May 16, 2007

FreeHand no longer updated; moving to Illustrator

After a long and storied career, Adobe (neé Altsys, Aldus, and Macromedia) FreeHand has reached the end of its development road. The application has not been revised since Macromedia released MX nearly four years ago, after which the company removed FreeHand from the Studio product line.  Adobe has created an FAQ (PDF) that explains the details of the decision not to rev FreeHand, talks about Illustrator CS3 features added to make FreeHand users more comfortable, and more.  [Note: The official product pages aren’t all updated yet; hence my posting this info on the blog.] Here are the highlights:

Adobe and FreeHand
Adobe does not plan to develop and deliver any new feature-based releases of FreeHand, or to deliver patches or updates for new operating systems or hardware. Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX, and will offer technical and customer support according to our support policies.

FreeHand Upgrade Path
A special upgrade to Illustrator CS3 is available to all registered owners of FreeHand for $199 U.S. This upgrade is available worldwide through the Adobe Store and through the Channel. There is no direct FreeHand to Creative Suite 3 upgrade, but FreeHand owners who also own Adobe or Macromedia products that are eligible for upgrade to the Suite can use that path to move to the Suite.

Support for Customers Making the Move
A number of materials are available at no cost to help customers make the move from FreeHand to Illustrator. All of these materials can be found on the Switch to Illustrator pages on Adobe.com and on the Illustrator Design Center.

FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guideavailable as a PDF and in printed form.
Targeted to designers and illustrators, this four-color manual provides a graphical comparison of the FreeHand and Illustrator workspaces, along with differences in terminology, features, and functions between the two applications.

Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator: A technical resourcePDF format
Designed for production managers, IT managers and designers, this technical resource provides the best ways to move legacy FreeHand content into Illustrator, handle different file formats, outputting files, and other information.

Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator with Mordy Golding—(video training)
Video training produced by lynda.com. The CS3 update to this series is completed and will be available shortly.

Posted by John Nack at 7:39 AM on May 16, 2007

Comments

  • George Penston — 11:45 AM on May 16, 2007

    Ability to work in preview (in color I might add) and use layers. I know I’m dating myself here, but those were ground-breaking features at the time. And features that took quite a bit of time to find their way onto a Mac version of Illustrator. Masking in FreeHand has always been more intuitive than in Illustrator with it’s Paste Inside command. Something Adobe is moving towards in Illustrator but still not really there yet. Lets just hope Adobe listens to longtime FreeHand users of what they love in the application and decide to fold them into Illustrator where it makes sense. I mean, it took us two version to get some of the features of Dimensions and Streamline into Illustrator, why not some FreeHand-inspired features now?
    [The Illustrator team was able to pull in some FH-inspired changes this time, but they know they have more work to do. Ultimately AI should offer the best of all worlds. –J.]

  • Agust Gudbjornsson — 12:50 PM on May 16, 2007

    Love the new features in Illustrator, and I think this changes wont effect the market as much as most think.
    Illustrator is the most used tool today (hurra!hurra!hurra! that someone took Quarks place) – Cheers!

  • George Penston — 12:51 PM on May 16, 2007

    Oops, I forgot the opening of my comment. Should read “Personally, I switched to FreeHand 3 from Illustrator 88 because it offered the ability to work in preview…”
    Also, John is there an email or web page I can point FreeHand lovers to, for submitting longtime favorite features they’d like to see rolled into the next release of Illustrator? Along with what annoys them in Illustrator coming from FreeHand. It would be great to have this available to the FreeHand lovers of the world so it signified that Adobe was listening.
    [Great suggestion, George. I’ll ask and will report anything interesting I find out. –J.]
    I’d also suggest that FreeHand users consider trying out Fireworks CS3 if they haven’t already and can use it in their workflow. It feels a lot like FreeHand to me in many ways, especially now that you can have multiple pages at different sizes. Now if Adobe would just update Fireworks’ UI (and DW) to coincide with the rest of the suite, we’d be in business.
    [Yeah, too bad the timing was just too tight this rev. We have high hopes for next time, though. –J.]
    BTW Illustrator CS3 new color features are the first set of features, in a long time, that I have no idea how to use. Smart Objects and Smart Filters in Photoshop, got ’em right away. Pages in Fireworks, made sense in a few clicks. Global color adjustments in Illustrator… “huh, how do I work this crazy thing? Nothing’s happening”. Either I’m losing my edge or the Illustrator team is getting a bit too advanced for me.
    [I’ll pass along your feedback to the team, and if I can find a good tutorial I’ll mention it here. –J.]
    Although I have to say, I love the Flash integration (but who doesn’t).

  • jimhere — 12:55 PM on May 16, 2007

    No more freehand? Shocking! So all those forum posters speculating this was true were right (Adobe should have just said so months ago).
    Now perhaps someone can say why Adobe makes GoLive and Dreamweaver…

  • Jane Puikko — 2:10 PM on May 16, 2007

    I could make a LONG list, but I’ll just mention one: working with several pages. Should I now work with Indesign? Get real. I think Adobe does not understand the position Freehand has at least in Europe.
    [Well, I think that’s why the company continues to sell FreeHand (i.e. so that people who really rely on its functionality have a way to obtain it when switching machines, adding new staff, etc.). Big picture, though, it doesn’t make sense to split efforts among two similar apps. Rather, the time would be better spent doing things like what you suggest (multiple artboards). –J.]

  • Mike Murphy — 2:45 PM on May 16, 2007

    A bad day for all Freehand Users.
    A bad day for DTP.
    Welcome to the Adobe Monopoly
    [Well, you can blame Adobe, but not in the way you think: FH steadily lost market share to Illustrator, and Macromedia realized that rather than fight that uphill battle, they’d be better off funding other efforts. As far as I can tell, the FH codebase had been essentially dormant for 2.5 years before Adobe took ownership. So, blame Illustrator for surpassing FH in the market, leading to the current situation, but don’t blame Adobe for not reviving a dormant app. –J.]

  • Philip Hutchison — 3:04 PM on May 16, 2007

    *sniff sniff*
    I saw the writing on the wall years ago, but this still makes me sad. I started with Aldus Freehand 3.1 in the early 90s (shortly before it was sold back to Macromedia by Adobe!), and to this day I find Freehand much more intuitive to use than Illustrator.
    This reminds me of the PageMaker/Quark battles in the 90s… Freehand was to Illustrator as PageMaker was to Quark XPress — a second-class citizen. We saw what happened to PageMaker: it was marginalized, and Adobe created InDesign, which to PageMaker users was practically the same thing as Quark, but branded with the Adobe logo and interface. It was a tough transition.
    Once again, Adobe has me in a corner and forces me to make an uncomfortable move. We all saw it coming, but I am bummed nonetheless.
    And for some reason I’m imagining my mom standing there saying “eat it, it’s good for you!”

  • Sergejs Bizans — 6:58 PM on May 16, 2007

    I’m glad and happy that my dreams come true:
    1) AI finally works with Freehand files
    2) There will be less Freehand users in the World
    Why i’m writing that? Just because of those users of Freehand, who put a comments on this post before me – it was typical situation for me for at least 10 years: someone send me Freehand file and I need to search someone else who can convert this file for me in eps or pdf.
    Thanks God Corel Draw users (most of them I have from Russia) are more accurate and using at least eps files rather than sending and sharing graphics in native formats.
    On other side – since the beginning AI was using as native format, that was a standart for print production so it was easy later to use it in Quark, PageMaker, InDesign or even in Freehand, Corel Draw, etc.
    And it is only the most important thing I could tell now, but there are at least 100 more, why Illustrator was much much better to use if you want CORRECT and ACCURATE work done.

  • Seth Morgan — 8:36 PM on May 16, 2007

    Incorporate a few FreeHand features into Illustrator please:
    1) To have text on the top and bottom of a circle in FreeHand you only need one circle. Type text for the top, then hit the return key, and the next type is at the bottom of the circle without having to change base line the way you do in Illustrator.
    2) FreeHand gives the freedom to change the corner radius of any corner of a box at any time.
    3) In FreeHand you can adjust word spacing.

  • Bembelembe — 12:12 AM on May 17, 2007

    This is catastrophic!
    It is very foolish decision from Adobe. Illustrator is great application but it cannot offer so many features that FH users need. AI CS3 took almost nothing worthy from Freehand. Even Xara Xtreme is way similar to Freehand.
    Very bad, very bad Adobe.

  • seveneleven — 12:20 AM on May 17, 2007

    This makes me really angry!!!! You really want to force us to use this silly and stupid Illustrator thing – Freehand is the best software, which adobe never had in producing Illustrator.

  • Ryu — 1:08 AM on May 17, 2007

    Everyone I know involved in graphics use freehand instead of illustrator, so does much of the printing industry. This move will no doubt anger a lot of users and create more bad press and anger towards Adobe, already being criticised for the overly high pricing and the confusing suites of CS3.

  • Nigel Moore — 1:46 AM on May 17, 2007

    The MacWorld article that you linked to, John, is interesting, since it indicates that the second of the top 3 reasons to upgrade, integration with Flash, is just another example of Illustrator playing catch-up, this time with FH.
    [Actually, the integration is on the Flash side; Flash’s Illustrator importer caught up with (and surpassed) their FreeHand importer. Obviously MM was more motivated to stress FH import for many years. That, combined with the fact that the Illustrator transparency and blending model is far richer than what’s in FH, made Flash’s job of importing AI files tough. So, everyone who uses the two apps together is very pleased that the story now Just Works, but 90% of that is on the Flash side (and wasn’t something Adobe could address prior to the companies getting together). –J.]
    The #1 reason to upgrade, Live Color [sic ;)],
    [ ;-) –J.]
    is a more thorough application of hues that Xara vaunted when it was first released. How long ago was that? So many times, I’ve wished I could just change the base colour in an AI artwork, and have all the shades reflect that change, like Xara used to do for me. Now it looks like it’s finally here, and on steroids.
    The other bugbear I’ve had with AI is the teenytiny bezier handles. At last it has handles (reason #3) akin to those in CorelDraw since at least v8.
    [I hear you, but I’m not sure how much value comes from this kind of conversation. I could sit here and gnash my teeth that the #1 feature in Flash CS3 is something LiveMotion debuted seven years earlier–namely, rich PSD and AI import. But who cares? One feature does not a productivity story make. Similarly, the Fireworks and Illustrator guys could roll their eyes at Photoshop just now adding re-editable filters, something each of those apps has has since at least 2000. But again, what difference does it make? The point is to put capabilities into the spots where they matter. Bragging rights are nice, but they don’t get the work done. –J.]

  • FH Addict — 2:01 AM on May 17, 2007

    Well now I know my productivity will lose efficiency, thanks to Adobe.
    Drawing in Illustrators > import in Indesign because of the multipage : what a waste of time !!!!! It is a crazy situation!!!!
    Why not selling FreeHand to a third company??? Are you scared????
    As long FreeHand is working on OSX, I go on with it !!!!
    [That’s fine. That’s why Adobe is continuing to sell FreeHand. And hopefully you’ll give the Illustrator team a chance to convince you–maybe not now, but down the road as they incorporate more of what you like from FH. –J.]
    Very bad, very bad Adobe.

