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.
Creating custom views in Illustrator is a great trick you can use to save time. Custom views are great for viewing complicated illustrations and documents with many Multiple Artboards, or sections of an Illustrator document you are constantly revisiting. Vectips has a great little tutorial to show you how you can use Illustrator’s Custom View capability to your advantage.
If you’re an Adobe Illustrator users and you aren’t familiar with designer, Von Glitschka, you’re in for a real treat. George Coghill has an excellent interview with this talented designer and Illustrator user. Von Glitschka shares some insight on the techniques used in his vector creations. You can read the interview at GoMediaZine.
Vectips has a quick tutorial showing you how to create gradient strokes on your type in Adobe Illustrator. This super simple technique use the Appearance panel and effects to create editable gradient strokes in Illustrator. As a bonus, you can add transparency for a very cool effect as seen above.
If you’ve ever needed to batch convert a folder full of Illustrator or .eps files to a bitmap format such as PNG or JPG, you know the frustration of doing it manually (one at a time) with Illustrator’s export function. You could set up a batch action in Photoshop, but that’s almost more trouble than it’s worth. Pongo is a tiny application that does only one thing, convert vector-based Illustrator files to either PNG, JPG or SVG format, with a single click of a button. You simply drag your file(s) onto the Pongo Icon, and choose which format you want to save the files as. Pongo actually uses Adobe Illustrator to do the work, so you will have to have Illustrator installed, but it does its job in the background. Pongo requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and is completely free – though donations are accepted.
I recently received an email from a fellow Mac user asking how you go about changing the orientation of an Adobe Illustrator document once you’ve already created it. Previously, you could do it in the Document Setup dialog box, but with CS4 that has changed – probably due to multiple artboard support being added to Illustrator CS4. Below I’ve outlined how you change the various aspects of your document, including orientation, size, etc. (more…)
In this excellent tutorial at VectorTuts, you’ll learn how to easily create 3D springs in Adobe Illustrator using little more than a simple shape and the 3D Revolve Effect. The finished results look complex and time consuming, but the actual technique really isn’t at all. You may not have cause to create a spring in the near future, but the technique is quite handy to learn – you never know when you can apply it to something else you’re working on.