Posts Tagged ‘mordy’

TIP: To Anti-alias or Not to Anti-alias? (Real World Illustrator)

Friday, January 30th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Designing a graphic in Illustrator and saving to web can produce lines that are not sharp pixels due to poor anti-aliasing (instead of a solid black pixel line it will be a single gray pixel or two gray pixels wide). Learn how to force lines to “snap” to the nearest pixel (to effectively turn anti-alias off) on export this this useful tip from Mordy Golding’s blog.]

Republished from Mordy’s Real World Illustrator Blog.
Original post date March 7, 2007.
Mordy’s got a bunch more useful posts, check out his blog.

[Mordy] found this question posted on the Illustrator World forums and thought it would be cool to share a tip along with some helpful information.

I have an image with a brown rectangle for the background, a lake on top of that, and then some text. I would like the rectangle to have anti-aliasing turned off and keep anti-aliasing turned on for the text. The issue is, when I post the rectangle up on a website with a brown background, the rectangle’s border has some anti-aliasing to it, creating a white border around the image.

I understand I can turn off anti-aliasing for the entire document by unchecking Anti-Aliased Artwork in general preferences, but this also turns it off for the text.

Is it possible to turn anti-aliasing off for the rectangle only? Right now my only solution is to copy the image to photoshop and crop the image inside the border. (I tried creating a clipping mask in illustrator, but the the anti-aliased border moves to wherever the clipping mask is).

First, the anti-aliased artwork setting in preferences applies only to how Illustrator displays graphic on your artboard in Preview mode. It doesn’t effect how graphics are exported in Save for Web (or any other method). Although theoretically, you could disable anti-aliasing and take a screenshot of your artboard in Illustrator and then open the screenshot in Photoshop… but that would only be a useful method when you’re being paid by the hour.

Secondly, there is indeed a way to turn off anti-aliasing on a per-object basis. Select your object and choose Effect > Rasterize. In the Rasterize dialog box, set anti-aliasing to none. Since the effect is a live effect, the object is still completely editable as vector art, yet it appears as though it has been rasterized without anti-aliasing. And it will export just as you see it on your screen (of course, you’ll want to always use Pixel Preview mode when working with web graphics).

This tip is also especially useful for when you want text NOT to be anti-aliased. At small point sizes, and with certain typefaces, anti-aliased text appears too blurry to read. Rather than have text that no one can read, turning off anti-aliasing for such type objects will result in text that will remain editable in Illustrator (due to the live effect), but that will appear legible when viewed on the web.

Announcing Merge Text Extension for Adobe Illustrator (Ajar Productions)

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Dealing with broken text (common in PDF files) can be dastardly. There are a couple existing scripts out there, but few combine and preserve the font styling information at the same time. This new script does that with options. I’m curious how this new script from Ajar Productions installs into Illustrator using the Adobe Extension Manager, usually just for the old Macromedia products but not in all CS4 apps? The Flash version is also appealing.]

Republished from Ajar Productions. First seen at Mordy’s Real World Illustrator blog.

Following the release of [Ajar’s] Combine Textfields extension for Flash, [they] put together a similar extension for Adobe Illustrator. This extension installs a script that will merge text (including text on a path) into one text object, while retaining the style attributes of the individual pieces, including character styles as well as paragraph styles (if the separator includes a return character).

Anyone who’s tried to edit text from a PDF opened in Illustrator knows how frustrating it can be to make simple text edits when the text is broken up. This extension reduces that headache.

Special thanks to David Van Brink for posting the Omino Dialog Maker. His time-saving code was used to produce the dialog box in this extension.

Download Options

Installation Instructions

JSX or JS file:

  1. Place the MergeText_AI.jsx (or MergeText_AI_CS.js) into the Scripts directory within your Illustrator application directory:

Windows > C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator {version}\Presets\en_US\Scripts
Mac OS X > Applications/Adobe Illustrator {version}/Presets/Scripts

Note: In CS4, the directory path will include a region directory (e.g. Adobe Illustrator CS4/Presets/en_US/Scripts).

MXP file (CS4 only):

  1. Double-click on the mxp file to install using Adobe Extension Manager.


In Adobe Illustrator, select the text the you want to merge together and go to File > Scripts > MergeText_AI. If you’re using Illustrator CS3 or CS4, you will be prompted with a dialog box where you can choose your sorting orientation and a custom separator. If you’re using a version earlier than CS3, you will not be prompted with a dialog; the script will run using the default settings sorting topmost, then leftmost, with a separator of “[><]“. You can then run a Find and Replace and replace the separator with the characters of your choice.

