Archive for March, 2009

March 23, 2009

Quick Tip–Aligning to Specific Objects

Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Marketing Manager

The Align tools in Illustrator are core tools for most every customer, and while using these tools is straightforward, there is functionality there that’s not so obvious.

For example, have you every wanted to make everything align around a single object or group?

It’s simple, but I didn’t know this trick when I joined the Illustrator team, and I’ve worked with Illustrator for years. Being shown how to do this this was one of those “ah-ha!” moments, so I want to pass the hint along.

By default, Illustrator uses the Bounding Box of your selected objects when aligning objects. In the screenshot below, you’ll see the outline of the Bounding Box of the four selected objects.


Selecting Horizontal Align Left from the align controls in the Control panel or the Align panel aligns all the objects to the left edge of the Bounding Box, as shown below.



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March 21, 2009

Weekly Wrap

Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Marketing Manager

Logrolling in Our Time

  • John Nack points to a new tutorial where Matt Kloskowski suggests customers raid Illustrator’s library for art to use in Photoshop. I just want to give a shout out to the great team over at GoMedia who created this fresh content for Illustrator CS4.
  • And while we’re on Illustrator CS4 content, check out the amazing sample art and How-to Guides tucked into the Illustrator CS4 Cool Extras folder. Don’t have CS4? You can still view and download them for free on
  • More content props: Illustrator CS4 has new symbol libraries as well. Nick La at N.Design Studio was tapped to help develop that great content for us. His free wallpapers are stunning, and he shares his creative process on his blog as well.
  • All of these designers contribute their content and tutorials to the community for free via their blogs and websites, so check ’em out.

  • And finally, vectortuts+, another great community resource, has an interview with Jelle Gijsberts from the Netherlands, whose beautiful illustrations are both playful and compelling. Check out the interview for his tip on using the new Blob Brush tool in Illustrator CS4.

In NYC? Head down to Webster Hall tonight for the Cut&Paste Digital Design Tournament, where top designers will rock the stage at this venerable venue whose walls have seen everything from Emma Goldman to drag queens on acid. To quote Jerri Blank, “Good times!”

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March 19, 2009

Live Color–Production Tasks

Contributed by Ian Giblin, Illustrator Torch Bearer

In Terry’s post yesterday he hinted at some of the hidden potential of Live Color. Naturally, creative tasks spring to mind when people hear of the feature’s basic concept, but since the feature can find and display all the colors in your art, it is extremely useful for many production tasks. Let’s run through a common example problem and how to use Live Color to solve it.

As you know, there can be many ways to create a color that looks black. Some, like rich black (a), below, may be deliberately used to create a darker tone in the printing process or to avoid trapping issues for type. Others, like (b), may be accidentally introduced when a black object from an RGB document is pasted into a CMYK document.



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March 18, 2009

Live Color–Not Just for Designerds

Contributed by Terry Hemphill, Illustrator Product Marketing Manager

Live Color, first introduced in Illustrator CS3, is one of my favorite features, but it seems that almost no one knows it’s there or, if they do discover it, they can’t figure out how to use it. Some think it’s only for selecting color harmonies, and hey, they’re designers, they don’t need software to choose colors for them, right?

For sure, there are many opinions on the implementation and user interface for Live Color, and I’ll admit, I’m hardly the expert on how to use this complex set of tools for choosing, applying and controlling color. I use Live Color simply because I can work with colors globally and adjust them in a design “live,” letting me quickly fine tune colors visually.

Can I at least tease you enough to explore this feature? Hang with me, and I’ll also point you to great tutorials from those who can really show you how to make it work.

  • I don’t need software to choose colors for me
  • Live Color can help you choose color harmonies based on the rules of color theory. in fact, Adobe Kuler is based on a subset of the color tools available in Live Color. But that’s just one small bit of Live Color’s real power. Don’t be put off thinking that’s all it’s about.

  • How do I find Live Color?
  • There are multiple ways to get there, as with almost any feature in Illustrator. For me, I first select the artwork I want to modify, then click on the “Recolor Artwork” icon in the Control Panel. See the screenshot below.


  • OK, I’m here, now what?
  • Now I’m going to turn you over to the experts. I did say this was a tease…

    From Brenda Sutherland, a CS3 tutorial on Recolor Artwork

    Note, the CS3 Video Workshop, where the video above is found, has lots of great content for all the Creative Suite products, but it seems to have disappeared from Hopefully, the Adobe TV team is moving these videos over to a new home there. But in the meantime, you can explore this resource here.

    Here’s Deke McClelland with another take on Live Color, for CS4. Note, Deke mentions the Kuler panel in Illustrator CS4. Illustrator CS3 users can also access the Kuler panel from the Illustrator Main Menu>Adobe Labs>kuler. It was a Beta preview for CS3, and not marketed, so it was bit hidden. And only available in English.

    Hopefully, this will be enough to convince you to give Live Color a spin. Let me know if you’d like to know more about Live Color, and I’ll get the folks who actually helped create these tools to weigh in here on your thoughts and opinions.

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    March 16, 2009

    Creating a New World — Science Machine

    Contributed by Brenda Sutherland, Illustrator Drum Major

    You might think that those of us who work on Illustrator see so many uses of the application that we’re not all that easily impressed. I have to tell you, the opposite is true. It seems whenever we meet a new Illustrator user we discover yet another creative use for a tool or another interesting way to solve a problem. Sometimes we are simply gobsmacked by what someone is doing with the app, pushing it beyond the boundary of what seams reasonable into the land of the unbelievable.

    When this video floated into our inboxes, it captivated all of us. I think you’ll find yourself just as fascinated by Chad Pugh’s time lapsed coverage (over several months of work, condensed to six and half minutes) of his amazing illustration “Science Machine.”

    Science Machine from Chad Pugh on Vimeo.

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