  • James Blast — 2:19 AM on May 17, 2007

    I’m absolutely gutted!
    Having just recently returned to work after a period of illness, the graphics capability of the authority I work for has been completely revamped with all the designers in one central location. This has allowed for not only a better working environment but a stronger resource. We have also all been ‘upgraded’ to CS2 with CS3 to follow once the IT contractors iron out all the bugs they’ve encountered so far. I’ve had a look in Illustraitor and it just looks like a foreign land to me, I seriously doubt I’ll ever feel comfortable living there. Two of this new team are already running Intel Macs so I have seen what the future holds.
    a grey day indeed

  • Andrew Arnold — 2:36 AM on May 17, 2007

    it’s time for the design community to go open source and make their production tools free software. adobe forcing users to switch to inferior tools is not the way. it’ll be definitly less effort to develop a new software than working the next 20 years in illustrator…
    (i’m a fh user since 1990)

  • Herman — 3:14 AM on May 17, 2007

    A really bad decision – and WAY to late. It was clear 2 years ago so many designers already switched to Illustrator – but with a bad feeling, a lot of problems and some bad words to Adobe. And it’s even worse that you still sell Freehand – making money with a dead cow? Nice.
    [So, you’d rather Adobe didn’t keep selling the product, so that it was Illustrator or nothing? You wouldn’t attack the company then? Somehow I doubt that. –J.]

  • Sertic — 3:14 AM on May 17, 2007

    It’s a pity.
    A lots of features in FreeHand are not in Illustrator.
    [The most helpful thing would be to know what, in particular, you value and use in FH that’s not present in AI. That way the team can prioritize the work in order to create a tool in which you feel comfortable. –J.]

  • Marcel Staudt — 3:40 AM on May 17, 2007

    Freehand is just the best tool for real creative people. by the way it is the ONLY tool which supports not only several pages, but also several pagesizes and formats in one document. Example: I want to create a large graphic in 5 single parts side by side with a little space between. In freehand – no problem! in illustrator – impossible!!! I just want to spend my time in crating the graphic and not in open, save and rename thousands of files… Illustrator is just an slow-going and effectoverdosed Joke!!! ADOBE REALLY RUNS THE WRONG DIRECTION!!!!
    Greez from Germany

  • vaugan of J — 4:10 AM on May 17, 2007

    not only Freehand discontinue, neither the upgreade path (nor courtesy coupon) to Illustrator, from which Freehand bundled with Studio MX is not available in Japan. at Japan, only way to get Illustrator, you have to pay $1000 to upgrade the CS3 Web-Premium in spite of $499 in US. this was disappointment for me, creators and developers in japan.
    [I’ve confirmed with the Illustrator team that customers in Japan can upgrade FH to AI CS3 for ¥24,762 (~ $200 USD). –J.]

  • Jim — 4:42 AM on May 17, 2007

    FreeHand simply was able to do more in a shorter time than Illustrator.
    Illustrator may have been more popular but windows is more popular than the Mac OS and Mac users won’t admit it is better simply due to marketshare.
    [Understood. There are similarly groups who’ll swear by GoLive, LiveMotion, PageMaker, etc.–all of which have/had their unique charms. The point now is to figure out the wisest way to spend resources, so that customers get what they need. Rather than pour effort into warming up a dormat codebase, Adobe has made the decision to focus on a single application. –J.]
    Freehand was one of the best DTP app’s released and this simply moves Adobe closer to what Microsoft is, a virtual monopoly of mediocre software.

  • William Adams — 5:12 AM on May 17, 2007

    Given that the Freehand to Illustrator migration guide leaves out a _lot_ of features, and gives poor advice for others (why no mention of control-clicking on rulers to get a menu to change units), one has to wonder exactly how much time people really spend using / learning Illustrator — then I think of the poorly aligned, unprintable garbage which I get as Adobe Illustrator .eps files at work and the answer is clear.
    Well, someone needs to make a tool suitable for pre-press processing vector graphics quickly and efficiently — obviously that won’t be Adobe.
    At the very least, Adobe should open up documentation of the FreeHand file format so that people will have a hope of getting their files into some other tool w/o having to resort to exporting to .pdf or .ai.
    William

  • kill ill — 5:27 AM on May 17, 2007

    i will also switch to xara. i am so disapointed. and for sure i will not support illustrator with my money. i will also promoto other programs and not sick ill to my friends which are all working for big advertising agencies. adobe will lose many costumers for sure!

  • Chris Hopkins — 5:52 AM on May 17, 2007

    Most designers I know are very unhappy with this, and we are likely to switch to InDesign. Several have been trialing InDesign for some time in preparation for such an announcement.
    I have been using Freehand for about 15 years, and have tried Illustrator several times, but I never felt comfortable with it. Freehand is a great product.

  • Gabriel Radic — 6:06 AM on May 17, 2007

    “Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX”
    It better be! The damn thing still runs circles around Illustrator when cartography, multipage, structured are involved.

  • Judith Judy — 6:26 AM on May 17, 2007

    Add the feature of being able to set the halftones in a design right on the work page. Don’t hide it and make it only available until the print page set up. Freehand has this feature available as a panel right in the working tools. This would make Illustrator a little more user friendly especially if you want to set different halftones in different parts if a design.

  • Simon Watson — 6:26 AM on May 17, 2007

    If Illustrator could support a large pasteboard area with multiple pages I would be happier to make the switch.
    As pointed out by others it has taken Adobe a long time to match features available on Freehand from almost day one.
    [The fact that FH led the way with many important innovations is why I referred to its long & storied career. In recent years, however, Illustrator has implemented a much richer drawing model, innovating tools like Live Paint, etc. So, each app has blazed important trails. –J.]
    Adobe should sell FreeHand to Quark so at least someone could be developing a rival to ensure Adobe are kept on their toes.
    [If Macromedia wasn’t able to succeed with FH and effectively killed it, do you think Quark–which frankly needs all hands on deck in order to slow its losses to InDesign–would fare any better? –J.]
    But until their is multiple page support I will have to stick to FreeHand.
    [That’s useful feedback; thanks. I know the Illustrator team has talked to many customers and has ideas in this regard. They haven’t come to fruition yet, and I can’t get into more specifics, but I can at least assure you that they’re listening and thinking. (It’s always painful when we can’t do things as quickly as we & customers would like. –J.]

  • FultonKBD — 6:49 AM on May 17, 2007

    It was coming… but am disappointed to say the least.
    Freehand 8/9 was some of the best software I have ever used. (Version 3.1 was good also. Version 4 and the MX series, not so much.)
    I also used Illustrator during the same time period. Both products have their strengths.
    As a consumer, instead of killing it, I wish that Adobe would of sold Freehand to another company that might of breathed some life back into it.

  • Craig McCloud — 6:50 AM on May 17, 2007

    I am very sorry to hear that Freehand is eliminated.
    [Again, just to clarify, it’s been no more “eliminated” than it has been in the last four years. It wasn’t updated then (save for a bug fix or two), and it isn’t being updated now. You can still buy and use FH just as you have in the past. The only news here is that Adobe is making the plans official. –J.]
    Freehand is far superior to Illustrator in every aspect. Pasting inside was a breeze, color pallettes, you could have more than one page per document and the list goes on and on. Illustrator should have been the program to go!! Whoever made this decision must be running Ford, GM and Chrysler.

  • roadrunner — 7:03 AM on May 17, 2007

    Freehand will be sadly missed
    Worked with both appz in an ad agency for 5 years. IMHO, Illustrator is by far inferior and counter-intuitive, as are so many of the Adobe programs.
    Should they bring up Illustrator to the level of Freehand 3.1 eventually, i might consider buying Illustrator.

  • Dave Duncan — 7:20 AM on May 17, 2007

    I’m really dissapointed in having to switch to AI. There are many features I use every day in FH which don’t seem to be avaliable in AI. Multi-page documents is just one of the extremely important ones. In my work, I need to create multiple pages of Figures in differing orientations. I also “borrow” parts from other figures on different pages. Having to keep many files open or re-opening files to grab what I need is going to be really frustrating and time consuming. Please get AI on par with FH features!

  • Thomas Hurlimann — 7:45 AM on May 17, 2007

    Illustration and Graphic Design Pros use FreeHand, Illustrator is for the wannabe’s. Nevertheless that FreeHand was treatened badly since Macromedia, it is still superior to Illustrator. Letting FreeHand die was clearly a managers decision, people who have no idea about working with vector graphics. Read http://www.ecliptic.ch/Thu/Blog.html

  • Ratko Asanovic — 7:49 AM on May 17, 2007

    Okay, things works like this. I have used Free Hand and Illustrator for same period of time. But from my experience i find my work more intuitive and more productive in Illustrator. Maybe there are few things Illustrator should adopt from Free Hand and that would be positioning, aligning elements in artwork and duplicating and arranging elements in artwork. I find that more intuitive in Free Hand. Besides that Illustrator have no competition at all on the market and i consider it as leader concerning vector applications.
    And i am glad because more people will use one application so it won’t be more disagreement among file formats.
    Problem is that people get use to some application for example Corel, Free Hand, Illustartor and when some global standards are set by some manufacturer usually for users are hard to make switch to that application. And what makes me happy is that with Illustrator we’ll be quite secure for longer period of time, we’ll need only to upgrade our knowledge about it.

  • Dennis Meyler — 8:06 AM on May 17, 2007

    I hope you will pass along one more extremely useful Feehand feature that is sorely missing but needed in Illustrator.
    Multiple pages. (Preferably handled the way Freehand handles them.)

  • Rob Walstrom — 9:19 AM on May 17, 2007

    I’m surprised by the dismay now that it is official that FreeHand will no longer be updated. Seriously, it was obvious with MX that Macromedia was no longer interested in updating the app anymore, it certainly lacked the dramatic updates that the rest of the Studio MX apps received at the time.
    On the other hand, it is confusing that last year Adobe said they would continue to update FH. http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/index.cfm?NewsID=14810&Page=1&pagePos=7
    [Yeah, that info was really confusingly worded; sorry about that. It reflected the best understanding people had at the time, but it’s something we could have handled better. –J.]
    I think the smartest and most productive thing to do now is to tell Adobe which features from FH that you’d like to see put into Illustrator. I’d have to agree with others that multipage support probably should be top priority.

  • Michael Chevalier — 9:51 AM on May 17, 2007

    I am mourning the loss of Freehand, although I knew it was going to happen as soon as Adobe bought Macromedia.
    [It happened a long time before that. –J.]
    At least they are going to hang on to Fireworks – a wonderful program for web graphics, no matter what the Photoshop bullies say. The analogy I make between Freehand and Illustrator is that Illustrator is like a high-maintenance woman you are trying to woo. You have to treat her just so, or the date will be a disaster. Can we do this? “No!” Well, how about – “I don’t think so, mister”. Freehand is a very low-maintenance date. You can just be yourself, take her out for a burger, and have a wonderful time.
    [Heh. There are certainly bits of fussiness in Illustrator that I’d like to iron out. It would be great to know the specifics of what bothers you about AI so that we can tackle those things. –J.]

  • Hrududu — 10:06 AM on May 17, 2007

    As a pro web designer, your CS2 products did nothing but dissapoint; in terms of performance, bloat and stability. CS3 looks even worse. According to the reviews there is “a slight increase in native performance on the Mac”.
    [I don’t know what you’re talking about. Photoshop CS3 is twice as fast on Intel-based Macs as CS2 was, and that’s above and beyond the Rosetta tuning we helped Apple to do. I don’t know where you’ve gotten your information, and if you’re going to make statements like this, I’d appreciate your citing some sources. –J.]
    Nope. Illustrator and Photoshp CS3 will not see the light of my wallet.
    Here’s why:
    You’ve canned the fastest, lightest, most stable and fun illustration program ever programmed. I can see the illustrator team fist-pumping with jubilation and the Adobe marketing team rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect of millions of dollars extra they will pull in from designers too eager to use the most cutting edge “tools of the trade”.
    Tell me, Sir, why would I want to give up 512MB of RAM (1GB
    recommended) and 2GB of available hard-disk space to install the oh-so-slow-and-irritating Illustrator aplication, when I can enjoy incredible performance, better Flash integration and far superior CSS/HTML export from Freehand while giving up only 64 MB of free available system RAM and 70 MB of free hard disk space? you’ve got no idea how Freehand screams when working with 2GB of Ram on a 17″ MacBook Pro.
    You guys have lost it completely as far as I’m concerned. I look forward to seeing how the competition muscles up to your outdated, bloated, behemoth applications; my fingers are crossed that the guys who created Lineform at http://www.freeverse.com will become a success and will enjoy the custom of like-minded designers who only need a svelte illustration application that requires minimum system resources.
    Funny thing is, Sir, your company already owns such an app. It’s called Freehand.
    Geez. I use Freehand everyday. It is my main tool. Thank goodness it works under Rosetta on Mac OS X; it is really fast. It also communicates with Fireworks incredibly well which reads native CS3 PSD and AI files. So who the heck needs Photoshop or Illustrator for web design? Goodbye.
    And to those who posted their hopes that Adobe will integrate multiple pages within Illustrator, it’s never going to happen because that would hurt the InDesign market share.
    ..and now you want me to enter photoshop in the field? talk about making a living off a single cash cow.

