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How to do Freehand like Snapshots in Illustrator

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#1
rudy

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Hi all -

We are beginning our migration from Freehand 8 to Illustrator CS3 and are finding some interesting things along the way. It is not a given that software improves from version to version. We are used to creating our maps in Freehand, than making snapshots - that is, blocking out a part of the map and capturing only that portion within the block - which we then use in layout programs such as Quark or InDesign. Illustrator doesn't seem to have the option. You can, of course, mask out portions of the file but that still leaves all the masked out portions in the file. Because we are producing maps that we want tiled out in a atlas, having a complete map file for eahc page adds to the file size of the layout file (even if the maps are just placed) and slows down the performance of the software and the printing speed.

Does anyone know of a work around wherein we can just include that portion of the map that needs to be shown (and not the entire file) in the layout software?

#2
erik

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This approach is specific to CS3:

1. Define a crop area spanning your snapshot area (yes, you can have multiple crop areas per AI document)

2. Print to a PostScript file, specifying crop area as the choice to "crop artwork to" in the print dialog Setup panel. (Some people may have luck saving directly from the file menu to a PDF file, but I have not)

3. Distill PS file to press quality PDF (requires Acrobat Pro or some version of Distiller on hand)

4. Place PDF into layout

It seems to strip out most everything not in the crop area which can be deleted without affecting items in the crop area.

erik

#3
rudy

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In CS3 I can crop directly to PDF; however, this method still seems to contain all the content, not just the content within the cropped area.

Same thing if I print to a postscript file. However, it will crop out elements according to the page extents, not the crop extents. All the text beyond the page extents disappears (good) but the line work still remains (bad). This is better than nothing but not as good as the Freehand approach (which will contain only those elements that appear within the cropped area, including anything that is hanging over the edge). Nevertheless, thanks for the tip. It will prove useful.

#4
erik

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From what I can tell, only the linework which is completely inside, or both inside and outside the crop border remains. So a long river that crosses the crop border will be included if it is one long vector, while a row of railroad ties which are all individual line segments would get cut at the crop border. Basically the way I look at it, Illustrator will not scissor your vectors or text blocks into pieces and delete the parts beyond the crop border. There are a few idiosyncracies in a sample I just looked at, such as a few text items outside the crop area which should have been removed. They appear to have had complicated appearance effects. When I removed the appearance effects, those items went away too.

With regard to your statement that AI doesn't remove items outside the crop area but inside the page tile area, I have a series of samples which clearly have everything outside the crop extent except what I describe in the previous paragraph removed. It is very important to set the "Crop artwork to" popup to the value "crop area" (and use the new crop area tool to define your crop areas) for this to work.

While not perfect, it can definitely reduce the amount of non-essential objects in your output.

erik

#5
rudy

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It is very important to set the "Crop artwork to" popup to the value "crop area" (and use the new crop area tool to define your crop areas) for this to work.

While not perfect, it can definitely reduce the amount of non-essential objects in your output.

erik


I see that that is what I had forgotten to do. Thanks. Again - not perfect but it goes along way.




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