save as flattened PDF? perhaps
You can't flatten the file into a PDF if you're going to submit it to iStock for people to download and play around with.
Fully familiarize yourself with these topics:
- Combining paths. These are functions common in vector programs which union, punch, and intersect multiple paths. In Illustrator, they are called Pathfinders.
- Outlining Srokes. Creates unstroked filled paths around the edges of stroked paths. Understanding this is integral to using path combination functions in Illustrator especially, because Illustrator is so poor at cutting and dealing with open unfilled paths.
- Transparency and other Raster Effects. You need to understand which effects and transparency settings result in rasterization, and what that portends regarding the scaleability of your artwork.
- Color Model. Are you going to deliver CMYK or RGB files? Do you know why?
What format do you intend to provide to the clipart reseller? Native AI files? If so, what version?
Merely having Layers in your AI file does not significantly affect file size. An AI file is a stack of objects. That's true whether the whole stack of objects resides on a single Layer or a hundred Layers. Layers are nothing but another way of "grouping" subsets of the object stack for organization purposes. You seem to be thinking of Layers in AI as similar to Layers in Photoshop. That is a very common and very basic misunderstanding of the nature of vector artwork.
It's the object constructs that you need to concern yourself with when creating clean, efficient, reliable, versatile, and easy-to-work-with vector artwork. "Normalize" things to their simplest constructs. Avoid unnecessary anchorpoints, clipping paths, masking, so-called "transparency" and "live effects."
I very much applaud your desire to build clean files. (There is far too much sloppy, convoluted crap floating around out there nowadays.) Not meaning to discourage, but the fact of your concern about Layers frankly suggests that you may not really be ready to be delivering ready-made and problem-free artwork for widespread use as clipart. You need to fully understand the items mentioned above, and alot more. Asking questions in a user forum will be a very slow method of learning that stuff--there are too many variables and specific situations.
Jet, thank you for taking the time to explain all of that to me. However, iStock has a pretty comprehensive guide for submiting vectors to their site, which covers all of that and then some. I know what has to be done. I'm just wanting to know how to do it more efficiently. That is why I came to this forum - to find out how to do this.
I appreciate the info. I really do. But you can leave out the Dr. Phil character assesments of my ability. I'm more than capable of "delivering ready-made and problem-free artwork for widespread use".
Just stick to helping me with what I asked about in my first post and we'll be fine.
(sorry about the "dwcloud" - for some reason this site isn't logging me in as "d.cloud" and keeps asking me for a screenname so I had to choose that one)