  • Greg — 10:20 AM on May 17, 2007

    Everyone – take a deeeep breathe. It was pretty obvious that Freehand was on its way out, years ago. Long before Adobe had any say on the issue.
    @ Jim: “mediocre software”? based on what comparison? Lets talk about getting your work done, getting it printed, keeping it flexible, crossing media – no one even comes close to Adobe.
    @Chris: “most designers”? In the last 10 years I have met one designer who uses FH. I admit that FH had some features that were really nice. But way better that Illustrator. I think not.
    @Thomas: “Illustration and Graphic Design Pros use FreeHand, Illustrator is for the wannabe’s.”
    Please. Don’t be such an ass. I really do not think it is the tool that defines one’s position in the industry. I am a rabid Mac user, for instance, but I am not going to even touch the idea that someone using Windows and Illustrator (or PS, ID, DW, FL etc) can’t kick my ass creatively. Its about the mind, soul and imagination. Hell, I know people who can embarass me with a stick in the dirt. What do I do – tell them that because they use a stick and not pencil and paper, they don’t have talent?
    [Tools are just tools, true. I just watched a video of a guy drawing the Mona Lisa in MS Paint! –J.]
    John, you guys make some awesome stuff (not perfect) and you have collectively hit it out of the park with CS3.
    [Thanks, Greg. –J.]

  • franz.seemayer — 10:40 AM on May 17, 2007

    Some months ago I talked to an Adobe rep at a trade show. He told me they’re aware something needed to be done about Freehand.
    However, ceasing development of that (once) great program was definitely not what the loyal user base had in mind.
    Gives a complete meaning to “Ilustrator being a ‘killer application'” ;)
    Lets face it: Illustrator market share would be much lower, if one did not get it more or less for free boxed together with the indispensable Photoshop and the quite decent InDesign.
    [As I recall, AI market share was something like 70% prior to the advent of the Creative Suite, with the rest split between FH and Corel. The last update to FH was made before the first Suite shipped. –J.]
    Anyway, I’m looking forward to Xara for the Mac OS.

  • kux — 11:07 AM on May 17, 2007

    llustrator cs3 is ok. i work on both programs (illu and fh). the multipage funktion on FH ist really good, but why does nobody consider, that bezier curves work on freehand is 2 times faster and better done?
    on illustrator you need to change the the tool for working on bezier curves, and if you have changed, you need to click outside of your objekt, and then trying to find the bezierpoint you wish.
    adobe – illustrator developing crew, please make this work like in FH. thats my only big reason to work with FH (multiple pages, mask, and edge manipulation also). i don’t care which name my vector program has or from which company it comes, i only don’t wont to make 200’000 more clicks, cause of not logical illustrator bezier tool.
    i work on really large illustrations, with hundreds of layers, hundreds of objekts, masks and so one, and if i have every time to click outside of a objekt (only to be able to chose a point), i’ll spend 2 hours only on clicking.
    thanks and regards
    kux from switzerland

  • jb. — 11:35 AM on May 17, 2007

    Apparently the most-loved Freehand tool that isn’t present in Illustrator is the “whine tool”.
    Seriously, Freehand was dead LONG before Adobe bought Macromedia. For the vast number of designers and illustrators I know, Illustrator is a much better choice. While Freehand has some good features, the market has spoken and Illustrator is the king of the hill.
    Macromedia knew this and gave up on Freehand before Adobe bought them. Freehand’s missed two “Studio” revisions (MX 2004 and 8) and the writing was on the wall even before Adobe bought MM.

  • Hrududu — 11:57 AM on May 17, 2007

    ..if you’re going to make statements like this, I’d appreciate your citing some sources. –J.
    Sure, John, here you go:
    Regarding Illustrator CS3 on the Mac platform
    From
    “In addition, no matter what kind of Mac you’re using, you will notice some performance improvements when you’re scrolling and zooming, and you’ll see faster screen redraws when you’re working with very complex documents. But there’s still a little room for improvement, especially in the program’s basic color-picking facility.”
    From the Adobe’s Creative Suite Forum See messages #19, #20 and #21 – not very awe inspiring
    From the Adobe’s Illustrator (Macintosh) Forum See the first message about opening and saving AI CS3 files.
    From the Adobe’s Illustrator (Macintosh) Forum See message #11 about how Freehand is faster to work with than Ilustrator CS3, even when building core shapes.
    Regarding Photoshop CS3 on the Mac platform
    From CreativePro’s review of Photoshop
    “For Mac users, one of the most significant changes in CS3 will be the Intel-native code, which lets Intel Macs finally run Photoshop at full speed. The speed differences are not overwhelming, but they are noticeable. Even more important than speed is stability. Photoshop CS3 is less crash-prone on Intel Macs.”
    You said:
    Photoshop CS3 is twice as fast on Intel-based Macs as CS2 was…”. This is like comparing a broken horse-driven cart to a Ferrari; For the past two years, pro designers – on your own Adobe forums and elsewhere on the web – have consistently debunked and thumbed-down the CS2 suite as a waste of time, system resources, money and effort, as well as a missed opportunity to really hit home with the desired goodies. CS2 really pissed folks off by installing all kinds of crap all over the hard drive that remains difficult to remove. No, Sir, I’m not impressed with either Illustrator or Photoshop CS3.
    Fireworks remains the most interesting of the suite. I look forward to using it.

  • Conrad Chavez — 12:10 PM on May 17, 2007

    As a user since FreeHand version 1.0 beta .87, I’ll miss it. Even today there are some path-editing innovations implemented back then that only now are starting to appear in Illustrator. Having spent a roughly equal number of years using and writing about both FreeHand and Illustrator, both are extremely powerful applications and I’m happy to use either one.
    Some of the comments blaming Adobe on this thread are misplaced. Macromedia did drop the ball on FreeHand long before Adobe acquired Macromedia. And to Philip Hutchison, your recollection of InDesign isn’t quite accurate. InDesign was already in the works at Aldus long before Adobe bought them, because everybody knew something much better than PageMaker was needed to go up against Quark. Even if Adobe had never acquired Aldus, replacing PageMaker with the application that we know today as InDesign would still have happened.
    In a way, FreeHand was the “Kenny” of software. It got kicked around a lot and seemed to get killed on a regular basis (the first Adobe acquisition in 1994, the Macromedia abandonment, and the second Adobe acquisition), only to turn up alive. Will that happen again? Probably not, but who knows? At the moment, all we can say is:
    “Oh my god…they killed FreeHand!”

  • Mike Conwell — 12:28 PM on May 17, 2007

    Is there a possibility that Adobe could release the FH source code as a potential open source project? Surely with a code base that is at least 4 years out of date, there isn’t much of a threat to AI CS3.

  • KVman — 12:36 PM on May 17, 2007

    Moth… Fuc…
    Canvas let’s go !

  • Dustin Beltramo — 12:55 PM on May 17, 2007

    Sad, but inevitable. FH was a marvelous piece of software, from a UI and productivity point of view. In an effort to contribute productively, here’s my list of issues with transitioning to Illustrator.
    [Cool, thanks. –J.]
    – FH’s multiple pages. Not just the multiple pages, but having multiple master pages that can be assigned to one or more pages in a doc. Brilliant. This feature alone saves me days worth of work.
    – As many have pointed out, FH’s bezier editing is far easier. Fussing with editing points is the single biggest reason I refuse to use Illustrator. Drives me insane.
    – FH’s model for groups and layers are much easier to use than Illustrator’s. It’s so easy to move something from one layer to another. Don’t you have to cut and paste in Illustrator? Silly, and unproductive.
    [You can just drag and drop (or Opt/Alt-drag to duplicate). CS3 makes it easier to see the color associated with each layer. –J.]
    – Most things in FH are very explicit — you select something and you can immediately see and edit its properties. So many things in Illustrator seem much more hidden or implicit.
    – Subselecting and editing grouped items works great in FH, using either the subselect tool or keyboard modifiers — I’ve seen people struggle with this in Ill.
    [I know the AI team has made improvements to group-handling in CS3; it would be interesting to get FH users’ feedback. –J.]
    Perhaps a future version of Illustrator could offer a “FH Compatibility Mode,” where some of the tools (selection tool, please!) act like they did in FH. Didn’t MM do something similar to make Photoshop users feel more at home in Fireworks? This might satisfy FH users, keep them productive, but not force longtime Ill users to learn new ways of working.
    In the meantime, I’ll probably switch to something else, maybe a combination of tools (Lineform and OmniGraffle, perhaps?) while I wait to see if Illustrator adopts the features and conceptual model I need. Fireworks CS3 feels surprisingly like Freehand in many ways — if you only care about ppi and not dpi, it might suffice.

  • Scott M. — 12:56 PM on May 17, 2007

    jb said: “Apparently the most-loved Freehand tool that isn’t present in Illustrator is the “whine tool”.”
    Agreed. No one’s telling FH users to stop using Freehand. If it’s got features that AI doesn’t have, just keep using it and continue to use it until such time as AI catches up or something better comes along. In fact now that AI can read FH files (apparently) it means you can keep using FH and remain even more compatible.
    Now I can understand being upset that FH isn’t a Universal Binary, but otherwise I’m not sure I get all the whining.

  • JE Santos — 1:08 PM on May 17, 2007

    I’ve been an Illustrator user for a decade or so, also I had to learn how to use Freehand 5 years ago because of my work. I wasn’t a pain. But neither it was using Illustrator.
    They’re both good soft, and although I think Freehand excelled in certain technical areas, Illustrator was much more for the creative people. Since version 9 of both applications I’ve seen Illustrator really be ahead, mainly because of its Photoshop-related features.
    The only time when I miss really multipage layouts is when editing PDFs; Illustrator reaaally is very good at editing them at a detailed level, but it’s not possible without a plugin (check this one from Hotdoor http://www.hotdoor.com/) to edit and save it back in multipage format.
    Quark did never have a different sized multipage approach and people never missed it!!!
    I think people overreact. I gave Freehand a chance and enjoyed it in spite that I was happy with Illustrator. If you know how, you can avoid most of the problems you seem to have with Illustrator. But do not expect Illustrator to became a Freehand clone. It’s just not going to happen.
    InDesign is not a clone of Quark and has made some really huge advancements I never saw in DTP with neither Quark or Pagemaker.
    But please, Adobe do pay more attention to Illustrator, it has not evolved at the same rate as Photoshop or InDesign have, and loyal users need more reasons to convince people that is a right choice…

  • kornball — 1:24 PM on May 17, 2007

    One word: opensource.
    If Adobe thinks the Freehand code base isn’t worth $0.02, then they should release it and let the opensource community dig into it.
    Now *that* would be cool.

