Illustrator is a Web-happy application. Anything that you create in Illustrator can make an appearance on the Web in one form or another. Illustrator gives you mighty powers to create both vector-based and pixel-based images for use on the Web.
I devote an entire chapter (Chapter 16) to the Web. Illustrator does all sorts of Web-specific tasks, such as creating animations, optimizing pixel-based images, and providing a preview of how your artwork looks when viewed in a Web browser.
The following is a laundry list of Web-happy things you can do with Illustrator at no extra charge:
Create images without resolution headaches: When you use a pixel-based graphics program, you must continually worry whether your graphics have enough resolution to display with the quality you want. In Illustrator, you can always create Web graphics with optimum quality because you decide on the resolution after you complete the image instead of when you start creating it.
Optimize artwork as pixel-based images: You can save your art as JPEG, GIF, or PNG images, using the Save for Web command to preview how various color reductions and compressions affect the artwork.
Export artwork as Flash or SVG vector graphics: Flash and Scalable Vector Graphic format (SVG) are new technologies that enable you to display vector (path-based) graphics on the Web. Before Flash and SVG, only pixel-based artwork could be displayed. Vector graphics on the Web are smaller and look better than their pixel-based counterparts.
Preview artwork as pixel-based graphics: If you plan to save your artwork as GIF, JPEG, or PNG files, you can turn on the Pixel Preview mode while you create it. This makes Illustrator show you your artwork as close as possible to how it’ll look after it’s on the Web. With this mode turned off, the artwork displays as close as possible to how it’ll look in print.
Apply object-based slicing: Simply put, slices enable you to divide your image into pieces so that you can later apply separate loading or optimization settings or other HTML features, such as animation. However, rather than slicing an entire image based on a square grid, as in Photoshop or ImageReady, Illustrator enables you to apply slices to objects, groups of objects, or layers.
For more information on any of these topics, see Chapter 16.