Export for Screens and Asset Export Panel in Illustrator CC2015

Photoshop has been improving and updating it’s export capabilities over the last couple of years, with functionality that is much more relevant for the requirements of digital design these days, but Illustrator has been stuck with the Save for Web dialog—until now. This is great news, especially as Illustrator became the most popular Creative Cloud product this year for the first time in years—probably as the modern UX designer demands vector assets for a multi-screen world—and this makes me especially happy as I’ve been stressing it’s importance as a tool for years.

Asset Export Panel

exportForScreens1A new Asset Export Panel has been created that allows you visually collect—and organise—individual assets simply by dragging* objects into the panel; any art added to the panel automatically updates to reflect any changes made in Illustrator, and the items in the panel also travel with the file—which is great if you’re working collaboratively.

*If you’re more of a clicker than a dragger, there is also an Export Selection… command in the File menu—as well as the command being present in contextual right-click menus, too. Also in the contextual menu you’ll find a Collect for Output command that adds the asset to the panel.

Export Options

In the Asset Export Panel you can set up all of your different rendering options for file type and scale (except of course for lovely, lovely SVG, which does not need it) and there are preset buttons for iOS and Android that will pre-populate at the required sizes:


  • 1x
  • 2x
  • 3x
  • SVG


  • ldpi
  • mdpi
  • hdpi
  • xhdpi
  • xxhdpi
  • xxxhdpi
  • SVG

The complete list of default file formats include:

  • PNG (24)|PNG-8 (the algorithm for generating PNG files has been tweaked to generate the files faster and produce better transparency in PNG-8 files)
  • JPG (presets for compression are 100|80|50|20)
  • SVG
  • PDF

Tip: When dragging assets into the panel, make sure that you change the name that is automatically generated (Asset 1, Asset 2, etc.) to something more meaningful—simply double-click to the name to change it—and the export will use that name as the basis for the filename; click the Export button at the bottom right to export your assets.

If you only want to export a subset of the assets in the panel, simply click on those you wish to exclude—deselecting them—and they will not be exported.

To remove a scale rendering, click the X icon to the right of the output type

If you’d like to export the assets and the artboards at the same time, then click the Export for Screens Dialog button (or select the command from the Export menu item in the File menu).

Export for Screens

The Export for Screens… dialog gives you a number of options for tuning your export:

  • Location—specify where the files will be exported to, and if you’d like that location to open up in your Finder/Explorer then there’s an Open Location after Export checkbox
  • Prefix—text that will start at the beginning of the exported filenames for all the exports
  • Suffix—text to ensure that exports have individual names; usually, this is for different size renderings and is automatically generated when you add new scale renders
  • Range Selector—in the artboards tab (see next) you can determine what artboards are exported, or export the complete document as one file

Export Artboards

exportForScreensAt the top of the dialog you’ll see that there is a tab for artboards, so you can also export an entire set of artboards to multiple formats and sizes in one go, with the same options that are available for assets.

Wrapping Up

These options mean that rather than multiple time-consuming trips to the Save for Web dialog, or needlessly creating whole new artboards for individual asset export, you can now set all of your exports, at all of your required asset types and dimensions, in one go; welcome to getting half of your day back!

How Long Would It Take You To Draw a Dartboard Layout?

Just in case you’re not familiar with one, this is what a dartboard layout looks like:dartboard
and very recently I had to draw one for a demo. How long did it take? About five minutes, and in this post I’m going to be sharing how.

Note: As with many of these kinds of post, it’s not about what we’re drawing, but how we’re doing it—the skills can be applied to a multitude of things.

Get Drawing!

  1. Start out with the Polar Grid Tool (found nested with the line tool) and alt-click where you’d like the centre of your dartboard to be; the dialog opens and you can enter the dimensions—mine was 150 x 150mm—add 6 concentric dividers and 20 radial dividers then click OK to exit the dialog.step_1
  2. Choose the Group Selection Tool (nested with the Direct Selection Tool) and select the first circle inside the groupstep_2
  3. Tap S to access the Scale Tool and immediately hit RETURN to launch the Scale dialog; enter a uniform value of 145 and hit OK—this will create the outside of the boardstep_3
  4. Select the next circle, that will form the inner-part of the doubles ring. Again, tap S and hit RETURN to access the Scale dialog, and scale this one up by 128%step_4-5
  5. Select the next smallest circle and scale that down by 98% to form the outer-part of the trebles ring then select the next circle and scale that by 112% to make the inner-partstep_6
  6. Our dartboard needs to rotate by 9º, so with the whole thing selected tap R to get the Rotate Tool and hit RETURN then enter 9 in the dialog and click OK to get that sorted
  7. Choose the Shaper Tool (nested with the Pencil Tool) and make an erasing gesture across some of the lines within the centre circle—it may help if you’re zoomed in to do this and also don’t try and do it all at once—two or three passes will work best.step_7-8
  8. This has now become a set of Shaper Groups; you’ll need to merge these and then expand them to continue, so with the whole thing selected click Merge Shaper Groups and then Expand in the Control Stripstep_9
  9. Now we’ll select (with the Group selection Tool) the circle that we have previously ignored (the second smallest) and scale that down to about 25% to form the bulls-eye. Once that’s done select everything and unify the stroke weights using the drop-down in the Control Stripstep_10


We’re going to add colour here using the Live Paint tools; Live Paint has a couple of benefits—firstly it’s fast—and secondly it is flexible. If it becomes necessary to scale any of those rings for example, then the live paint group will just change the shape of the fills to accommodate your modifications.

  1. Select everything and use the shortcut ALT-⌘-X (ALT-CTRL-X on Windows) or from the menus: Object > Live Paint > Make to turn this into a live paint group.
  2. Choose the Live Paint Selection Tool (nested with the Shape Builder Tool and Live Paint Bucket); SHIFT-L is the accelerator for this tool
  3. Drag a marquee around the entire shape (it’ll highlight as shown below on the left) and give it a dark grey fillstepB3
  4. Now select segments—hold down SHIFT to select multiple—and then choose a fill colourstep_11

You should be able to complete the board in just a few moments!


Grab something nice to drink, then sit and watch the whole process in this video:

Workflow Week (5): InDesign and Publish Online

In the last part of Workflow Week, the cover that started out in Photoshop Mix is now in InDesign, where it is added to the rest of the document, interactivity is added and then presented to the World via Publish Online.

InDesign and Publish Online: The Video

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