Category: Illustrator

Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design Premium: First look at speed

Adobe CS6With every release of the Adobe Creative Suite apps, one of the first questions always seems to be “is it faster?” Whether you use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator or Flash, you probably crave improved speed almost as much as new features.

With all the major Adobe Creative Suite apps being fairly mature in their lifecycle, new marquee features have taken a back seat to minor tweaks, small feature additions, bug fixes, and speed improvements. Creative Suite 6 follows that trend for the most part, and that makes it a bit easier to compare the speed of the apps between CS5 and CS6.

I’ve been using Creative Suite Design Premium for a few weeks now, and have collected my thoughts and observations about CS6 regarding speed. It should be noted that, with the exception of the launch-time chart below, these are my opinions based on very unscientific testing. I’ve not run any benchmarks or other timed processes, just real-world “eye-ball” tests.

Test Macs

All my observations are based off the results of running Adobe CS6 (and CS5) on two Macs, both running OS X Lion 10.7.4:
Mac Pro 2006 (MP): 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Xeon, 11GB RAM, 7200 RPM internal HD
MacBook Air 2011 (MBA): 1.7 GHz Core i5, 4GB RAM, SSD

Installation

I chose the download option for CS6, rather than the boxed DVD collection. So I installed CS6 from the mounted disc image on my hard drive. This is important to remember, and you’ll see why below. (more…)

Adobe’s complicated CS6 pricing – and a few discounts

Adobe Creative Suite 6

Adobe is offering some nice Creative Suite CS6 upgrade and Creative Cloud subscription discounts. If you’re debating about upgrading, perhaps one of these discounts will make the decision for you. That is, if you can figure out which upgrades you’re eligible for, and for how long.

Creative Cloud

Creative Suite 3 and higher owners can purchase a Creative Cloud subscription by August 31, 2012 and receive your first year for only $30 per month (regularly $50 per month). Creative Cloud subscriptions include the entire Adobe Master Collection set of apps, all Adobe’s Touch apps, and a host of cloud services.

Free upgrade to CS6

If you’re still running Creative Suite 3, 4 or 5, you can order CS 5.5 now and get CS6 for free when it ships.

Lightroom 4

Purchase Adobe Lightroom 4 for $99 when you buy it with Photoshop CS 6 or any CS 6 Suite Edition.

It’s complicated

Maybe I’m just not remembering things as well, but I don’t ever recall Adobe’s upgrade options being so complicated. I was looking to upgrade my CS Design Premium Suite to CS6, when I clicked the upgrade option drop-down menu, it damn near scrolled off my screen. There are three different prices for the 23 possible upgrade paths.

The important thing to note, that has not been widely publicized or obvious on the upgrade pages, is the fact that upgrade pricing to CS6 from ANY VERSION lower than CS 5.5 ends on December 31, 2012. So basically, if you want to maintain upgrade pricing in the future, you WILL be upgrading this year.

What is somewhat unclear is what qualifies as an upgrade. Unless I’m mistaken, in the past you couldn’t cross-path upgrade. In other words, you couldn’t upgrade a Standard Edition Suite to a Master Collection Suite, or a Premium Edition Suite to a Standard Edition Suite. With CS6, it appears you can cross-upgrade Suites in any way. Again, I’m not clear, but it would be nice if that is indeed correct.

And finally, starting with the release of Creative Suite 6, individual upgrades — both CS suite editions and point products like Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 — are available for purchase only through Adobe.com.

What version should you upgrade to? Should you go the Creative Cloud route? Hell, I don’t know. The simple answer is if you currently use the Master Collection (all of Adobe’s apps), and like to stay current, you should definitely get Creative Cloud. Beyond that, it’s more complicated. If you’ve remained current (you’re running CS 5.5), your upgrade options are clear and fairly affordable. If you’re running a Suite or individual app older than CS 5.5, the options aren’t as clear, and are nowhere near as affordable. As for me, I think I’ll be sticking with the boxed version of the Design Premium Suite.

Adobe launches Creative Cloud and CS6

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe today announced Adobe Creative Cloud, a radical new way of providing tools and services that will change the game for creatives worldwide. A subscription-based offering, Adobe Creative Cloud is a hub for making, sharing and delivering creative work and it is centered around a powerful release of Adobe Creative Suite 6 software, packed with innovation across its industry-defining design, Web, video and digital imaging tools.

If the $600 per year Creative Cloud subscription isn’t for you, you can still buy the Creative Suite 6 apps individually, or in Standard or Premium Suites.

Product pricing and a comparison chart can be found here.

Create an emboss text effect in Adobe Illustrator with this great tutorial

I recently had the need to create a realistic looking license plate for a project and I wanted to do it completely in Adobe Illustrator in order to keep it easily editable and total flexibility in sizing for later use. I knew I had read a tutorial years ago, so a quick search found it.

Create a realistic vector emboss text effect with this tutorial

Real World Illustrator offers this fantastic emboss text effect tutorial that yields near perfect results every time.

Easily create guides at any angle in Adobe Illustrator

Rotate Guides in IllustratorMost people are aware that you can pull a horizontal or vertical guide out of the document ruler in Adobe Illustrator. But I suspect many users are unaware that you can then rotate that guide to any angle you wish.

