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Got Illustrator or Photoshop Questions?

Theresa Jackson Q and A Preview ST Booth Appearance at ISA

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Editor’s Note: You can meet Theresa at the ISA Sign Expo, in ST’s booth (#3125) on Thursday, April 4, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. or on Friday, April 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. She operates Orchard View Color (Escondido, CA) and has more than 25 years of experience in prepress, graphic design, color management and photography. She also holds two Guru Awards for Photoshop World, is a member of the San Diego-based Photo Arts Group and teaches a digital-darkroom class. Here’s a sample of the type of questions she’ll answer for booth visitors.

Q: I’ve heard you recommend Photoshop for vehicle wraps. Can I mix Photoshop files into my Illustrator design?
A: Sure. Often, the best workflow utilizes both Photoshop and Illustrator. And, of course, Photoshop is required for photographs. It also handles textures, shadows and glow effects better than Illustrator does, because these items are rasterized at output.

Q: I find that creating wide-format designs gives me very large files. Is there an ideal resolution or pixels-per-inch that I should set, to create an acceptable image while not having to reprocess the large file?
A: Understanding when and why to design with Photoshop can help because it’s a resolution-dependent bitmap editor, which can create vector objects that are not resolution-dependent. Also, the objects become pixels as soon as you flatten the Photoshop document layers.

Q: Can you use vector graphics in an illustration, such as a car wrap?
A: Vector objects are not resolution-dependent, so their size comprises much fewer megabytes. You can scale Illustrator’s vector art infinitely, which allows you to confidently design at a scale factor because no image-quality degradation will occur when you rescale the image for output.

Q: Do you have suggestions for vehicle-wrap designers?
A: My first suggestion is to be sure you know where the client expect the vehicle to be when its viewed, because you’ll design a highway reader differently than a vehicle that wants read in a parking lot. As for layout, it’s important to know where the panels will meet — the side graphics vs. the front or rear graphics, for example. I’ve noticed that wrap installers prefer to seam graphics between the quarter panel and the bumper, which often aligns to the vehicle’s front and rear. I suggest your side graphics partially wrap around such corners. Also, avoid patterned designs or linear graphics where the sides meet at the front, back and hood. Strict design alignment here causes extra work for both you and the installer. As with all complex design work, talk to the printer before you begin the design.
 

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