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Manifold export to Illustrator

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#1
liz1110

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I'm thinking about purchasing Manifold as a means to get my GIS data into Illustrator. Right now I'm using Global Mapper and exporting dxf files that I can place or open in Illustrator. I'm not happy with the results, each object (road, stream, contour, etc) comes in on its OWN layer. I exported a fairly large area of hydrologic data as a dxf and opened it in Illustrator and had almost 1500 layers to contend with. Not fun!

My question is this - how does data exported from Manifold arrive in Illustrator? Will it all be organized on layers by type of data, i.e. roads on one layer, contours on a separate layer? Will the roads be separated by type of road, i.e. interstates on one layer, secondary roads on a different layer, dirt roads on yet another layer? Will there be a lot of cleanup to do, or will it be pretty organized? I guess it couldn't possibly be worse than the dxf scenario I've been experiencing with Global Mapper, but I want to have some idea of what to expect from Manifold before I lay down $245 for it.
Liz Cruz

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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My question is this - how does data exported from Manifold arrive in Illustrator? Will it all be organized on layers by type of data, i.e. roads on one layer, contours on a separate layer? Will the roads be separated by type of road, i.e. interstates on one layer, secondary roads on a different layer, dirt roads on yet another layer? Will there be a lot of cleanup to do, or will it be pretty organized? I guess it couldn't possibly be worse than the dxf scenario I've been experiencing with Global Mapper, but I want to have some idea of what to expect from Manifold before I lay down $245 for it.


It's fairly well organised. Every Manifold layer becomes an Illustrator layer. That is, the layout itself becomes a layer called 'Map' and all Manifold layers become sub-layers of that map layer in Illy. There's a few things to keep in mind though, I'll quote them from an email I wrote to Manifold sales regarding output to Illustrator:

1: Any image layers in the original layout that don't cover the entire extent of the layout are filled, to the full extent of the layout, with black pixels, even if they show up as transparent in Manifold itself. In case of multiple layers, this potentially results in the black pixels on layer 1 to overlap the information on layer 2. A fix for this, making empty areas transparent and sizing image objects to the bounding box of the non-empty pixels, would be very nice.

2: The size of the layout can only be changed through the page setup. Doing so requires at least 12 mouse clicks (more if you need to select a different printer as well). It would be more convenient to have a setting for this in the Layout properties and not have it depend on the selected print driver.

3: When opened in Illustrator, the document size doesn't correspond to what was specified in Manifold: my 173 x 63 cm document ended up being set to about 45 x 45... The information itself has the correct size, just not the document settings. It would be nice, if only from a 'neat freak' point of view, if it would match the settings made in Manifold.

4: Labels that are exported to Illustrator end up as uneditable text outlines. This more or less forces me to do all of the labelling in Illustrator itself. Editable text objects would offer a lot more flexibility in workflow (however, given the fact Adobe themselves can't even seem to handle their own texts from older Illustrator versions...)

5: There is a set of rectangles, no fill or stroke, indicating the layout extent. These can sometimes be a nuisance when changing styles and they don't seem to serve a purpose.


The raster handling, number 1, is the most troublesome really. In general, I think the output is rather good and I've used it quite often.

The Illustrator files generated by Manifold are of an older version, so they will be converted when opened in CS2 or CS3, but there should be no problems there. They also use a lot of clipping masks, but those can be released.

Hope this helps.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#3
Martin Gamache

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4: Labels that are exported to Illustrator end up as uneditable text outlines. This more or less forces me to do all of the labelling in Illustrator itself. Editable text objects would offer a lot more flexibility in workflow (however, given the fact Adobe themselves can't even seem to handle their own texts from older Illustrator versions...)



Hans,

This is the default Manifold setting upon export, but there is a checkbox where you can specify to get live text that avoids the font outlining problem that you describe for most labels.

I would also add that you can get better results by increasing the vector resolution to a large multiple of 72...I often use 1440. I turn off all raster layers and transparencies, so raster setting are not relevant.

In order to avoid any raster problems I export these seperately as Tiffs created from the layout view, one layer at a time and using F6 (Tools- Make Image) and exporting layout images at 300DPI as Manifold image objects and then exporting Tiffs. This is quite cumbersome but leaves you with good image layers that an be composited and edited in Photoshop.

mg

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#4
rudy

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If I recall correctly (and I might not since I haven't been using Manifold too much lately) it used to be that polygons that were only partly included in the layout came into Illustrator broken up into segments. I don't recall this happening recently; I believe that was fixed in more recent versions of Manifold. I've found Manifold to be a worthwhile, inexpensive solution to managing and manipulating GIS data. It's cartographic abilities, however, leave something to be desired. If you're okay with that, then Manifold will meet your needs.

I concur with Hans on what he's said. The raster issue is probably the most troublesome.

#5
BEAVER

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I use Manifold and Illustrator for all my projects. I don't have any of the problems Hans listed below. The only one is the text. If you make curved text in Manifold. It will be broken down as individual letters in AI. There are work arounds for this.




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