Archive for March, 2009

March 30, 2009

Multiple Artboards Roundup–Tutorials, Resources and More

Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Product Marketing Manager

Since there’s been a lot of discussion here on multiple artboards in Illustrator CS4, I want to round out that focus with links to resources for customers who are just becoming familiar with this new feature or customers who have downloaded the free 30-day trial and are looking to experiment.

First, if you’re using an older version of Illustrator and would like to experience multiple artboards in Illustrator CS4, you can download the Illustrator CS4 free trial here.

AdobeTV has a number of free video tutorials on multiple artboards in Illustrator CS4:

  • Deke McClelland, of, provides a general introduction to document setup, which includes the basics of multiple artbaords, then goes in to more depth in a later segment.
  • Mordy Golding, author of Real World Illustrator blog, step us through exporting multiple atboards for use in Flash.
  • Rufus Deuchler, Wordwide Adobe Evangelist and blogger, shows how to save editing time with multiple artboards.
  • Rafael “RC” Concepcion, from Layers TV, shares a tip on using multiple artboards to deliver a consistent design concept.
  • Some other great tutorials:

  • Dave Cross, from Layers Magazine, shows us how to use multiple artboards to take Illustrator art to Photoshop and InDesign.
  • vectips gives a quick tip on using guides with multiple artboards.
  • Terry White, director of systems engineering at Adobe and author of the Creative Suite Video Podcast, provides his insight into taking advantage of multiple artboards.
  • And from the Learning Resources team at Adobe, the Illustrator Help topic Using multiple artboards.

    I’m sure I’ve missed many other great resources, so if you’ve one you’d like to share with others, please let me know.

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  • March 27, 2009

    Developing Multiple Artboards

    Posted by: Neeraj Nandkeolyar, Workflow specialist, Illustrator team

    Typically, when we start work on a new release, a list of features is put forward and each item is weighed against others on the list. ‘Multiple Artboards’ was one of the oldest entries on the list. All the forces never joined hands so it could make it into the product. In CS4, too, we had put ‘the list’ upfront and started seeking commitments from stakeholders – and gradually built consensus. One after another we started hearing an ‘aye” for Multiple Artboards in CS4. Product Management, Development, Quality Engineering, Experience Design, et al. There was enthusiasm, and this ‘old’ item on the list suddenly became exciting. The ‘Multiple Artboards Feature Team’ was born.

    The multiple artboards feature interacted with a lot of other features in Illustrator. It was like going up a mountain trail with lots of different teams, each working on its feature and impacting multiple artboards when the trails intersected. Each of these features had its own needs from mulitple artboards. Illustrator’s capable pre-release users helped us prioritize these multiple asks. They guided and helped the team correct some approaches as well.

    For example: the feature team decided to reduce the canvas size to 14400 x 14400 pts from 16383 x 16383 pts owing to PDF 1.5 standards. For older files, an ‘Enable Oversized Canvas’ was added. There were arguments in favor and against, but our team couldn’t decide. But advice from the pre-release users changed things: “Would you get more tech support calls asking what is ‘ Enable Oversized Canvas’ or more calls for not saving the big artboard to PDF 1.5”? The team decided to go back to the traditional canvas size.

    Time passed by, features were shaping up nicely, and there were good feelings all around – it was time for Uncle Murphy’s visit. Just after all features were marked ‘done,’ the QE team broke free from the trail and started wandering around. They started testing multiple artboards with older Ai versions – and a plethora of issues started cropping up. At one point it almost shook our confidence and we thought of reducing the scope of the feature.

    Both Development and QE started ‘combing’ through the features. Product Management assessed risks with each issue, Engineering worked towards finding a solution to issues, getting approvals and then making code changes after multiple reviews. QE verified those changes, and made further aggressive attempts to find more issues. Multiple SWAT teams were formed to track changes. With a combined and dedicated effort, and keeping aside the luxuries of life (at times necessities, too), we got back to the state where the trails became smooth and the teams regained their confidence. That bunch of people who had started together and taken different trails, finally joined back on the other of the mountain – happy and confident.

