January 11, 2009

Crop This: More Useful Trim Marks in Illustrator

A while back, I posted a few scripts from Shane Stanley, which added some important functionality to the multiple artboards feature in Illustrator.

Most folks are also familiar with the fact that multiple artboards were once called "crop areas" back in Illustrator CS3. But there's also another feature in Illustrator that helps you define cropping areas, with drawn objects. In previous versions of Illustrator, this command, Create Trim Marks, was found in the Filter menu.

But alas, in Illustrator CS4, the Filter menu has been removed altogether, and the Trim Marks function was moved into the Effect menu. As such, the command is now a live effect, and must be expanded if you want to edit the marks that are drawn.

But let's be honest here -- the trim marks that Illustrator have always created aren't very useful. They are large, and they are offset quite a ways off from the selected artwork that is used to define them. Chances are, if you've used the Create Trim Marks feature before, you've also manually adjusted them afterwards.

I asked Shane if he thought it would be difficult to add some functionality to his already-wonderful Artboard Coordinates script to also have it create custom trim marks. His response came in the form of an email that read: "you mean like this?" and there was a script attached :)

And so now, I pass on the golden prize to you -- a script that not only takes multiple artboards to a new level, but that also creates customized trim marks. All you need to do is select an object and click on the Trim Marks button and a dialog box appears asking you for the desired length, offset, and weight of the strokes, and even offers an option to create dashed lines to indicate folds. You can also choose to place the marks on a specific layer.

Download the script here, and don't forget to thank Shane. Please note: This is an AppleScript, and as such, is a Mac-only application.

P.S. I wrote this post using some new blogging software that I was introduced to, called blogo. I've tried a few editors in the past and haven't come across one that I've really liked, but this one seems pretty cool so far. Hopefully it will mean I'll be blogging more often without the hassle. If you do blog on your own, you should check it out.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mordy, thanks to you and Shane a lot for this script! Will be really usefull :)

Anonymous said...

:( Just downloaded the script and found out it's applescript but I'm on windows and so not able to use it.

Mordy could you please edit your post to save disappointment to other Windows people?


Unknown said...

Doh! Thanks Mike -- I totally forgot to add that to my original post. I've since updated it accordingly.

The Hollands said...

I'm very new to the illustrator world. I just finished up your training at lynda.com, great stuff. Just wanted to say thank you, I really enjoyed the lessons, your a good teacher. I'm a little overwhelmed at this point but look forward to learning more from your blog. Thank you.

David T said...

Thanks Mordy and Shane. Great script.

A related question: is there some way in Illustrator to hide everything that is outside the artboards?

If often draw stuff leaving bits hanging off the edge of the artboard. I also leave drafts and resources outside the artboard. It would be great to be able to preview the finished document by hiding everything outside.

Unknown said...

The Hollands - thanks!

David T - this is all I can offer

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this script and all the other info on this blog.

I also watched your cs4 chapters on Lynda.com and liked it very much. I am also half way through the cs3 training there by Deke. Both are great actually. Next thing is to wait for a little bit better economy to buy your cs4 book. (I already have 2 and 3... I know, I like books)

A bit funny that as I like your calm style a little bit better I find that Deke has in many ways preferences more like I do. Like he prefers to select objects by path only, were you like direct selection from what I see.

About scripts:

1. There is a nice script in beta by Kelso, http://kelsocartography.com/scripts/ people might like to know about, that makes calendars in Illustrator. Progressing nicely.

2. Is there any one place where one could access all the nice stuff that JET puts on the Adobe Illustrator Forum? The search there is not the best one and usually JET only places a direct link to his stuff or simply pastes it into the forum.

Sorry, I only meant to say thanks in this post, but since I've come this far: The blogging software you mention in the PS: You might want to try out: ecto, a little known but very powerful blog editor, http://illuminex.com/mac/ecto I have used it for three years now and find it very nice. Great to write offline and also keep the posts in one place.


Anonymous said...

Seems to be a problem with the crop marks download - it keeps downloading the artboard co-ords script and not the crop marks one.
Or is it just me?

Unknown said...

sigurdur - thanks for the kind words! I'm not aware of any single resource for JET's scripts, but I'll touch base with him and see if I can do that for him. Great suggestion.

martin - Shane actually added the Trim Marks feature to the existing Artboard Coordinates script -- so you've got the right file :)

Anonymous said...

excellent find as always Mordy - thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Mordy/Shane: Tnx 4 the script but unfortunately not all of us got CS4 yet, so, im wondering if there is a way to configure the script for CS2 and CS3? this might be wonderfull!
Tnx again, keep going!

Shane Stanley said...

Alas, the utility relies on the multiple-pasteboards feature only introduced in CS4, so it wouldn't be any use under earlier versions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mordy, how do you 'expand' the crop mark effect? The Expand button in the Pathfinder box is greyed out, so I'm guessing that's not it...

Unknown said...

The expand button only applies to Shape Effects, not Pathfinders. The Crop Mark effect is actually a Live Effect - to expand it, choose Object > Expand Appearance.

imjohnh said...

when I download this script I get a file called "Artboard coords.app"

I don't know what to do with this app. It does not appear to be like any other applescripts I've used before.

I can double click it and if AI is not open it launches and then generates a runtime error, which I can click through and get some sort of palette, but it doesn't work. If AI is running I jump straight to the runtime errors.

What am I doing wrong?

Earl Kallemeyn said...

Great idea, however script not working for me.

Earl Kallemeyn said...

Got it! Had to click on Artboard Coordinates icon to get 1st palette, then click on crop marks icon to get crop marks palette. Perfectly obvious (now).

Tricia said...

How does one implement the applescript? I mean literally. Do I drag the script to a certain folder within Illustrator? Should I shut the app down first? Elementary details, please. Thank you!

Faraz said...

Is there a windows version of this script????

Anonymous said...

I have a file with a black background. The crop marks don't show up. Is there anything I can do about that (change the color etc, but they should still not be printable)?


nathalie said...

Not sure if anyone is reading this post anymore, but this is the error I'm getting when I have Illustrator open and double click the script to get it running. The palette appears, but when I click the crop marks icon this error happens: http://i.imgur.com/nopVC.png

Any ideas? It's working perfectly on a different company computer.

PrinterD said...

What version of Illustrator is this for? It doesn't load in 3 or 4.

Anonymous said...

Well, close but no cigar. I was going mad thinking that no one but me had a problem with crop marks that were 0.75" in length. Unfortunately this script isn't working for me (CS5), but honestly, I'm trying to figure out a way to get shorter crop marks without creating importing every single thing I do into InDesign, which, makes lovely crop marks.

Insane, this truly is.