  • Andrew Meit — 1:36 PM on May 17, 2007

    Over a decade ago I was Altsys lead tester for FH 3/3.1, so I have a unique history with a beloved tool. I gave nearly 2.5 yrs of my waking life to it.
    When FH3 shipped I wrote a poem emailed to the team:
    Humana Faben:
    To make tools for humanity;
    to make human the tools one needs.
    To free the hand of the toolmaker;
    to make tools for ones own freedom.

    The creative freedom tools can bring;
    the freedom to create must come together:
    Freehand 3.0., another tool cycle continues…

    I cherish the many kudos over 3/3.1 so many gave that version over so many years, thank you all. :-) Its the only reward I will ever get for my hard work.
    Yes, I have moved on and am embracing Illy for it is cool, useful and has room for improvement (looking forward to CS3). John, I am a much wiser, older and slower man now, but perhaps Adobe might allow me to, somehow down the way, be a part of illy CS4. ;-)
    [Thanks for the perspective, Andrew. I’ll pass your note along to the team. –J.]

  • Blue Buffalo — 1:46 PM on May 17, 2007

    In the words of Billy Joel, “only the good die young”. At least Adobe is going out of it’s way to make the transition easier.

  • Nigel Moore — 2:10 PM on May 17, 2007

    I’ve never used FH, but came to AI via Xara, CorelXara, and CorelDraw. I can’t comment on multipage, since none of those apps ever had it, and I rely on ID for that now.
    But I agree with others that AI’s bezier handling is very poor in relation to other apps. Not only the teenytiny handles, but the hoops that you have to jump through to get things done.
    And gradients and blends are not nearlt as intuitive as CorelDraw, for example. I should give more details I guess, but its late, I’ve just finished a mammoth coding job, and my brain’s having a quiet snooze on the desk next to me.
    But I rather like AI. It’s not perfect. It has usability issues. But it fits well with the other Adobe apps, and that for me counts for a lot.

  • Steven Johnson — 2:15 PM on May 17, 2007

    Fireworks CS3 feels surprisingly like Freehand in many ways
    Heh… not too surprising, since the original Fireworks team was comprised of former FreeHand team members. (I haven’t seen Fireworks CS3 yet, so maybe it’s even more FreeHand-like…)

  • Jim Von Ehr — 3:54 PM on May 17, 2007

    As the founder of Altsys, and one of the 4 original programmers who developed FreeHand 1.0, I am deeply moved by such fervent support. Thank you for your exceptional dedication over the years – I wish I could shake everyone’s hand and look into your eyes, and tell you personally how much it means to me. I, too, am disappointed, but not at all surprised by Adobe’s decision to kill FreeHand.
    I’m out of the software industry these days, except as a user, and went on to start Zyvex, the first nanotechnology company. We hope to revolutionize a lot of things, and make the world a fantastic place by doing Atomically Precise Manufacturing. If we succeed, it will be due to those of you who bought FreeHand, and made it a success, which led to my financial ability to self-fund a nanotechnology company long before nano became cool.
    I’m sorry to see FreeHand fade away, but will always be happy that we made a product that was so beloved. Thank you for your support…
    [Thanks for checking in, Jim, and for all your contributions to making so many things possible in vector graphics. Good luck with your nano endeavors; just don’t build some military-grade assassin-dust that kills us all! (or whatever Michael Crichton is tut-tutting about these days). ;-) –J.]

  • B. Robinson — 4:27 PM on May 17, 2007

    Oh. Wow. When I just turned 15, on my first, scary day at work, they sat me in front of a Macintosh IIsi with FreeHand running. I typesetted my first piece on the A4 sized black and white monitor. Well, I tried. Wedding Cards. Aldus Freehand 2.02 I think. Awesome. In the following 15 years I used it as my only tool to create: everything. Fast. Now, I don’t totally reject the consensus reality (yet), I smelled what’s coming. So I said: alright, bring it on, I own Illustrator anyway, I’ll show them. (Meanwhile I worked a few years as a Photoshop guy at a studio, so I thought, Adobe, cool…) I tried it and failed. So I got the Total Training Illustrator Video Tutorials. Along with a book. Then another one. Watched and read them multiple times. I now know Illustrator. It’s kinda cool. But it’s NO FreeHand Replacement. At all. It’s something completely different. Something you use with your Wacom. In FreeHand I do complex Image Brochures with multiple fold-out pages AND the Logo. Since we now have to live with the decision made, maybe Illustrator should feature:
    – multiple, different sized and oriented movable pages
    – paste inside and inside the inside of the inside and then
    – select exactly what you want; with a (simple!) click, so:
    – intuitive, precise bezier/point adjustment tools
    – the superiority of freehand’s colour swatches
    – FreeHand’s easy grouping and ungrouping of grouped groups
    – search and replace graphics attributes on all open documents
    – collect for output
    – Illustrator askes too much questions (yes, I want to close this empty document…)
    – FreeHand is much easier to use intuitively while there’s barely a deduction in features. Illustrator is broken, fix it.
    Then you only would need to make Illustrator really fast (snappy like FreeHand MX on a Quad G5) and let me costumize the Menues (like Photoshop; ’cause there’s way too much stuff you’ll never need in illu) and if I can open all FreeHand Documents from the last 10 years and see what I placed on the entire site there where I placed it we maybe could start talking again. And that’s a big maybe. But wait, right, why talk? Adobe obviously makes the rules; no debate, that’s it. And Illustrator CS4 sure got two more all new and awesome features. And if CS3 is an indicator it will only be $600,– in the U.S. that’s only €900,– ($1.200,-) in Europe. Take as much as you want. Oh man, I know you ain’t got nothing to do with it, but it hurts so much. So much. I now go and try the cutting thing the youngsters are always talking about.
    P.S.: Sell it! Please, sell it! Please.

  • Nathan Adams — 4:49 PM on May 17, 2007

    I’m quite saddened by this. I guess I knew there wasn’t much hope for it after the Adobe merger and the extended period of no updates.
    I’ve been using Freehand since version 3, and I’ve found it a natural and easy to use program. I’ve tried to get familiar with Illustrator on a few occasions, and every time it’s just ended in frustration. Even simple things like selecting and moving objects, or setting guides precisely where I want them – become massive sources of pain in Illustrator.
    [I’ve heard this enough from FH users in this thread that I’ve beem motivated to download and install FH–something I haven’t done in quite a while. I’m also asking the AI team for a detailed overview of the differences between the apps when it comes to selecting objects, points, etc. I can’t believe that if the FH way were so inarguably superior that Illustrator would simply never get things straight in 20 years of development. Therefore I have to think that there are pros and cons to each approach. We owe it to users to figure out ways to bring the best aspects together (maybe using preferences as needed), and to explain why things are as they are. –J.]
    It’s a shame too – because FH was ALMOST perfect. If only better opentype support (with opentype features, and embedding opentype fonts in a pdf) and perhaps some more blend options for imported images were added – I’d could handle the programs death and continue using it in my own little bubble on and on.
    John, is there no chance of Adobe selling off Freehand like the last time it was acquired?
    [I haven’t heard of anything like that. –J.]

  • Rainer Stenzel — 5:00 PM on May 17, 2007

    There are many people who would buy a new Freehand:
    http://www.enrichdesign.com/freehand.html
    If you *really* decide to drop FreeHand, you still could sell it to another company or release it open source.
    What should I do with a bulky slow colossus when I have a flexible fast sparrow. Thanks.

  • Rohan Pura — 7:11 PM on May 17, 2007

    Hi people, I agree with the disappointments others have with the sad demise of FreeHand – even though blind Freddy could see the writing on the wall – it’s rare that a piece of software generates such genuine emotion and ‘heat’ – this is surely due to the ‘love’ and genuine commitment to usability the original developers incorporated in the design of the app – and those of us who use both apps – can appreciate the ease of use and much more productive workflow – and sheer joy of using an app which works logically and in harmony with the creative process the way FreeHand does…
    Isn’t this much like the argument we have with Windows versus Mac – it’s the ‘human’ element that Illustrator lacks – the UI and workflow just isn’t ‘there’ the way it is in FreeHand – right? Quite apart from the multi-page and other features missing from Illustrator.
    I know for a fact that many top art directors and designers working in Europe ONLY use FreeHand – and like myself, are grudgingly using Illustrator on a ‘have-to’ basis – it also appears that those who have only ever used Illustrator have no real basis for comparison…
    We all know the power of marketing and financial muscle wins over genuinely good, usable technology on a regular basis – who in fact did kill the electric car?
    I believe this is an opportune time for Fireworks to pick up the ball and run with it – not just as a Photoshop alternative/substitute, but as a worthy successor to FreeHand – surely the nice things we loved in FreeHand could be incorporated into Fireworks? I personally yearn for a tool that would allow me to prototype Flash projects more precisely without having to become an Actionscript guru – I mean how many hours are there in a day? If not Adobe & Fireworks, maybe Xara could do some listening – bring out an app that included all the beautiful workflow/features of FreeHand and expanded on it – AND port it to Mac – now wouldn’t that make sense? Instant market for that IMHO…
    I just don’t think Illustrator will EVER be as nice to use as FreeHand – it’s already too bloated and ‘technically’ challenging – it IS more precise – but that’s about the only thing I like about it… apart from the Dimensions features – sadly this is where FreeHand started to lose ground through lack of further development – 3D & Transparency ARE better in Ill – but that’s about the only temptation I have to use Ill… even now. I always turn to FreeHand first to develop ideas quickly and efficiently… and surely that is the ultimate test – like a good friend you get on easily with… and are in grief to lose… RIP Freehand…
    Rohan
    Sydney, OZtralia

  • Cassandra Estes — 7:19 PM on May 17, 2007

    As an Art Director/Graphics designer and having worked in the good ol’ days for FreeHand at Altsys and Macromedia I feel qualified to say: We are not whining, we are merely mourning the loss of a truly innovative product in the graphic design profession. Without FreeHand and PageMaker the first Macs would have had nothing to tempt and awe what would become a new and creative market of desktop computer users. Anyone up for typsetting and pasteup, darkroom, negs?
    JVE–FreeHand may be on its way out but the original ideas that it brought us, changed the Graphics and Publishing industries forever! I thank you and all FreeHand folks who spent many hours working hard to make it better year after year!

  • Cyril Blanc — 7:23 PM on May 17, 2007

    I was an Adobe fanatic and evangelist, 1st Postscript programmer in France, a long time ago
    Once again I very disappointed with Adobe.
    I was an Adobe Premier user on Mac, Adobe did drop it
    [It’s back. –J.]
    Now it’s the time for Freehand :(
    I do agree with what said Rainer “If you *really* decide to drop FreeHand, you still could sell it to another company or release it open source. ”

  • Chris — 7:48 PM on May 17, 2007

    It is a shame that Freehand is being discontinued (buried), however, that was clear from the moment Adobe bought Macromedia. Anyone who thought different was dreaming.
    My question is why Adobe won’t sell Freehand or release the code into the public domain or make it Open Source, oh wait, then there would be competition again.

  • John — 9:52 PM on May 17, 2007

    Wow, up until now Adobe has assured us that Freehand will live on.
    [Well, FreeHand does “live on,” just as it’s been doing for the last four years. The statement last year was badly written. It didn’t say that there would be a new version of FH, and it didn’t say there wouldn’t. I believe it was written with the best info available at that time (as the whole Adobe-MM lineup was still settling into place), but all things considered it wasn’t helpful. –J.]
    One almost the day CS3 released there is complete reversal. I feel cheated, the timing just seems too perfect.