    Working late nights and weekends, surviving on pizza and caffeine, having group discussions, and making quick strategies and plans… all added to the ‘adventure’ of developing multiple artboards. It was fun.

    – Neeraj

    Did you like this post? Would you like to hear more from about the feature development process? Let us know.

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    March 26, 2009

    The Joy of Charting

    Contributed by Brenda Sutherland, Illustrator Team Rowing Captain

    Last Friday Terry talked about some of the exciting new libraries and How To’s that we shipped with Illustrator CS4. I wanted to take time today to focus on some additional new CS4 Sample Art Files that show how Illustrator can be used to create visually intriguing, creative flow charts. Yes, you heard me right, I did say “Visually Intriguing” and “Flow Charts” in the same sentence!

    Jennifer Willis
    is one of those rare designers who doesn’t cringe when taking on information graphics. Instead she has found a way of infusing her creative style into flow charts, while obviously having a great time doing it. Jennifer uses a variety of symbols and arrowheads that she creates. This adds a personal touch that reflects not only the designer but the client as well.



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    March 25, 2009

    Why Artboards and not Pages?

    Contributed by David Macy, Illustrator Senior Product Manager

    Great lead-in yesterday about the productivity enhancements found by using Multiple Artboards in Illustrator CS4.

    So, why do we call these Artboards in Illustrator and not Pages? The word “page” is well understood in our language, and has implications based on its true meaning and on how it has been expressed in existing software applications. In printed materials, pages have a fixed sequence, and are typically read in the sequence they are presented. In electronic formats such as web sites, pages may be viewed in any sequence, but are still generally presented based on a hierarchy – usually with a “Main” or “Home” page that everything cascades from. In fact, when you are laying out a magazine or building a website, you will usually begin with a specification defining the structure of the final site or document. This kind of “structured workflow” is supported very well by Adobe’s main tool for document layout – InDesign, and Adobe’s main tool for website layout – Dreamweaver.

    When we took a close look at what Illustrator users needed we saw that in most cases it was not the ability to create multiple page documents, and in fact it was very often based on an un-structured workflow with no particular sequence or hierarchy. Of course there are many very valid use cases for creating sequenced documents from Illustrator, but there are also a lot of compelling use cases where artboards are simply a collection of related assets with no particular sequence or hierarchy. Given the desire of many artists to work in Illustrator in a very fluid and creative way, unbound by a structured workflow, we decided to make an extremely flexible system for creating and managing artboards. In Illustrator, you can make artboards of any size and in any position on Illustrator’s canvas, all depending on what you are trying to do with them-

  • Two artboards of the same size can represent the front and back of a sheet of paper.
  • Three artboards side by side can represent a tryptich painting.
  • Five artboards of unique sizes can contain assets for a brand identity including treatment on a business card, brochure, product package, website and outdoor billboard.
  • Six artboards nested within each other can represent different viewport sizes for visualizing virtual displays.
  • Nine artboards in a grid can be used to illustrate a multi-screen display.
  • Twenty two artboards could make up a comic book lettering project.
  • Forty three artboards might be used for creating a board game, including the playing surface, top and bottom of the box, six playing pieces and 34 playing cards.
  • Fifty artboards in a row can define keyframes for an animation.
  • The possibilities are almost as vast as the number of ways in which people use Illustrator.

    Illustrator does continue to grow and evolve, so please let us know how you use Multiple Artboards in CS4 or how you would like to see them change over time.

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    March 24, 2009

    New Creative Suite 4 Productivity Study Released

    Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Product Marketing Manager

    Adobe just announced new benchmarking results from an independent research study conducted by Pfeiffer Consulting. The benchmarking covers design, digital imaging, interactive design, web, and video activities with Creative Suite 4 software.

    It was great to see the new Illustrator CS4 multiple artboards featured prominently in the research and timesavings results. The Illustrator product team really worked hard to incorporate this most-requested capability into the latest release of Illustrator.

    About time you say? Yes, but it still doesn’t take away from the credit due the Illustrator product team for their hard work. Hopefully, we’ll hear from the team on the challenges they faced building this feature.

    For more on the study, check out the info on

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