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Exporting Files from Illustrator CS5 (part 3) - The Joint Photographic Experts Group Format

10/31/2011 6:02:46 PM
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The Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg) Format

An extremely popular raster-based format, JPEG files are used mainly for exchanging photographic content and artwork. Although the JPEG format is used heavily in web design, it is also the format of choice for the electronic delivery of stock photographs and for digital cameras. One of the reasons why JPEG is used for these tasks is because the JPEG format can take advantage of compression algorithms that can dramatically reduce file size. For example, a high-resolution image that is normally 10 MB in size might be only 1 MB in size when saved as a JPEG.

However, the JPEG format uses a lossy compression algorithm, and sometimes a JPEG file may exhibit artifacts or loss in detail because of this compression (Figure 8). A lower compression setting enhances image detail, at the cost of a larger file size.

Figure 8. When saving a file as a JPEG, using the Maximum setting results in a file with fewer artifacts, but doing so also results in a larger file size.

Although you can save JPEG files from the Save for Web & Devices feature in Illustrator, you can do so only at 72 ppi. Using the JPEG Export function, you can specify a custom resolution for your file, which allows you to create high-resolution files.

Besides choosing an image compression level for your file, you can also specify the RGB, CMYK, or grayscale color model. Format methods determine how the image appears when viewed in a web browser. If you choose the Baseline setting, the image loads completely and is then displayed at full resolution. The Progressive setting (similar to interlacing) allows the image to appear immediately at a lower-quality setting; it then appears in full quality once the entire image is loaded (the number of scans determines how many passes are done until the final image is previewed).

Illustrator also gives you the options of antialiasing the art, embedding a color profile, and including a client-side or server-side image map.

The Macintosh PICT (.pct) Format

Much like the WMF and EMF formats, the PICT format was developed to move files between applications on the Mac OS platform. The format supports both vector and raster elements. You can’t specify any additional options when exporting a PICT file.

The Adobe Photoshop (.psd) Format

You can export an Illustrator file as a Photoshop PSD file and preserve vital information. This makes it easy to start work on a design piece in Illustrator and then bring it into Photoshop to add the finishing touches. Bringing Illustrator art into Photoshop is also useful when you’re creating art that you plan to use for websites. In this way, you have high-quality artwork in Illustrator that can easily be repurposed for print, and you can add rollovers and interactivity using Photoshop or even Fireworks or Flash Professional for the website.

When exporting a PSD file, you can choose between the CMYK, RGB, and grayscale color models, and you can specify a resolution for your file. If you choose to export a flat image, all Illustrator layers are flattened into a single nontransparent layer (what Photoshop calls the Background layer). Alternatively, you can select the Write Layers option that preserves layering in Illustrator where possible (Figure 9). You can also choose to preserve text and other native elements, such as compound shapes and web slices .

Figure 9. By choosing to write layers, you gain the ability to export a file that preserves live text, layers, transparency, and mask effects, and more.


The Tagged Image File Format (.tif)

The TIFF format is widely used in graphics applications. Completely raster-based, a TIFF is a lossless image format. High-resolution files can be quite large, but image integrity is maintained. TIFF files are generally supported by print, video, and 3D-rendering applications.

When exporting a TIFF, you can choose one of three different color models: RGB, CMYK, or grayscale. Additionally, you can specify the resolution for your image and choose whether to antialias the art. Selecting the LZW Compression option results in a smaller file (the compression is lossless). You can also specify a platform-specific byte order (for better compatibility with Windows systems), and you have the ability to embed color profiles when you’re working in a color-managed workflow.

The Text Format (.txt)

Sometimes you just need to export the text in a file so you can use it in another application or for another purpose that Illustrator can’t handle. You can export text to be compatible with a specific platform, or you can export text in Unicode, which is platform independent.

 
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