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Topic: Illustrator for prepress. (Read 726 times) previous topic - next topic

Illustrator for prepress.

Hi all!

After a lot of trouble and anxiety i found a job in a label shop!   :)  :)  :)

Thing is they do all file preparation in illy, and i'm really far from something like a poweruser in illustrator.

( Till now all editing was done in acrobat pro 9 and pitstop ( 9 or 10 ) and rarely in out trusty illustrator CS.
- no bad spelling here it was a CS with layered pdf export support baby! - )

So i started making some actions to be more productive but the only one working is centering an object to current artboard or key object.

One thing i could really use - but the action doesn't always ''behave'' like it should, is to create a layer and move inside what is selected either on top or bellow the working layer.

The '' move selected to new layer on top '' sometimes works, some others the new layer is created and i have to manually drag my selection to created layer.

Moving selected below most of the times doesn't do anything...

I was wondering if a script would be better - but i don't know how to write it - 

One other thing i noticed is that the most productive co workers doesn't use layers....

On complex files i'm at a loss even with arranging things on layers ( text - die cuts etc ),cant imagine how could i work with
out them, but i see a huge difference in speed with those who work based on object order...

Any suggestion or tip on productivity issue - whatever comes in mind may be usefull - will be gladly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!!

 


Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #1
Layers and things on layers can be locked or grouped. You may need to unlock things first, if you have trouble arranging.

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat in Illy. The very nature of what you are doing (prepress in Illustrator) is going to limit your automation. If prepress in Illustrator were easy, we probably wouldn't be on PDF workflows with Pitstop. May The Force be with you.
"... profile says he's a seven-foot tall ex-basketball pro, Hindu guru drag queen alien." ~Jet Black

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #2
I'd rather  :shoots_self: than do prepress in Illustrator. :puke: (But I'm sure it is nice to have the new job)
Mac OS 10.12 Sierra | Prinergy 7.5 | Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 | Two Luscher XPose 160 CTP units

Prepress: One who does precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #3
You get used to it. We do a lot of prep work in Illy with layering and banging files into shape before we submit to Nexus for trapping and imposition. All folding carton work mind you. I don’t mind Illy, but I’m no fan of dezingers putting carton art together in InDesign.
Sweet FA right now.

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #4
28 years ago I was doing carton work on a Hell-Chromacom system. State of the art at the time. Now about 1/100th the power of your typical cell phone. :rotf:
Mac OS 10.12 Sierra | Prinergy 7.5 | Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 | Two Luscher XPose 160 CTP units

Prepress: One who does precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #5
Hello Motormount,

I feel your pain. Actions in Illustrator as totally hit and miss.

"Convert to Artboards" is a recordable action but "Fit Artboard to Selected Bounds" is not.

Scripting can help but even then some obvious functions  seem to be missing.


Google this:

   Adobe Illustrator CC Scripting Reference: AppleScript

...and you can download the PDF manual. Lots of examples to look at and play with

Also good is the Javascript work of the wonderful John Wundes.

http://js4ai.blogspot.co.uk


Sadly what you want to do with layers does not look like it can be automated.

So here is what you can do. The Layers Pallet allows you to see what Layer your current selection is in (see attached image)

Option Click on that layer and you get everything in that layer.

Shift Click on another layer and you can select all the objects in that layer too.

This way you can click on all the other layers above or below.

I guess if you have A LOT of layers and sub layers then that could be upsetting.


Select some objects (see the colour dots pop up in the layer pallet)

Hit option & command & L to make a new layer

Name your new layer

Drag the coloured dots into your new layer.

You can also drag those dots between layers and rearrange stuff that way.



Hit Shift & Option & Command & K

Make yourself some new Keyboard Shortcuts.

I've attached a photo of the menu to show you Illustrators Layer options that can have a keystroke assigned to them (but as default do not)

My regular custom commands are


"   Select > Same > Stroke & Fill --- Shift & Option & Command & A

Select > Inverse --- Shift & Option & Command & I

Select > Object > All Text Objects --- Shift & Option & Command & -

When I work with a file with no layers, I select objects with the same stroke etc and use Command & 3 to hide them. Once I have all the ones I want, I "show all" and gather them into the layer I want.

I use a combination of Command & 3 and Command & 2 to hide and lock stuff to isolate what I want. Then you can release it and group it or layer it while it's all selected

Sometimes I set the keyboard increment to something really high. I can move objects off the artboard with a single click of the cursor key and then move them back later to the same spot.


https://astutegraphics.com. has a nice free plug in to allow you to move between three customisable keyboard increments with a click.

