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In this introduction

Who Should Read This Book?

Why You Should Use Adobe Illustrator 9

Windows and Macintosh

How This Book Is Organized

Special Edition Using Adobe Illustrator 9 is a book for intermediate-to-advanced users. However, novices with a working knowledge of Illustrator's commands and tools will be able to understand the descriptions and explanations. Everything is clearly and concisely presented, from the discussion of what's new in version 9 and the exploration of the interface to the comparison of the transparency blending modes and the differences between Flash and SVG.

You'll find both thorough explanations of the theories involved in illustration and practical examples of their application. In addition, Special Edition Using Adobe Illustrator 9 incorporates several major appendixes, which make it the most powerful Illustrator reference tool available.

In keeping with the Special Edition tradition, this book is factual, practical, and no-nonsense. It is designed for the reader who has work to do, deadlines to meet, visions to capture, concepts to digitize, images to create, dreams to fulfill. It is designed for users of Adobe Illustrator.

Who Should Read This Book?

Special Edition Using Adobe Illustrator 9 has been written primarily for higher-level users and for those who are striving for that status. Most readers are already Illustrator users and already work with Illustrator 9. They can come to this book for answers. Every aspect of this multifaceted program has been addressed, both in theory and in practice.

Even after months or years of working with Adobe Illustrator, most users still find areas that are foreign to them. The aspects of the program that you use rarely (if ever) may actually be the techniques and tools that are best for your daily work. This book is the place to find out. And sometimes a question about Illustrator that's outside your area of expertise arises, yet you need an answer. For example, prepress specialists usually have little or no experience with Illustrator's Web-related features. Likewise, Web designers are likely to be unfamiliar with CMYK, trapping, and overprinting. But those questions and situations do arise from time to time, and the answers and solutions can be as close as your bookshelf.

Readers who work with Illustrator on a daily basis can reach for this book to check a specific detail, learn how to apply a new technique, or simply to find new ways of doing things. If you work with Illustrator less frequently, you'll find this book even more valuable. You can discover what a specific tool does, how a particular command works, and what technique is best for a certain job.

If you are brand new to computer illustration and drawing, in all honesty, this should not be your first book. You will not find here those simple step-by-step lessons that are basic to initial familiarity with a new program. Start with Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Illustrator 9 in 24 Hours, by Mordy Golding. Then make this your second book. When you have a basic understanding of the program and how it works, you'll be prepared for this more advanced look at Illustrator 9.

Why You Should Use Adobe Illustrator 9

Several top-notch computer illustration and drawing programs are available, and Adobe Illustrator is among the leaders. With the addition of transparency, Illustrator can certainly be considered a full-featured illustration program.

What Sets Illustrator Apart from Similar Programs?

For many people, the biggest advantage to using Illustrator is its outstanding integration with the rest of the Adobe family. In addition to sharing interface components, tools, and commands with such important programs as Photoshop, GoLive, and InDesign, Illustrator integrates seamlessly in various ways. One example is Illustrator's new Save for Web feature, which can tailor HTML for GoLive. And that's a two-way street. Users of the latest version of GoLive will find that they can now place native Illustrator graphics directly in their pages. LiveMotion also accepts Illustrator's native file format.

Illustrator's integration with Photoshop is legendary and gets even better with this version. Illustrator can now preserve a Photoshop file's masks, blending modes, and transparency, and individual Photoshop layers can become individual Illustrator objects.

This latest version of Illustrator has added numerous features, including the aforementioned transparency and Save for Web, as well as the capability of producing both Flash and SVG graphics, a new Layers palette, and live shapes and effects.

Illustrator's Interface and Productivity

Using the Adobe tabbed floating palettes puts everything within reach when you need it. Long-time users of Photoshop especially will be comfortable working with Illustrator. The latest version adds a number of great advancements:

  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts— Virtually every command and tool in Illustrator can now have a keyboard shortcut assigned by the user. Multiple sets of shortcuts can be stored and loaded as needed. In addition to making life easier on shared computers, this new feature allows project-specific shortcuts. When working on a Web-related project, for example, you probably regularly use a different set of commands than you do when preparing projects for print. Creating two sets of shortcuts and assigning the same keystroke for Pixel Preview and Overprint Preview may be appropriate.