Drag a guide out from the ruler. Now make sure your guides aren’t locked by unticking Lock Guides in the View>Guides menu. Select the guide (you can click and drag over the guide to easily select it) so it is active. Now select the Rotate tool (or simply hit the R key) and rotate the guide to your desired angle. Once you’re finished, you can re-lock the guide to keep from accidentally moving it.

Mac OS X Lion and Adobe Creative Suite: what you need to know

Lion and Adobe CS

The question of the day: Will Adobe CS apps choke on Lion fur?

I received several emails since yesterday morning asking why I hadn’t posted an extensive review of Mac OS X Lion. I’ve already stopped replying to those emails, and thought it better to update everyone on the most common subjects.

Why no review of Lion on The Graphic Mac?

If you go through the archives here, you’ll find that I’ve never really reviewed the latest Mac OS X upgrades. The reason is simple. Everyone else already has it covered. Seriously, if you really want to read re-hashed press releases from Apple you don’t need me to do it. The features found in Lion are awesome. The updated interface is awesome. The new Mail is awesome. And for the most part, everything works just as before.

Just buy it, it’s only $30 and it’s awesome.

I’m running Adobe Creative Suite version X, will it work with Lion?

I run Adobe Creative Suite 5, so that’s the only version I can comment on with first-hand knowledge. In short, it works just as it did in Snow Leopard. And I mean that literally. Adobe CS apps don’t take advantage of any of Lion’s new features like Versions, Full Screen, Restore, and some multi-touch gestures.

There are a few issues with CS apps running under OS X 10.7, which Adobe has outlined in this Knowledge Base article, but for the most part they are minor.

Do the Adobe CS apps run faster or slower in Lion?

See comments above. They run just about the same as they did in Snow Leopard – whether you consider that fast or slow is a matter of opinion.

When will Adobe update their apps to work with Lion?

I work for an ad agency, not Adobe.

Is it hard to get used to running iOS on a desktop Mac?

No. But that’s because the idea that Lion is iOS for the Mac is way overblown. Apple has implemented a few features from iOS, ALL of which can be turned off or simply ignored. Other than the interface colors, and a few other minor tweaks, it’s not a whole lot different than running Snow Leopard.

That being said, if you’re unhappy with the direction Lion has taken, you’re going to really hate the next few years. If you buy a new mouse for your Mac today, it’s not far-fetched to say it’s probably the last one you’ll ever use (if it’s a decently made one, anyway). That spaghetti string of cables behind your desk is probably going to get a lot smaller in the coming years. Everything is going wireless – including the charging of your iPhones, iPods and other small devices.

I believe we’re on the front doorstep of a new revolution of change in the technology industry. In closing, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

VectorScribe takes vector path and shape editing to new levels

Astute GraphicsPlease join me in welcoming The Graphic Mac’s latest site sponsor, Astute Graphics. The first time I heard of Astute Graphics was back in 2008 when I reviewed Phantasm CS, a new plugin suite for Adobe Illustrator. In that review, I called Phantasm CS “the most useful plugin set I’ve ever come across for any version of Adobe Illustrator.”

Today I want to introduce you to VectorScribe, the latest plugin from Astute Graphics. VectorScribe allows you to quickly and easily create and manipulate vector paths in Adobe Illustrator CS3 to CS5 through the use of several new tools and panels.

VectorScribe by Astute Graphics

VectorScribe makes complex path operations easy

Because there are two versions of VectorScribe, Designer and Studio, and the tools are so incredibly powerful and in-depth, I’m just going to briefly overview them here. But before I do, let me just say that if you’re the type of Illustrator user who only opens AI once or twice per month to quickly edit an existing logo, VectorScribe probably isn’t for you. But if you spend a good amount of time in Illustrator, working as a logo designer, architect, illustrator, or cartographer, then you’ll definitely enjoy this plugin! (more…)

Two ways to master Adobe Illustrator’s text Tabs panel

Illustrator's Snap to Units tab feature

Illustrator's Snap to Units tab feature makes it easy to set precise tabs

Adobe Illustrator’s Tab panel offers a little-known feature that helps you set tabs at specific measurement units on the ruler called Snap to Unit. It’s particularly helpful if you want to set several tabs at exactly the same increments.

To use it, simply select your tabbed text and open the Tabs panel (Command + Shift + T). If the Tab panel isn’t located right above your text, simply click the little magnet icon in the panel to line it up. Now choose Snap to Unit under the flyout menu in the Tab panel. Now when you click in the ruler to set your tabs, the tab stops will automatically jump to the nearest tick mark on the ruler as you drag the tab stops around.

If you’re like me and you don’t want to go through the hassle of using the menu, you can simply hold the Shift key down while dragging your tab stops around on the ruler.

Tutorial: Enhance your vector image with Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop enhanced vector art

Enhancing vector art in Photoshop takes your image to the next level

The greatest value in any tutorial you come across on the web is not the actual image you create following the tutorial, but being exposed to the techniques used to create them.

Vector art ready for enhancementVectorTuts has a great tutorial on enhancing your vector art with Photoshop. The image to the right is a piece of vector art created in Adobe Illustrator. It’s flat and boring, and you could use many filters and techniques to enhance it in Illustrator, but exporting the vector file as a layered Photoshop file offers you the opportunity to learn some really useful techniques. The end result can be seen in the image at the top of this post.

As with any tutorial, I encourage you to play with the settings illustrated in the tutorial to suit your taste. The tut makes heavy use of layer effects and gradients. While the tutorial is what I would call intermediate level, it will probably take you about a half an hour to go through.