  • Jack Moffett — 10:16 PM on May 17, 2007

    I just made a post about this on my own blog.
    http://designaday.tumblr.com/post/2073364

  • Andrew Arnold — 10:31 PM on May 17, 2007

    what makes the difference for me is that in freehand i can easily produce a complex artwork (for example a cd packaging incl cd labels and all) with vectorgraphics, easy typesetting over muliple pages with custom sizes without having to bother about a rgb/cmyk setup etc, or also interactive pdf presentations all in one app while illustrator in my eyes is still more a tool to edit vectorgraphics only – and in a very time-consuming way with thousands of useless and pointless effects i’d never even want to know about.
    i don’t know where to start with listing fh’s advantages, it’s probably the overall workflow and that supposedly wouldn’t fit at all in adobe’s approach of the ps/id/ai trinity – so i have no hope that tuning illustrator would lead to where freehand is already.

  • Andrew Arnold — 10:40 PM on May 17, 2007

    and btw for many years there have been other apps like archicad that have improved the way of drawing on a computer massively. even freeand is stuck in the early nineties compared to that. if you want to improve illustrator, maybe you should give this a try as well…

  • Doktor_RZ — 12:46 AM on May 18, 2007

    This sucks!
    I worked with Freehand since 3.1 version, so there are tons of old data in freehand format that i will need to work with in future. I always hoped adobe will give Freehand a bug fix update and make it work properly on macosx (long file names…)
    BUT NOW NOTHING!
    And no abilitity to convert old freehand data to Indesign/Illustrator!
    [As I’ve mentioned several times, Illustrator now includes native FH file import. –J.]
    This is realy unfair Adobe! This really sucks!

  • Mike Murphy — 12:52 AM on May 18, 2007

    I tried to order Ill CS3 through their Store.
    Here is the email I got:
    Dear xxxxxxxxxx,
    Unfortunately we were unable to approve your order in the Adobe Store.
    If you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service Department:
    Your Order xxxxxxx has been cancelled.
    So even if you want to buy the crossgrade from MX to ILL CS 3 it seems nearly impossible.
    Fair enough this helped me to overthink a hasty decision.
    [I don’t know the details of your situation, but I would encourage you to call customer service. –J.]

  • alex — 1:37 AM on May 18, 2007

    i won’t start about the multipage thing – it’s mentioned often enough and really, it’s not even nearly the most important advantage of freehand over illustrator, altough it is GOOD. here’s my list of top other reasons to still prefer freehand (unloved and aged as it may be) and not wanting to ‘upgrade’ to illustrator. and mind you, most of the reasons are really not that exotic, they are simply the result of the fact that the people working on illustrator just can’t seem to get some of the fundamental basics of working with vector graphics right, even after 13 ‘upgrades’.
    basically three things: simplicity, functionality and intuition. even the simplest of things are (still) hard to understand and difficult to manage in illustrator, whereas freehand has always made very complex and difficult things very easy to understand and manage…
    1. the fine art of selecting objects… (it’s the number one thing because it’s what you do most with either program)
    1a. in freehand you can do twice as much with one selection tool as you can in illustrator with THREE selection tools; IN HALF THE TIME. adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    1b. probably the most annoying and bewildering illustrator ‘feature’ since version ’88 is ‘contact sensitive’ selection. it means that ANYTHING you touch while dragging the selection tool is selected (even an invisible masked graphic that you didn’t even know was there), which in turn means that it is practically impossible to select only the objects you want. freehand has the same ‘feature’ since version 10, but luckily it gives you the possibility to choose and the default mode is still that only objects that fall entirely within the selection area are selected. this makes much more sense and in practice it’s a lot more workable and FASTER. adobe, please explain to us why we should consider to upgrade.
    1c. freehand has always had an incredibly easy and powerful way of subselecting parts of a group or superselecting the group that an object belongs to (with modifier keys), even if that group is within another group within another group etc. illustrator anyone? adobe, please explain to us why we should consider to upgrade.
    1d. deselecting points on a path, or deselecting anything for that matter, has always been simple and straightforward in freehand. in illustrator i’ve finally stopped trying to deselect anything because it is simply too frustrating… adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    2. the fine art of drawing in postscript… (for crying out loud adobe, YOU invented it, now look what you’ve done with it)
    2a. in freehand you can do twice as much with one path tool (by using the command, alt and shift keys) as you can in illustrator with four (4!) path tools; IN A QUARTER OF THE TIME. adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    2b. freehand has known the concept of cornerpoints, curvepoints and tangentpoints since version 1, and drawing and editing paths has always been a breeze. illustrator version 13 is still completely and utterly ignorant in this respect and it’s still a pain to draw even the simplest of shapes… adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    2c. in freehand only a closed path can have a fill which makes perfect sense, but in illustrator an open path can also have a fill, which is prehistoric, annoying, totally useless and prone to problems. adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    3. the fine art of displaying objects
    3a. in freehand there is a clear difference (visible and functional) between a grouped path and a non-grouped path or between grouped objects and non-grouped objects. grouping is meant to make working with complex graphics and layouts easier, but that entire concept still seems wasted on the developers of illustrator. illustrator insists that a complex graphic or a complex layout IS complex and that it should be presented to you likewise at all times and that as a result it should also be very difficult to work with. freehand has always done a fantastic job at making complex things easy. so, adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    3b. illustrator insists on showing things in keyline mode that should be hidden altogether, like entire masked graphics, or all the 200 steps of a gradient…
    4. freehand needs less than half the amount of palettes as illustrator to get to the same basic relevant information. can someone explain to me why illustrator needs some 30 palettes for it’s core functionality (and add another 60 (!) or so for random other unneeded nonsense). i spend half my time, trying to find the right palette. bottomline: in illustrator i will be working late still trying to find that palette, in freehand i will be lying on the beach because the job is done… adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    5. illustrator has an incredible amount of unnessessary tools, apart from the ones mentioned earlier: a scissors tool, a blend tool, NINE graph tools, an eyedropper tool, EIGHT symbol tools, three pencil tools, SIX text tools… mind you, all the things you can do with these tools, can be done in freehand equally good or better without a tool. it’s a lot cleaner and less confusing, a lot easier and more precise. adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    6. typographic control in illustrator 13 is still inferior to that of freehand 5.5 (15 years ago…). adobe, please explain to us why we should consider THAT an upgrade.
    some random madness in illustrator:
    6. freehand has always had the simple but beautiful ‘clone’ command, whereas illustrator still wants us to copy and ‘paste in front’. plain stupid.
    7. a filter menu AND an effect menu? come on, really?
    8. define a fontstyle in paragraph styles when you already have characterstyles? think again. hard…
    9. pffff, etc.
    all in all, illustrator has since it’s beginning made the impression of a program that was not very well thought through at all. merely a random bunch of features carelessly thrown together and sold as a drawing program who’s main purpose seemed to be to frustrate it’s users. and it seems to me that it still is. freehand on the other hand has always struck me as a clever, well thought out program. sadly it didn’t fit in macromedia’s strategy so it was neglected from version 5.5 on up. upgrades were sloppy and macromedia slowly and painfully killed one of the best graphics apps ever made. the only real advantages of illustrator over freehand that i can think of right now are smoother screen display, a better ‘expand stroke’ function and transparency. it seems to me that it would have been a lot easier for adobe to add those few things to freehand and ditch illustrator, than what adobe in its infinite wisdom is doing now… it is sad that the best of the two packages is killed in favour of it’s half wit counterpart and it suggests that product quality is not among adobe’s current focusses. and since i’m not at all confident that adobe will listen to comments like these, let alone make illustrator better, indeed, i’d say it’s high time someone sat down and wrote us a new shiny graphics program, just like our deceased friend.

  • zeroaudience — 1:56 AM on May 18, 2007

    this is globalization
    giants take all, we have less and less choice
    shame on you adobe

  • Harald Koehler — 4:34 AM on May 18, 2007

    You simply don’t know what you do to the freehand users with thousands of files……
    [This is why Illustrator CS3 features native import of FreeHand files. –J.]
    Especially here in Germany FH is the more popular app…..

  • Veerle Pieters — 5:38 AM on May 18, 2007

    I’ve always been an “Illustrator lover” although the very first application I learned to draw in was Freehand, back in the days when it was owned by Aldus. I loved it from the beginning. Then Illustrator was there and I tried Illustrator and I loved it even more and for some reason I always sticked to Illustrator. It was just my favorite app. The UI feels more intuitive to me, more “Mac-like” then Freehand, although I knew there were things that could be done faster and easier in Freehand. When it was owned by Macromedia I didn’t really like its interface and I could never get used to the way things worked. It was just different and I was used to my way of working. There has always been a gap between Freehand users and Illustrator users, but I believe now that Adobe has both apps they will make 1 super app in. I sure hope that Illustrator CS3 is just a small step :) It’s also up to us, users, to send in our requests and feedback. I have the feeling that the new Adobe has more ears then they used to.
    If I was a Freehand user I think I would have switched a few years already because the signs are here for a while now. Macromedia didn’t update Freehand either for a whole while(since version MX?). So it was bound to come :-/

  • adam — 5:57 AM on May 18, 2007

    As a guy who learned FH many years ago, I feel your pain friends, but anyone who’s been paying attention to the market knows that FH was dying.
    In an effort to be constructive with my criticisms, I created a series of blog articles on the topic, the first of which is here. John and Phil (PMs for PS and AI respectively) have been very responsive to my feedback, so I recommend keeping in touch with them.
    When I heard that Macromedia was being acquired, I was hopeful that AI would finally be able to incorporate many of the no-doubt patented features that make FH great, while retaining the many reasons why I switched to AI for my own work as a product designer. FH will be like the Commodore 64: it was great… at the time. Get over it.
    For those who think FH should be open-source, get real. If you think open-source is so great, go spend your valuable time and energy writing it from scratch. But I hope you don’t mind if the rest of us keep getting paid for our work.
    A bunch of you will no doubt switch to other platforms in protest. “Oh, I think I’ll faint, it distresses me so!” Oh, get back to work. AI will get better if you spend your energy providing productive feedback instead of balling your eyes out.

  • Dido — 6:03 AM on May 18, 2007

    This decision ist characteristic for Adobe. I’m using Adobe Products since the beginning (Illisutrator since 0.92) and a long time adobe creates leading software and has had a ear near the market and Users, but as i say a long time ago. Today the update- and productpolicy is far way from the users and there needs. 199 Dollar to change to Illustrator which is now a tool full of bugs? Needs Adobe a better financial performance? There are a lot of users starts dtp with freehand wonna there bless with a tool which not really works … with new shortcuts in every version, with function overfill and so on .. . sorry Adobe has an behaviour like Quark, they have al long time as well forgotten where the money comes from…

  • Urs Meyer — 6:35 AM on May 18, 2007

    GIVE THE SOURCE CODE OF FREEHAND TO THE OPEN SOURCE COMUNITY!

  • Mark Thomas — 6:44 AM on May 18, 2007

    It’s ridiculous to imply that FreeHand simply faded from favor.
    [I suppose I could dig up market share data from the past 5-10 years, but it wouldn’t make a difference. If you prefer a particular tool or way of doing things, then that’s what matters to you, and it’s not a popularity contest. Having said that, the fact that Illustrator has been used by a lot more people over the last years than FH isn’t really up for debate. –J.]
    Macromedia changed its focus to web graphics, and instead of selling FreeHand to a developer interested in actually developing it, they shoved it into a closet and forgot about it just as they forgot about Fontographer simply because it didn’t fit into their narrow market view. Under Macromedia, FreeHand saw few meaningful upgrades, and little to no promotion.
    This is a sad time. FreeHand was always faster, more direct and more flexible than Illustrator, and this remains true today despite Macromedia’s neglect which allowed Illustrator to so easily dominate the market with a bloated, slow and unintuitive whale of an illustration app that can’t even do multiple pages or perform a Pathfinder function without putting the user through a hellish game of Layers and Groups.
    Adobe, sell FreeHand. Do something other than milk this neglected gem for its last few pennies.
    I’m so terribly disappointed.

  • ruff — 6:45 AM on May 18, 2007

    MAKE IT OPENSOURCE !!!!!!!!!

