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Opening PDF and Illustrator files

When you open Adobe Illustrator or PDF files in Photoshop, they’re rasterized automatically, meaning they’re converted from their native vector format into the Photoshop pixel format. For a PDF, you can open one or more PDF pages or extract raster images from the file. Follow these instructions to open a PDF or Adobe Illustrator (AI) file as a new rasterized document. Follow the instructions on page 57 to place a PDF or Illustrator file as a Smart Object into an existing Photoshop file.

To open a PDF or Adobe Illustrator file as a new document

  1. In Bridge, locate and click the PDF or AI file you want to open, then choose File > Open With > Adobe Photoshop CS3 or right-click/Ctrl-click the image thumbnail and choose Open With > Adobe Photoshop CS3 from the context menu. The Import PDF dialog box opens.
  2. For Select, do the following:
    • From the Thumbnail Size menu, choose a size for the thumbnails.
  3. Under Page Options, do the following:
    • Optional: Type a Name for the new document.
    • Choose a Crop To option. We suggest choosing Bounding Box (the default) to exclude any white areas outside the artwork.
    • Check Anti-aliased to reduce jaggies and soften the edge transitions.
  4. For Image Size, do the following:
    • For a whole PDF page, you can enter the desired maximum Width and Height for the Photoshop document (or documents, for multiple pages) or you can leave those dimensions as is. You can also check Constrain Proportions to preserve the aspect ratio of the original PDF to prevent distortion.★
    • Enter the Resolution required for your final output device. Entering the correct final resolution now, before the image is rasterized, yields a better rendering.
    • From the Mode menu, choose a document color mode. If the document contains a profile, that profile will also be listed. Adobe RGB is the color space in our color management workflow, so we recommend choosing RGB.
    • Choose a Bit Depth.
    • We recommend leaving Suppress Warnings unchecked to allow an alert to display if a color profile conflict arises.
  5. Click OK.
    • If you didn’t check PDF Compatible when you saved your file in Illustrator, the thumbnail in the Import PDF dialog box will display only a repeating text message. Reopen the Illustrator file in Illustrator, choose File > Save As, rename or replace the file, then click Save. In the Illustrator Options -dialog box, check Create PDF Compatible File, then click OK. Now go ahead and open the file in Photoshop.
    • To create a solid Background for an imported PDF in Photoshop, create a new layer, fill it with white, then choose Layer > New > Background from Layer.

For these instructions, you need to set a preference to allow the Paste dialog box to display when you paste an Adobe Illustrator file. In Illustrator, in Preferences > File Handling & Clipboard, check Copy As: PDF and AICB, and click Preserve Appearance and Overprints.

To paste Illustrator art into Photoshop

  1. Edit > Copy an object in Illustrator, then, in a Photoshop document, choose Edit > Paste. The Paste dialog box opens.
  2. Click Paste As: Smart Object (to keep the vector object editable) or Pixels (to rasterize the object). To learn about Smart Object layers, see pages 302–304.

Dealing with the “ifs”

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