Evaluation: Adobe Illustrator CS2

Matthew Richmond

Elevated velocity, dependability, and ease of use, and a handful of actually helpful new options make Illustrator CS2 one of the vital thrilling updates launched by Adobe in recent times.
As Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and GoLive proceed to play higher collectively, the lately launched Illustrator CS2 is redefining itself as a vector-art creation software by incorporating an improved working atmosphere; new drawing, portray, and tracing instruments; and by seamlessly integrating stay Photoshop results with Illustrator’s unmatched Look Palette. The query is just not “Should I upgrade to Adobe Illustrator CS2?” however relatively, “How soon can I get my hands on it?” And that’s coming from somebody who’s used many a earlier model and the CS2 beta continuously in lots of tasks for The Chopping Block, a design studio in New York Metropolis.
The stand-alone model of Illustrator CS2 prices $499, with upgrades from Illustrator CS and 10 at $169. It’s additionally accessible as a part of the Artistic Suite 2 Normal bundle for $899 and the Artistic Suite 2 Premium for $1,199.
Getting Issues Completed
Earlier variations of Adobe Illustrator left its customers feeling a bit cramped for working area. I, together with many different designers and illustrators, was greater than accustomed to working with palettes two rows deep, and on the identical time, hesitant to shut or transfer any floating palettes from inside attain.
Adobe heard our cries of frustration and delivered. Illustrator CS2’s first new addition is the Management Palette, sitting (by default!) on the high of a doc. What would you say if I informed you that 80 % of the controls you want probably the most are all on this one place? Whereas the Management Palette appears to be like much like the Choices Palette in Photoshop, it performs in a wholly completely different approach. Inside Illustrator CS2, the Management Palette is context-sensitive, which suggests it adjustments based mostly on what objects — and what kind of object — you might have chosen. It provides stroke, fill, kind, alignment, and a handful of different choices. You may even customise your Management Palette choices utilizing the fly-out menu on the fitting. Whereas it could take seasoned customers a short while to get comfortable utilizing the Management Palette solely, I will help you alongside by declaring that most of the extra full palette choices are linked to off the Management Palette itself.

The Management Palette frees you from palette litter.

Now that I’ve teased you with the concepts of much less palette litter and customizing your working atmosphere, it’s time to drag out the large weapons and acquaint you with Customized Workspaces, a characteristic I’ve needed for some time now. The power to avoid wasting your palette structure — or a number of completely different palette layouts — in what Adobe calls “workspaces” has made its approach from different CS apps into Illustrator. It’s proper the place you’d count on it to be, on the high of the Window menu, and it lets you save, share, and entry saved palette layouts for particular duties.

The brand new Workspaces characteristic could not appear to be a lot, however it opens up an entire new world of extra environment friendly, personalized palette layouts.

Though you’ll wish to construct you personal, Illustrator additionally comes with two workspaces. The primary one, appropriately titled “default,” is the protection. It returns all palettes to the default Illustrator CS places. The opposite workspace, known as “minimal,” shifts the Management Palette to the underside of the display screen and frees up the remainder of the working atmosphere. No matter how you employ them, the Management Palette and Customized Workspaces can have a dramatic impact on day-to-day duties, permitting customers of all types to work extra effectively.
Reside Paint
Historically, you construct compositions in Illustrator utilizing a reasonably easy stackable object mannequin; in truth, that’s the place most designers and illustrators first realized the idea of “send to back” and “bring to front.” Past this, many people have change into accustomed to utilizing teams or the pathfinder instruments to nest or mix primary objects into extra advanced shapes. Reside Paint introduces a greater, sooner approach in a wholly new type of drawing object: a stay paint object. You may convert any conventional Illustrator object to a Reside Paint object by clicking on a specific group of objects with the brand new Reside Paint Bucket or Reside Paint Choice software. As soon as transformed, the brand new instruments can then simply fill any area in a single click on, routinely detecting and correcting for gaps, and fixing one of many extra irritating unwanted effects of historically structured compositions by opening up solely new prospects for drawing and design methods.

