Tagged: Illustrator

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.

Free Adobe Creative Suite printing guide available for download

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Printing Guide

The Adobe Creative Suite 5 Printing Guide is available for download

Many users of Adobe’s Creative Suite software are unaware that Adobe provides an excellent printing guide in PDF format to aid in learning the ins-and-outs of successful commercial printing using the Creative Suite apps

The guide is an excellent resource for new users, serving as a training manual, as well as a brush-up for experienced users. The guide covers a wide-range of printing-related topics in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat. The free Creative Suite 5/5.5 Printing Guide is a 22MB download.

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.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5: digital content creation and new subscription plans

Adobe announces Creative Suite 5.5

CS5.5 focuses on digital content creation

Adobe has announced the next version of their Creative Suite software. CS5.5 is heavily focused on designers wishing to take their work to tablet, smartphone, and EPUB users. All versions of their individual apps will be updated (except Acrobat, which remains at version X), as will the Creative Suites that comprise the apps – including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Flash.

Beyond the numerous features for building interactive documents for use on iPad, iPhone, and other tablets and smartphones, there’s not much information available covering feature updates for print-based designers.

An Adobe CS5.5 pricing chart is available to help you decide what versions of the Suites or individual apps you wish to purchase.

This is where it gets interesting. Adobe has also announced a new month-by-month subscription plan for all their major Creative Suites and individual applications. For instance, you can rent Dreamweaver for as little as $19 per month, or the entire Creative Suite Web Premium for $89 per month. Serious Creative Suite users will most likely still want to purchase their preferred Suites, but for those who just need to complete a quick website and only own Design Standard can rent Dreamweaver for the price of a week’s worth of coffee at Starbucks.

With any Adobe Creative Suite update comes discussion of frequency and cost of updates. Adobe is making changes in this area. From now on, the Creative Suite will be on a 24-month development cycle for major upgrades (CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6, etc.). Every 12 months they will also release a mid-cycle update (such as the CS5.5 just announced) which will offer only minor feature enhancements, bug fixes, and code tweaking. Previously, Adobe released Creative Suite upgrades around every 18 months.

Unless you’re doing a lot of work destined for a tablet, smartphone or ebook reader, you’re probably going to skip this release and wait for Creative Suite 6. But if you do that type of work, CS5.5 appears to be a dandy update.

SneakPeek allows you to view your InDesign and Illustrator files on the Mac, iPhone or iPad

When Apple introduced Quick Look in the Mac OS it was a huge productivity boost to many designers and photographers. Quick Look allows you to view QuickTime compatible files in an overlay right in the Finder simply by selecting the icon of the file and pressing the Space Bar. It wasn’t long before users began seeking out plugins to view more file types than just PDFs and JPG images though.

SneakPeek Pro, by Code Line Communications (the company that brought us Art Directors Toolkit, arrived on the scene and took Quick Look to a new level. This simple Preference Pane allows you to view layered Adobe Photoshop files, Illustrator .ai and .eps files, and InDesign documents. SneakPeek doesn’t stop with just a preview image of your document though. The Quick Look overlay SneakPeek provides also displays information about Illustrator and InDesign files, such as the colors used, the images placed in the document, fonts used, and general file information such as multiple page previews (see the image below).

SneakPeek for Mac

SneakPeek Pro for Mac allows you to view your graphics files in the Finder

I’ve found SneakPeek Pro for Mac to be a valuable addition to any designer’s toolbox. But with more and more designers working on the road, the ability to view graphics files on the iPhone would be nice addition. Thankfully, Code Line has finally brought the power and usefulness of SneakPeek to iOS device users.

SneakPeek renders previews of graphics files stored on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It works by providing an “Open in SneakPeek” button to your favorite iOS applications like Mail, Dropbox, Safari and just about any app that gives you access to files.

SneakPeek for iOS

SneakPeek for iOS allows you to view the same file information as the desktop version

With SneakPeek installed on your iPhone, you can check the InDesign file for a client’s new business card layout that just got emailed to you without waiting to get back to the office. And rather than viewing a jagged JPG file attached to an email of a new logo, you can view the actual Illustrator file. SneakPeek for iOS also offers you the same file information as SneakPeek Pro for the Mac – such as fonts, images and colors used.

SneakPeek Pro for Mac is available for $19.95, and offers a 15-day demo for you to test out. SneakPeek for iOS devices can be had for only $9.99 directly from the Apple App Store. Both versions of SneakPeek can save you a lot of time, and are well worth the cost of ownership.

Aligning multiple objects in Adobe Illustrator

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.

Align Illustrator objects

Aligning multiple objects in Adobe Illustrator is easy

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.

Create eye-catching charts and graphs with this Adobe Illustrator tutorial

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.

3D graphs and charts in Illustrator

Tutorial9 shows you how to create stunning 3D graphs and charts in Illustrator

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.