Archive for May, 2012

Illustrator CS6 | Use your mouse to work faster!

How do you usually change the value of an Illustrator artwork object’s attribute? For example, how do you traditionally change the opacity of an object in your artwork?

In Illustrator CS5.1 (three steps):

  1. Select the object, and click the arrow of the Opacity field in the Control Panel
  2. Click and hold the Opacity slider control, move the slider, and release slider to view the new opacity of the object
  3. If the opacity is not exactly the one you need, repeat the previous step until you get the right opacity.

In Illustrator CS6 (one step):

  • Select the object, position the mouse pointer over the Opacity field in the Control Panel, and scroll your mouse wheel.

That’s it! It really is that simple. The artwork is modified as you scroll, and you can keep scrolling until you get the desired effect. You will notice an amazing advantage right away – you don’t have to take your eyes off the artwork while you are modifying it!

Check out this video, for a short demo of the feature that I just described…


  • One step at a time too slow for your workflow? Press SHIFT while you scroll, and the value of the opacity increases or decreases in steps of ten.
  • Missing the slider? The opacity field now has a pop-out list, with increments in the tens (10%, 20%, etc.). It is much faster to set these values it with a pop-out list than with a slider. Pop-out lists containing standard increments are available for popular controls like font size or stroke weight. You’re not going to be missing that slider for too long :-).
  • Prefer your keyboard to get the right value, right away? While this is a departure from what you have experienced in Illustrator earlier (the slider not being available), in addition to the two new ways of changing the value (scrolling and the pop-out list), the previous two methods of changing the opacity have been retained:
    • You can still manually type the exact value of the opacity you want
    • You can click the opacity field, and use your keyboards up and down arrow keys to change the value.

All fields in Illustrator CS6 that have numeric values, or have lists with standard values, can be manipulated with just your scroll mouse.

There actually is a lot more! Adobe Illustrator CS6 is different from previous versions in many ways. While the team has toiled away at making it faster, providing native 64-bit support, and adding and fine-tuning features, there are quite a bit of smaller changes that have been made it into this version. Many of these are GUI-related value-adds and tweaks that make it easier and faster to work with the Illustrator CS6 interface. While we compile a comprehensive list of the rest of the changes in Illustrator CS6, I wanted to draw attention to this one useful aspect of the GUI.

Watch out for the entire list – coming soon!

Illustrator CS6 | The all-new Save for Web dialog box

Illustrator CS6 has been enhanced and streamlined in various areas like performance, efficiency, and usability. While improving on the existing prowess of the product is great, it is also important to modernize and restructure features that, over time, are used differently, or have become less relevant, or are just not used any more.

The Save for Web feature is used, chiefly, to optimize artwork and images for the purpose of using it in web browsers and applications. This was achieved by optimizing image size and color. However, as the web evolves and bandwidth becomes increasingly and easily available, the Save for Web feature has also evolved to keep up with the times. The feature has been reworked, and the changes include availability of certain formats from different menu options, removal of the WBMP format and automatic HTML generation, and modifications to the slices feature.

Save for Web dialog box in Illustrator CS6

Save for Web dialog box in Illustrator CS6

Save for Web

The Save for Web & Devices dialog box has been renamed and is now the Save for Web dialog box. This reflects the convergence of web formats and the new and enhanced capabilities of mobile devices. For the same reason, Device Central is no longer available in Creative Suite 6. The Save for Web dialog has also been fine-tuned to enhance usability, and other notable changes include:

  • The Image Size panel is now available to interact with directly; no tabs to navigate through.
  • The Image Size options are dynamic, enabling you to preview your changes as you go. You no longer have to click the Apply button to preview your changes.
  • The option to export slices has been moved into the Save for Web dialog (previously found in the Save Optimized As dialog)

SVG and SWF formats

The capabilities of mobile devices and web rendering technologies have improved, and we can safely choose quality over size.  Therefore, the option to save images as SWF or SVG has been removed from the Save for Web feature.

  • To save as SWF file format, click File > Export, and then choose Flash (*.swf) from the Save as type list.
  • To save as SVG file format, click File > Save As, and then choose SVG (*.svg) from the Save as type list.

Unavailable format: WBMP

The WBMP (wireless bitmap, .wbmp file) format was originally created to support images over WAP (wireless application protocol). These images were monochrome, and were effective when the availability of wireless bandwidth was minimal. The emergence of mobile broadband and 4G technologies have made the WBMP format obsolete. The capability to save to the .wbmp file format has been removed from the Save for Web dialog.

HTML export

The ability to save HTML has been removed from the Save for Web dialog box. However, if required, you can still get HTML code – in the Save for Web dialog, click Preview, and use the HTML code at the bottom of the browser window. In Photoshop CS6 though, Export to HTML is still available and you could save to HTML from there.

Output settings

The Output Settings dialog box, used to control HTML file formatting, slice naming, and background image handling, has been removed.