The Reside Paint Bucket in motion.

When you maintain the shift key down whereas utilizing the Reside Paint Bucket, you possibly can fill any fringe of a Reside Paint object, and the Reside Paint Choice software not solely permits you to shift-click and modify many areas or edges directly, but additionally choose and delete any undesirable or stray areas or strokes. This not solely makes it a lot simpler to rapidly and exactly edit drawings in Illustrator, however it brings one of many velocity benefits of drawing in Flash into Illustrator CS2.

Maintain down the Shift key to fill the sting of a Reside Paint object (high). Shift-click to eliminate undesirable areas and strokes (backside).

Reside Hint
Illustrator CS2’s high-profile new characteristic is so insanely built-in and so long-needed that merely figuring out its there, or seeing it work as soon as, will make you attain for the software program field. Reside Hint is just not your father’s tracing software — extra importantly, it’s not Adobe’s Streamline utility. Reside Hint is new, and it’s higher.
Right here’s the way it works: Positioned bitmaps inside Illustrator CS2 are handled as a linked file object.

Extra after the leap! Proceed studying under
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It is a picture positioned inside Illustrator CS2.

From the Management Palette, all it is advisable do is click on the Reside Hint button, and the bitmap picture is transformed to editable and scalable vector paths.

The picture after utilizing Reside Hint’s default setting.

By default, Illustrator CS2 traces the picture in black and white, however the drop-down menu subsequent to the Reside Hint button provides you direct entry to 13 built-in tracing presets. When you place a full-color picture, choose “Color 6” to see the outcomes.

The Colour 6 choice yields a greater end result.

You’re now coping with a Reside Hint Object, and the Management Palette makes it extraordinarily simple to tweak the hint outcomes and see them stay. Modifying the “Max Colors” or “Min Area” adjusts how Reside Hint interprets the unique picture. Past this, the Management Palette additionally holds a button to launch the total Tracing Choices dialog field, which provides you full management over the aforementioned tracing choices and a handful extra.

The Tracing Choices dialog field.

My favourite slider is the blur management, the place you possibly can soften a positioned picture and clean the strains of a hint.

The traced picture after utilizing the blur management within the Tracing Choices dialog field.

Maybe most necessary is the “Live” a part of Reside Hint — it signifies that you would be able to nonetheless edit your authentic positioned bitmap and all the results, hint and all, will replace accordingly.
Placing Reside Hint and Reside Paint Collectively
Whereas new and former customers will discover some ways of incorporating these new instruments into their tasks, the true energy of Illustrator CS2 is in how nicely these new options work collectively. Many concepts begin as a sketch on paper, perhaps even a serviette. Sadly, the normal design workflow has at all times left us struggling to redraw these concepts utilizing beziers or a brush. Now all we’ve to do is scan our photos, place them in Illustrator CS2, and apply our Reside Hint.
Phrases can’t describe how simple it’s… It’s a cliché, however it’s true, so right here’s a step-by-step instance I created for this evaluate. Within the photos under, you possibly can see how I used the total tracing choices and the blur slider to clean out the pencil marks from my scanned sketch.

The sketch earlier than blurring (high) and after (backside).

Now the true enjoyable started. I used the Management Palette (I may have used Reside Paint Bucket as nicely) to transform my Reside Hint object to a Reside Paint object and rapidly colour the areas of my sketch. Lengthy-time Illustrator followers will love the truth that at any time, you should use the direct choice or pen instruments to switch the factors and beziers of any Reside Hint Object. You may even fill areas with null colour and permit the art work behind a Reside Hint object to indicate by, as I did under.

That robotic was a pencil sketch a couple of minutes in the past!

