[OS X TeX] Preparation of illustrations for press

Ross Moore ross at ics.mq.edu.au
Tue Mar 25 19:35:36 EDT 2008

On 26/03/2008, at 9:47 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> What I often use Illustrator for is idiosyncratic in this respect:  
> namely, take advantage of its ability to separate a graphics into  
> its different elements, so as to be able to transform some of these  
> individually afterwards. For example, make some lines thicker,  
> transform others into dashes, fill some closed elements with  
> background, change fonts.

Yes. I do this a lot too.
Generally the defaults that one gets from Mathematica
(and other mathematical/scientific software) are not good
for clarity, especially after scaling down for insertion
within a nicely typeset document.

This is particularly true of axes and tick-marks on
graphs. (See example below.)

> Originally I found that tricky, as for some reason Illustrator  
> considers apparently disconnected elements as a single object and  
> doesn't allow dissociating them. When I finally became aware of  
> direct selection, the problem disappeared.

You seem to be talking about "Group"-ing of objects.
There are 2 arrow cursors; one always selects the whole
group while the other allows selection of individual pieces.

Also, there is the "Layers" palette.
This lets you locate each individual piece, which can then
be selected by clicking a button --- very useful in a complicated
graphic where it is hard to isolate the bit that you want to
select, move or modify.

> Appended is an example (obviously not exhibiting the size problem):  
> a Mathematica-produced graphic, and the same after processing in  
> Illustrator to rotate, add symmetric elements, etc. All the same  
> could probably have been achieved using Mathematica commands, but  
> I'm not a very competent Mathematica programmer and I found it  
> easier to use Illustrator for this. That said, the interactive  
> graphic editing facilities of Mathematica 6 possibly makes this  
> straightforward: I haven't experimented with these yet.

Here is an example on what I do a lot, for assignment solutions, say.

The all-gray image is what a colleague produced from Mathematica,
then touched-up a bit in Illustrator CS3 -- in particular to set
the MediaBox correctly. Size is ~ 16kb .

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The one with the red graph, slightly larger numbers and more
prominent axes and ticks (in dark blue) has used Illustrator again.
In both the fonts are CMR10.

The .eps from Illustrator has size ~320kb !
But distilling this using Ghostscript (e.g, using the epstopdf script)
gets to the ~12kb image that is attached here.

I've made this my standard working technique:
  output from Illustrator as .eps  then convert to PDF
  using  epstopdf  (i.e. Ghostscript).

Using the output directly from Illustrator would mean that students
would need to download Megabytes of data to get their assignment
solutions. This is rather unfair, and puts a heavier than necessary
load on the servers, which need to handle other tasks as well.

>>> - I've experienced situations when an Adobe application does  
>>> something, and suddenly my Mac becomes unresponsive for several  
>>> seconds or minutes. When finally I manage to open Activity  
>>> Monitor I realize most of the CPU is taken by an Adobe process.  
>>> That other applications don't usually provoke the same phenomenon  
>>> makes me think Adobe applications are not optimized for the Mac.  
>>> That they take most of the CPU just for themselves shouldn't happen.
>> This is perhaps the Updater checking on the web?
> Not in those cases. I don't remember precisely, but I think it was  
> when applying some transformations, effects or filters. Apparently  
> a process is launched then, which may take something like 95% of  
> the CPU and 1 or 2 GB of virtual RAM.

I've found that the CS series is a lot better than earlier
versions of Illustrator.

> Bruno


   and thanks for sharing your experiences.


Ross Moore                                       ross at maths.mq.edu.au
Mathematics Department                           office: E7A-419
Macquarie University                             tel: +61 (0)2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia  2109                          fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8114

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