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Pen tool in Illustrator

Posted on 2005-03-27
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi

Illustrator CS

There is no Illustrator topic that I can see, but I thought that Photoshop users would most likely have Illustrator experience. Sorry if I am braking any rules.

I am creating shapes with Illustrator's pen tool. They sort of resemble rectangles but not symetric. I am not using strokes, only fills. The problem lies in the fact that the pen tool creates jagged images, the edges on all sides are not coming out crisp and clean like vector art work should.

 I wondered if I am supposed to set the fidelity and smoothness tolerance in the brush and pencil settings and that this will set the standards for the pen tool. If so, what are the best settings for geometric shapes that need clean crisp edges? Maybe they are not even related and a simple modifying key stroke will do. I do not want 45 degree angles and as far as I can tell , this is the only key modifier that gives me crisp edges.

Any help would be appreciated.

Izzie
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Question by:izziebelly
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15 Comments
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Deija
ID: 13649062
I'm not sure what you mean I opened up illistrator cs and usd the pen tool in all sorts of shapes and it can look jaggedy at certian zoom levels but unless you can show us a screen dump of the way it is looking for you I don't think i can hep much
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Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13651550
Hi,

I posted a high quality res image on my website to demonstrate. I wasn't sure how to place a screen shot here at Experts exchange. Even though it is not a vector file, it mimicks the problem. Please notice the very bottom stair in the logo. This is what I feel is not vector quality. The paths look crooked in outline mode and and in preview mode.

Please go to http://sharonrieger.com/illustrator.html

I thought that all vector images looked clean and crisp no matter how much of a zoom you use. I am no Illustrator expert, that is for sure, and maybe I am expecting too much from the program or doing something really silly.

Izzie



0
 

Expert Comment

by:tgebauer
ID: 13658562
Izzie,

When you use the vector path tools in Photoshop they are mainly for doing precision selecting and creating more complex shapes than the marquee and lasso tools can not create. For example, if you have a complex curved shape that you want to cut out of a background, the pen (or the vector art tools) are more suited for that task as it allows you to go back and tweak your selection.  The purpose of the paths in Photoshop is really to allow you to create complex shapes and then load the paths as a selection to modify using the Photoshop filters.  Because of this, you don't get the kind of stroke you would normally associate with an Illustrator drawing.  Keep in mind that Photoshop is a raster program and Illustrator is a vector program.  

What you can do is take the paths you've created in Illustrator and import them into Photoshop and vice versa.


But since your question is about Illustrator, I would check your settings to make sure that you're not viewing your Illustrator drawing in "Pixel Preview Mode" ( View > Pixel Preview ).  If it's selected, just de-select it, and you should be able to view your vector based artwork.  Also, the quality of your vector drawings relies heavily on the speed of your computer.   If you are creating the artwork with a slower computer it takes more time for it to compute the vector art, thereby creating the jaggies on the screen.  But it sounds to me like you might be viewing it in pixel preview.  Let me know how this works out for you! What a weird and annoying problem this must be for you.

Regards!

- Tom
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Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13665678
Tom

Weird and annoying is a good description for it.

Whether viewing in Pixel preview and in Oultine, the jagged lines are still occuring.
I have 2 GB RAM, 13GHZ pentium processor, 140Gb hard drive, so I think this is ok.

this is probably something wrong on my part since I cannot find an answer anywhere.

Since I am creating a logo for print, I don't want to rasterize it in Photoshop

I appreciate your help and hope that if I leave this open long enough, someone will have had the same issue and a resolve for it

thanks tom
izzie
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Sparkle101
ID: 13712206
Hi izzie.

You don't say in your post, but if I understand you right the jagged/blurry edges occur when you (I don't know which method you use) either saves the image for web in Illustrator or opens it in Photoshop and saves it for web there. If you do the latter then beware of this: When you open the file in Photoshop, don't use File > Open. Use File > Place. This allows you to open a preview of the vector image from Illustrator, scale, skew, rotate and move it until you have it in the right position. When you do press Enter. Then wil the image be rasterized and will be of the same resolution as the image it is imported into. (That's vectors for ya) If you open a vector image and then scales it, it will be resampled, hence crippling edges and blurring them.

If you use Illustrator's File > Save for Web you should not choose JPG as file format, but GIF. Your image is a typical GIF. While it only utilizes 256 colors it does not loose quality when compressing. The blurry edges on your logo comes from the JPGs lossy compression method, which sacrifices quality for color depth. (Or from the logo being rescaled after it was reasterized as described above).

If a vector image becomes blurry/jagged on the edges it always means it has been rasterized. It has nothing to do with any settings.

Hope this helps.

S
0
 

Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13716263
Hi
Thanks for you reply.

The jagged edges occur during authoring time in Illustrator, while it is still a vector image.
 I am not opening it in Photoshop. The only reason I saved it for the web , from within Illustrator was to demonstrate how it looked because the vector version in Illustrator and the web save image looked pretty similiar.

It is most likely a problem on my end, whatever that problem is. A little frustrating.

izzie
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Sparkle101
ID: 13716524
OK...does the logo look like the one on the webpage at 100% zoom while still being a vector? What happens when you print it?
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Sparkle101
ID: 13771995
Hallo Izzie, still following up on this?

Is the image only jagged onscreen? Or is it also jagged when you print it?
0
 

Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13853231
Hi

Sorry for taking so long to respond.

It is jagged on screen and when printed.

Izzie
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Sparkle101
ID: 13853262
OK, tricky...can you post the original ai file on your web site? Then I can download it and try it on my system.
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Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13856975
Hi Sparkle,

I'm not sure how to post a file for download on my site. Do I need to set up an anonymous ftp?

izzie
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Sparkle101
ID: 13857021
Hi Izzie,

No, just upload the file an provide the full path, for instance: http://sharonrieger.com/logo.ai

S
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Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13857040
I tried that, but the file gets opened as a pdf. When a copy of the file in Illustrator, I unchecked the option for saving a compatible pdf. I am using illustrator CS.

Here is the direct path: http://sharonrieger.com/expertsExchange/fhllStairs.ai
and here is an html page with a link to the ai file http://sharonrieger.com/expertsExchange/jagged.html

if you happen to have any luck, please notice the bottom most step  on the staircase of the logo

izzie
0
 
LVL 2

Accepted Solution

by:
Sparkle101 earned 2000 total points
ID: 13857221
OK, I got it. As far as I can tell the paths behave like normal. The jaggedness I can detect comes from the limitations of the printer or the screen. When i scale the stairs and print them they come out fine. Vectors are device dependent, which means they will print at the maximum resolution the output device can master. If you send this logo to a commercial printer it will come out crisp and clear. However you should be aware that the file is in RGB mode now. You should change it to CMYK and maybe consider to use spot colors. I think you can print this logo with only two colors. (Two shades of blue and one yellow)

S
0
 

Author Comment

by:izziebelly
ID: 13865153
Hi

Thanks. I will have to test it out on a nice printer. I used RGB because this version of the logo was for the client's website and for a digital printing at Kinkos. They said not to bother with a CMYK if I already had one in RGB.

I appreciate all your help.

izzie
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