Importing AI files

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Importing AI files

Postby ronaldmkdbrasil » Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:13 pm

Hi,

I work with Moho 5.1.1 (updated to 5.2 – operating system – Windows XP) and I’ve been having difficulties with the following matter: I build some pictures in Adobe Illustrator CS and save them as AI 3. By the time I transfer them to Moho, the lines get distorted and add extra vector dots are created at random, distorting the images. Some of the vector dots move a bit from the original place and other objects, which had already been colored, create a new object splitting the color from the main object and etc.
I would really appreciate if anyone could give me a clue on how to correct these distortions when transferring AI files to Moho?

Thanks a lot
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Postby Toontoonz » Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:34 pm

Try exporting from Illustrator as a Illustrator Legacy version 8 .ai file.
That should get it into Moho.
You have to import it into Moho.
But, a warning, the colors and shapes you get in Moho will not necessarily be the ones you had in Illustrator. Close, but....

And check the forums here for lots of discussions regarding the situations with bringing in .ai files into Moho.
:D
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Postby Ritalin » Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:24 pm

yeah, i JUST started one as well... this is a problem that really needs some attention. If the files are coming in so distorted that it comes up this much, they might as well not be supported.

ps, i realize i'm pretty aggressive on this board towards moho, but I'm trying to hit a deadline and moho is equal in it's coolness to suckage ratio so far.
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Postby Toontoonz » Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:36 am

This is my favorite pet peeve with Moho and it´s poor .ai file import. I have been shouted down by people on this forum for bringing it up and/or ignored about this subject every time I bring it up.

Here are some forum links (there are many more):
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1744
The LM reply:
"I think it's unreasonable to expect Moho to "import a "perfect" AI type file from another program", including gradients, brushes, etc. Illustrator costs what, $500? And you're waiting for the $99 Moho to duplicate perfectly the vector features of Illustrator, and add animation features on top of that? Hmm... "
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1306
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1733
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1332
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1971
http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1887

The bottom line is that Moho can´t and apparently won´t be able to import .ai files as they are in other vector drawing programs (it seems a vector in Illustrator is different than what Moho defines a vector to be). Close on some simple objects, but ....
One can spend a bit of time to correct the colors and some of the shapes of .ai files brought into Moho, but some drawings just can´t be brought back to the line curve that was in the original drawing in Illustrator or other vector program.
(Why LM does not note this reality with .ai files on their website, I don´t know. This was the number 1 reason that first interested me in Moho. -"Import Adobe Illustrator files: re-use artwork from other vector-based programs"-
Wow! I can bring my Illustrator vector drawings into Moho and animate them. Surprise - no you can´t. And was very disappointed that true .ai import is not available.)

Unless you want to do very basic, simple drawings using Mohos drawing tools, right now Moho is best used to make animations using raster-based images imported from other programs.
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Postby Ritalin » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:10 pm

Toontoonz wrote:The bottom line is that Moho can´t and apparently won´t be able to import .ai files as they are in other vector drawing programs (it seems a vector in Illustrator is different than what Moho defines a vector to be). Close on some simple objects, but ....
One can spend a bit of time to correct the colors and some of the shapes of .ai files brought into Moho, but some drawings just can´t be brought back to the line curve that was in the original drawing in Illustrator or other vector program.
(Why LM does not note this reality with .ai files on their website, I don´t know. This was the number 1 reason that first interested me in Moho. -"Import Adobe Illustrator files: re-use artwork from other vector-based programs"-
Wow! I can bring my Illustrator vector drawings into Moho and animate them. Surprise - no you can´t. And was very disappointed that true .ai import is not available.)


This pretty much sums up my feelings. Especially that last paragraph. I understand that it can't import perfect renders, but even as different as Flash And Illustrator are, they still maintain the appearance of even the most basic shapes. It's because the curve it automatically curved that this distortion happens and would be of great assistance to add a disabling feature.

In understand and thank lost Marble for offering this program at an affordable $100 but I would pay more to have a better program. I have a project that must be perfectly rendered in it's appearance because I plan to take it shopping around and the style reflects my illustrations. Possibly make a pro version of this program?

