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  • Illustrator or InDesign?

    I'm working on two projects: a presentation folder and a 7-foot tall free-standing banner for our school district. These aren't multi-page designs, obviously, and so my conscience says that I should be designing these in Illustrator. But I find it InDesign so much friendlier to work with for a couple reasons:

    1. I can make one version of a design (say it's a large banner), and then if I want to see how a slightly different version would look I can create a new page and do it there. I can therefore view and edit a number of different versions just by scrolling through the pages, rather than having a number of files open.

    2. It's much easier to crop photos in InDesign: just resize the frame as you wish, and if you have to resize the photo inside the frame you can use the white arrow tool to select the photo. In Illustrator you have to create a clipping path. But if you're cropping to a very small area of a large photo, you have this large area around the crop that can still be "selected" even though it's invisible (does that make sense?).

    These are only two reasons, but the clipping path thing is a real annoyance to me. Is there a function in Illustrator that I'm missing that would make this easier? Why is the photo-cropping functionality not the same in InDesign and Illustrator?

  • #2
    honestly when making posters that I know will not need any of the drawing elements that illustrator offers I make them in Indy. It is a lot easier, like you said, when dealing with photo heavy work. Also you can always do the layout, the cropping of photos, and text then save as an .eps and then bring it into illustrator for additional editing. That is what i do in my sign shop. If some wants a whole done up flashy thing then it gets done in illustrator completely. As far as a folder its the same. I love indy much more then illy for simple projects.

    steve

    Comment


    • #3
      On a large format, single page design, it really all depends on which program you are more comfortable with, and prefer to work in. You've already stated this is InDesign. Myself, I'm more comfortable working in Illustrator, and do much more complex artwork than InDesign is able to produce. When working in Indy, I often come to the point of, "Argh! I can't do that in Indy, I wish I was in Illy!". As a more comfortable Indy user, you probably have the same thing happen to you, the other way.

      On a large format banner, here are your main cons of the two programs...

      Illustrator - very slow to load and process files.

      Indy - Limited in what it can do with blends, opacity masks, etc., etc. Also a huge memory hog, so it may crash a computer without enough RAM. However, it will restore your last session upon bootup, unlike Illustrator, where the work will be lost if you crash.

      If this was straight vector artwork, to be saved as an EPS, I would say that Illustrator would be the obvious choice. Since you are including photographic images, then Indy becomes a solid option.

      I hope you talked to your large format printer though, regarding resolution and color requirements for the photographic images you include.
      Last edited by Ned; 06-01-2007, 07:38 PM.
      Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
      mediamainline.com
      cyclopsphoto.ca

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses. Usually I don't need the advanced blending options in Illustrator so InDesign works fine.

        I do always make sure to ask the printer what resolution to use. Lately I've been big on making the design in InDesign, exporting to EPS, opening in Photoshop, flattening, and saving at the size and resolution that the printer requests. That way I know that all my transparencies, drop shadows, feathers, etc. won't mess up when the printer opens the file.

        Last year when I was working on a couple large banners I designed one in Illustrator at full size and it was a mess. I was using the drop shadow filter and it took forever to render it on screen. I tried InDesign on a second banner and it worked like a charm, drop shadows and all. I've also done a large table throw in InDesign at half or quarter size then exported to EPS and opened in Photoshop at the real size and resolution. This works great, too, as long as you're careful of the photo resolutions.

        I really just wonder why Illustrator doesn't have the same photo/object "frame" capability that InDesign has. I'm sure there's a good reason, though. Illustrator has been on the market for... what, over a decade?

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        • #5
          InDesign is for layouts. Illustrator is for illustrations. Period. If you don't have, or don't know how to use InDesign - or you're under a massive time crunch and you're more prolific in Illustrator - Illustrator can be used to create layout files. But that's not what its made for, as those proficient in both programs are well aware of. If you've got time to set it up in InDesign, do it. You'll thank yourself later.
          . . . in bed

          (.)(.)™

          You can fry an egg on the devil's hiney, but it ain't never gonna come out sunny-side up, A-men!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by undressedmonster
            I do always make sure to ask the printer what resolution to use. Lately I've been big on making the design in InDesign, exporting to EPS, opening in Photoshop, flattening, and saving at the size and resolution that the printer requests. That way I know that all my transparencies, drop shadows, feathers, etc. won't mess up when the printer opens the file.
            If you're going to rasterize your file like that, I would suggest using the Transparency Flattener Preset. That way, you simply export the file flattened, with no other steps. It won't affect any of your working files, only your final exported file. Plus, you can easily rasterize all your artwork, while leaving text clean and crisp in vector format. Rasterized text, even at high resolution, becomes blurry and difficult to read. Also, I would suggest exporting to PDF rather than EPS. EPS is better for all-vector graphics. PDF is best for a mix of raster and vector, whereas TIFF is best for all raster.

