Tagged: Illustrator

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.

A better way to get rounded-corner rectangles in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorIt’s so easy when you want to create a rectangle with rounded corners in Adobe Illustrator to just click that Rounded Rectangle tool icon in the Tools panel and just click & drag. The problem is, you have no control over those corners once your rectangle is created.

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.

Illustrator's rounded rectangle tool

Illustrator's rounded rectangle tool isn't the best way to create 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.

Illustrator's rounded corner effect

Illustrator's Rounded Corner Effect offers more flexibility with rounded corners

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.

Dear Adobe: Why I won’t upgrade to the latest Creative Suite 5

No CS5With the recent announcement of Creative Suite 5 by Adobe this past week, and the subsequent complaining that always seems to accompany such an announcement, I thought I would type-up a quick complaint letter that interested people can copy & paste into an email and send off to Adobe. Perhaps if those of you who aren’t happy with the direction Adobe is going in send this letter to them, they’ll completely toss 20+ years of successful software into the bin and start over from scratch!

Dear Adobe,

I’ve been a long-time user of Adobe products, and I feel like you’re not listening to all your users with this latest release of Creative Suite 5. I’ve outlined the reasons that I, your most valuable customer, will not be upgrading my single copy of Creative Suite Premium of CS1 I got off Limewire, because it runs just fine.

First of all, I think it’s pretty damn stupid of you to leave all us non-Intel Mac users out in the cold. I purchased a G4 about 10 years ago and don’t see any reason why I should upgrade my hardware just so I can run your new software. You clearly don’t care about your most important customer.

But that’s enough about hardware that you have no control of… let’s move on to your software.
(more…)

Aligning objects with guides in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorBack in November 2009, I told you how to align two objects in Adobe Illustrator, with one of the objects being the “key” objects. I was reminded this past week that this often overlooked and handy trick also works with guides.

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.

Easily select similar objects in Illustrator

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.

Select similar objects in Adobe Illustrator

Select similar objects in Adobe Illustrator

As you can see in the screenshot above, you have a wide variety of choices to make selecting similar objects easy.

Better rounded rectangles in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorIf 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.