  • New Layers palette— Illustrator's Layers palette now supports nested layers (sublayers) and the capability of selecting any object or group directly in the palette. Click its targeting button, and the object or group is selected on the artboard. Layers themselves can be targeted for effects.

  • New preview modes— Pixel Preview allows you to see exactly how your vector artwork will be translated to raster imagery for the Web. Overprint Preview shows you an “ink-based” look at how overlapping objects and colors will appear coming off the press.

  • New Lasso tools— Selecting objects and points on the artboard has never been easier. Two new tools, Lasso and Direct Select Lasso, allow you to make selections without fear of inadvertently rearranging your artwork.

  • Live effects— Apply effects to an object, change the object's path, and the effects automatically adjust. The object itself is never changed by the application of effects, although its appearance may be altered radically. The effects themselves can be edited at any time, without ever changing the underlying object. As you can see by the selection in Figure 1, the object on the right retains the same basic shape as its brother to the left. It can be restored to the basic appearance in seconds, using the Appearances palette.

    Figure 1. The object on the right is a copy of the one on the left. Because the appearance changes are all live effects, the basic object has not been changed.

Unmatched Web Workflow

If you are producing graphics for the Web (or eventually will be), Illustrator's enhanced Web workflow can maximize efficiency. Pixels as a unit of measure are critical for Web production, as is the capability of seeing how your final product will look. Illustrator offers pixels both as a global measure and Pixel Preview. In addition, you'll find the new Save for Web feature invaluable. Preview up to four different optimizations settings and compare them head-to-head in one window. Save images effortlessly in GIF, JPEG, or PNG format (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Save for Web allows you to compare various optimization settings in a single window.

Illustrator now also offers a Web-safe palette to supplement its RGB capabilities. You can even set the Color Picker to Only Web Colors. Save for Web allows you to select an exact color table for 8-bit images, including control over individual colors in the table.

The new transparency capability extends to the Web, too. Drop shadows, glows, and blending modes can all be employed before you optimize an image. Illustrator also offers live shape effects, allowing effortless re-editing of rounded rectangles and other button-like shapes. Converting type to an editable shape in this way makes button creation as easy as possible. The type remains fully editable, and the shape conforms instantly to changes in the text.

Don't forget Illustrator's support for exporting Flash and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), allowing you to produce top-of-the-line vector graphics for the Web. In addition, the new Release to Layers feature allows you to create multiple objects on a single layer for animation in a single click. Illustrator even allows you to produce cumulative content for layers, with each layer containing all the content of preceding layers, as well as an additional object. And that takes merely a simple Shift+click.

Prepress Power

Illustrator has improved color management, excellent tools for outputting the new transparency, and a host of other ways to make preparing four-color jobs easier. Trapping, overprinting, soft proofing, and knockout control help ensure that your images print just the way you want them to look.

The power of automation, although universally available in Illustrator through Actions, can be a very important part of the prepress workflow.

Windows and Macintosh

No matter which platform you use, Illustrator offers the same powerful features. The interface is as close to identical as possible, with virtually the same tools, palettes, and commands. Many of the images in this book show Macintosh interface elements, such as palettes, menus, and windows. In those few specific instances in which a difference exists between Macintosh and Windows, the differences have been shown or noted. Keyboard shortcuts are shown for both platforms throughout.

The abbreviations used in this book are as follows:

  • Cmd [Ctrl]— This identifies the Command key for Macintosh and Control key for Windows. The Command and Control keys are modifier keys; they do nothing on their own. They are always used in combination with another key or a mouse click. The key must remain pressed while you press the other key or click the mouse button.

  • Option [Alt]— This identifies the Option key for Macintosh and Alt key for Windows. The Option and Alt keys are modifier keys, and they also must always be used in combination with another key or a mouse click. The key must remain pressed while you press the other key or click the mouse button.