Meanwhile - once you are settled in, download a free Trial of you favourite PDF editor and show them what they are really missing.



Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #6
Thank you all!

Till now i've worked with pitstop and heidi's pdf toolbox, which were just what i needed for sheetfeed work but here things are a lot more complicated, i don't know if pitstop would be of any help manual trapping files the way they trap them here...

I think that esko has more appropriate tools but management says - and i agree - that it's not easy finding a trained art pro user if one leaves unlike illustrator...
 
I don't have any problem doin prepress in illustrator - as long as i get paid - to be honest, i could do it with painter if they paid me for it, i'm more worried to be productive as soon as possible the way i was in the place i left - as productive as one can be with the shop workflow ofcourse -

 :)

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #7
Thank you all!

Till now i've worked with pitstop and heidi's pdf toolbox, which were just what i needed for sheetfeed work but here things are a lot more complicated, i don't know if pitstop would be of any help manual trapping files the way they trap them here...

I think that esko has more appropriate tools but management says - and i agree - that it's not easy finding a trained art pro user if one leaves unlike illustrator...
 
I don't have any problem doin prepress in illustrator - as long as i get paid - to be honest, i could do it with painter if they paid me for it, i'm more worried to be productive as soon as possible the way i was in the place i left - as productive as one can be with the shop workflow ofcourse -

 :)
If they want you to work within Illy, you could try to talk them into buying Esko's Deskpack Tools. (https://www.esko.com/en/products/deskpack/plugins)
They are a series of plugins for Illustrator to accomplish tasks like trapping (TrapX), barcode outputs and other tasks like imposition. With TrapX you basically submit your Illy file and TrapX calculates and adds a trap layer to your Illy file. We emulated that task with our Nexus RIP, but it would have been nice to have the actual plug-in.
Sweet FA right now.

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #8
Thank you all!

Till now i've worked with pitstop and heidi's pdf toolbox, which were just what i needed for sheetfeed work but here things are a lot more complicated, i don't know if pitstop would be of any help manual trapping files the way they trap them here...

I think that esko has more appropriate tools but management says - and i agree - that it's not easy finding a trained art pro user if one leaves unlike illustrator...
 
I don't have any problem doin prepress in illustrator - as long as i get paid - to be honest, i could do it with painter if they paid me for it, i'm more worried to be productive as soon as possible the way i was in the place i left - as productive as one can be with the shop workflow ofcourse -

 :)
With that kind of attitude, you will be up to speed in no time! :smiley:

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #9
thanks Tracy! :)

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #10
....Actions in Illustrator as totally hit and miss.

"Convert to Artboards" is a recordable action but "Fit Artboard to Selected Bounds" is not.

Quick Update for anyone else in Motormount's position.

Some "non-recordable" keyboard actions can be added using "Inset Menu Item"

This is in the Action Pallet Menu.

Once the Inset Menu Item dialog box opens, go to your menu item and select it. It will then appear in the dialog box and be stored on your action.

It seems to me that the less you use the keyboard and the more you use menus to record your actions, the chances they are recorded increases.

Hope that helps
 

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #11
The ability to manually and easily select similar objects is critical in Illustrator, just as it is with automated tools such as PitStop Action Lists. Illustrator’s native selection tools can be limited, which is where scripts can help out. You may not always wish to move the selected object to new layers, as it may mess up the stacking order, however for dies/knives this may not be a problem.

http://prepression.blogspot.com/2015/01/illustrator-selecting-similar-objects.html

https://www.aridocean.com/illustrator-extended-select-script

https://www.adobeexchange.com/creativecloud.details.909.html | https://github.com/smorodsky/Select | https://github.com/smorodsky/Select/blob/master/select.zxp






 

Re: Illustrator for prepress.

Reply #12
One thing i could really use - but the action doesn't always ''behave'' like it should, is to create a layer and move inside what is selected either on top or bellow the working layer.

The '' move selected to new layer on top '' sometimes works, some others the new layer is created and i have to manually drag my selection to created layer.

Moving selected below most of the times doesn’t do anything...

It would be helpful if you can post a download link to the action, or screenshots of the action, or screenshots of an object and the layers in before/after etc.


Quote
One other thing i noticed is that the most productive co workers doesn't use layers....

On complex files i'm at a loss even with arranging things on layers ( text - die cuts etc ),cant imagine how could i work with
out them, but i see a huge difference in speed with those who work based on object order...

Object order can be all over the place, if you mean stacking order.

There are layers, sublayers and <objects> that are all visible in the layers panel, which can be confusing but also allows a lot of flexibility in “drilling into” the artwork.