In summary, I apologize for rehashing such a discussed topic, but take a hint! If this is a constant issue.... FIX IT or find a way around it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that you can rig a character , but I may just have to go back to flash to produce my cartoon if I can't get the results I need out of Moho... and I REALLY don't want to.

edit: i should note that it means I would prefer spending $600 to get it right vs the $100 to do it this way. Also, I would have to deal with not having rigging. Guys, please... make a pro version and charge more. You could make some serious money from people like me everywhere.
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Postby Rasheed » Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:06 am

If I may intervene in this lovely discussion.

IIRC the design philosophy of Moho is to use as little points as possible, but be able to do more with these points. I don't know about the design philosophy of the other programs, but minimalization of the number of points isn't very high on their agenda.

Perhaps this explains the incompatibility between Moho on the one hand and Flash and Illustrator on the other hand.

Another explanation might be that internally both Flash and Illustrator use (almost) the same representation of vectors (b-spline nodes), while Moho -- being an animation program -- uses another representation. That would mean that conversion of Illustrator files into Flash isn't really difficult, while Illustrator to Moho is much more difficult.

Just some thoughts.
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Postby Toontoonz » Fri Jul 08, 2005 10:28 am

Rasheed wrote:If I may intervene in this lovely discussion.
IIRC the design philosophy of Moho is to use as little points as possible, but be able to do more with these points. I don't know about the design philosophy of the other programs, but minimalization of the number of points isn't very high on their agenda.


Rasheed, thank you for intervening in this lovely discussion, but you have obviously never worked with Adobe Illustrator.

Adobe Illustrator and other vector programs use far fewer points (or the same on simple objects) when drawing than Moho does.
The problem arises in that Moho can´t interpret an .ai file properly. What was 5 or 6 points in Illustrator is now 20, 30, 50, 60 or 100 in Moho. And the shape is distorted somewhat and the colors are different than in Illustrator.
And when Moho tries to interpret a brush-type stroke from Illustrator (or other vector drawing program) the number of points can easily go from 30 in Illustrator to 1,000 or more in Moho.
Illustrator fewer points, Moho more points.
-------------
I guess it would be best for LM to tell us what the reasons are that Moho can´t properly interpret a .ai file -is it impossible? Should we expect Moho to never be able to bring in .ai files properly? Is it because Moho would cost $50, $100,$200 or more? - Which all semi + professional artists would gladly pay. (Otherwise the program is of no use to the vector drawing professional artists which Moho needs to raise the profile of the product. That is unless it wants to stay a "hobbyist" program.)

What is the reason that Moho can´t import .ai files? Should Moho remove the claim that it can import .ai files? (Imagine if when one imported .png files the colors were different and the graphic image was distorted? Would that be acceptable?)
As you will notice everytime this hot topic subject is brought up, LM is no where to be found. Avoiding comment for the most part and not informing its customers what the real situation is, therefore leaving hobbyist people that never use the vector programs (and rarely use Moho, perhaps?) to "technically analyze" and give their personal, but usually uninformed, comment or guesses on this Moho file importing problem for LM. :D
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Postby 7feet » Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:07 am

I'll give several somewhat informed, but still personal opinions.

First, I don't know why the color difficulties with .AI imports still exist. The color info that Moho might import is rather direct in the .AI file. I don't use .Ai import so much, but I believe that is a straight up bug that has not been adressed.

That said.

A lot of the diffuculty seems to come from the "uniform" (hope I'm getting my terms corrrect) way that Moho interprets splines (curves), and how this differs in a fundamental way from how points on a Bezier curve would be represented. On the uniform spline that a Moho outline represents, each point has a specific curvature, which defines how the curve will interact with the previous and subsequent points. Each point interacts, especially during an animation, to some degree to all other points connected to it.

A Bezier curve, in this context, is more properly a point on a Bezier curve. This point has no defined by itself curvature, but a set of control points describing how, and to what degree, each previous and subsequent (and their respective control points) point will affect it. Consider previous and subsequent, in this case they are entirely different. So it's hard to interpret one to the other. Make sense?

You could write code to interpret the curves within reason, no matter how many points are added. If you want that, I suspect that is workable. If someone wanted to pay me to do it, fine. If I had access to the sourcecode, I'd try and do it for free. But I think it really is a nutbuster. Trying to translate between different geometry systems ain't easy. Personally, I don't much like Illustrator, but I use it once in a while and wouldn't mind it working better. I'm done.
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Postby Rasheed » Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:12 am

@Toontoonz: I asked myself if I would dignify your post with a reply, since recently I seem not to be able to do any good in your eyes, whatever I write.

