Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Vector copy and paste options, part of Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery.
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In this exercise, I am going to show you how to I copy a graphic from Illustrator and then paste it into Photoshop and you'll see we have scads of options for how that illustration gets placed. I am working in Illustrator by the way, so those of you who are familiar with Illustrator, great. Follow along with me. Those of you who generally do follow along with me but aren't that familiar with Illustrator you might want to just sit back and watch me work. It depends on what your interest level in Illustrator is of course. Now, I've opened Tiger tattoo.ai found inside the 29_smart_objects folder.
It's that graphic from Miguel. Notice we just have three paths. I have the layer expanded here in the Layers panel and you do that just by clicking on this little twirly triangle there. So, I've just got three paths including this very complicated compound path in the background. So, if I click on this guy right there you can see that it selects a lot of sub paths. So, we have a big flame subpath on the outside with all these other sub paths cutting holes on the inside. That entire compound path is filled with black; it has a red stroke and so on.
Then on either side we have these right gradient flame paths. Now this flickering that we are seeing here is caused by smart guides. Just because we don't need the smart guides right now, I am going to go up to the View menu and choose Smart Guides or press Ctrl+U, Command+U on the Mac to turn them off. All right, that just makes for a smoother video experience here. Now, I am going to go up to the Select menu and choose the All command or press Ctrl+A, Command+A on the Mac to select all the various paths inside of this graphic. Then I'll go to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command or press Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac.
Now, let's switch applications and I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Paste command or press Ctrl+V, Command+V on the Mac. Now, notice there are many options, four options in all that we have for pasting this graphic. We could paste it as Pixels so that would permanently rasterize your vector graphic. The only reason I would do that is if I were having some kind of weird problems with the on-the-fly rasterization that happens with Smart Objects. So, generally speaking you don't want to paste as Pixels because then you lose your vectors. Another option is to paste the graphic as a Path and that would be a path outline just like the ones that we learned about in the Pen tool chapter.
The problem with that approach, even though it's pretty versatile because you still have those vector paths available to you and you can do anything with them that you want inside of Photoshop. But you may recall back here inside of the Illustrator graphic we have fills and stroke and we've got gradients on the outside. We are going to lose that stuff because you can't apply independent fills and strokes to a single path outline inside of Photoshop. Anyway, I am going to go back there. Another option is to paste the graphic as a Shape layer. Let's go ahead and try that for a second just so you can see what that looks like.
I'll click Shape layer and I'll click OK and notice it comes in my case with 100% black fill and that's it. We don't have that stroke; we don't have that gradient, any of that jazz. But we do still have all the vector- based path outlines right there inside of that vector masks. If I wanted to scale this graphic I would just go to the Edit menu, choose Free Transform Path or press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac, click the Link icon and change the Width value to 50% just for the sake of consistency because that's what we've been doing so far. That resizes both the width and height by 50% and then press the Enter key a couple of times or Return key on the Mac in order to accept that modification.
Now, that's great and then there's all kinds of things we can do with it here inside Photoshop including I should mention here. We can go to the Edit menu and choose Transform Path and choose Distort, Perspective or Warp. Three options that are not available to us with Illustrator Smart Objects, however, what we can't apply is Puppet Warp. So, Puppet Warp is not applicable to vector-based path outlines inside Photoshop. But it is, as you may recall from the advanced portion of the series you can and should apply Puppet Warp to Smart Objects.
All right, so what I'm going to do is delete this layer by pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. Then I'll press Ctrl+V for Paste, one last time here Command+V on the Mac and I'm going to say that I want to Paste this graphic as the Smart Object, click OK. It comes in just like it does if we were to have placed the illustration or dragged and dropped it from the Desktop, from the Mini Bridge what have you. I'll go up to the Options Bar, click the Chain icon, change the Width value to 50% that changes the Height value too. Then press the Enter key a couple of times or the Return key a couple of times on the Mac.
Now, notice I am going to go up to the Edit menu with this layer selected; this new Smart Object layer and I'll demonstrate to you that Puppet Warp is indeed available to us and we will be using that function in order to distort the tattoo onto this guy's arm. However, under the Transform submenu Distort, Perspective and Warp are all dimmed. Now, normally those are available when we are working with Smart Objects but not when we are working with Illustrator Smart Objects; they are special type. All right, so I am going to escape out of that menu.
One more thing I want to tell you about Illustrator. I am going to move back to Illustrator once again and let's say I were preparing to save this graphic so I could use it inside of Photoshop or InDesign for that matter or a bunch of the other Adobe programs. Why then I'd go up to the File menu and I choose the Save As command. You don't have to choose Export or anything like that. You can choose Save As and you would save the file to the .AI format. There is no need anymore unless you're going to some ancient version of QuarkXPress or PageMaker or something; there's no reason to use the EPS format, the Encapsulated PostScript format.
It is a vestige of the old days. It has been essentially unnecessary for the last 15 years of Adobe applications. So, you go with the .AI format right there. You don't have to choose PDF either, so .AI is fine. That's the native Adobe Illustrator format and I'm just going to call this Tiger tattoo demo. So, Illustrator doesn't ask me if I want to replace my existing graphic. I'll click Save and then up comes this dialog box. You can change the Version to some older version if you want to. If you are worried about backward compatibility this file is pretty simple.
So, you could go back as far as Illustrator CS without causing any problems back farther than that as well. Here's the thing though. You want to make sure that Create PDF Compatible File is turned on. That's very important because what that does is it embeds a PDF description of the file inside of the larger .AI file and that's the description of the file that Photoshop reads, InDesign reads and so on. You also want to go ahead and toss in an ICC Profile that's always a good idea for color management. Then Use Compression is just fine, this is lossless compression, it's not going to hurt anything.
I am going to click Cancel but I just want you to note Create PDF Compatible File must be turned on. It is turned on by default so just don't turn it off. In the next exercise, we are going to begin the task of blending this Tiger tattoo with the guy's arm.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
- Using masks and blend modes in radically new ways
- Mastering the Pen tool and Paths panel
- Transforming and maximizing Smart Objects
- Employing Smart Filters to create complex effects
- Exploring the capabilities of Bristle brushes and the Mixer Brush
- Merging multiple images into seamless panoramas
- Exploring the full range of luminance with HDR Pro
- Recording actions and batching-processing images