Video: Prepare and export ready for print in Adobe Illustrator Ep19/19 [Adobe Illustrator for Beginners]
[ Opening Music ] >> Hello, and welcome to this video tutorial, brought to you by TastyTuts.com. In the previous video, we finalized our poster and t-shirt design by adding type. In this video, we are now going to prepare the artwork for print. Getting your artwork complete to a design is one thing, though making sure the printer receives your artwork to print it exactly to your design, is another. Before I send my artwork to print, there are a few things I need to prepare, review, and be certain are correct before sending the artwork off to be printed. So, here we are where we left off in the previous episode, and here I have this skull final composition document open.
I have to find designs on Artboard three and four and the development vector assets above on artboards one and two. If you're following along from the previous video, great. Make sure you have your document open and ready, though if you're new to this course and wish to follow along, you will need to open up this document. This can be found in the export folder in the project folder. You can download this project folder for free. The document link is in the description. So, with the project folder open, click test project, export, exporting, versions, and select the version of illustrator you're using. In my case, it's CC and open the Skull Final Composition document, and you should have something that looks like this. Now, if you're new to this course, chances are, you will not have the fonts installed. These fonts can be downloaded absolutely free from dafont.com, and you can find the links to these fonts in the description.
So, now we should all have our document open like this. Now before we prepare the artwork to export, I'm just going to cover what we are going to build up to. So, here are two PDF documents I have exported earlier. To the left is the poster design, and to the right is the T-shirt design. And I'm currently looking at this in Adobe Acrobat Reader. So, what is a PDF? Well, for those of you that are not familiar with the PDF format, PDF stands for portable document format. PDFs can be exported from most word-processing, desktop publishing, and creative programs. PDF is a universal file format that can be opened on all computers that have a basic PDF viewer installed. I am using Acrobat Pro, which comes as part of the Creative Cloud. Though, you can download a simple PDF viewer version for free.
A PDF document can contain a large amount of pages in the form of a leaflet, presentation, or magazine. PDF documents are files that are well-received by printers in order to print a document to specification. When it comes to printing your work, most printers require you to include marks and bleeds, which help the printer accurately print and trim your work to spec. These two PDFs were exported individually from the main document we have been developing over the previous episodes. So, if we look carefully at the first PDF on the left, we can see that this is just one page, and we can see a number of marks and guides around the outside. Now, these are bleed and crop marks that the printer is going to use to correctly trim the artwork. Also, we have some color squares to help the printer collaborate the colors accurately with their printers.
All these marks and guides have been generated upon exporting the artwork from the Illustrator document, and we will be taking a look at how to do this very shortly. Over on the right, we have the T-shirt artwork PDF. Now this is a little different from the poster example. This artwork is going to be printed onto a T-shirt. So, we can see here that the artwork is set on a white background, and some of the color in the skull artwork is also white. This is where the color of the T-shirt is going to come through and fill these areas. Notice on this example, we do not have any marks and bleeds. Well, this design is not going to be printed on paper. This will become a transfer that will be heat-pressed onto a T-shirt, so we do not need the marks and bleeds here. So, now I'm going to come back in to the final artwork document, to which I'll soon demonstrate how to export the artwork. Though, before I begin exporting, I want to review my document and adjust the structure so it's ready to export.
I'm going to follow a simple checklist and, after this, I should be confident my artwork is ready to export, ready for print. So, first on my checklist is document bleed. So, first of all, I can see I have my red bleed margins around the outside of my canvas artboard. Normally, if my artwork is full-bleed, I would have to make sure my artwork expands to meet the edges of these bleed lines. Though, on this occasion, I want a nice wide margin around my background yellow. Now, these margins were created at the very start, when the document was set up. Currently, these margins are set to five millimeters, though if for any reason, your printer tells you you need a different bleed value — let's say, 10 — well, you can simply come up to the top menu, click file, scroll down to document setup, and you can see your bleed values here. Let's say I change these to 10 and click OK.
The margin values will change. But on this occasion, you can see they are now all overlapping. Well, now it's a case of coming over to the artboard panel, clicking on the top right menu, selecting rearrange artboards, click OK, and that should space the artboards appropriately. Though, I'm just going to undo that for now and go back to five millimeter bleed. Next on my checklist is layers and artwork organization. Up until now, creating this poster and T-shirt design has been a creative process, and we have not been worrying too much about the organization. Though, once we have finished the design, we should take some time to organize the artwork, especially if your document contains multiple designs like mine does. Currently, we have both the poster and the T-shirt artwork on a single layer. This is okay but will prove a little problematic later, which you will soon see.
What I'm going to do here is simply place each design on its own layer. So, I'm going to rename the current layer, all the artwork is on from coloring to poster design. I'm going to press Command L to create a new layer, and I'm going to rename this layer to T-shirt design. Then, I'm going to use the selection tool to select the entire T-shirt artwork and press Command X to cut. Then, click onto the new T-shirt design layer, and press Command-Shift V to paste in place. Excellent. So, now my two designs are nicely organized on two separate layers. Next on my checklist is type elements. Now, we have some type elements in our designs. What we need to do here is make a decision how we are going to manage the type elements. On this occasion, I want my entire artwork to be a flat, vector shape. So, I'm going to select each type element in my design, and I may have to ungroup some of the compositions to select the text objects individually, like so. Once I have them all selected, I'm going to right click and select Create Outlines.
