Tagged: Illustrator

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.
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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.

Save time with Illustrator’s layer Target icon

Illustrator's Layer target iconAdobe 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.

Aligning objects in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorIf 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.

Save time with Custom Views in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorCreating 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.