  • Urs Meyer — 7:20 AM on May 18, 2007

    John, you wrote: “I can’t believe that if the FH way were so inarguably superior that Illustrator would simply never get things straight in 20 years of development.”
    You have realised something very important, yet you still can’t believe it.
    And WE ALL can’t believe the fact, that the Illustrator-crew did not at least “copy” the good things from Freehand but more ignore it over the years!
    I really wish, you would install Freehand, invite a true Freehand-Pro and let him show you, what all us Freehand-Geeks are talking about!

  • Katharine Green — 8:34 AM on May 18, 2007

    All of us loyal FreeHand users have been terrified that this day would come. Even though the writing has been on the wall for a long time now, I’m still using FreeHand MX (even as I write).
    By the way, I had to test Illustrator when our Altsys team was writing early documentation for FreeHand and Virtuoso. I’ll never forget Pete Mason telling me to try (just try) to draw a square in Illustrator. Impossible. Illustrator was painful to use then and it’s painful to use now. I will never use it, so I’ll definitely be looking for other design software when it no longer runs on my Mac.
    I hope Adobe decides to go the way of Fontographer, and sells it to a company that will support and promote it in the manner it deserves, and give FreeHand designers the quality they’ve come to rely on.
    J: By the way, don’t believe everything that Michael Crichton writes.

  • Katharine Green — 8:34 AM on May 18, 2007

    All of us loyal FreeHand users have been terrified that this day would come. Even though the writing has been on the wall for a long time now, I’m still using FreeHand MX (even as I write).
    By the way, I had to test Illustrator when our Altsys team was writing early documentation for FreeHand and Virtuoso. I’ll never forget Pete Mason telling me to try (just try) to draw a square in Illustrator. Impossible. Illustrator was painful to use then and it’s painful to use now. I will never use it, so I’ll definitely be looking for other design software when it no longer runs on my Mac.
    I hope Adobe decides to go the way of Fontographer, and sells it to a company that will support and promote it in the manner it deserves, and give FreeHand designers the quality they’ve come to rely on.
    J: By the way, don’t believe everything that Michael Crichton writes.
    [Oh, I know; I was just kidding about the Crichton thing. ;-) –J.]

  • Emanuele — 9:35 AM on May 18, 2007

    CORELDRAW is better than CS3
    …an adobe beta tester…
    [How so? –J.]

  • Anthony Reimer — 10:33 AM on May 18, 2007

    I have been a freelance desktop publisher (no, I don’t have enough art skills to be a true “designer”) since I discovered page layout on my Apple IIe in the late 1980s. When I had the need to do illustrations that my page layout programs couldn’t create, FreeHand was suggested to me over Illustrator as a program for people who didn’t do illustration every day. That is, it was easier to access the needed features without a large investment in training. FreeHand has filled that need admirably for me (and does to this day).
    You asked about features. Four stick out for me:
    – Multiple pages of variable sizes
    – Bézier curve manipulation
    – Colour swatch editing and general implementation
    – Usable on slower machines (I’m running on a Power Mac G4)
    My day job is being the head tech for two Mac labs in a University Faculty of Fine Arts. We have licences for both the Adobe and former Macromedia suites (don’t even get me started on how poorly the transition to CS3 for groups like us has been handled). We teach using Illustrator and Photoshop for art-based applications. I get frustrated every time I try to use Illustrator. Bézier curve manipulation is the biggest problem. It takes at least twice as many clicks for me to modify a curve in Illustrator, assuming I can get it done in the first place. In some cases, I’d rather work with QuarkXPress’s Bézier tool than Illustrator’s. I’m not saying that this would be the case for everyone, but I pay the same amount of money as people who use the software every day. (And yes, I personally own retail versions of Photoshop, FreeHand and QuarkXPress, not Education versions.)
    Having said this, I hold out little hope that any of my key features will be implemented in Illustrator. Those features are long-standing FreeHand features; if competition didn’t drive Adobe to add such features, why would they do anything now?
    What Adobe has failed to see is where FreeHand could be repositioned in the market. In Macromedia’s lineup, FreeHand had to be so many more things than it does in a consolidated Adobe/Macromedia (which is probably why they didn’t sell it off like they should have). Even with its aging code base, FreeHand is a great publishing program for short-form designs (e.g., brochures, packaging, ads) that still require decent vector drawing tools that are easy to use. This is a hole in the consolidated Adobe lineup. FreeHand’s feature set cries out to be continued, even if it is in a different code base — can you say, “InDesign Elements”? To me, that would be the best of both worlds: FreeHand users get a program that can do most of the things that we really like about FreeHand and Adobe gets a program to sell to people who currently use programs like Microsoft Publisher (or, at its most heinous, MS Word) to do simple layout work. If Adobe doesn’t want to do that, I agree that FreeHand should be sold or go Public License.
    For now, I am sticking with my combination of Photoshop, QuarkXPress, FreeHand and Dreamweaver for my own personal work and will keep an eye on any changes that Adobe might make with their other tools (as I see them being used in my labs) that might justify a purchase in the future.

  • G. Armour Van Horn — 10:56 AM on May 18, 2007

    It’s a sad day, but completely expected. The world cares less and less about the things that FreeHand does well, and Illustrator has done a great job of appealing to users for new purposes.
    Illustrator has apparently become a fine tool for those who once would have used pencils, inks, and brushes. I never had any facility with those tools, and rarely actually needed or wanted to do that kind of work.
    FreeHand, on the other hand, was always the absolute best tool for those jobs that we once used tapes, RubyLith, X-Acto knives, waxers, cold type, and acetate overlays for. I used to do artwork on a fantastically-expensive printed grid using prepunched pin-register polyester sheets. FreeHand was the only product that ever did that kind of work well. (Remember when Illustrator had no way to set numerical dimensions or positions on anything?)
    I’ve been using FreeHand on both platforms since 2.01 on the Mac and 3.0 for Windows. I was a beta tester for at least four versions. I’ve honestly tried to use Illustrator dozens of times over the years, but the AI approach to selection, layers, and alignment has been so inferior that I’ve always ended up rebuilding AI files in FH to save time.
    I’ll admit that we’re doing a bit of whining on the list today, but I’d like to welcome all FreeHand users to join the FreeHand list. I joined it when it was hosted by the University of Alaska many years ago, became the moderator when founder left, and have been hosting it since the university withdrew support for off-campus lists. It’s not a huge group, but the members collectively know just about all the tricks:
    http://www.domainvanhorn.com/mailman/listinfo/freehand
    Van

  • Tod Corlett — 11:01 AM on May 18, 2007

    For me, it’s all about the multipage capability; this is why I’ll be using FH until they pry it out of my cold dead hand. Anything else, I can get used to, but having to use a drawing program *and* a page-layout program to do what I used to do in one environment costs me hours and hours of productivity. I do a lot of technical drawings, where I need to do things like grab the drawing in page 3 and make a duplicate *with a few changes* for page 6. This is simple and intuitive in Freehand, but becomes a nightmarish grind in AI.
    Oh, and did I mention I’m not very organized? Software engineers tend not to have this problem, so it might be hard for them to empathize. I like having all the stuff associated with a project in one file where I can keep an eye on it, and not have to worry about accidentally saving a crucial chunk into the application folder by mistake.

  • Greg — 11:12 AM on May 18, 2007

    “CORELDRAW is better than CS3
    …an adobe beta tester…”
    Please pass the crack pipe. You have GOT to be kidding. That’s like comparing the handling of a tractor to a Ferrari. John, you are a brave man with some thick skin! I can’t believe some of these comments!
    That said, I have to make some positive comments about Illustrator. I’ve already utilized the AI to Flash conversion which was amazing. Converting layers, editable text, and even masked objects flawlessly has saved me hours of time already. And the new Eraser and Isolate mode are a dream come true. And I haven’t even delved into the new color stuff. This is the best AI upgrade ever and I have been using it since AI88! Keep up the great work and your tolerance levels! ;^)
    [Heh–thanks, Greg. I’m *really* passionate about software tools, so I totally get where FH fans are coming from. I respect the passion folks are displaying here. I’m simply trying to give an accurate picture of where things stand (and have stood over the past few years), and to articulate a pragmatic way forward. No single tool will ever make *everyone* happy, but I do believe that by focusing on one illustration app instead of splitting efforts between a couple of them, Adobe can make more customers happy over the long run. I don’t expect everyone to believe that right now, but I do ask people to give Adobe a chance. Time will tell.
    Oh, and glad to hear you’re liking the Illustrator-Flash integration. Having spent many hours porting/re-creating artwork in the past, I couldn’t be happier that it now Just Works. –J.]

  • Ratko Asanovic — 11:43 AM on May 18, 2007

    All of you FH and Illustrator lovers instead talking this tedious sermonizing debate you can choose your tool of choice for your creative work. If Illustrator is that “bad” why not make suggestions how to improve it. And besides that market told you what application is leader. Why at first place Macromedia neglected the development of it’s own “the best” graphic software. Could i get that answer from some hard core FH user? The one thing where Macromedia was better in general is Web applications. Adobe’s GoLive was such pain in the neck. And i think mostly Adobe acquired Macromedia because of Flash and Dreamweaver and Fireworks. CS3 suite proved that.
    And concerning to multi page in FH, do you think that Adobe will screw InDesign market in Illustrator. I am hard core Adobe user and i am aware of it’s advantages and disadvantages but c’mon people MONEY TALKS. I would know what to do if i would be CEO of Adobe or any of you, but guess what I am not or any of you. Illustrator have it’s own development path and it’s unique in that way. Instead of sitting and babbleing help this software to evolve that both FH and IL users will proudly exploit.
    “The greatest evil of evil itself is when good person sit and do nothing about it”

  • Jack — 12:37 PM on May 18, 2007

    So what happens if you open a multipage Freehand file into Illustrator CS3? Huh? Many people, my entire design firm, make frequent use of the multipage feature in Freehand, would love to know how Illustrator is going to cope with that. And to put it simply, Adobe has been a stubborn, stupid ass for not including this feature in Illustrator years ago, BECAUSE IT IS A MISSING FEATURE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SCREAMING ABOUT FOR THE LAST 6 VERSIONS!!!!!!! Why worry about InDesign? People who need to print 200 page books will use it, if you need an 8 page brochure, use Freehand….ahem….I mean Illustrator.

  • Kunjan — 1:46 PM on May 18, 2007

    Nobody is talking about making 3D (extrude) in freehand is much better than in AI.

  • Dezzy Boydd — 2:27 PM on May 18, 2007

    Remember the Movie Gladiator in which Maximus is stuck like a pig by the jealous, murderous, and inferior Commodus because he fears that he would lose his fight with him head-to-head in the arena? Well, Freehand is our Maximus. For years, Adobe has touted the “industry standard” moniker, refusing to acknowledge Freehand had it’s own niche in the market. It didn’t take a genius to figure out Adobe had it in for Freehand the day Macromedia was purchased. Like the many applications Adobe has gobbled up and left to die (Pagemaker, Framemaker) we are now getting to see Freehand rot on the shelves while the suits at Adobe line their pockets. Let’s hope that, as in Gladiator, the Freehand followers will be strong enough to endure this test (even in Freehand’s death) to open customers eyes to a better, more responsible way of doing business. As for me, I’m waiting for the next Illusrator killer (MS? Quark? Freeverse?) that listens to it’s fan base and doesn’t browbeat them into conforming to an unrealistic workflow. Sorry Adobe, you lost me. Hopefully other Freehand users will use this opportunity to explore the vector art landscape and find a company that truly cares about the customer and not just its bottom line. Illustrator isn’t Freehand, and it never will be no matter how hard you push people. $200 “special upgrade” price? InDesign for multi-page? Gimme a break! Oh and BTW John, Freehand was always better at integrating with the Macromedia Flash & Fireworks apps, so just because CS3 does now, doesn’t make it a worthwhile upgrade.
    [Actually, the Flash integration never had anything to do with FreeHand vs. Illustrator, or Fireworks vs. Photoshop. It has had everything to do with Flash itself. We at Adobe did everything we could to integrate with Flash, but without the ability to write import plug-ins (as Flash provided for FH and FW PNG files) or to write FLA files (which we tried to do), there was limited room to maneuver. As it happens, even before the Adobe-Macromedia deal was announced, both we & the Flash team had been thinking that we had to work together better. So, we were all really psyched that we’d have a chance to share code and make things really smooth. –J.]
    Shame on you and everyone at Adobe. The marketing spin has got to stop.

