When you think of 3D applications, you rarely think of Adobe Illustrator CS5, but the fact is that Illustrator has some decent tools to create simple 3D vector art. VectorTuts has a great Illustrator 3D tutorial to introduce you to the tools and help you create some neat effects like you see in the image above.
When you want to align multiple objects in your Adobe Illustrator document, there’s no need for dragging guides out and moving objects manually. Here’s a much easier way to align and distribute your objects easily.
Select the objects you wish to align, then click on the object you wish to use as your “key” object that you want to serve as the base object to align the others with (this can be an object or a guide). As seen in part 1 of the image above, you’ll notice that the key object has a thicker selection line around it.
Now open the align panel, and choose how you wish to align the objects. In the case of part 2 above, you can see I’ve chosen to align them vertically by the center of the objects. Click the align icon. As you see above, the objects are aligned at their center points.
Now we’ll distribute the objects evenly between the top and bottom objects using the top of each object as the key points. Keeping all three objects selected, simply click the desired alignment icon. As you see in part 3 above, the objects get evenly distributed.
Note: The same technique can be used in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.
Charts and graphs are still the foundation of most great looking infographics, and Adobe Illustrator is still the premiere application for creates to design them in.
Tutorial9 has a fantastic tutorial that shows you how to create stunning 3D graphs and charts in Illustrator. Be sure to check out all the other tutorials and free resources available at Tutorial9.
When I installed Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection this past week, the very first thing I noticed was that the installer has been greatly improved over the disasterous installers used in previous Creative Suite versions. Now let me qualify that by saying they still aren’t perfect, but I think most users will agree that they’re well on their way to being what they should have been all along. Simple.
First of all, they actually look like they belong on a Mac. In the past, they screamed of being a Windows port at best. Buttons looked out of place, and the overall layout of the installer options seemed convoluted and overly difficult.
Furthermore, the install process itself took an obnoxious amount of time to install the apps – and you were likely to end up with an incomplete install if you managed to get around the “Quit all your apps before we proceed warning message.”
The new version offers a simple list of icons you can choose to install on the left. On the right, you’re shown components included with the installation of each app you have chosen. You can choose to not install those “optional” components if you wish, but you’ll likely have to do it more than once if you’ve purchased the Design, Web, Production or Master collection. For instance, Adobe AIR is part of the install for more than one app, so turning off the install for one app will simply result in it being installed with another one. To be honest, I don’t think you have any choice in the matter, you WILL have AIR installed.
Another app you’ll have no choice in installing is Adobe Bridge. There’s no way to choose to not install it. That being said, the speed increase and integration with other Creative Suite apps is worth installing it anyway.
Finally, the speed with which the individual applications get installed has been greatly improved. Installing the CS4 Design Premium edition took nearly 7 weeks (or so it seemed). Installing the entire CS5 Master Collection took just over 35 minutes. That’s nearly twice as many apps in significantly less time. And you’re no longer forced to quit your web browser while installation is taking place. Nice!
Sure, you could select the Rounded Rectangle tool icon and Option + click to bring up a dialog box allowing you to specify the radius of the corners. But again, once the rectangle is dragged out, that’s it. There’s no going back and changing that radius later, and attempts to resize the rectangle later on actually resizes or stretches the rounded corners.
If you want to keep full control over those rounded corners of your rectangle, use the normal squared-edge Rectangle tool icon in the Tools panel. Once your rectangle is dragged out on the page, go to Effect>Stylize>Round Corners… in the menubar.
In the dialog box that appears, you can specify a custom corner radius amount. And here’s the great part. This is an effect applied to the rectangle, not the actual rectangle path.
So now when you stretch that original three inch wide rectangle to nine inches wide, the corner radius doesn’t stretch with it, it stays exactly at the amount you specified. As an added bonus, you can go back later and change that radius amount if you wish via a quick visit to the Appearance panel.
Essentially, you do the same thing, only you select a guide as your second object instead of another shape. So if you want to align objects to a particular guide on your page, just select all the objects as well as the guide, then click the guide one extra time to highlight it (making it the “key” object) and click the appropriate icon in the Alignment panel.
If you work with complicated artwork in Adobe Illustrator, you’ve no doubt come across the task of having to select many objects that contain similar attributes, such as same color fill or stroke, Appearance attributes, etc. Thankfully, Illustrator has a few tools that can make your job much easier. If you select an object and visit the Select>Same menubar item, you’ll find several methods to accomplish your goal.As you can see in the screenshot above, you have a wide variety of choices to make selecting similar objects easy.
If the design you’re working on requires a rectangle with rounded corners, don’t use Adobe Illustrator’s rounded rectangle tool. Instead, use the regular (square) rectangle tool, then go to Effect>Stylize>Round Corners in the menubar. From there, you can set the exact roundness amount you want, as well as enjoy the option of adjusting it later via the Appearance panel. One more advantage of doing it this way is that you can stretch the rectangle box later without altering the roundness of the corners.
Adobe Illustrator offers a simple tool to quickly apply colors, strokes, fills, effects, change fonts, and more to every item on a layer at once. The Target icon, the little round icon displayed at the far right of each individual layer in the Layers panel, is used to select every item on the layer. Click the circular Target icon, then apply a stroke, change a color, or apply a style to all the objects on the layer. This can be particularly useful if you organize your Illustrator documents as I do, putting all type on separate layers, backgrounds on another layer, etc.
If you’ve ever tried to align two objects in Adobe Illustrator, you may have noticed that when you select the two objects and click the align tool; the objects align, but do so by moving both objects. Not an optimal situation. Wouldn’t it be better if you could tell Illustrator to not move one of those objects? Thankfully, Illustrator CS4 allows you to do so. Shift + click both the objects you want to align so they’re both selected. Now, click one of the objects again. You’ll notice that the selection points and outline get a little thicker. This indicates that this object is now the key object that Illustrator will use to align the second object to; in other words, the key object won’t move when you click one of the alignment tools.