            (First create your preset under Edit=>Transparency Flattener Presets, then apply it to your PDF export settings under Advanced => Output)
            Last edited by Ned; 06-01-2007, 09:14 PM.
            Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
            mediamainline.com
            cyclopsphoto.ca

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for that tip, Ned. If I know I have a lot of text I will go that route rather than rasterizing the entire thing.

              Oh, and I just remembered a third reason why I like InDesign better: you can press the "Preview" button and it greys out the rest of the pasteboard. I love that feature. Another thing that I don't know why they can't implement in Illustrator.

              Comment


              • #8
                Why are you flattening like that in Photoshop??? Your colors can't be corrected like that. And if your printer can't output an InD or Illy file banner properly from native, you may want to check references.

                As for using the Fuzzy drop shadow filter in Illy, DO NOT use the Filter for large format. Use the Effect. The Effect drop shadow is controlled by your Raster Effects Setting (do you know where that is in Illy?) but the Filter is not. So if your RES is set incorrectly your banner will look like crap if you use the filter. Your printer should know this as well.

                You can use Illy for one pager stuff. Since Illy 10 it has been relatively stable for large format stuff that includes transparency.

                And Illy does have photo box control. You have to create it as a mask though. Import your photo, draw a box over it, select both and hit Apple+7. You use the direct select tool on the image just like InD.

                If you are doing multiple designs in InD on multiple pages, be sure your production file only contains what you want printed. No extra pages, no shut off layers, no stuff off the artboard.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for your input, PD. I was hoping you'd respond because I know you work with large formats. I think I've only sent an InDesign file (with all the photos, fonts, etc.) to a printer once. Usually it's a PDF, EPS, or TIF (depends on what they ask for). For this folder I'm working on I'll try to send as an InDesign file, but I'm kind of embarrassed because it looks like a project that should be done in Illustrator.

                  Originally posted by PrintDriver
                  And Illy does have photo box control. You have to create it as a mask though. Import your photo, draw a box over it, select both and hit Apple+7. You use the direct select tool on the image just like InD.
                  The problem I have with this method is that after you mask the photo the area that is "hidden" still gets selected by the selection tool. This is a pain if you're trying to select something behind the hidden/masked area (see attached image). To me, the way this is handled in InDesign is so much easier. Maybe that's because I'm used to it. But it just seems more intuitive.

                  Originally posted by PrintDriver
                  If you are doing multiple designs in InD on multiple pages, be sure your production file only contains what you want printed. No extra pages, no shut off layers, no stuff off the artboard.
                  Oh good god, of course. I'm guessing you get a lot of files with extra crap in them?
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Had a doozy recently.
                    Over 480mb of un-needed crap.

                    I see your point on the photo box. I wish to heck that Illy would only recognize the mask. Sucks trying to align things...

                    I actually have no preference what program you or any designer uses for design. As long as I have the ability to get the color under control and output a nice product, I'm cool.

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                    • #11
                      I certainly agree that Indy's handling of square picture boxes is much easier, but Illy's handling of non-square clipping masks is also much better.

                      So really, your design dicates which is easiest for you.
                      Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
                      mediamainline.com
                      cyclopsphoto.ca

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        InD does non-square things ok. And handles PS paths fine as well.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah, I was a little confused by that myself, PD.
                          "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!" - Ricky Ricardo

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                          • #14
                            I'm not saying it doesn't handle it fine... I'm just saying that it's easier to manipulate. Just like starting a square picture box couldn't be easier than the way it is in Indy. Click, drag, place, adjust. If you're placing a large number of images, one or two extra steps can add up to a lot of time.
                            Ned Yeung, A.C.E.
                            mediamainline.com
                            cyclopsphoto.ca

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No click dragging.
                              Use measurement palette please.

                              Comment

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