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Library: Creative Design


Solve the mystery behind transparency flattening with these 5 tips

Added on Monday 15th of February 2010 04:44 am EST


In prepress terms, flattening happens when transparency isn’t accepted by other applications or a printing device. If you have overlapping transparent objects, a third object is created where they overlap and a new color is created that represents the opacity color, as shown in Figure A. You can control which objects remain vector and which remain raster using Illustrator’s flattening options. However, Illustrator’s transparency flattening options can seem overly complicated if you are unfamiliar with them. If they aren’t set correctly, your artwork can print with poor resolution, or worse yet, not rip at all. We’ll simplify working with Illustrator’s flattening features for effortless, error-free printing, every time.

Is it transparent or not?
Illustrator’s definition of transparency often throws people off. They think that if they haven’t used the Opacity setting on the Transparency palette then there’s no transparency in the document to worry about. However, that isn’t the case. Many raster-based effects use some of the same technology as transparency. In addition to the Transparency palette settings, drop shadows, glows, feathering, and opacity masks will all require flattening in the file if they’re present.

Tip #1: Compare with ease
Since version 9, Illustrator has had the ability to create transparent objects and flatten them right in the file, so you’ll know the results before your file goes to print. Instead of just previewing a red thumbnail ...