The 2014 release of Illustrator CC is here!
The 2014 release of Illustrator CC is now available,
and here’s a quick overview of what’s new for you.
See the new features after the jump.
Live Shapes: Rectangles and rounded rectangles
Work dynamically with the fundamental building blocks for vector graphics – the Rectangle shape tools. You can now quickly modify rectangle corners, with independent control over each corner’s radius. You can scale and rotate rectangles, and Illustrator remembers your work— so you can quickly return to your original shape.
The Transform panel, which now shows rectangle properties, will appear as soon as you draw or edit a rectangle, giving you access to additional controls — different corner treatments, the ability to scale corners as you the scale the rectangle, and more.
Pen tool and Anchor Point Enhancements
The Pen tool is the most important tool in Illustrator for many designers, and for the 2014 release, updates to the Pen tool and Anchor Point controls give you more flexibility and precision in crafting your vector artwork.
See how the Pen tool and anchor point enhancements work>
Pen tool preview
The new Pen tool preview lets you see your path before you drop your next point. You can see precisely where the next segment will go, saving you time cleaning up paths later.
Drag unequal anchor points
Before this release, when you dragged the handles of a smooth point, the handles were always equal in length and paired, which limits the control you have over the next curve. But now, holding the command/control key while dragging lets you keep the handles paired but make them unequal in length, which gives you fine control over the shape of the next curve.
Re-pair, or realign, anchor points
Often you need to convert smooth points to corner points, which breaks the “pairing” of the anchor point’s direction lines. If that corner point later needs to be changed back to a smooth point, the original curve was always affected. Now you can use the Anchor Point tool, along with the Opt/Alt key, and click on one of the handles to make the point smooth. This pairs the anchor point handles, but keeps the original curve intact.
Snap to pixel, point, grid update
If you’re creating for the Web, you want your anchor points to snap to the pixel grid, but you don’t want your anchor handles to snap, too. For the 2014 release, the anchor handles are disengaged from snapping to a grid or a point, so you can have fine control while editing your paths. This new behavior applies to ANY snap to document grid or snap to point in Illustrator, not just Align to Pixel Grid.
Close paths with more control
In earlier versions, if you start your shape with a smooth point, you can’t change that point to a corner when you close the path, you’d have to go back and edit it later. Illustrator now gives you the option to do this while drawing, so you can make exact adjustments to that closing curve that you need.
You can use the space bar to reposition things in Illustrator while drawing, such as dragging out a shape, even drawing with the Pen tool. But you couldn’t do this when closing a path. But now you can. Hold the space bar when you click to close, and you can reposition the starting/ending point of your shape. This gives you precise control over the curves and your final shape, and helps eliminate the need to edit after you’ve drawn.
See how the Pen tool and anchor point enhancements work>
Windows GPU acceleration
If you are using Windows 7 or 8, you can explore GPU acceleration in Illustrator CC, which provides much faster rendering of vector graphics, along with accelerated pan and zoom. This new GPU acceleration is Windows only and requires an Adobe-certified NVIDIA graphics card with least 1 GB of VRAM. Get more details on GPU performance, such as hardware requirements and the ability to provide feedback on this feature to the development team. See GPU release notes>
See a demonstration of the GPU acceleration on the the NVIDIA blog >
This exciting new capability for GPU acceleration for vector graphics in Windows is revolutionary. It’s based on NVIDIA technology called NV Path Rendering that is implemented as an extension to OpenGL, an open standard for graphics performance. Learn more about NV Path Rendering>
Typekit missing fonts workflow
In May 2013, Adobe introduced Typekit fonts as part of your Creative Cloud membership, giving you access to hundreds of fonts for use on the desktop. The new missing fonts feature takes advantage of that Typekit offering to let you replace missing fonts with just a single click. When you open the file with a missing font, a Missing Font dialog appears, letting you know what fonts are missing and highlights the missing fonts in the document. If the missing font is a available from Typekit, just one click will sync the font, and make it immediately available in the document, no need to restart Illustrator or reopen the file.
See how missing fonts works>
Along with this missing font feature, the illustrator team also updated the Find Font dialog to provide more information and to provide that info in a more modern interface.
Other important updates
Pencil tool update
The Pencil tool was completely rebuilt in the January 2014 release, with new options for smoother curves and to draw straight lines. But some customers were unhappy with the changes; they missed the more accurate renditions of their freeform drawings and the ability to quickly switch between the Smooth and Pencil tools that they had in the past.
The Illustrator team listened, and for the 2014 release, there is an additional tick in the Fidelity slider for “more accurate” and a checkbox option for “Alt key toggles to Smooth Tool.” The extra tick in the slider has been added in the Paint Brush, Blob Brush and Smooth Tool option dialogs as well.
A number of text updates are part of the 2014 release of Illustrator CC, including new hidden characters to represent typographic notations, honoring justification of lines that end in soft returns, and support for IVS (Ideographic Variation Sequence).
Support for SVG continues to be enhanced, building on the many updates in the laste two releases. Now markup for generated YML preview is cleaner, and the Use textPath option is selected by default, which results in smaller SVG files.
Path Segment Reshape update
The new Path Segment Reshape behavior that was introduced in the January 2014 release of Illustrator CC was welcomed by many customers. But some customers had established workflows around the previous behavior, and were very vocal about their unhappiness with the change. The Illustrator team listened, and in this release, there’s a new preference under Selection and Anchor Display to “Constrain Path Dragging on Segment Reshape,” which allows customers to have the earlier segment reshape behavior.