Category: Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator topics

Create color themes for use in all your Adobe CC apps

Adobe Color Themes

The Adobe Creative Cloud apps have a (fairly) new panel called Adobe Color Themes, which allows you to browse, create, save and use color themes in all your Adobe apps. Formerly known as Kuler, Color Themes allows you to browse a wide selection of pre-made color themes, or create your own using the Panel’s color mixer. Once you’re happy with your color theme, you can save it to your Creative Cloud account so the theme is available in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop.

You can find the Adobe Color Themes Panel under the Window menu. It’s fairly easy to figure out how to use just by playing around with it, so I won’t bother going into details here. It’s much more fun to just play around with it, but if you feel the need you can view a video tutorial here.

I don’t know how I missed this feature when it was introduced, but I’ve been using it for a while now and it’s a real time saver, and a great color inspiration tool.

How to deal with disappearing white text & objects when printing

White overprint

Your design is done and you’re printing your file. Then you see it. Some white object or text simply refuses to print. You’ve tried printing directly from Adobe Illustrator, you’ve placed the object into InDesign and printing from there, and you’ve even tried saving it as a PDF. But no luck, that object still won’t print. I’ve seen this happen a ton of times. In almost every case, it’s an object created in Adobe Illustrator—usually a logo.

More often than not, the problem is simply that the object is set to overprint in Illustrator. To fix the problem, select the object in Illustrator, open the Attributes Panel, and make sure the Overprint Fill (and/or Overprint Stroke) checkbox is NOT ticked.

Overprint fill checkbox

It happens for a variety of reasons, and it’s easily missed. If you’re working in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, you can check to see if you’ll have the problem by turning on the Preview Overprint feature found under the View menu in both apps.

How to recover a missing image link from an Adobe Illustrator file

Recover missing images from Illustrator
Have you ever received an Adobe Illustrator file that when opened offers the dreaded “Could not find the linked file” message seen above? The designer who provided the file to you forgot to either embed the image in the file, or send the linked image along with the Illustrator file. Worse yet, you need that image file now, and the clueless dolt who sent you the file is nowhere to be found, presumably hiding from you under a rock somewhere!

Fear not. There is a way to recover that missing image for use not only in the Illustrator file, but any other application as well. Now before I tell you how, just be warned that A) The image quality may not be quite as good as the original. And B) The method described below assumes that the image originally linked to in the Illustrator file was high-resolution enough to begin with. (more…)

Reality Reborn: Turning inspiration into art with Adobe Illustrator CC

Reality RebornIn 2006, Don and Ryan Clark formed Invisible Creature, a highly successful creative firm. The firm’s client list includes Target, Nike, Hasbro, Google, Nordstrom, The New York Times, and dozens of others.

Adobe asked Don to create an illustration, giving him the words fearless, modern, and reborn as the only direction. In Turning Inspiration Into Art with Adobe Illustrator CC, Don explains first-hand his process and the Adobe Illustrator CC features he used to create “Reality Reborn”, including patterns, the Touch Type tool, multiple-file place, and file packaging.

I particularly enjoyed him touching on his use of textures and shading. This is a great read!

Two of my favorite Adobe apps from the past

Adobe Streamline & Dimensions
Both apps were rolled in to Adobe Illustrator years ago—but the features still don’t work nearly as well as they did back in the Mac OS 9 days when they were stand-alone apps.

Of course, if we’re talking about great apps that Adobe killed off:
Adobe Type Manager
GoLive
LiveMotion
PressReady
ImageReady

There is more, but those are some of the ones I used almost daily back in the day.

Advice: Building the best graphic design toolbox

There is no perfect set of tools for graphic designers. We’re all unique, we all work in different ways, and budgets always come in to play. I’ve put together a breakdown of major factors when building the best graphic design hardware and software toolbox based on my experience. Consider the following as a guide, rather than a set of absolute rules.
Design Toolbox

Keep it simple

I’ve been a graphic designer for 30 years, using the Macintosh the entire time to produce work for some great clients. I’ve worked for ad agencies large and small, a design firm, printing companies, and I’ve freelanced full and part time. Over the years I’ve learned a few short rules as it pertains to building my design toolbox and getting things done—and it has held true everywhere I’ve worked. Those rules are: keep it simple no matter the cost, don’t get caught up in software trends and gimmicks, buy a little more than you think you need, because you will grow into it. The following is more specific advice for building your design toolbox. (more…)

Has the Adobe Illustrator “killer” finally arrived?

Tomorrow marks an important day for long-time Windows developer, Serif. They’re launching Affinity Designer, their first foray into Mac software. And they’ve set their sites on one of the largest and most important Mac developers in the world: Adobe.

Affinity Designer is a vector art design tool rivaling Adobe Illustrator in the same way that Pixelmator is an alternative app to Adobe’s Photoshop. Which is to say, it’s the real deal.

Affinity Designer
I’ve been using Affinity Designer on and off for the last month or so and I must say that I’m extremely impressed. With a price tag of only $40 (special price until October 9th), and a most-impressive feature set, I’m betting that it will find a home on quite a few Macs.

Affinity Designer can import AI, PSD, PDF, and SVG files, and save/export as EPS, TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD, and PDF. It also offers both RGB and CMYK color modes, including 16-bit color support.

All the tools you would expect can be found, and are easy to use. And the app fully supports Apple’s iCloud, Spaces and Full Screen mode. Some pretty cool features include the ability to use pixel-tools to your vector art and have it remain editable. And the best part, Affinity Designer is fast. Really fast.

If you’ve used Pixelmator, you’ve no doubt come to believe that there actually IS a true replacement for Photoshop. I’m here to tell you that as of tomorrow, there will be a real replacement for Adobe’s Illustrator as well. And rumor has it, they’re working on a page-layout app to compete with InDesign.

Now I’m not a fool. I don’t expect designers everywhere to suddenly dump their investment in Adobe software. But true professional-grade alternatives are out there. Watch out Adobe… you’ve been king of the hill for a long time, but the competition is heating up.

The story of Adobe Illustrator

When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, it was the first software application for a young company that had, until then, focused solely on Adobe PostScript. The new product not only altered Adobe’s course, it changed drawing and graphic design forever.