Upon click, what were previously type objects have now been converted into vector shapes and can no longer be edited with a type tool. These are now vector shapes much like the rest of the artwork. Now, you don't have to do this, though it's just something I like to do to complete my artwork. Next on my checklist is Colors. Now, I have two designs here that are destined to be printed on two different types of material. The poster will be printed on paper, and the T-shirt design will be printed onto a magenta-colored T-shirt. Currently, I have the magenta-color in my T-shirt artwork for preview purposes. Now, I need to remove all of this color. I can do this really easy by first selecting the background solid color and deleting it. Next, I need to get rid of all the magenta color in the artwork itself. We can see that is a lot, and it's going to be a little time consuming picking it all out and deleting it. A quick way is to use the Magic Wand tool.
So, I'm going to come over to the menu and select the Magic Wand tool, and then I'm going to click a magenta color part of my artwork. Upon click, all the magenta has been selected in my artwork. Now, I'm just going to press delete, and that will quickly remove all that color from the design. Easy. Finally, I need to check to make sure all my colors are correct, so I don't get any feedback from the printers telling me that my colors are incorrect and need changing. Now, my poster design to the left is fine. This is going to be printed with a CMYK printer, as long as it's looking how I want it on screen, I should expect the result I want after printing. Though, I need to pay particular attention to the T-shirt design. Unlike the poster, the color here needs to be pantone colors.
So, before sending off to print, I have to make sure these are all correct. So, again, I can use the Magic Wand tool here. If I press Y on the keyboard, I can activate the Magic Wand tool. So, with this tool, I'm going to click on the yellowish-green color and, hopefully, all of the color elements I want in that color should be selected in my artwork. This will indicate they are all the same color. If not, I will have to re-evaluate the color of the vectors to make sure they are all correct. If I look closely in my swatches panel, I can see the correct pantone swatch is highlighted. If I double-click on the pantone swatch, I can see the values and confirm it to be a pantone color. So, I'll continue to click on all other colors within my artwork and use the same technique, checking in the swatches panel to make sure the correct pantone color is applied. So, once I have gone through my checklist, and I am happy everything is correct, I can now proceed to export my PDFs ready to send over to the printer.
Now, I could send the PDF as one document consisting of both the poster and the T-shirt artwork, though since the designs contain separate color types, I'm going to make it simple and create two documents. So, I'm going to start with the poster design. Now, also keep in mind that this document contains four artboards, and my final designs are placed on artboards three and four. So, I'm going to come to File and Save As. Upon click, we will get the Save To menu that will ask us where we want save the file. So, I'll go ahead and type in a document name. I'll call this Poster Design. Now, since we are in Illustrator, by default, the default format is going to be set to AI. And you can see this at the bottom of the Save As window.
What we're going to do here is toggle the file format. So, I'll click the Options button, and here we can see a range of options. Here I'm going to choose PDF. Upon click, we can see some new options become available below. Now, remember the document is made of four artboards. Well, here I only want to export the poster, so I'm going to click on Range and type in three, as that's the artboard my poster is on. So then, I'm going to click Save. Now, up should pop a new PDF settings menu. Here, we are going to configure some of the PDF options. So, from the top, I'm going to click on the PDF presets and select High Quality. This is going to guarantee my artwork is exported to a maximum quality. Coming down on the options, I'm going to make sure View PDF After Saving is checked. This will open the PDF upon export to which we can take a look at our exported file very quickly.
Now, on the left-hand side, we have a list of other criteria. I'm going to click on Marks and Bleeds. Here, I can set what marks and bleeds are generated on my PDF. Now, I'm just going to click on all printer marks and bleeds, and all the boxes will be ticked. You can also uncheck these individually if you don't want to, for example, if you don't want to include the color bars, you can simply click it to toggle that off and back on again. Next on bleeds, I'm going to make sure that Use Document Bleeds Settings is checked, as we have already set up our bleed margins in our document to five millimeters. If you ever find yourself exporting artwork and you have not set up your bleed margins beforehand, simply type in a value here. Once I'm happy, I will press Save PDF. And then up should pop your new PDF. And we can see our new marks and bleeds have been included.
This document is now ready to go over to the printers. Excellent. So, back in the document, this time I'm going to export off the T-shirt design. So, just like earlier, I'm going to come to File, Save As. Upon click, we will get the Save menu, that will ask us where we want to save the file, as usual. So, I'll go ahead and type in a document name. I'll call this T-shirt Design. Then, I'll come to the bottom and toggle a format from AI to PDF. This time, I will type four into range, being the artwork in my document with the T-shirt design on. I'll click Save, and that will pop the PDF properties info. I will choose High Quality from the Adobe PDF preset. This time however, I'll click on the Marks and Bleeds and make sure that no marks and guides are selected. Then, I'll click Save PDF. And there is my T-shirt design, ready to go over to the printers to be pressed onto the magenta-colored T-shirt.
Excellent. So, that covers how to export a PDF in Adobe Illustrator, and that completes the beginner's guide to Adobe Illustrator. Well, I hope you enjoyed this video course. If you were not familiar with Illustrator before this course, I hope I have helped you get up to speed with some of the basics here in Illustrator to help you create your own artwork in the future. If you liked the course, please subscribe to the channel. There will be lots more content like this in future, so don't miss out on that. If you liked the course, go ahead and check the Like button on my Facebook page, and even add me as a friend. Be sure to share this course with your friends who may also be interested in learning Illustrator. If you wish to hear about more up and coming video tutorials and general creative news and updates, you can follow me on Twitter. And of course, check out and subscribe for free to TastiyTuts.com website.
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