Thursday, July 2, 2015

Illustrator New Features

There have been several new features introduced in recent versions CS5, CS6 and CC (Creative Cloud).

Illustrator CS5 introduced the Perspective tool which allows users to import a sketch as a template drawing, then trace over it using the Perspective Grid tool. The various grips are adjusted to set the horizon line and converging parallels of traditional three point perspective drawing. Then the user selects one of three planes on which to draw, and, using the standard drawing tools, can created a convincing perspective drawing of, for example, a street or building.

Version CS5 also introduced the Variable Width tool. Create a basic shape with the Pencil tool, for example. Then choose the Width tool and click on the path to plot points. These points can then be pushed and pulled to created varying widths along the line. This gives a similar effect to that produced by brush and pressure-sensitive stylus and tablets.

The Shape Builder tools allows us to group simple objects together by simply dragging the cursor through the objects, whereupon it detects multiple objects and combines them. This is similar to but quicker than the Window, Pathfinder method.

The Draw Inside mode at the bottom of the toolbox allows us to draw patterns within objects or text. After creating some text or an object keep it selected, choose the Draw Inside mode, then paint inside the object, using, for example, the new Bristle Brush. This has the appearance of pixels and works well with a drawing pen and tablet.

New features in CS6 included new options for the User Interface, for example Dark to Light modes. It also added some speed enhancements. Being 64-Bit now it takes adavantage of all the RAM, making it much faster than previous version of Illustrator. There are also some new workspace presets on the top right, like Typography which includes new features for formatting type.

The new Image Trace engine is similar to the older Live Trace with better results like sharper lines and fewer paths. In the Object menu we have the new Pattern Maker with a new, more flexible interface for the creation of repeat patterns. The pattern swatch is created automatically and the dialog allows you to change items like grid design, width and height, and see the changes update on the screen. You can also add and edit objects to the pattern, and see how it will appear as a repeat design before you exit the dialog. Patterns can easily be modified later by double-clicking on the swatch to re-enter the dialog. This is a great improvement to the older method of dragging shapes into the Swatches panel.

Gradients Can Also Be Added To Strokes In Illustrator CS6.

Pattern Brush corner options have been improved in the CC (Creative Cloud) version. The new features deal with how we display the corners of an object. Illustrator auto-generates corners based on the original artwork. We have various choices as to how those corners will display - see the drop-down menu for the various styles.

Another new brush feature in CC is the Bitmap Brushes where photographs can be used as a starting point for brushes. Place an image of, for example, leaves or a flower. Drag it into the Brushes panel and choose New Art Brush. Select Stretch Between Guides and move the end guides to include the stalk only. Delete the original image, choose the Brush tool and paint with the new brush. Also note the different results depending on the stroke width.

The new Touch Type tool allows you to move, scale or rotate individual letters of text whilst maintaining its editability.

The purpose of the new CSS feature in Illustrator CC is to enable designers to present ideas to developers. Window, CSS Properties opens the dialog box, and the file can be exported to CSS via File, Export. It's not perfect but it does 90% of the construction work, and is also scaleable.

Tom Gillan has been training Adobe Illustrator to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. Visit our website for more information: .


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