Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Creating and Importing External Data Sets

The last project, Creating Dynamic Flash Web Banners, covered how to create data sets in ImageReady's Variables dialog box for use with variables in a PSD file. Another way to make data sets for that purpose is to enter data into an external spreadsheet and then import data sets from the spreadsheet into ImageReady. This is the easier way to go if you're working with preexisting data sets, or if you have lots of data or variables.
Create a Data Set

Let's take a look at how to make an external data set instead of the data set we created in ImageReady in the last project, Creating Dynamic Flash Web Banners. We'll use Microsoft Excel here, but you can use any spreadsheet editor that saves files in tab-delimited text format.
In the first row of the spreadsheet, type the names of the two variables that will change in each version of your Web banners: page_name and game_name. Don't use spaces or unusual text characters.
In the page_name column enter each of the text values that will replace the words text here in the Web banners you plan to make: home, links, games, and about us, in that order. In the game_name column enter the text value of each game that will replace the words GAME HERE in your Web banners: SLAM, KINGPIN, B-BALL, and WARRIOR, in that order. Each row of the spreadsheet now contains a data set made up of the two values that appear together in a Web banner. Save the spreadsheet in a tab-delimited format. In Excel, choose Format: Text (tab delimited) in the Save dialog box.
Import a Data Set]
To import your external data sets, choose Image>Variables to open the Variables dialog box A. In that dialog box, choose Define from the top menu. To define the first variable, choose text here from the Layer menu, check Text Replacement, and type page_name in the Name field. Then choose GAME HERE from the Layer menu, check Text Replacement, and type game_nameM in the Name field.
Choose Data Sets from the top menu. Click the Import button B. In the Import Variable Data Sets dialog box C, check Use First Column for Data Set Names, and Replace Existing Data Sets. Click the Choose button and navigate to your spreadsheet file. Click OK. Click the forward arrow in the Variables dialog box to view each of your data sets in action. 
In this tutorial:
  1. Automation
  2. Batch Processing Photo Thumbnails
  3. Making the Most of Actions
  4. Making Multiple Web Graphics
  5. Demystifying Droplets
  6. Preparing Photos for Web with Conditional Actions
  7. Design Multiple Pages in a Single File
  8. Linking HTML Pages from Layer Comps
  9. Outputting Multiple Linked Web Pages
  10. Creating Dynamic Flash Web Banners
  11. Creating and Importing External Data Sets

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