Tagged: Illustrator

Increase/decrease transparency with this Adobe Illustrator keyboard shortcut

Illustrator transparency shortcut

For some odd reason Adobe removed the slider for the Transparency panel some time ago, and replaced it with a mostly useless drop-down menu of 10% increments. While many users certainly aren’t happy about this, they probably don’t know that you can adjust transparency more precisely than the drop-down menu allows using keyboard shortcuts.

With the object(s) you want to adjust selected, click in the Transparency panel’s amount input box and use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Increase/Decrease Transparency by 1% = Up or Down Arrow Keys
  • Increase/Decrease Transparency by 2% = Option + Up or Down Arrow Key
  • Increase/Decrease Transparency by 10% = Shift + Up or Down Arrow Key

Fixing the grid alignment bug in Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator alignment bug

Have you come across this little gem of a bug when using Adobe Illustrator? You draw a box and apply a stroke to the inside of the frame, and the stroke appears to “float” off of the frame itself. As you can see in the image above, the actual frame object is the blue line, and my 1-pixel black stroke is way off. The bug has been around for a few years, and I’m not sure why Adobe hasn’t fixed it yet. Fortunately, the solution below fixes the problem.

When creating your document, click the Advanced tab at the bottom of the New Document dialog box. Untick the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid checkbox.

The iMac 27″ for graphic designers: part 2

27" Apple iMac

In part one of The iMac 27″ for graphic designers, I covered the reasons for choosing the late 2012 iMac 27” to replace my 2006 Mac Pro. As a graphic designer who works in Adobe Creative Suite apps all day long, with file sizes pushing the 1GB range, power is important. But as I found out with my MacBook Air, the Mac Pro just isn’t necessary anymore. Not only does the iMac have all the power you need, but it’s a much more elegant hardware solution, and significantly easier on the pocketbook. I also listed some of the pros and cons of the iMac.

Now I’m going to talk a bit about my experience actually using the iMac for the last two months. (more…)

Astute Graphics updates two popular Adobe Illustrator plugins

DrawScribeAstute Graphics has update two of their popular Adobe Illustrator plugins to work with CreativeSuite 6.

DrawScribe features two handy tools: InkScribe and Dynamic Sketch.

Use Inkscribe to replace the Pen and its related tools, and it will revolutionise the way you draw precise and calculated shapes. If you’re a fan of drawing more naturally in vector, but you’d like to speed things up, you’ll love the Dynamic Sketch tool. Whether you sketch with a Wacom tablet or a mouse, this tool provides even more power to produce dynamic vector forms from scratch, to modify existing shapes, and to go back at a later date to adjust the level of detail to your work.

VectorScribe is the ultimate vector toolkit for all designers and users of Adobe Illustrator CS3 and above. It allows you to edit and create vector artwork faster, smarter and dynamically through the use of tools such as PathScribe, Dynamic Measure, and Protractor. The Studio version of VectorScribe also includes Dynamic Shapes and Dynamic Corners tools.

Prices vary for the tools (see the individual web pages), and both offer downloadable trial versions to see if they’re right for you.

SubScribe Designer for Adobe Illustrator CS3-CS6 FREE!

SubScribeSubScribe Designer is a creative workflow enhancement tool for all designers working in Adobe Illustrator. It provides simple access to common drawing tasks such as lines to/from curve tangents or perpendiculars and circles and arcs defined by 2 or 3 points.

Another key function is the Orient tool which allows users to rotate or straighten objects intuitively, precisely and easily.

SubScribe Designer tools:

  • Circle by 2 or 3 points
  • Tangent Circle
  • Curvature Circle
  • Connect
  • Straighten
  • Arc by three point
  • Arc start-end-direction
  • Orient
  • Line tangent to two paths
  • Line tangent to path
  • Line tangent from path
  • Line perpendicular to two paths
  • Line perpendicular to path
  • Line perpendicular from path

SubScribe Designer for Adobe Illustrator is completely free. Illustrator CS6 installation requires Adobe Exchange.

Adobe releases Illustrator features for Creative Cloud members

New features in this Adobe Illustrator release include:

Package Files – a long-requested featurethat allows designers to automatically collect all the files used in an Illustrator project, including linked graphics and fonts, into a single folder helping make handoffs and sharing of projects more efficient and error-free.

Unembed Images – a new capability that enables production artists to quickly unembed images that have been embedded into an Illustrator file by other designers or customers, eliminating much wasted time in day-to-day production work.

Links Panel Enhancements – a new feature enhancement that allows users to access and track information on any artwork placed in an Illustrator file much quicker. What used to require multiple clicks to ensure all placed graphics meet necessary requirements for output is now surfaced up front.

Read more about it here.

iStockPhoto plugin for Adobe Creative Suite apps makes image searching easy

iStockPhoto pluginI spend a lot of time searching for stock photography. One of the sites I spend the most time on is iStockPhoto due to its large selection of images and relatively low cost. Switching between my InDesign layout and Safari to compare the images on the website to the layout to see if the image is appropriate can be tedious – especially when you consider the time to download and place the comp images.

It would be so great if you could do it right inside InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator without using a browser. Thankfully, you can with this nifty plugin.

iStockPhoto has released the iStockPhoto Plugin for InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator that adds a Panel to all three apps which allows you to search for images, view the images, create and view light boxes, and place a comp image directly into your file, and purchase the image – all without ever leaving the Adobe application.

Installation is simple, as the plugin is installed for all three apps via the Adobe Extension Manager. The plugin is free. You can search for images and add comp images to your layout, but you must have an iStockPhoto account to use lightboxes and purchase images.

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.