On the Features page of Moho the following phrase can be found:
Import Adobe Illustrator files: re-use artwork from other vector-based programs.


Not specified is if the program which created the Adobe Illustrator files is actually Adobe Illustrator. Not specified is to what degree artwork is re-usable. Nothing is said about the ability of Moho to use an imported AI file for animation (one could simply want to import third party AI files, edit those in Moho and print out the result as a raster image file).

You assume all these qualities, but LM has never claimed what you've assumed.

It is true I have never worked with Adobe Illustrator, but I have with programs that export AI files. Those programs didn't have Moho's ability to reuse the same points for different shapes. It was always arranged in such a way that every shape had its unique set of points, not shared with other shapes. I assume this hasn't changed. That is why I wrote that bit about the number of points. I hope you now understand what I meant.

This different approach: complete separation between connected points and shapes by Moho on the one hand and on the other hand a one-to-one relationship between points and shapes in AI files, is IMO the core problem of the difficulty to represent AI files properly.

As you will notice everytime this hot topic subject is brought up, LM is no where to be found.


I can't speak for LM, but if I were in his shoes, I would restrain myself from answering such tenditious questions. The problem isn't Moho, nor Adobe Illustrator, but your incapacity to deal with the restrictions of using AI files in a Moho file. This not meant as an insult, but as an observation.

Having written that, I'm ready to receive my punishment for my good deeds in this thread -- flame on ;)
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Postby Ritalin » Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:44 pm

wow, a lot here.

First off, I do use flash and Illustrator on a massive level. www.Vectorlust.com .

IIRC the design philosophy of Moho is to use as little points as possible, but be able to do more with these points. I don't know about the design philosophy of the other programs, but minimalization of the number of points isn't very high on their agenda.


I believe ease of animation is highest on their list because this is WAY off. The animationa and rigging is amazing but here is a prime example of just BASIC shapes being destroyed upon import.
Image

Moho interprets splines (curves), and how this differs in a fundamental way from how points on a Bezier curve would be represented.

7feet... I don't know WHAT you're talking about. I think maybe you're trying to explain how apoint works, but it got kindof mangled. You had it right there. Moho autimaticlly puts even handles on both side and assumes that is what you want. This feature is essential to people who don't really use a professional level vector program and eliminates the learning curve of the pen tool. For those of us who do use it... moho is a pain in the ass that way.

can't speak for LM, but if I were in his shoes, I would restrain myself from answering such tenditious questions. The problem isn't Moho, nor Adobe Illustrator, but your incapacity to deal with the restrictions of using AI files in a Moho file.


On the contrary, tedious questions are EXACTLY what a developer needs to answer and apparently has.

"I think it's unreasonable to expect Moho to "import a "perfect" AI type file from another program", including gradients, brushes, etc. Illustrator costs what, $500? And you're waiting for the $99 Moho to duplicate perfectly the vector features of Illustrator, and add animation features on top of that? Hmm... "


This IS a great piece of software and how it's offered is great, but we are frustrated because we want to see it better and ARE wiling to pay for it.
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Postby Toontoonz » Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:00 pm

Image

Moho - could you please post the .ai file and Moho file of this very complicated illustration (above) you use as your example on the features page as using a .ai file in Moho:
http://www.lostmarble.com/moho/features/index.shtml

I would really like to test it.

Or Moho when you say:
"Import Adobe Illustrator files: re-use artwork from other vector-based programs." you don´t mean use the vector .ai file, but rather one must export the .ai file as a raster file to use in Moho???? So in effect one can´t use an .ai file in Moho?

