printer, this sends your illustration through his or her raster image processor that is the postscript wrap which goes ahead and converts the vectors into printer pixels.
You can convert the vectors into your own pixels inside Photoshop or by another method that we will be seeing inside this exercise and ensure that you get exactly the results you want. So, I am going to start things off by switching over to the Bridge by clicking on the Go to Bridge icon in the Applications bar. Then I will make sure I am looking at the contents of the 22_transparency folder and there is my Finished lightbulb graphic right there. I will right-click on it and choose Open with and choose Adobe Photoshop CS5. Now, we have already seen that process in the previous chapter so I am not going to go through that again.
I will just go ahead and show you what that looks like. It's a file called Photoshop raster. tif, also found inside this folder. If I open this graphic inside Photoshop, you can see that things didn't necessarily go exactly the way we might've expected. For one thing the inner area here, this circle shape that I went ahead and applied Pucker and Bloat to and Feather as well, ends up having a pretty harsh outline. So we can see the feathered edges quite clearly; it's not nice and mysterious and soft the way it previewed inside Illustrator.
We also have these weird sort of blobby edges associated with this star outline right there and then finally, what in the world is that thing; there's something wrong with this graphic. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on it and it's just basically a little section of a row of pixels when arrived right there. You could fix that if you want to, you could select very carefully, you could select the row of pixels on top and there is a tool inside of Photoshop that allows you to select a single row of pixels, but you can just do it with a Regular Marquee tools as well.
Then I press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide that selection outline. I would duplicate that little good selection which is just right above the line by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow or Command+Option+Down Arrow on the Mac and I would fill in that problem, or you could just avoid the problem in the first place. So here's the thing, I will just go ahead and revert this image so that we can see the problem again. If you end up seeing sort of weird transitions and little problems inside of your graphic, there's another way to convert an illustration into an image and that is to export it from Illustrator.
Let me show you what that looks like. I am going to switch back to Illustrator here and then working inside Finished lightbulb.ai, I will go up to the File menu and I'll choose the Export command and I will make sure I am looking at the 22_transparency folder because that's where I want to put this file. I would set the Save As type option to TIFF. Notice that you have a variety of different formats that you can output to and TIFF is one of the pixel formats. Another one is JPEG, of course, but TIFF is going to deliver a lossless file. So go ahead and choose that and then name the file anything you want to.
You don't have to turn on Use Artboards because we just have one artboard that work inside this Illustration, click on the Save button, and then you will get this TIFF Options dialog box. Make sure your Color model is set to CMYK if you're going to prepress. If you are going to print this job locally to an inkjet printer or something like that, you might consider converting it to RGB, but you will get slightly different colors if you go to RGB. The highlights around the light bulb will get a little yellow on you, so they won't look quite as neutrally white as they do now. Then make sure Anti-aliasing is set to Art Optimized(Supersampling).
Don't set it to None because you will get jagged edges and Type Optimized is better if you have a lot of little type inside of your document. That's not really an issue for us. So Art Optimized is a way to go. Make sure you turn on LZW compression so that you apply that lossless compression I was telling you about in a previous chapter. Byte Order really doesn't matter; IBM PC, Macintosh, who cares and then finally, Embed ICC profile, you definitely want that. Then click OK. Now I have already done this in advance so I am going to click Cancel once again. Switch back over to the Bridge.
Then you will find inside the 22_transparency folder, a file called Illustrator export.tif. Double-click on that one to open it up inside Photoshop and you'll see this file right here and notice that we have nice, smooth transitions around that circle. We have smoother transitions around the star shape as well and we don't have any pixels dropping out inside this illustration. So for the sake of comparison, here is the Photoshop version of the file once again with these very obvious edges around this central circular shape and this big problem right there that row that's dropping out.
Here's the Illustrator version in much better shape. So if you do find a problem when you're rasterizing an illustration with Photoshop then try rasterizing it directly from Illustrator instead. Then send this file, don't be thinking that I'm saying, send the original Illustrator file. You can do that if you want to, but just because you are able rasterize it, doesn't mean you are not going to have printing problems. If you want to ensure that you're not going to have printing problems, then give this file right here rasterize at a high resolution to your commercial printer, your art director, your client or whomever.
Having shown you that, we are now going to immerse ourselves in the world of transparency inside Illustrator.
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