September 6, 2007

New Document Profiles and Metadata

In a previous post, I spoke about Illustrator CS3's New Document Profiles (I like to call them NDPs) and how you can create your own. Oh, but there's so much more about NDPs that I want to tell you about. You see, not all NDPs are created equal. Let's take a closer look.

When creating a new document from the Welcome screen in Illustrator CS3, you'll notice that if you click on the Mobile and Devices profile -- Adobe Device Central launches. You choose a device or settings there and then you click create and you end up back in Illustrator with a new document with all the right settings for the device you chose. How does Illustrator know to launch Device Central when you click on the Mobile and Devices profile?

When creating a new document from the File > New command, you get the New Document dialog box. Clicking the Advanced button gives you additional settings for the chosen NDP, including document Color Mode, document Raster Effects resolution settings, and the default Preview Mode. But choose the Video and Film NDP and an additional setting pops up -- one for the Transparency Grid settings. How did Illustrator know to add that for the Video profile? From the same menu, choose the Mobile and Devices profile and a button marked "Device Central" appears beneath the Templates button on the right side of the dialog.

What if you want to create your own profile and you want a transparency grid setting to show up? What if you're creating custom mobile profiles and want to quickly jump into Device Central when creating new documents?

Would you believe it if I told you that all of this functionality is controlled by Metadata? Read on, my friend.

I'll show this to you using Bridge, but you can do this directly from within Illustrator as well (only you have to physically open a file to do it). Launch Adobe Bridge, and navigate to the location where all of your NDPs are stored. If you forgot where they live on your drive, refer to this post.

Select the Print profile and then choose File > File Info (you can also right-click on the file). This opens the File Info dialog that allows you to view and edit the file's metadata. Scan down the left side of the dialog to find the item named Illustrator and click on it. This panel in the File Info dialog lists something called Document Profile, which is currently set to Print.


Go ahead, it won't hurt, and you can always change it back (you'll just have to trust me...)

Let's change it to, say, Video and Film. Click OK and switch back to Illustrator. Choose File > New to create a new document and choose the Print profile. You'll see that now, Illustrator displays the Transparency Grid option for the Print profile!

Go back to Bridge, and change the metadata for the Print profile to Mobile and Devices and you'll see that when you choose Print, the Device Central button appears. Now change the metadata back to Print to return the settings to their correct ones.

And here you thought that metadata was just a silly thing. In reality, Illustrator reads the metadata and changes its behavior based on it. And if you think that's all, I have news for you -- there are other things in Illustrator that change based on a profile's metadata setting. But you'll just have to come back tomorrow to find out what that is...

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