------------------

And Rasheed, if you don´t use .ai files, why is it of interest to you to get involved with these conversations that you know really nothing about? One can´t discuss this with you intelligently - you have no experience with .ai files or Adobe Illustrator, no interest in them, no knowledge of drawing with them, no vision or understanding of what us artists that do draw in Illustrator and other vector programs see in the programs, no knowledge in the programming of Moho. Please leave it to those that know what they are talking about with vector drawing programs to discuss it. :D

Your whole point seems to be to put down those artists that criticize a problem with Moho, with ridiculous statements such as: "The problem isn't Moho, nor Adobe Illustrator, but your incapacity to deal with the restrictions of using AI files in a Moho file."
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Postby Toontoonz » Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:33 pm

Rasheed - here is a simple file I created in Adobe Illustrator and then imported by Moho.
Image
(click for larger)

Note the differences between the original and the Moho version: different colors, the different shapes - lumps in the Moho version. Note how the star has points in Illustrator and blunt ends in Moho, the line thickness of the oval in Illustrator vs. what Moho makes.

You tell me why that screw-up in Moho is my fault. What did I do wrong?
Why is it the artist´s fault that Moho can´t import these files and that we vector artists, to quote you:
"The problem isn't Moho, nor Adobe Illustrator, but your incapacity to deal with the restrictions of using AI files in a Moho file."
The trouble is Rasheed, the restrictions are almost so high in most cases it is not even worth the trouble to use AI files. So how does Moho help the artist that wants to use .ai files?
Last edited by Toontoonz on Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Toontoonz » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:15 pm

Rasheed wrote:On the Features page of Moho the following phrase can be found:
Import Adobe Illustrator files: re-use artwork from other vector-based programs.


Not specified is if the program which created the Adobe Illustrator files is actually Adobe Illustrator. Not specified is to what degree artwork is re-usable. Nothing is said about the ability of Moho to use an imported AI file for animation (one could simply want to import third party AI files, edit those in Moho and print out the result as a raster image file).

You assume all these qualities, but LM has never claimed what you've assumed.

It is true I have never worked with Adobe Illustrator,


Rasheed- I am quoting directly from the Moho manual (Reference/Import Formats):
"Moho can import vector artwork created in other vector illustration programs. These files must be in either Adobe Illustrator or EPS format. If your files are in Illustrator format, make sure that you save them as Illustrator 8 (or earlier) format."

Am I wrong after reading that to assume that Moho can import files from Adobe Illustrator??? When Moho says it can import an Adobe Illustrator file, does it really mean it can´t?
Where does it define, as you say the "degree artwork is re-usable"?

Here is a screen shot from Moho:
I have highlighted the "Adobe Illustrator File" part for you -
Image
(click to see larger view)
Am I assuming too much when I see that in Moho to think that Moho imports files from Adobe Illustrator when you say I shouldn´t???

You state:
"Nothing is said about the ability of Moho to use an imported AI file for animation (one could simply want to import third party AI files, edit those in Moho and print out the result as a raster image file)"

Yeah, sure, Rasheed, anyone would take a file from AI, import it into Moho (where the colors and shapes are distorted) and then print it out as a raster image file. Why would they do something like this when they can print it out from AI?????
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Postby Ritalin » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:37 pm

I think what Rasheed, in his blazingly obvious ignorance towards this entire subject, is trying to point out is that LM has worded it so that it doesn't SAY that can you produce your art IN illustrator. Like, you can export a swf from Illustrator and look damn near perfect, but it wasn't made IN Flash.

outside of that, Rasheed, you really have no reason to post in this subject given you have NO idea what you're talking about. Let us come to a logical conclusion without people trying to start a war with ignorance.
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Postby Pseud O'Nym » Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:30 pm

I have also been somewhat disappointed with this aspect of Moho. I've been using the same vector drawing package for the last 10 years, and the thought of not having to learn a new set of drawing tools was part of the appeal. That said, I discovered the problem before buying and still went ahead, Moho's own drawing tools aren't that bad.

Although, as has been stated above, colours are fairly easy to extract from an .ai, if they are present as CMYK percentages then the RGB conversion described by Adobe themselves in the file spec does not give accurate results - I have been told that Adobe's own products actually use lookup tables for the conversion - so making sure you export as RGB may help there. Gradient effects are a lot more complex, they really require a full PS interpreter to reproduce.

As Moho clearly uses a totally different model for its splines - something like that used by AutoCad, or the MS/Apple q-splines used in TTF, at a guess - it's difficult to see how LM could implement a different model without rendering everyone's existing files useless, so I suspect we're stuck with the problem.

Just my 2 Euros worth.
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