When Illustrator was first launched in 1987, it was a revolution. For the first time, designers had the freedom to create complex art on screen, thanks to Illustrator and the Macintosh computer. The traditional tools wielded by designers and illustrators — pencils, inking pens, French curves, and rulers — could now by replaced by keyboard, mouse and Illustrator!
The Adobe Illustrator story
With the move from traditional to digital tools, design became less of a struggle: Production is less of a barrier. Making changes doesn’t mean starting from scratch and redoing it all. Sending designs to a client only takes the click of a button. The same design that’s used for a magazine ad can be scaled up to billboard size without loss of quality.
But design is also less tactile now. You cannot wield a brush or touch your canvas. You cannot immerse yourself in the design process in the same way as before the computer. The computer has become both the design and the production tool. Mice and keyboards are now the primary interface; you cannot use your hands and fingers in a direct way.
Adobe believes that design, while a professional art which needs rigor and practice, should also be an exhilarating experience. One should be able to dive into it whenever inspiration strikes. It shouldn’t matter if you are in your design studio in front of your desktop computer or in a park under the sun with a portable device in your hand.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: a powerful, portable device
We are excited about the touch-based 2-in-1 computer revolution gaining momentum around us. And we thought, what could be a better use of touch screens than letting designers push through the boundaries of mouse and keyboard and indulge physically in their creative work. Illustrator has been experimenting with touch for some time now; the Touch Type and Free Transform tools, along with support for the touch gestures that surfaced in Illustrator CC, were the result of a long-term vision to make Illustrator touch friendly.
Touch tools in Illustrator
However, Illustrator is not just a set of tools, but a complete design environment. To make Illustrator “touch friendly” meant more than enabling its tools for touch. It requires a complete touch-friendly design experience. Our customers must be able to complete their designs on touch devices without having to rely on a mouse or a touchpad. This also means packaging the overwhelmingly rich user interface of Illustrator into a simple and contextual workspace so it fits onto a screen portable enough to be carried around. And all of this without losing the richness and power that Illustrator offers today.
We wanted Illustrator to be simple yet powerful, touch friendly yet precise, and to fit on a portable device without losing any of its richness. This problem statement has formed the basis of all our touch efforts in Illustrator.
The solution is a touch workspace.
The Illustrator team has been working on a Touch Workspace, or TWS. It’s a special workspace in Illustrator that provides touch friendliness on a touch-enabled device, whether it’s stylus support, pressure sensitivity or cool gestures to manipulate art and canvas. It will also have simplified UI which must fit beautifully on a portable device.
TWS is a workspace within Illustrator itself, so we are sure that we are not compromising on the power or richness of Illustrator. Beneath a simple and playful touch-friendly interface, it’s the same Illustrator that we all trust. And, since it is a workspace, our customers are able to switch to and from it without having to close or save their documents.
See more at Adobe MAX
The Illustrator team will be at Adobe MAX in a few weeks with a special session: Beyond Mouse and Keyboard: The Future of Touch and Adobe Illustrator. If you’re heading to MAX this year, be sure to sign up for this session and get an inside look into plans for the future.