Category Archives: Adobe Illustrator

CSS Quirk: opacity

Elements with opacity styling are stacked independent of their containing object. As a result, any positioned elements that do not have a z-index declaration and that appear in the HTML code prior to an opacity-styled element will appear underneath the opacity-styled element (see example). This is the defined behavior in the CSS specification, though currently only gecko- and WebKit-based browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome) exhibit the “quirk” in question. From the CSS3 Working Draft:

… implementations must create a new stacking context for any element with opacity less than 1.

CSS Color Module Level 3: Working Draft 21 July 2008

Items Utility: Data Conversion Ready

After creating a new structure for the current year’s piloting data there has been a bit of disconnect in development between the two data sets. There’s just not enough time to ensure that everything works across both data sets. There were basically two choices to moving forward: 1) construct a view of the new data structure that mimics the old data structure; 2) port the old data structure to the new one and continue redevelopment of the scripts. I chose the latter, mainly because there are some improvements I’d like to make to the interface in the process.

I created a series of SQL statements to run in MySQL that will convert the data from the packet_item_records and miscon_packet_refs tables to the packet_students, packet_data, and miscon_packetdata_refs tables. After the conversion I updated any pages that referenced the old data structure. So far in testing the data seems to have converted perfectly.

Minus one issue. Multiple selections for the answer choice questions (A, B, C, D) from 2006 were recorded as a generic Multiple rather than Y+NS, N+NS, etc. This value is not represented in the updated data format or on the data entry forms or summary tables. Rather then spend too much time addressing this issue I’m going to leave these values empty for now. I don’t expect this to be a problem since the researchers are focused on data for the current pilot and field tests. Also, I’m keeping the old version of the piloting data and scripts that interact with it online in case it’s needed.

Better cross-browser support when saving to SVG from Illustrator

Because of Mozilla’s compliance with W3C-CSS, entities, CSS, and style-attributes require units when measurements are expressed. Hence, “font-size:4.1898;” is invalid syntax. To ensure proper rendering, first add “px” to all font-sizes in order to get strings like “font-size:4.1898px;”. The second possibilty is to export with “presentation attributes” as in attribute-style writing (XML) –no uni are needed as long as they are expressed in the main coordinate system, but this results in larger files.

Use these Save a Copy settings:
DTD: 1.1
Text: SVG
Subsetting: none (system fonts)
DO NOT Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities
CSS: Style Elements (generates a set of 25 style definitions in the file header) –> make sure to add px units
3 decimal places
Uncheck: Optimize for ASV, Include Adobe Graphics Server data, Include Slicing Data, and Include XMP
Check: Output fewer <tspan> elements and Use <textPath> elements.

Some issues with Illustrator CS3 for Windows

1. I have yet to find an option to keep BOTH Acrobat 7 Professional and Acrobat 8 Professional (part of the CS3 Web Premium suite) on the same PC. I noticed that during installation, the installer tells you that v7 will be removed. If this is indeed the only option, I think this is a bad decision and poor PR on Adobe’s part.

2. It would seem that Illustrator CS3 is significantly slower than CS2, so I tried briefly doing some of our poster preparation work in the latter. However, when you save the file, Illustrator CS3 automatically opens it! This doesn’t happen when you choose Save As from CS2. We are investing on more memory to max out our current RAM to 4GB total, which will hopefully improve the performance of CS3.

3. SVG support is (thankfully) retained in CS3.

A better method for preparing Illustrator files for pre-flight, wide-format printing

When preparing artwork for printing, it is best not to select all objects and then flatten transparency because there is a risk that the .ai file would be saved in this state. You can Save a Copy and choose PDF as the format, and in the subsequent dialogue specify Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3) compatibility. Then in the Advanced Section, specify 2400 ppi for the Line Art and Text resolution and 300 ppi for Gradient and Mesh resolution, with “Preserve Overprint” checked. BETTER YET, just Save a Copy as PDF, and then do all the flatten transparency steps within Acrobat Professional.