  • Shift— Like the keys described above, Shift is a modifier key and must remain pressed while you click or press another key.

  • Click— A mouse button is clicked when it is pressed and released.

  • Double-click— Very rapidly, press and release the mouse button twice. The two clicks must be very close together to be recognized by your computer as a double-click rather than two separate clicks. You can adjust the speed required to achieve a double-click on both Windows and Macintosh through the Mouse control panel.

  • Drag— To drag with the mouse, press the left mouse button for Windows, the only button for Macintosh, and move the cursor onscreen by moving the mouse. To end a drag, release the mouse button.

  • Ctrl+click [Right-click]— Macintosh users must press the Control key and click the mouse button; Windows users click the mouse's right button once.

How This Book Is Organized

Special Edition Using Adobe Illustrator 9 has nine parts, encompassing 28 chapters, and a tenth part, which consists of 6 appendixes. The nine parts are structured around central themes, with the chapters developing the part's concept. Readers new to Illustrator should explore the earlier parts before exploring the later chapters. Readers who have some familiarity with Illustrator 9 should also take a look at the first three parts. Although few high-level practitioners have the time to thoroughly explore a new version of a favorite program, often incredibly useful tools and techniques can be added to the reader's workflow.

The appendixes differ from the chapters; they are research tools. Each gathers information of a specific nature and organizes it logically for ease of retrieval. Less-experienced Illustrator users and those readers branching out into different aspects of the program will find these appendixes to be the handiest, most concise reference produced to date for Illustrator. Advanced users may be especially intrigued by the depth of information on each tool, palette, and menu, as well as by the topical sidebars.

For all levels of Illustrator users, Appendix C looks at each Illustrator tool alphabetically; Appendix D does the same with Illustrator's palettes; Appendix E takes a progressive look at each Illustrator menu command.

Part I: Overview of Adobe Illustrator 9

The three chapters in this part provide a basis of reference for Illustrator 9. Chapter 1, “What's New in Illustrator 9,” looks at what's new in the program, including transparency, Web support, and productivity. Chapter 2, “The Illustrator Interface and Setup,” focuses on the workplace and interface. This chapter is certainly valuable for readers both new to Illustrator and new to version 9. Chapter 3, “Working with Files in Illustrator,” helps you understand both how file formats differ and which is appropriate for which project. Illustrator supports numerous file formats, each of which has its unique strengths, weaknesses, and applications.

Part II: Basic Creation in Illustrator

Four chapters look at the nuts and bolts of Illustrator creative tools and techniques. Even readers with extensive experience with Illustrator will benefit from a look at Part II's chapters. Of particular note for advanced Illustrator users are Chapter 6, “Utilizing the Four Types of Brushes,” and Chapter 7, “Type and Text in Illustrator.” The many subtleties of these tools and techniques are examined in depth.

Part III: Manipulating Objects in Illustrator

Transformations and blends are two of Illustrator's powerful tools for illustration. Their basics, as well as their more advanced applications, are discussed in this part. In addition, Chapter 10, “Illustrator's Layers, Sublayers, and Groups,” takes an in-depth look at the new capabilities of Illustrator's Layers palette, which is one of the most important new capabilities in Illustrator. Part III also introduces the basic requirements for various types of output from Illustrator, including the difference between Web and print, and takes a look at such other output options as film recorders and presentation programs.

Part IV: Enhancing Illustrator Objects

Four chapters explore in depth many of Illustrator's more advanced concepts. This part starts with a thorough look at color in Illustrator, including the difference between RGB and CMYK, and a look at HSB and grayscale. Images critical to understanding the concepts are reproduced in full color in the book's color insert. Spot colors, global colors, and the Swatches palette are all discussed. Patterns, including developing custom brush patterns, are covered. The Appearance and Styles palettes are the subject of Chapter 14, “Using the Appearance and Styles Palettes,” which also looks at targeting groups and layers with appearance attributes using the new Layers palette. Style libraries are introduced, and those included with Illustrator are examined individually. The topic of creating and applying gradients shares a chapter with a description of the Gradient Mesh tool. A tremendously powerful, but rather complex tool, its capabilities are explained and its use simplified.

