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This article was originally published March 2011. It has been updated to reflect the changes to later versions of Phantasm and addition of Texturino, Stipplism and InkQuest plug-ins which are all applied using live Effects.

Use of all plug-ins including VectorScribe, VectorFirstAid, MirrorMe, Autosaviour ProRasterino and others are completely transparent to all other users.

Creating artwork with a combination of Illustrator and Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest is very liberating when it comes to adjusting color or applying effects. It's possible to use Curves, Levels and Hue/Saturation color controls, or apply textures and stipples – and more – directly to vector artwork and images in the Illustrator document. And one of the most flexible methods is by using these tools as live Effects.

The benefits of live Effects may be seen in this video:

However, what happens if you send your artwork on to colleagues or customers who do not have the these plug-ins installed? Or what happens if you have been using Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest live Effects in your artwork within the 14 day trial period and then the trial license expires? This article discusses these questions.

Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest tools to consider

All these plug-ins add new live Effects. Phantasm and InkQuest also offer all color adjustments as Filters too.

Only the live Effect operations within these plug-ins leave any trace within an Illustrator document. If adjustments are applied as Filters using Phantasm or InkQuest, the change is permanent and the result indiscernible from color changes having been applied "manually" via the Color panel, etc.

It is only when a live Effect is applied to an object within an Illustrator document that you would get any warning if the document was subsequently loaded into an setup without these plug-ins installed and activated (full license or 14 day trial mode).

So, what happens?

If you attempt to load an Illustrator document which contains a Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest live Effect into a system lacking these plug-ins, you are presented with the following Illustrator warning:

Plug-in not present: warning window

The warning box lists the Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest Effects present within the document (and may differ in appearance and message depending on the Illustrator version and plug-ins used). Click OK to continue loading the artwork.

The most important factor is that even though the plug-ins may not be present, all live Effects are rendered correctly, including color adjustments, textures and stipples. The document will also output (print and save for web) correctly, with all vector and image objects featuring the designer's original adjustments.

The only exception to this is when a live Effect is applied within a Symbol. In this case, upon loading the document, Illustrator automatically recalculates the artwork and the effect is lost.

Is it possible to adjust the objects?

All objects and targeted layers not touched by Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest live Effects remain completely standard and editable. Where these plug-in's live Effects have been applied, all affected artwork can be selected but not immediately modified. It's not possible to, for example, modify the a color Curves or Stipple, or even move the object. If the latter is attempted, the following warning message is shown:

Plug-in not present: can't move object warning

It is possible to delete affected objects. However, there are better ways to regain full control of the artwork…

Further editing of objects with Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest Effects

If these plug-ins are not present, there are three methods to further edit an object where a Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest live Effect has been applied:

(1) Download and install the fully working 14 day Trial version

First, download the full 14 day trials of our plug-ins. Therefore any recipient of affected artwork can download and install the plug-in to gain full control, including being able to further modify the Effects applied. This approach is completely free!

(2) Remove the Effect

If the Trial period(s) has expired and the plug-in has not been purchased (it's quick and easy!), it's possible to target the Effect applied to the affected object(s) via the Appearance panel:


Once the Effect(s), declared as "Unknown", is selected in the Appearance panel, it may be deleted by clicking on the panel's trash can icon. Having done so, the artwork reverts to being standard to Illustrator and therefore fully adjustable once more.

Note: this approach will also remove any color adjustment applied by the artwork's creator and therefore alter the final result!

(3) Expand Appearance

The final method "flattens" the affects object(s), thereby converting the live nature of any Effect (Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism, InkQuest and native Illustrator) into standard object types. Simply, select the affected object(s) and opt for Object » Expand Appearance.

Plug-in not present: expand appearance

Note: this approach would also expand any other live Effects which may have also been applied to affected object(s). This could reduce the ease by which the object can be further edited; for example, some native Illustrator Effects such as Roughen can add many nodes to paths.

What can I do to avoid any concerns with clients?

Even though clients of artwork should be viewing and outputting the document correctly if they do not have the Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest plug-ins installed, it is recognised that some may be unduly concerned by a warning message stating that something is missing.

There are several simple approaches to avoid causing undue concern:

(1) Direct your clients to this article

This article should alleviate any fears and offers solutions.

(2) Supply the artwork as PDF

All live Effects present in Illustrator, including Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest Effects, are flattened and therefore any reference removed when the artwork is saved as a PDF, EPS, SVG, etc.

(3) Use the Filter variants of the Phantasm or InkQuest color adjustment tools

All Phantasm and InkQuest live Effects have Filter variants of the tools. Filters apply fixed changes or results, thereby negating any live/dynamic reference to Phantasm or InkQuest in the Illustrator document.

Note that Stipplism nor Texturino offer filter variants.

(4) Expand Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest Effects before sending

Phantasm v3, Texturino, Stipplism and InkQuest all offer the object selector for effects applied in that plug-in, eg. Select » Object » Phantasm Effects. Using this, all accessible objects (ie. not ones placed in locked layers) which have a Phantasm, Texturino, Stipplism or InkQuest live Effect are selected. It's then possible to opt for Object » Expand Appearance to "flatten" these live Effect references. It's advised that the artwork is saved as an alternative file name following this operation as it would not be possible to revert to the live adjustments following a file save/reload.

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