4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 27, 2017 3:18 AM by Justin Brown MMD

    Re Smart Objects the answer?

    Dazzer_21 Level 1

      I'm looking for the most time- and cost-effective way of doing the following, whilst trying to take into account all eventualities when it comes to possible client amends along the way. A basic overview is:

       

      I have to create a library of around 1,000 maps. They are to illustrate a-to-b route-finding. There is one master map, common to all the instances. On the map layout, there are 10 individual start points and from each start point there are approximately 100 unique pathways leading to a destination elsewhere (so 10 maps, each with different start points and 100 paths). The map is created in Illustrator and due to the nature of the map, content changes regularly. Ultimately, the aim is to have each finished map, complete with its unique a-to-b path saved as a .png file, so I end up with 1,000 unique finished items.

       

      The first bit will be to import the master map into Photoshop as a Smart Object with the view that, at the end of the day, this offers the best way to convert the artwork into its final, optimised bitmapped format at the correct pixel dimensions; then edits can be made in Illustrator and they are carried across to Photoshop automatically. My issue is with the paths themselves.

       

      I aim to initially create 10 Illustrator files, one representing each start point. Each one has the map (1 layer) and then each path radiating from it on a separate layer - effectively a 101 layer Illustrator file. Now taking account that even these paths may change along the way - in terms of stroke width, colour or style, whether arrow heads may be added/removed etc - I am guessing that these are probably best imported as smart objects too, one per layer, creating a matching 101 layer Photoshop document.

       

      So... lets say that one set of the full library has already been produced and that all 1,000 bitmapped images are in service. The client now decides that the path lines need to be changes from red to green. To change the colour of the line on each flattened .png file is absolutely out of the question.

       

      So going back to the Illustrator files, I can just ensure that all the layers are unlocked, select all, go to 'Select same stroke colour' in the Object menu and then change the colour of all 100 paths in one hit. So...

       

      Assuming that the method I've just described is correct, is there a way that once the Illustrator file has been saved, I can go back to Photoshop to find that the colours of each path has changed from red to green as well? So effectively editing 100 maps has taken seconds to do as a single action? I appreciate that each and every instance of the map will need to be re-saved as a .png file, but any time saved in the initial editing stage is a bonus.

       

      However, after all that, if the method I have described is NOT correct, can it be done?

       

      Thank you in advance.

        • 1. Re: Re Smart Objects the answer?
          c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

          Why do you involve Photoshop at all and not export the pngs in Illustrator?

           

          I aim to initially create 10 Illustrator files, one representing each start point. Each one has the map (1 layer) and then each path radiating from it on a separate layer - effectively a 101 layer Illustrator file. Now taking account that even these paths may change along the way - in terms of stroke width, colour or style, whether arrow heads may be added/removed etc - I am guessing that these are probably best imported as smart objects too, one per layer, creating a matching 101 layer Photoshop document.

          Say what?

          How exactly do you create the Photoshop Layers based on the ai-file?

          • 2. Re: Re Smart Objects the answer?
            Dazzer_21 Level 1

            Problem with this job is I'm picking it up after someone else had a go and made a complete mess of it. It's either try to reduce the lost hours they've already spent on the job to make the files somehow usable or start from scratch, which will obviously add many hours onto the job, potentially losing it for me. They are the ones who have set up their 1080p files in Photoshop - I'm just trying to rescue them.

            • 3. Re: Re Smart Objects the answer?
              c.pfaffenbichler Level 8

              How exactly do you create the Photoshop Layers based on the ai-file?

              • 4. Re: Re Smart Objects the answer?
                Justin Brown MMD Level 2

                Hi Dazzer,

                 

                here's how I personally would handle this workflow. I'd do the bulk of this in Illustrator, first by setting up a layered AI file like this (it's a simple one for explanation purposes):

                 

                Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 10.58.25.png

                Here I've got three layers, each named descriptively. I assume that your system will have descriptive names for each of the routes, something like "map01-001" to "map10-100", making up your 1000 layers. Two things to note here:

                 

                1. I've included the background on EACH layer - in my example it's the grey rectangle, in yours you'll have 100 layers with map 1 as the background, 100 layers with map 2 as the background and so on. Crucial point: each individual layer will be a complete map in its own right, with none of its visible elements on a different layer.
                2. I've added the suffix ".png" to the name in each layer

                 

                When the time comes to create your 1000 PNG files, simply export your Illustrator file to a PSD to give you a 1000 layer Photoshop file; then in Photoshop go to File > Generate > Image Assets. Photoshop will automatically create a folder full of 1000 PNGs named after the layers in your file. When you want to update, no problem, just update the original AI file and repeat the export/generation process. (The full detail on generating image assets is here: Create image assets from layers in Photoshop - including options for file format and dimensions.)

                 

                To get really smart with it, your 10 base maps could each be an AI file in their own right, placed as linked files in your "master" AI file. Then you don't have to update 100 layers if there's ever a change to the base map - just update the linked file and your master file will update all instances.

                 

                It'll take some planning and be a lot of work up front, but future edits and exports will be a piece of cake.