A common issue Adobe Illustrator users face when integrating their creative projects with ProofHQ is the ability to create a proof from Illustrator documents containing multiple layers or artboards. Adobe Illustrator’s native PNG export functionality can be inconsistent with the images it produces and does not always result in the desired output. Below is a great how-to guide from Matthew Ericson, the deputy graphics director at The New York Times. It provides a script and steps required to effortlessly generate either PDF/ PNG images from your AI layers and artboards.
To use the script, download MultiExporter.jsx and place it in your Illustrator scripts folder (usually in Applications/Adobe Illustrator/Presets/Scripts/ on a Mac or Program files/Adobe Illustrator/Presets/Scripts/ on a PC). Restart Illustrator, and run the script by navigating to “File > Scripts > MultiExporter”
- You can select whether you want to export all the artboards in the document with the currently visible layers showing, or if you want to export files for each of the layers in a document on the currently active artboard, or if you want to export a combination of all the artboards multiplied by all the layers
- Files are given the same name as their layer name. Only layers where their name has been changed from the default (“Layer 1″, “Layer 2″ or “Artboard 1″, “Artboard 2″, etc.) are exported
- Placing a minus sign (-) in front of a layer name or artboard name will skip the layer or artboard respectively (This is useful when you no longer decide you like a particular layer / artboard, but don’t want to delete it from the master Illustrator document)
- Only applicable to layers: If you place a plus sign (+) in front of a layer name, that layer will always be visible (This is useful if you want to have a layer that is always placed in the background of each exported image)
- The settings are stored in a non-visible, non-printing layer named “nyt_exporter_info”
- There is an option for transparency, and lets you choose between PNG8, PNG24 and PDF
You can test this on a sample file artboard-layer-test.ai
This file contains artwork for buttons on three artboards — “Red”, “Blue” and “-Green” — and contains seven layers.
- Running the script and selecting “Export Artboards (with currently visible layers)” will generate two files: Red.png and Blue.png that include any layers showing at the time you run the script. (It excludes the “-Green” artboard because the artboard name begins with a minus sign)
- If you chose “Export Layers (on currently selected artboard)” it will generate two files: Play.png and Pause.png. The “+Button” and “+Gradient” layers will appear in the background of both exported files, and it will skip the “-Pause 2″ and “Layer 5″ layers
- Running the script and selecting “Artboard + Layers” will create a combination of the two other options and generate four files: Red-Play.png, Red-Pause.png, Blue-Play.png and Blue-Pause.png
Now that your Illustrator images have been exported you are ready to integrate them into the ProofHQ system. For our enterprise customers, we have introduced the combined files functionality to allow you to generate a single proof from multiple images. Alternatively, you can generate a single proof for each of the exported images. You can read more about this here.
For more information and video tutorials on creating proofs, click here.