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Pixel Preview

Despite starting life as vector art, when saved in any of the top three Web file formats (JPEG, GIF, or PNG), Illustrator documents have more in common with Photoshop files than with their own Illustrator-native siblings. All three file formats support only raster images. (Vector images contain shapes and text that are mathematically described, whereas raster images are merely collections of different colored pixels. See Chapter 19.) When you export to one of these file formats to prepare an image for the Web, the conversion changes the art to pixels. Layers are flattened, and text and objects are no longer editable.

Rasterization can cause severe degradation of image quality. Perfect curves and circles are created from little rectangles, leading to a problem called jaggies. Jaggies are the little steps that are created by the rectangular pixels attempting to represent curved segments. Figure 23.6 shows the problem.


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