Tagged: Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator’s hidden gem: Width Tool

Illustrator's Width Tool
Illustrator's Width Tool iconAdobe Illustrator has an awesome tool that I’m willing to bet most designers have never used. The Width Tool (pictured at right) allows you to adjust the width of paths—not just the entire path as a whole, but the parts of the path between handles independently (see the image above for examples normal paths, and the same path adjusted with the Width Tool). Adjustments can be made to any path, including outlined fonts.

For the full scoop check out Getting a Handle on Illustrator’s Width Tool over at Creative Pro

Adobe’s unwelcome Welcome screen

Adobe welcome screen

Hey Adobe, see that button down there in the lower right corner of your highly-annoying Welcome screen that pops up every time I launch InDesign CC 2015—the one that says “Don’t Show Welcome Screen Again?” How about you fix whatever bug that tells the app to ignore the fact that I clicked that button the last time I launched the app, EVERY TIME I LAUNCH THE APP!!!

When you do manage to fix the bug, please share your findings with the Illustrator team, because it happens every time I launch that app as well.

To be fair, this only happens on two out of the three Macs I use on a regular basis. But all three Macs have exactly the same software installed, and are running the same OS versions.

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…)

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.

Import free assets into Photoshop and Illustrator with BlendMeIn

BlendMeInBlendMeIn is a nifty new Photoshop and Illustrator extension that allows you to search thousands of assets, including popular icon packs, without leaving Photoshop or Illustrator, and place them in your document directly via a Panel.

Unlike FlatIcons, which I recently reviewed, the artwork available in BlendMeIn is free via Creative Commons Attribution license. Unlike FlatIcons, it works in Adobe Illustrator as well as Photoshop. I still prefer FlatIcons, but this is a great option.

Turn your photos into cool vector-pattern art with Vectoraster

Vectoraster 6
Vectoraster 6 is a fantastic little app for Mac OS X that creates vector-based artwork and patterns based on raster images. Simply put, it turns your photos into patterned vector art that you can then edit further in Adobe Illustrator.

The cool thing about this app is the “discoverability” of the app. Import an image and start playing with sliders and buttons, and you’ll soon find yourself spending a considerable amount of time coming up with ways you can use the app in your design work. That’s because Vectoraster shows you the results of your adjustments in real-time, in a single-window interface that’s quite easy to figure out.

Vectoraster 6 - sample

Vectoraster not only allows you to turn your images into vector halftone and line patterns, but it allows you to adjust the colors, hue, saturation, and density of the patterns as well. A host of other tools are also available that allow you to customize the results in almost any way you could need.

Once you’re done, you can export to vector format as an EPS or PDF, or a JPG, PNG or TIFF file if you prefer. And if you have a group of images you wish to apply the same effects to, there’s batch processing available.

The use case for this app is endless. For instance, I had a rather small 5×7 image of my son that I wanted to enlarge to hang on the wall – but I didn’t want a simple photo enlargement. So I ran it through Vectoraster and used the Character/Text point shape option to have the letters of his name create the entire photo. Not only was it a cool piece of art, but because it was vector, I could size it to whatever I wished.

Here are some more screenshots to give you an idea of how the app can help you:

Vectoraster6_color_gradient

Vectoraster 6 text raster

Vectoraster6 wavy line raster

Vectoraster is a bit difficult to explain, but the video below should give you some idea of what you can do with Vectoraster.

Vectoraster is one of those apps that you won’t use daily, but one that you’re glad you have when you want to spice-up an image in a design piece.

Vectoraster 6 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.7.5 or later, and supports Full Screen mode. The full version costs $32, and upgrades are available for $12. A free demo is available so you can check it out for yourself.