It’s All Coming Collectively
Years in the past, Adobe launched the Look Palette into Illustrator, and for the previous a number of updates, the logic of the Look Palette has continued to solidify. What’s at all times surprising to me as a designer and illustrator is what number of Illustrator customers haven’t embraced (and even explored) the Look Palette. “But why is this important to this review?” it’s possible you’ll ask. It’s fairly easy.
Each object, group, and layer in your Illustrator file has an related look stack. Every look stack can maintain a limiteless quantity of strokes, fills, and results. As well as, every stroke and fill can maintain its personal results. And each impact is LIVE, that means you possibly can double-click on it and modify it, as many occasions as you need, endlessly. Customers of all kinds perceive how necessary it’s to have countless edit capabilities, and there’s no different software prefer it.

The Look palette is your buddy. No, actually!

With this launch, Illustrator CS2 continues to strengthen the Look Palette. Not solely has it fully built-in Reside Paint and Reside TraceAppearance Palette, however all of Photoshop’s results (together with the results gallery) at the moment are accessible instantly inside Illustrator, and sure, they’re stay, somewhat trick that Photoshop itself can’t even do!
So A lot Extra
There are a handful of actually strong extra options and tweaks I haven’t but talked about. Given Illustrator’s exceptionally big selection of customers, I’m prepared to guess that a few of these is likely to be much more beneficial to sure individuals than the foremost options described above. Listed below are a number of I completely should point out:

  • Double clicking on any group of objects or a Reside Paint object triggers an isolation mode in which you’ll modify, transfer, and edit inside objects with out digging by the Layers Palette.
  • Expanded Stroke Choices allow you to management the place of a stroke on a path by selecting centered, inside, or exterior.
  • You may assign a spot colour to a linked, embedded, or opened grayscale picture, and apply a spot colour to a drop shadow and be assured that art work will separate correctly when printing.
  • Swatch and colour integration with the remainder of the CS2 Suite Functions is seamless (that is enormous!).
  • Full assist for the newest Wacom tablets and brush assist for the brand new Wacom 6D Artwork Pen.
  • Assist for Photoshop Layer Comps.
  • Enhanced web page tiling controls permits you to extra simply create massive tile-based printed mock-ups or multi-page PDFs.
  • Dramatically improved art work export and preview choices for cellular gadgets in any SVG format, together with SVG-tiny.
  • Enhanced PDF/X assist.

Is It Excellent But?
With all of those nice additions and enhancements, it’s troublesome to search out issues to dislike. However as with many purposes, even when it’s nice, it could at all times be higher. I want to see the doc default heart level moved to the higher left hand nook, and there are sadly nonetheless extra software choices and often-overlooked options scattered all through the appliance. Many customers nonetheless carry up the dearth of multi-page structure assist. (Nonetheless, the suite method is working nicely for us at The Chopping Block, and we’ve been utilizing Illustrator CS2 along side InDesign CS2 for our multi-page wants.) This system would profit from extra stay portray instruments and stronger isolation mode choices — all of the issues I didn’t even know I needed till I began utilizing Illustrator CS2.
Do You Actually Must Purchase It?
Adobe has actually listened to its customers. With this launch, Illustrator has gone from “pretty good” to “downright excellent!” When you’ve been holding on to an older model of Illustrator or questioning what was going to change into of Freehand, that is the time to get your palms on Illustrator CS2. Add the elevated velocity and stability to all the brand new options, and the result’s a improbable product replace.
All sorts of customers — from designers and illustrators to architects and page-layout professionals — is not going to solely drastically increase their productiveness with CS2, they could actually have a little extra enjoyable alongside the best way. This isn’t a type of updates you purchase simply to maintain present. Illustrator CS2 is an utility that can change the best way you’re employed — for the higher.

Matthew Richmond is a designer and principal companion at The Chopping Block. His tasks embody work for the Museum of Fashionable Artwork, LEGO, XM Radio, They Is perhaps Giants, Phish, Adobe, and Sony Photos Classics. When not within the studio, Matthew may be discovered educating Digital Illustration and superior Flash to the MFA college students on the College of Visible Arts.

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     by Matthew Richmond
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  • Could 6, 2005
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