You may have noticed that some of the functions in the Control panel in Adobe Illustrator are blue with a dotted line underneath – they’ve actually been around since at least Illustrator CS2. Those blue words with the dotted underline mean that particular function is clickable. When you click on the function name, the appropriate panel for that function opens on the fly (see screenshot above). The panel will close when you click anywhere in the document, or select a different tool. The Control panel is already context-sensitive, meaning it changes depending on which tool you have active, but this clickable function feature makes it even more handy because you don’t have to keep as many panels open to have them readily available, nor do you have to use a keyboard shortcut.
Layers Magazine has posted a great little tutorial for Adobe Illustrator users, showing you one way to create eye-catching text in a comic book style. The technique is simple and uses little more than the Free Transform tool, some strokes and the Pen tool.
If you’ve ever had to convert a logo or piece of artwork in Adobe Illustrator CS3 from color to grayscale (or even Pantones to CMYK), you’ve undoubtedly seen the “gradients and patterns will not be converted” warning message. The auto-convert function in Illustrator CS3 doesn’t work on gradients. You could go through the trouble of adjusting the gradient manually, but if you have a lot of different gradients, that can be time-consuming. Instead, select all the objects containing gradients (or just hit Command + A to grab everything) and go to the menu bar and select Object>Expand and hit OK. Your gradient is now converted into many objects with different shades of solid colors, rather than a single object with a gradient, so they can easily be converted to grayscale. In most cases, just hitting OK will do the job just fine. But if you find the results not to your liking, you might try adjusting the number of objects created to simulate the gradient at the bottom of the Expand dialog box first. The more objects you create, the smoother the gradient will appear when converted to individual objects. Because you have expanded the gradient to multiple objects, going back and editing the gradient is a royal pain, so be sure to save a copy of the original before you expand it.
What about Illustrator CS4 users?
If you’ve upgraded to Illustrator CS4, rejoice! The ban on gradient conversions has been lifted. We can now convert the colors in gradients to color, grayscale, or RGB by going to the menubar and selecting Edit>Edit Colors and choosing the appropriate option.
Everyone knows you can move an object in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator by selecting it and hitting one of the arrow keys. This typically results in the object moving one point at a time. But if you hold down the Shift key while hitting the arrow keys, the object will move by 10 points. Not a huge time saver, but every little bit helps.
Adobe Illustrator CS4 brings those two huge features and a whole lot of existing feature enhancements to Illustrator users who’ve been patiently waiting. Multiple Artboards: Think of multiple Artboards as essentially multi-page documents, much like a page layout program, except that it allows you to have different size artboards within your document. So what’s the big deal you ask? Read on… (more…)
Yesterday, you resized an Illustrator text frame and the text reflowed, staying the same size. Today, you enlarged an Illustrator text frame and the text grew right along with it. How do you force Illustrator to act the way you want it to? Mordy Golding, Illustrator guru and author of several books on Illustrator, often gets questions about scaling text in Illustrator CS, CS2, and CS3. For example, someone scales his text frame only to find that the text within the frame becomes scaled as well. He wants to simply resize the frame, allowing the text within to reflow without changing size. Sometimes it works as he wants it to, while other times, it doesn’t — which leads to frustration and acts of computer violence. Why this seemingly inconsistent behavior? Mordy covers the differences between Illustrator’s two text options: Point Type and Area Type, as well as how to properly scale text in Illustrator in this article at CreativePro.
Adobe has posted the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Printing Guide, which serves as both a detailed technical reference for handling Adobe Creative Suite 4 Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat files from your customers, and as a training tool for your staff. If you want to know more about graphics, exporting and printing, font issues, working with book files, output troubleshooting, color management and more, you’ll find this downloadable PDF guide extremely helpful. Direct-download links: CS4 Print Guide – low-res (PDF, 4.6mb) CS4 Print Guide – high res (PDF, 18.1mb) If you’re still using Adobe Creative Suite 3, you can download the Creative Suite 3 Printing Guides here: CS3 Print Guide – low res (PDF, 6.6mb) CS3 Print Guide – high res (PDF, 24.4mb)
Reader Brian recently asked if there is a way to modify a Graphic Style in Adobe Illustrator once it’s already been created and applied to objects on the artboard, without creating a new style and relinking all your objects to the new style. The answer is yes, you can edit the attributes of a Graphic Style once it’s been applied to objects. In fact, it’s quite easy.
Selecting the Style
The first thing you need to do is click the style you wish to edit the attributes of in the Graphic Styles panel. Note: You’ll find it helpful to have both the Graphic Styles and the Appearance panels open at the same time. Now take a look at the Appearance panel. You will see the attributes listed of the Graphic Style you just selected, including fills, strokes, effects, etc. (see image at the right)
Now for the adjustments
Adjust the attributes of the style in the Appearance panel to your liking. For example, I’m going to change the green color of a Graphic Style I’ve applied to some objects to a blue color. As you can see in the image below, editing the Appearance of a Graphic Style is simple. Just select the attribute from the Appearance panel list and edit away. In this case, I clicked on the green fill icon which pops up the Color Picker. I then selected a blue color. As you can see in the image below, the preview of the Style at the top of the Appearance panel has updated to reflect the new fill color. At this point, we’re ready to apply the newly edited attributes to the existing Graphic Style. All you have to do is hold the Option key down and drag that little preview icon at the top of the Appearance panel to the preview icon of the style in the Graphic Styles panel and drop it on top of the style, in this case, the green style I had selected earlier. Note: It’s important that you hold the Option key down while you drop the icon. If you don’t, you’ll simply be creating a new Graphic Style, not updating the existing one. That’s it. All the objects on the page that had the original green Graphic Style applied to them should automatically update with the new blue colored Graphic Style we adjusted.
Every once in a while, a truly useful piece of free vector art pops-up on the Web. VectorTuts has made available one of those must-have downloads in the form of Firefox and Safari Web browser windows, complete with buttons, location bar, scroll bars and other browser assets. The browser windows and elements are perfect for using as mock-ups for presentations, as well as dropping screenshots into for showing off your Web designs in your portfolio. You can also grab a set of really nice watercolor brushes for Adobe Illustrator while you’re there. Both the browser windows and the watercolor brushes are free of charge, and can be used in personal or commercial projects. You can download them exclusively from VectorTuts.