  • Mordy Golding — 2:46 PM on May 18, 2007

    Any kind of open dialog is always good — and in reality, FreeHand users have been talking to Adobe about how they can improve on Illustrator. Press reviews and other articles covering both FreeHand and Illustrator over the years have also offered helpful insights.
    A great place to suggest future enhancements and to talk about both Illustrator and FreeHand — and more importantly — to learn more about Illustrator, is the Adobe Illustrator User to User forum.
    I also try to cover topics like these on my own blog. I hope to offer help to those who are interested in moving from FreeHand to Illustrator. Just today I posted 5 reasons why I like to use Illustrator, but others are free to share their own insights as well.
    In the end, it all comes down to what makes the most sense for you. If you think that FreeHand best suites your specific needs, then no one says you have to change that. That has been the status quo for the past 4 years or so anyway.
    If however, you feel that you might benefit from what Illustrator has to offer, then it’s good business sense to see if that works for you. And that decision in itself really has no bearing on what Adobe does or does not plan to do with FreeHand. That’s a decision that you make simply based on your needs at the current time.

  • jb. — 2:46 PM on May 18, 2007

    I really have to laugh at the huge amount of melodrama present in the comments on this post. “… been terrified this day would come.” Give me a break. Freehand, just like Illustrator is a tool to get your job done. If DeWalt discontinues selling the sliding compound miter saw you’re used to using, you use the one you own until it breaks, then learn to use the new one. It’s no different here.
    But somehow people grow attached to computers and software. They treat Freehand like some old friend that Adobe is taking out to the south pasture and burying under the rusted out ’34 Chevy. When in actuality, they’re just saying “hey, there won’t be any new versions of Freehand, but continue to use the one you have for as long as you need and we’ll even sell you more licenses if you need them. Oh, and if you want to snag a copy of our new hotness, Illustrator, we’ll cut you a big break on the price.” My God, string them up!
    For those worried about your “years and years of Freehand files”… Freehand isn’t going to stop working on January 1, 2008. Keep opening the darn things in Freehand and slowly transition to Illustrator or whatever other alternative you want to go with.
    For those who suggest open sourcing Freehand, that’s rubbish. It’d be great if Adobe did so, but they are under no obligation to and while Freehand is a rapidly depreciating asset, it is still an asset nonetheless and one that I’m not sure they’d want to just hand over to the free software movement to give them a head start on competing with them. Remember, Adobe isn’t your friend, Adobe is a business that’s in it to make money.
    And really, development on Freehand ended years ago… blame Macromedia, not Adobe.

  • Andrew Arnold — 3:30 PM on May 18, 2007

    [I suppose I could dig up market share data from the past 5-10 years, but it wouldn’t make a difference. If you prefer a particular tool or way of doing things, then that’s what matters to you, and it’s not a popularity contest. Having said that, the fact that Illustrator has been used by a lot more people over the last years than FH isn’t really up for debate. –J.]
    don’t you see your own arrogance in this. if you want to read your numbers in this way we can’t help you, sir. reality is something else. surely illustrator has a quick growing number of installations, but just because it’s part of probably every cs package that is sold.
    [The Creative Suite has been shipping since late 2003. Illustrator has been outselling FreeHand–despite the latter’s inclusion in Studio–since before I arrived at Adobe in 2000. Now, again, I’m not making the point that more = better. I’m simply trying to provide information about what has been the state of the market for quite some time. –J.]
    that doesn’t say anything at all about the usage in daily business, and the kind of work that was realised with it. if freehand powerusers still stick to a software that was basically not supported and not updated for five years and still consider far superior to a cs3 version of illustrator should make you think really rather than making remarks like that! this has nothing to do with users not wanting to change their software setup because they got used to a way of doing things. they just don’t want to miss a tool that does things right, while the alternative simply doesn’t. if a smarter tool than fh would exist, i’d be very happy to use it immediatly and bin fh forever really (it’s not fun to use in it’s current state).
    only that tool still has to be built, and it will most likely not be by adobe as there’s no place for a multitalented app in their portfolio of one-trick pony apps…
    [It’s a little funny that you call Illustrator a one-trick pony, when other FH devotees say that AI is bloated with tools they don’t need or want. I see Adobe apps come in for criticism, but it’s rarely that they’re excessively specialized and focused. –J.]

  • Rohan Pura — 10:30 PM on May 18, 2007

    OK, I really appreciate the opportunity to voice opinions on this ‘forum’ – however, let’s all try to be a little more rational? Pleez?
    There are very good reasons why FreeHand can be seen by many loyal users to be a better, faster, more intuitive tool to get certain – in fact most – jobs done. Likewise I see that Illustrator – even with its many frustrations – is a better tool for precision work, 3D (via the Dimensions inclusion) – and certain other types of work… although for 99% of those things I would use Swift3D or Photoshop… admittedly…
    However having said that, it is a mistake to believe that simply coz the majority of designers use a certain product that it is a better product (in general terms) – it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve, right?
    Will sanity prevail here? Fireworks is the logical ‘heir’ to Freehand – many of FreeHand’s developers/supporters from MM now work (or so I’ve been lead to believe) on this product… but will they be permitted to incorporate the functionality, features and ease of use we all love FreeHand for in future versions of that product? I was actually told this was going to be the case – by an Adobe evangelist at a Sydney seminar about a year ago now…
    What about developing FreeHand as a really nice, intuitive and slick Flash prototyping environment – along with the best (existing) design interface out there? Once again, not all of us want or aspire to be Actionscript gurus… I’d really appreciate comment/feedback on this aspect…
    It really all comes down to whether Adobe is listening to valid concerns/frustrations about current products, or whether they take an arrogant ‘we know better’ position instead, right?
    I use FreeHand, Indesign (an excellent program) & Photoshop, along with SiteGrinder (another excellent piece of software), Flash and Dreamweaver to get 99% of my work done – and I do enjoy using them all… there are DEFINITELY many reasons to prefer Freehand to Illustrator for the majority of design jobs – but yes, there is also a place for Illustrator… once again it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve…
    I mean no piece of software can be everything to every1. I used to love the Zaxwerks and and MetaCreations/Kai Krausse’s 3D Vector plug-ins for FreeHand – (and wish they were still available for FHMX) – likewise if I want to enjoy multi-pages in Illustrator, I could learn to love Hotdoor’s plug-ins… YES I KNOW Illustrator should have that as standard… but hey, this is not a perfect world, right?
    John, I DO hope that you pass these valid criticisms of Illustrator on to the development team… none of us would ‘hate’ Illustrator so much if the usability issues weren’t so glaring… we don’t need all the bells and whistles if the basic functionality were similar to FreeHand’s… in any case, is it possible to ‘hate’ software – or to be annoyed at the lack of response from a company that refuses to act or listen?
    Sure Adobe is NOT our friend – they are in it to make money… but if a company refuses to listen – then the writing is on the wall for them too… regardless of how dominant they are presently…
    Oh, just in case any1 is listening, in the interest of balance – I just wish that FreeHand had a way to stroke on the INSIDE of a path – many unanswered requests to MM when they were marketing it – is that in Illustrator yet? Never took the time to find out…
    :P
    Rohan
    Sydney, Australia

  • MJose — 12:34 AM on May 19, 2007

    Ok, me encanta el Illustrator (es mi herramienta principal) pero,
    ¿cuando tendrá la magnífica opción de trabajar por páginas y soportar las imágenes como lo hacía freehand? Y otra cuestión, al Illustrator le vendría muy bien que se añadieran las funciones de “nombrar todas las muestras usadas”. Es algo muy útil cuando quieres asegurarte de que un archivo es Ok para imprenta.
    Saludos.

  • Dario Fernandez — 1:30 AM on May 19, 2007

    Joer, ahora que acabo de aprender a usar el FH y lo retiran,… que mala suerte…
    abrazos

  • Aaron Spence — 2:06 AM on May 19, 2007

    G’day John, You’re doing well dealing with a lot of seemingly personal attacks here, thanks for your patience & desire to let us know what’s going on.
    I’m a long time occasional FH user. I mainly do small brochures and 4-8 page booklets with FH, but have been looking at how I can do the same work with my shiny new CS3 suite.
    Instead of being able to do the illustration, layout, imposition & output in the one program (FH with PS for images of course) it seems I now need to use 2, Illustrator & Indesign. This is a shame as it will no doubt take much longer to complete work using 2 programs, particularly when I have to do multiple versions of documents. In FH each version goes on it’s own page in the one document. Easy.
    Having said that FH output has been pretty poor when it comes to PDF, so I usually output EPS & distill in Acrobat PRO. I gather I won’t have to take this extra step in the CS3 suite which will be good.
    I need to spend some time learning how to use Ill. & Ind. & figure out my new workflow, so I can’t really comment on how much longer it might take per job.
    I agree with others here that Illustrator needs the ability to do basic DTP (multi page) just like FH, ’cause I know Indesign is severe overkill for my (and many others) needs.
    Of course I could just keep using FH, but since it is no longer being updated it will die at some stage, I’d rather move on now, rather than be caught out in the future :)
    Thank, Aaron.

  • David — 2:33 AM on May 19, 2007

    I find all this makes me feel quite sad… as do the quippy clever answers you are giving from time to time John. You asked for, and have avoided commenting on what has been in places some really sound critique (for example alex — 01:37)all this makes me wonder what on earth Adobe is doing. Letting the news “slip” out here in your blog first and letting you carry the can on your own?? .. thats interesting marketing philosophy….
    [Adobe has gotten to the size where simply updating a page on Adobe.com has gotten stupidly sclerotic & bureaucratic. Therefore it’s often easier just to cut to the chase and post things here. –J.]
    There is an obvious lack of understanding at Adobe about what Freehand is for its users…I quote your comment to Nathan Adams — 04:49:
    “…. I’ve beem motivated to download and install FH–something I haven’t done in quite a while. I’m also asking the AI team for a detailed overview of the differences between the apps when it comes to selecting objects, points, etc.”….
    seriously..you havn’t already done that?
    [As always, I’m speaking for myself, personally. For all I know the Illustrator team has done all this many times over the years. But I’m not on the Illustrator team. –J.]
    … that seems to point to a strategic logic that completely ignored how the program functions or its comparative merits with illustrator, in other words … dropping Freehand is a top down decision, not one built on the merits of functions and user experience. As a designer, I am a believer in form following function, and freehand excels in that sense in certain areas…(all previously stated again and again here).
    I have to agree with Andrew in his post that leaning on sales statistics really is not enough. sales may well have outrun Freehand since before 2000, but that in itself doesnt necessarily mean Illustrator is a better program…it might just be down to better marketing… the real benchmark here is the user experience, and everyone I have ever worked with here in Spain in the last 15 years in graphic design, layout, and pre-print has used Freehand, and has had difficulties with using Illustrator…for all the same reasons people have stated here over and over…. a pretty clear picture is emerging in this thread for Adobe if I may say so.
    Lets hope that you all take note, and that CS4 amazes us!!