Scripts make multiple artboards in Illustrator CS4 even better (Real World Illustrator)

Monday, November 24th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Mordy Golding at Real World Illustrator shares two tips for working effectively with Adobe Illustrator CS4’s new multiple artboards. One addresses rulers across artboards, the other importing multipage PDFs. Both feature scripts by Shane Stanley, Mac only.]

Republished from Real World Illustrator.

First, while Illustrator does offer multiple artboards within a single document, Illustrator only provides one ruler for an entire document. Meaning that you have a single set of coordinates for the entire canvas, and each artboard in your file shares this. This makes it incredibly difficult to position objects precisely by the numbers when you have multiple artboards in a file. Either you have to continuously reposition the origin point of your ruler (which will also shift the positioning of patterns), or you have to do a whole lot of math. And you know I’m no huge fan of math. What we really need is a set of ruler coordinates for each individual artboard.

Download solution 1 for artboard rulers.

Second, you’d think that with multiple artboards, I should be able to open a multipage PDF document in Illustrator, and have each of the pages turn into artboards. Yes, I know that Illustrator really shouldn’t be used for PDF editing, but in many cases, it’s a great solution for that. Alas, upon opening a multipage PDF file in Illustrator, a dialog box appears asking which single page you’d like to open.

Download solution 2 for importing multipage PDFs.

Continue reading the rest of Mordy’s post at Real World Illustrator . . .

Distributing / Aligning Objects in Illustrator (Mordy’s Real World Illustrator)

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Republished from Real World Illustrator, Mordy Golding’s blog from January 2008. 

Today’s question [to Mordy] comes from Greg Walker:

Hey Mordy. Maybe you can shed some light onto one of my biggest Illustrator pet peeves.

Let’s say I have five boxes, and I want to distribute these boxes evenly. Seems easy enough, right? Select all the boxes and hit the “Horizontal Distribute Center” button. Often times this will work without a hitch and I can keep right on Rockin’ and Rollin’ right along. Other times, however, I’ll get the dreaded “Please choose a key object by clicking on one of the selected object(s) with the selection tool, or set the spacing value to Auto.” This drives me nuts. At the least I have to click okay and go over to the Align palette and change the spacing value to Auto and at worst I have to actually go to the trouble of opening the Align palette, which introduces even more clicks. What really gets under my skin is the apparent randomness with which Illustrator decides to change the distribution spacing from “0 in” to “Auto.” I would be quite happy for it to just stay at Auto until such time as I manually change it to some other number which will likely never ever be zero. Rarely do I draw five objects only to stack them all on top of one another.

Also, if you have the time and knowhow, is there a way to quickly center two (or more) objects both vertically and horizontally. The repeated “Horizontal Align Center” and “Vertical Align Center” click combo is a mine field of accidental clicks and subsequent undos.

Alas, the Align panel that appears in Illustrator also appears in InDesign. It is often that I lament about how difficult it is for one to decipher all the little “chicklet” icons on the panel. What makes it all the more difficult is that Adobe has combined alignment functions, object distribution functions, and spacing distribution functions all in one panel. So in addition to all of the icons, there are just so many combinations or choices at hand. As if that weren’t enough, Illustrator “hides” the spacing distribution functions in the “Show Options” part of the panel, meaning that many people aren’t aware that it even exists.

Hopefully my post here will relieve some of Greg’s frustrations, and maybe the frustrations of others as well.

To start, I’ll answer Greg’s second questions first. It would be nice if Illustrator had a “Center Objects Horizontally AND Vertically” option (but that would add yet ANOTHER chicklet icon), as it’s very often that designers need to center objects to each other in this way (or to the artboard if that option is chosen). Rather than click up a storm, this can easily be accomplished by recording a simple Action and assigning a keyboard shortcut to it.

  1. Draw two objects on your page and select them.
  2. Open the Actions panel by choosing Window > Actions.
  3. Click the Create New Action button at the bottom of the Actions panel. Give the Action a name and assign a keyboard shortcut of your choice. Click Record.
  4. Open the Align panel by choosing Window > Align.
  5. Click the Horizontal Align Center button. Then Click the Vertical Align Center button.
  6. Click the Stop Recording button at the bottom of the Actions panel.

Now you can select any objects in your document and press the keyboard shortcut you specified to instantly align the objects to each other both horizontally and vertically.

OK, so now on to the first question, which deals with the concepts of key objects and distribute spacing values and what we all affectionately refer to as “annoying dialog boxes”

The first thing one must understand about the Align panel is that it brings together three VERY different functions, yet that may not be readily apparent to the casual user. To fully grasp this, you need to make sure that the entire Align panel is expanded and visible. If it doesn’t look like what you’re seeing below, choose Show Options from the panel’s flyout menu. 

Continue reading at Real World . . .