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The industry-standard vector graphics software.
All-new Adobe ® Illustrator ® CS software is an essential tool for anyone who needs to express ideas visually in print, on the Web, and in any other medium.
With powerful new 3D features, advanced typographical controls, smooth Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) integration, enhanced printing options, and faster performance, this powerful upgrade from Illustrator 10 helps you explore your creative vision and efficiently publish your artwork anywhere.
Not being a huge user of illustrator these days, it is kinda hard to write a complete in depth report on the pros and cons of the program. But in the spirit of giving it a decent go I sat down and tried to dust off what I remembered of the program, and, to be perfectly honest, I was actually genuinely surprised by how far the program had come from versions 7 and 9 that I had tried. Lets see now…
First off the interfaces and windows seem to fit on the screen much better, something that really gets up my nose with just about any program that has floating panels, although not as tidy and clean as Corel or Macromedia MX they are certainly less cluttered than previous versions, minimising and maximising without too much loss of clarity. Although it must be said that the array of panels that you can have open is truly dizzying, I found dragging as many tabs as I could onto the one panel helped ease the congestion. The Photoshop style of toolbar is still there with new (and useful) tools on it, and the toolbar up the top is also derivative of the program as well, both are well implemented showing the options for the tools. One problem is with all these optional windows open is they can crowd the workspace at times, but isn’t too much of a trade off.
Adobe has certainly tried to maximise the web compatibility of this program, you can create a wide range of web based graphics such as buttons and animations, and export them directly to golive. This compatibility makes life a bit easier when altering large amounts of web graphics, Illustrator’s compression options are also great for crunching those pics down to manageable levels.
As for what makes Illustrator famous: It’s vector and type art options, the new version of the program really shines. The type effects that you can render is truly amazing, from 3d effects, bevels, noise and blurs, your typography can really be expanded, a real plus for designers who are working in a vector based program and want to keep file size to a reasonable level. Although I must point out that the version I tried had a tendency to crash when I tried to render some of the effects and filters (the 3d being the most notable). Also you will need a fairly quick machine with a fair amount of ram or you can expect some long waits for renders (at least 2ghz with 512meg). My 1.7ghz with 256meg was decidedly slow.
There are a huge amount of built in symbols and graphics that you can use to pretty up your documents and the option of saving your own symbols is a handy one, especially if you want to use a vector over multiple jobs, or even like I do, and stamp each proof with a copyright stamp.
I followed some of the new tutorials on the website to really open myself up to the options available and I must say that the functionality of the program has really been improved from its earlier incarnations, no longer is it a dying vector art program but a fully functional web integration tool which really adds to the power of GoLive. I am the first to admit that I am not the most schooled student of Illustrator so there are some sections which I may have failed to grasp, but the parts and options that I am familiar with all seem to have gone under the improvement microscope.
So with the only real gripe being the speed of the renders (not much of one really, considering the speed and price of computers), I would have to give Illustrator CS a big and happy thumbs up. If you are familiar and use Illustrator you will surely be pleased with what is considerably more than a facelift and flash up.
Takes a while to load, even on a relatively hyped-up system, but most of that was sorting out the fonts, so once the list has been generated, it's not too bad. Be aware if you have a MOUNTAIN of fonts that this may take some time. After you get through that, the awesome abilities are evident.
Though I have only ever 'played' with Illustrator due to limited access, this has shown me new wonders, and I honestly feel I have become converted to Illustrator as my primary Vector-based Editor. The 3d features leave one spellbound with what is now possible in a basically 2d media environment. No more need for little 3d render engines, this has it all!
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