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ArcGIS to FreeHand?

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#1
kinesava

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Has anyone come up with a decent workflow to go from ArcGIS 8/9 (including ArcView) to FreeHand. I use ArcView 9.1 in my business to manage the data (including annotation) and the initial design (because it does nice attribute-driven symbology so much better than anything else, like MAPublisher), but need to go to FreeHand for pre-press (largely due to the needs of my major clients, but also because despite Macromedia's years of neglect, there are still a couple things that I like in FreeHand better than Illustrator).

Because ArcGIS has no FreeHand exporter and FreeHand's AI importer is so picky, I've had to implement the following workflow:
1. From ArcGIS, export to AI (AI 3, I believe)
2. Import into Illustrator 10 (CS/CS2 won't work because of the new text structure)
Pre-process in Illustrator (fix page size, release clipping masks, simplify text curves)
3. Export as AI 8 (FreeHand won't import AI 9+)
4. Import into FH10 and save (MX won't work for some reason--hangs)
5. Open in FH MX and do some final cleanup (transparent fills, dashed lines, etc.).

For a large file, that takes about 3 hours (mostly waiting on #4). :( Also, I don't have my copy of AI10 anymore, so I have to keep finagling timeout demos. Even though it's a mess, it still works better than importing shapefiles with MAPublisher.

Does anyone know of a better workflow? I hope that the new PS engine in the "next version" of ArcGIS helps, but that will probably be long after whatever happens to Macromedia and FreeHand, and I have work to do before then.

By the way, I've tried a similar route with PDF, but it doesn't seem to work as well.

Thanks,

Brandon

#2
Martin Gamache

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Brandon,

Nice to see more NACIS folks posting to this excellent board!

You seem to have figured out the best way to do it. It does seem to go a little bit faster with AI 10 and FH 9. Both Illustrator 8 and 10 are more stable (IMO) than 9. You can save as AI7 format which also keeps layers but I think may be a more friendly format for FH to open.
When pre-editing the file in illustrator I find it easier (and faster) to delete clipping masks and other assorted junk while in preview mode.

3 hours seems like a real long time to me!! It never took me more than 20 minutes to do this when I was still working with FH. Not sure how big your files are and if they are only vectors and how many layers but it seems like alot of waiting time.

I do agree that this method is faster than MAPublisher. I've now come up with a way to go from Illustrator to ARCmap using Illustrator's DXF export and Arc's spatial adjustment tools.

#3
frax

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Martin, please share that DXF method!
Hugo Ahlenius
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Martin Gamache

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1. From Illustrator export the vectors you want to a DXF file. Along with your desired new vector also export a few reference objects that come from your original data. You need a few objects that already exist in a georeferenced GIS format file to use as reference objects.
2. Within ARCmap open your reference file.
3. Convert your DXF to Shapefile (or database format) using ARCcatalog and load it into ARCmap.
4. Start an edit session and set snapping options to snap to your reference file.
5. Select and Move your new objects into the general vicinity of the reference file (rough adjustment). Using the Spatial adjustment tools create some links from your the reference objects in the DXF to the same objects in your reference file. (fine adjustment). Assuming the same projection you can easily rectify object with the simple affine transformation and with 3 control points
6. Once you've extablished the links you can rectify the entire file.
7. Explode all your objects and delete the reference objects, save your edits.
8. Have a glass of lemonade!

You can probably export annotation and text this way too if you needed to...but I've never tried it so dont quote me on that.

It seems a bit tedious but is very easy once you have done it a few time. There is a way to do this in Manifold but I prefer ARCmap's rectification tools (simple to use and with a live preview of your transformation).

I rarely have to go from Illustrator to GIS but when I do this works everytime.




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