May 1, 2007

ASK MORDY: Custom Views

This question comes from Bruce Herbes:

I create maps in illustrator & the layer palette is terrific, however from one file I often need to export 10-20 different versions of the artwork. Each time I need to manually change the relevant layer visibility on and off, which is time consuming & prone to error. Is there a way to save groups or sets of layer visibility settings?

YES! YES! YES! You can do this quite easily using a brand new feature that was added to Illustrator 3.2 (sorry)...

It's a feature called Custom Views, and here's how it works:

1. Open your layers palette and show and hide layers as you like.

2. Change your zoom level to your desired view on your screen (custom views memorize zoom level and window position).

3. Choose View > New View. Give the view a name and click OK.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 to add more custom views.

Now you can simply choose View > [YourViewName] and you're done.

Custom views are saved within each file, so you can create as many views as you like for each file and they'll be there for you...



Anonymous said...

I have a question for Mordy:
In CS2 you can 'hack' Bridge to change the Live Trace tool so that you can process more than 10 images - you can change it to 99999.
(line 34 of 'LiveTrace_AI.jsx' becomes:
var MAX_BATCH_SIZE = 99999;)
This is a very useful feature if you want to work with Live Trace and still images pulled out of QuickTime and then used more with Photoshop etc
Can you still do this with CS3?

NB I was doing this with 10 images at a time until I saw a podcast on Creative Cow which detailed the hack. It is apparently legal and approved by Adobe, so there are no ethical problems involved, it also saves a reat deal of repetitive activity and pointless labour.
Illustrator is a great tool for moving images - it works well with Motion and After Effects as well as Flash - people just don't talk about it quite so much.

Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled into thinking that you have to buy CS 3 just for this. you CAN do this in Illustrator CS 1 and CS 2. Just set your zoom level, window size etc., set your layer visibility, and choose View > New View... and Layer visibility is saved in the new view you just created. Change your layer visibility to a new "set" and save a new view. you can access the saved views from the View menu.

Mordy, I understand pimping CS3 but wouldn't you rather help solve peoples' problems with what they have.


Gary Spedding, Ph.D. said...

While the last comment was a bit sharp I agree that I enjoy it better when you cover things we can do in earlier or across existing versions. More please!

mefull said...

Ease up Josh...

If you read Mordy's post you will see he said this "NEW" (read humor) feature is available in Illustrator 3.2, that's not CS3 but Illustrator version 3, well 3.2 to be exact.

Just goes to show you there is a lot in Illustrator that everyone does not use, but might still find useful.


Unknown said...

Yes, I believe that you can still modify the script to crank through more images at once. All scripts that ship with Adobe software are generally "sample" scripts to show people the kinds of things scripts can do -- they are MEANT to be messed with :)

In the case of the Live Trace Bridge script, I think they originally limited it to 10 images because of performance issues, but that could be just a limit to what Adobe was willing to test for.

Josh - my overall goal is help ALL people who use Illustrator. No matter what version they use. As Mefull correctly stated, my attempt at humor may have made it seem otherwise, but what I was saying was that you have been able to apply Custom Views since Illustrator 3.2 (circa 1990).

Anonymous said...

Since the original question was specifically about saving layer states, it might have been better to describe this feature as having been added in Illustrator 5.

Saved views were indeed introduced in Illustrator 3.2, but since layers did not appear until Illustrator 5, all the saved views recorded when they first appeared were the zoom level, scroll position, and whether the document was in Preview or Outline view mode.

When layers were added in Illustrator 5, the saved views were updated to record the view state for each layer.

And it would be less likely that casual readers might misconstrue 5.0 as referring to a recent version.

mefull said...

Which brings up the point... I guess nobody wants to use Illustrator version 11, 12, or 13, or at least the marketing folks at Adobe didn't think they would?

If CS stands for Creative Suite how come the stand alone version of (Illustrator, Photoshop etc.) is still called CS 1, 2 or 3?

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I feel like the biggest idiot! Sorry Mordy I guess I read your post too quickly.


Anonymous said...

mefull said "If CS stands for Creative Suite how come the stand alone version of (Illustrator, Photoshop etc.) is still called CS 1, 2 or 3?"


The reasoning behind this decision is that, even if you do not buy the full suite, it is often important to know whether the version of Photoshop or InDesign that you are using is the one that was released at the same time as the version of Illustrator that you are using. (And now the same holds true for Flash, Dreamweaver, etc.)

While it can indeed be confusing to have to remember that Illustrator CS is one version later than Illustrator 10, it would be even more confusing to have to remember that Illustrator 12, Photoshop 9 and InDesign 4 are all of the same generation, and keep adding to your mental lookup table with each suite version.

So we try to accomodate both needs, and mainly use the CS numbering in the branding, but put the application-specific numbering in the "fine print", so that you can keep track of it if you need to compare to a version that predates the Creative Suites.

mefull said...

Thanks Teri,

That all makes good sense, glad you didn't rename them all "2007" or something silly like that.

I am happy to see the "real" version number still shows up on the launch spash screen.


Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem but not the same one...I'm not interested in simply saving the layer visibility settings (this layer on, this layer off, depending on which part of the file I want to print)---although that's a nice trick, and one I didn't know about.

I want to save the complete layer palette appearance. If certain layers and sublayers are rolled up and out of sight and out of the way, while other layers and sublayers visible and expanded, I want that to be remembered the next time I open a file.

Whenever I open the complicated AI file I spend most of my time in, I spend the first ten minutes clicking little white arrows, because I don't need to have every single layer expanded, and this is what Illustrator does by default. I want Illustrator to remember which layers I had expanded and which I didn't the last time I used Illustrator.

Failing that, I'd like to be able to load a saved Layers palette. This would also turn certain layers on or off, the same way your tip about saving Views does, plus expand or collapse layers, make them show preview or artwork, etc. etc.

Is there a way to do this? When you click a triangle to show or hide a layer, I'm sure somewhere Illustrator is saving a 0 or a 1, something simple like that...seems like it'd be fairly easy to save those 0's and 1's in the registry or something.

fr32c said...

That just rocks !!!! and i never used it AT ALL.

So may be that's just me... or may bea little panel named "custom views (à la layer comps) would help us use the function instead of scrolling aaaaaall the way down to the menus :)

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