Part V: Getting the Most Out of Illustrator

Although Illustrator utilizes Adobe's standardized interface, you can tailor it for your individual needs. Chapter 16, “Customizing Illustrator,” looks at everything from the new customizable keyboard shortcuts to creating startup files that save those initial steps required to prepare every new document. Masks, both clipping and opacity, get their own treatments in Chapter 17, “Using Masks to Show and Hide.” Contributing author Kate Binder explains the various types of graphs available in Illustrator, as well as when and how to use them.

Part VI: Between Vector and Raster

With the introduction of transparency in Illustrator 9, the need to understand raster artwork and images becomes more important than ever. This part of the book starts with an in-depth look at raster art and how it differs from Illustrator's native vector illustration capabilities. The concept of rasterizing vector artwork is discussed, along with a look at the options and possibilities.

Chapter 20, “Exploiting Illustrator's Transparency,” dives into Illustrator 9's new transparency capability, explaining how it works, why it works, and what has gone wrong when it doesn't work. Each of the 16 blending modes gets individual attention. The interactions among colors with each of the modes are shown in full color in the book's color insert. The filters and effects available in Illustrator are explained, as well as the differences between filters and effects.

Part VII: Illustrator and the Web

Designing Web sites and pages has never been easier in Illustrator. The new Layers palette provides the capability to create an entire site layout in a single document. Chapter 22, “Designing Web Sites and Web Pages,” introduces the idea of color-coding a Web site for ease of design. The special requirements for Web graphics are explored, and the basic concepts of saving images for the Web are presented as well. Chapter 23, “Saving Images for the Web,” concentrates on the details of saving images for the Web. Which file formats are appropriate in which situations, the difference between 8-bit and 24-bit color, and image compression are all covered thoroughly. The new Save for Web feature is explained, along with the various optimization settings for GIF, JPEG, and PNG files. Chapter 24, “Flash and SVG Support,” takes you to the cutting edge of Web graphics, introducing Illustrator's Flash and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) capabilities. Animation is the primary focus, but the additional potential is also discussed.

Part VIII: Prepress and Four-Color Process Printing

If you've never prepared a four-color job, you'll start with the basic concepts of printing. If you're a prepress professional, you, too, may learn a few things. Color, overprinting, knockouts, and trapping are presented, including a section on Illustrator's built-in trapping capabilities. The differences between linking and embedding images is critical to the success or failure of many projects. You'll read more than simply the differences; you'll get advice on which technique to use in which circumstances. A discussion of embedding fonts and the related legal issues also is presented.

Part IX: Illustrator Efficiency and Interoperability

Actions, how to use them, and how to create them are the subject of Chapter 27, “Automation Through Actions.” Few, if any, readers would not benefit from developing and using custom Actions. You'll see an itemized list of Illustrator's tools that cannot be recorded, as well as ways around most of those limitations. Readers who use Actions already likely know that paths can be inserted into a document using an Action. However, readers may be surprised when they see precisely what is recorded with the path, what is not, and what can make a path unrecordable. Likewise, Chapter 27 shows how to get the most from the very powerful Select Object command. This part also looks at interaction between Illustrator 9 and its sister program, Adobe Photoshop 6. You'll read how to transfer artwork in either direction, the difference between transferring paths and moving art, and the differences between Photoshop 5 images and Photoshop 6 images. The parallel color management capabilities of the two programs are also discussed.

Part X: Appendixes

For many readers, this part of the book will be the most useful and most used. Installing Illustrator is explored and explained. The various assistance and help resources available, both within Illustrator and external, are presented. However, the core of the appendixes are C, D, and E. Respectively, they examine each of Illustrator's tools alphabetically; examine each of Illustrator's palettes alphabetically (including each palette's menu commands); and look at each of Illustrator's menu commands, including submenus, from left to right. Included in Appendix E is a fully illustrated look at each of the filters and effects available in Illustrator. If you have questions about how a tool, palette, or menu command functions, these are the resources to check first.

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