15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 7, 2009 7:33 PM by Solon Aquila

    'Cropping' complex imported PDF's

    Solon Aquila Level 1

      Greetigns,

       

      We use Illustrator 10 to import and manipulate complex PDF drawings. I find that I sometimes need to have just a small part of a drawing. Unfortunately, there are enough lines that adding anchor points and deleting lines and the like is a tedious, time-consuming task.

       

      I usually endup using the Direct Select tool to draw a box around the area of interest, then Select > Inverse and delete everything not highlighted. Then I begin the process of shortening all lines that extended from within the selected area. It's a good, effective work-around, but I still have to make a lot of individual changes.

       

      I can use the Add Anchor tool to highlight and delete the portions I don't want, but that's still a tedious process.

       

      Is there a way to carve out a square, like I do with the Direct Select tool, but have the items that cross the line be cut there?

       

      I tried using a cropping method I found online, but it turns out that cropping a huge bunch of disconnected, not filled, not overlapped, paths just deletes everything.

       

      Soooo...  if I'm importing line drawing pdfs and need to crop out portions, is there a way that doesn't require me to either shorten or anchor/delete portions of lines that extend outside my area of interest?

       

      thanks,

       

      Solon

        • 1. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          Solon,

           

          If you just want the appearance of the selection, and do not mind having transparent outlying parts, you may just use the box as a Clipping Mask.

           

          If you want to get rid of the outlying parts, and do not mind a destruction of the artwork that outlines paths, you may use the box as a Clipping Mask and then:

           

          1) With the mask selected, click anything but Normal in the Transparency dropdown,

          2) Object>Expand Appearance, using the default 100% Vector.

           

          If you need to keep the paths, stay with the way you do it. You may use Guides as, well, guides. You may already do, of course.

          • 2. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
            Mario Arizmendi Level 3

            I think I understand what you need, if you can't apgrade to CS4 wich have new eraser tools, then search google for kimbo plugin, it has a great tool to cut elements, may be this plugin it's what you need and is less expensive than upgrading to CS4....

             

            See attached tne manual and see the cut tools, I have this plugin and it's fantastic.

            • 3. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
              Solon Aquila Level 1

              Jacob,

               

              Thanks for the info, I would NEVER have figured THAT out... though I had to use 'Flatten Transparency..." not expand. :-)

               

              You've given me the ability to save a TON of time, thank you!!

               

              Solon

              • 4. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                Solon, you are welcome.

                 

                Thanks for the info, I would NEVER have figured THAT out... though I had to use 'Flatten Transparency..." not expand. :-)

                 

                Certainly, I was not fully awake yet when I posted, half an hour before midnight TST. Sorry.

                • 5. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                  Solon Aquila Level 1

                  Jacob,

                   

                  I understand fully about the late night, I've done much worse.

                   

                  Speaking of much worse...

                   

                  It works on all the old files that I inherited as .ai or .eps, but no matter what I do, if I open a PDF file in Illustrator, I still get those overhanging lines when I try what you suggested.

                   

                  I tried doing it with the items in PDF format, then in AI, then in EPS (Which made them HUGE files.. and had a clipping mask on EVERY SINGLE path).

                   

                  I've scoured the settings of the old files (saved as .ai and .eps) and don't have a way of contacting the person who made them.

                   

                  Since I was having success with one type of file and not with the other, I tried:

                   

                  1. Copy/pasting the successful drawing into the unsuccessful file: it worked.

                  2. Copy/pasting the unsuccessful drawing into the successful file: it failed.

                   

                  I've tried opening the PDFs in Illustrator, then saving them as .ai or .eps. I've tried opening them in Acrobat and using File > Save As... and choosing .ai or .eps.

                   

                  The fact that I can make an older drawing work in the new file and a new drawing fail in an old file tells me that there's got to be something about the line drawing itself, the individual paths, that makes this work for the old information, but not the new.

                   

                  Unfortunately, beyond stroke and color, i don't see anything for determining 'path properties' that might account for this.

                   

                  If you have any ideas for 'path troubleshooting', I'd love to hear them. As it sits now, I'm back to doing what I was before: Highlight, Select > Inverse, Delete, Clean Up.

                   

                  :: sigh ::

                   

                  Solon

                  • 6. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                    Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                    Solon,

                     

                    I am afraid you overlooked the yet in my late evening statement.

                     

                    Still pondering.

                    • 7. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                      Solon Aquila Level 1

                      Jacob,

                       

                      I think I figured it out..  I tried selecting EVERYTHING before setting the Transparency to 'other than Normal' and THEN I flattened it all. It seems to work.

                       

                      1. Open the PDF in Illustrator

                      2. Save the PDF as an illustrator file, give it time! (I prefer .ai, as it's a smaller file size and seems to work faster than both .pdf and .eps).

                      3. Surround the area of interest using the Rectangle/Ellipse/Whatever tool.

                      5. Select All (Ctrl + A) to select EVERYTHING.

                      6. Object > Clipping Mask > Make.. and give it time. The 'new you made in step 3 should be above all other paths and say "Clipping Mask" in the Layer palette.

                      7. Select All (Ctrl + A)

                      8. With ALL selected, Window > Transparency > NOT "Normal".. select anything else (I use 'Overlay')

                      9. Object > Flatten Transperancy > Raster/Vector slider to 100, I ignore the 'convert to outline' and other stuff as it doesn't seem to affect me, then  give it time.

                       

                      The end result is an .ai file which can, if I so desire, be edited (highlight areas, etc) changed to the target size and saved as a JPEG for use in FrameMaker.

                      • 8. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                        gprobst Level 2

                        Jacob,

                         

                        Thanks for this technique. I've often wanted to get rid everything that is "invisble" outside of a clipping mask and never really knew such an easy way to achieve this.

                        • 9. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          Solon, I am very pleased to see the happy ending, and stop pondering.

                           

                          gprost, you are welcome. There are limits to  the applicability of this destructive deed, most often because of the outlining of strokes, but in many cases it is just a relief.

                          • 10. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                            Kurt Gold Adobe Community Professional

                            Has someone already tried the Intersection and Clipping plugin provided as part of the following cost-free Plugin collection which is available at the Swiss Institute of Technology?

                             

                            Remember it's Windows only and Illustrator 11 or above is required.

                             

                            http://www.ika.ethz.ch/plugins/index.html

                            http://www.ika.ethz.ch/plugins/downloads/downloads.html

                            • 11. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                              Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                              Hi Kurt,

                               

                              Why not for 10, too? Are we getting too old?

                              • 12. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                                Kurt Gold Adobe Community Professional

                                Practical constraints, Jacob. No discrimination against doters ;-)

                                • 13. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                                  Solon Aquila Level 1

                                  Kurt,

                                  I"m afraid my knowledge of Swiss isn't enough to really comprehend the site, though I'd LOVE to go to Switzerland some day

                                   

                                  I'll be loading the latest Technical Communications suite soon, and I think it includes Illustrator 11.

                                   

                                  Does one of the plugins do as I was describing? I can make a shape or marquee on top of a line drawing and then just 'cut' those out (or cut out everything else)??

                                   

                                  That would be GREAT.

                                   

                                  Solon

                                  • 14. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                                    Kurt Gold Adobe Community Professional

                                    Yes, the Intersection by linear Path Objects plugin is designed for this purpose.

                                    • 15. Re: 'Cropping' complex imported PDF's
                                      Solon Aquila Level 1

                                      NIIIIICE!!!

                                       

                                      When I upgrade I'll definitely try this out!