Optimizing Your Banner Illustrator CS2
But just what is optimizing? When you create an image and click File > Save, the image is saved in the Illustrator file format (.ai) by default. This is a good idea because you might want to return to the image at a future time and make changes to it. However, this Illustrator file format results in a very large image file which is too large to be used on the web. We need to do two things. First we will convert the image into a file format that can be used on a webpage. The three most common choices are JPEG, GIF and PNG. Most images created in Illustrator are vector graphics and therefore can probably be saved in GIF format. However, I have found that the gradient and the drop shadow look much better when I use the JPEG format. So for this tutorial, we will convert our banner to JPEG. Secondly, we need to reduce the file size to as small as possible for use on the web. But there is a tradeoff. When you reduce the size of the image file, you also lower the visual quality of the image. We need to find a nice balance between file size and quality. For this simple tutorial, we will choose between the built-in High, Medium and Low settings for the JPEG format.
- Open your banner into Illustrator. If you have been following along with the last few tutorials, your banner should be ready to be optimized when you open the image into the program.
- Save for Web. From the Menu Bar, click File > Save for Web which will open the Save for Web dialog box. At the top, you will see four tabs which will give you four different views of your image. The Original tab will show the image in its default Illustrator format before it is optimized. The Optimized tab will show you how your image will look after it is optimized at the format and compression quality of your choice. But we haven't made that choice yet, so click on the Optimized tab.
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