  • Dave — 3:31 AM on May 19, 2007

    John, (or anyone else) please correct me if I’m wrong but if I am to understand everything correctly, had Adobe not acquired Macromedia, there was not going to be a future version of Freehand – Intel Mac/Vista or otherwise. Now that Adobe has Macromedia, nothing has really changed there, right?
    [Precisely. –J.]
    Given the above, it seems that Adobe getting their hands on the code (and the patents) is the best that any FreeHand user could hope for. I know that at least one Illustrator engineer who was directly involved in legal proceedings regarding alleged patent infringement with Macromedia that resulted in an Illustrator feature receiving no updates or improvements after its initial implementation was excited about getting access to the patents that would allow them to freely implement features that have been inside Freehand all these years.
    In that person’s words, once one vendor comes out with at feature these days, they generally have a lock on it because of potential litigation. Corel bought up Vector Effects to remove that plug-in functionality from Illustrator and to keep Adobe from being able to implement similar technologies directly in Illustrator without brining any of it over to Draw so maybe these people would have preferred that Corel have bought Freehand as well?
    With CS3, Adobe has at least begun to implement *some* of the functionality in Illustrator. Obviously, it isn’t everything and obviously, with less than 15% of the world using freehand, a release devoted primarily on FreeHand functionality wouldn’t make much market sense – as some of these features may very well be important to everyone some day (multi-size, multi-page – multi-page alone is in Illustrator now but very poorly implemented) they are only recognized as significant by FreeHand users today and wouldn’t help do much for selling the software which to spin it for those who see Adobe as an evil empire, goes towards funding future Illustrator development as well as stock holders bank accounts.
    With Adobe ownership of the code, I think we have many FreeHand inspired improvements to see come our way in years to come. Since the software will require new code to be written and tested – they can’t just pull pieces out of FreeHand and expect them to integrate correctly into Illustrator – it probably won’t happen as quickly as many FreeHand users would like but the fact that it is happening at all should bring hope to those who had no real reason to have any before.
    Adobe was never going to keep the two going. Think about it, if a lot of you had your way, you’d have killed off Illustrator if it meant more efforts going into Freehand development so that argument that there is enough demand to keep FreeHand going isn’t realistic.
    A long time FreeHand user that I greatly respect has long touted the elegance of the basic FreeHand model over Illustrators but has also mentioned that a 180 switch to it would probably anger pretty much all of the Illustrator user base because it would be as confusing to them as switching to Illustrator is to FreeHand. Is Adobe going to do that in a release cycle to a strong majority share of customers? Would it even be remotely responsible of them if they did?
    At least with the way things are going, Illustrator can transition into a tool that will hopefully marry some of the best things of both applications. This is a business for Adobe and decisions are being made from a business standpoint – not an emotional one. It makes good business sense for them to make the best vector editing tool possible at a reasonable profit level. Now that they own the code and patent base of the two best tools ever made for this, things can only get better for Illustrator *and* Freehand users. Again, it isn’t going to happen as quickly as many would like but consider the alternative – eventually no running copy of FreeHand and Illustrator with nothing FreeHand based in it. At least for now, Adobe is leaving the door open to keep FreeHand available until people feel Illustrator is good enough in their eyes to make the complete switch.
    For those of you comparing Adobe to Microsoft. How do you think Microsoft would have handled this if they had the chance to buy out Apple? Can you honestly say the comparison can even be made?

  • Jennifer Johnson — 6:09 AM on May 19, 2007

    Add me as one more person on the Freehand team. I’ve been working with Illustrator now too for the last 2 years as I also saw the writing on the wall. And, as like most here, I still prefer FH. I won’t go into the lengthy descriptions as to what’s best in FH; it looks like you’re looking for more bullet-point facts. So, let’s see how many we can list:
    * Multi-page documents (varying page sizes a must)
    * Paste inside capabilities (like FH)
    * Ability to adjust word spacing
    * Clone (not copy & paste in front)
    * Match FH’s layers simplicity
    * IMPROVED Bézier curve manipulation
    * Easier ability to select
    * Better control over group/ungrouping
    * Collect for output
    * Better color palette
    * View overprinting object (critical for screen printers & can be seen/set up in FH prefs)
    Has Adobe ever considers sending out a a mass survey to all it’s Freehand/Illustrator customers? It could be a multiple choice questions (AI, FH, neither or both) going through each of the different function of the program and which style of programming does the customer prefer. Set up the questionnaire into blocks of questions based on similarity of function with a large comment section after each if they choose to do so.
    I have never really seen or heard Adober reach out to those of us who really matter in such a large scale. A little PR can only do the good as they have such a monolopy on the market.

  • steve g — 12:37 PM on May 19, 2007

    Interesting the number of those arguing for Freehand – I always found it an unattractive program compared with Illustrator, though the multiple sizes (and indeed multiple pages) made Freehand a good, all round program. Ideal for those who didn’t want to buy overpriced “Suites” with loads of stuff in a box they’d never really use.
    But Adobe would never give Illustrator multiple pages as that would interfere with sales of InDesign, and in the end Adobe is out to make money.
    Having said that and accepted it is their business to make money, the example of what Adobe did with Pagemaker reveals how Adobe can make a mess of things. Pagemaker was solid if unspectacular but with the slow process of making InDesign workable (face it, Adobe: InDesign wasn’t good enough at first) there was a feeble attempt to reposition Pagemaker as a “home user” application – at a ridiculously bloated price.
    Adobe wanted the Flash technology, which is fair enough, but having taken over Macromedia many have been asking could Freehand have been nursed along as a low-cost home user app? Well, maybe not with dollar signs in Adobe’s eyes, but there is a market for smaller programs.
    The one thing we all have grown to realize is that every new Adobe product requires a bigger machine and greater capacity/system demand for all the bolted-on new features, many of which are never going to be used by most people. We also need bigger monitors as Illustrator gets swamped with more and more palettes.
    Perhaps in the light of Freehand disappearing someone else will come up with a program to take Freehand’s place. You know, workable, sensible, moderately slim and efficient.
    You see, Adobe, cut it how you want but more and more bolted-on complexities do not necessarily make an elegant, intuitive program that gets the job done.
    [I have to interject that if Illustrator added support for multiple artboards, I’m sure we’d hear from some quarters about how those are “more bolted-on complexities.” One can never please everyone. As a partial solution, I argue for customizability, so that one can easily tune each app to be “everything you want, nothing you don’t.” –J.]

  • Phil Guindi — 2:04 PM on May 19, 2007

    Emotions aside, there has been a lot of good discussion following John’s blog. Thank-you all for voicing your concerns, and opinions.
    For any of you longtime FreeHand users, as the Illustrator product manager, I can tell you that there will be no sacred cows when it comes to building the best possible Illustration product – period. I think it is clear that there are still specific things that FH does better (e.g. some aspects of Clipping Mask behavior, Gradients, and specific aspects object selection to name a few). We managed to improve a few of these areas in CS3, but clearly have some work remaining for CS4 and beyond.
    I invite you all to continue telling us what you want to see in upcoming versions of Illustrator. Note that the best way to be a contributor is to re-engage with the tool that is part of the future. For those of you who haven’t played with Illustrator in years, go ahead – download the free 30-day trial and give it a go. Keep an open mind. I think that if you look deeply, you’ll see a lot of what you already love in FH in AI, and a lot more.
    In the end, I really believe that there is an opportunity for us to create an even better product than either AI or FH ever were, as we look to pick up the best of both worlds.

  • Hrudud — 2:08 AM on May 20, 2007

    Bloatware. That’s what you are.
    Just checked out the system requirements for Fireworks CS3 (supposedly developed by the core Freehand team, though the photo of the team on Adobe’s site seem to encompass a large number of young folk from India PHOTO OF FWKS TEAM.
    Well done Adobe. You’ve managed to double the required amount of RAM (from the 256 MB for FWKS 8 to 500 MB for FWKS CS3), and, in true Adobe bloat-tradition, managed to add a further whopping disk space requirement too; Fireworks 8 only required 20 MB of disk space, but Fireworks CS3 now requires 1 GB.
    At the end of the day, we need tools that allow us to get the job done in the minimum of time with THE MINIMUM OF SYSTEM RESOURCES.
    Freehand has always delivered this. Illustrator never will.

  • Hrudud — 2:11 AM on May 20, 2007

    CORRECTION: Fireworks 8 requires 320 MB of disk space (NOT 20MB as stated above). Fireworks CS3 still requires 1GB though.

  • Jean-Claude Tremblay — 12:58 PM on May 20, 2007

    John, I have just noticed that the PDF document “FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guide” in your post are linked to a CS2 document. Adobe have recently updated this document for CS3 and you can find the link on Adobe Illustrator Switch page here:
    http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/switch/
    or the PDF directly here:
    http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator/switch/pdfs/Illcs3_freehand_guide.pdf
    [Thanks for the heads-up, Jean-Claude. –J.]

  • (d) — 1:23 PM on May 20, 2007

    Wow. My impression is that t there are some devoted FH users here that may be knocking AI without really diving in to see what the tool is capable of. I’ve used both extensively over the past 12 years, and while the lack of multi-page functionality in AI can be frustrating at times, I have found this latest version (CS3) to be an incredibly versatile and valuable tool most will discover worth while. It’s certainly a pain having to switch from something you are accustom to, and I won’t try to placate anyone expressing their discontent. But, I would encourage FH users to keep an open mind and as end users keep pushing Adobe to integrate the features they find valuable. As a beta tester, I have found the current AI team very receptive to suggestions and passionate about making the best tool they can. I may come across as a complete AI zealot in a crowd like this, but for what it’s worth, you could do much worse than AI to lose your favorite app to.

  • Dezzy Boydd — 8:44 PM on May 20, 2007

    While it’s debatable whether or not to call all Adobe apps “one-trick ponies” as Andrew has, I do see where he is coming from. The “purchase Indesign” or “ginormous Illustrator page/pasteboard hack” for multi-page documents doesn’t address a core feature that FH users require of their vector tool for example. It is merely a workaround for a problem that doesn’t exist in their working world. It’s like telling someone, “You know that old, reliable commuter train you used to take from point A to point B? Well, we’re switching you over to a bus route. Yep, it may take longer, cost $199 or more to upgrade, require you to change Adobe buses a couple times, and take you through unfamiliar territory, but we think it’s better for you. You can continue to take your commuter train, but the bridge connecting you to LatestOS Land will no longer be available.” Many of us were hoping for an Illustrator/ FH hybrid that takes the best of both worlds and combines them into a new/better solution rather than forcing FH users to conform. Can you see how it would be disappointing to be subjected to this “take your medicine and like it” approach? You cannot argue that it appears as if Adobe is neglecting to truly address many of the feature requests the FH user base really wants. Maybe this is because Adobe doesn’t want to alienate their Illustrator user base — I’m not sure. What I am fairly sure about is that Freehand user usability and/or user acceptance testing isn’t of a high priority for Adobe at this point. If there have been extensive tests revealing FH users preferring the new Illustrator way, why not share them with the FH community? Maybe that’d help FH users with feeling accepted into the Adobe family, rather than feeling as if they either catch the Illustrator bus or get left behind. It’s good to be the king I suppose.

  • ray — 11:39 PM on May 20, 2007

    I’ve used both apps since their early days (FH 1.0 and AI 88), and while I preferred FH for many years and I’m sad to see it go, I’ve been sad about FH for quite a while now. It’s gotten clunky and neglected, and I’d started moving toward Illustrator in anticipation of this day. The two things I’ll miss the most:
    1. Paste inside. So much easier and intuitive than AI’s clipping masks.
    2. Multi-page documents, as has already been stated numerous times above.

  • Mark Fullerton — 1:40 AM on May 21, 2007

    It’s a sad day for Freehand users, but the writing has been on the wall for some time now.
    As for all the users saying Freehand should be released as open source . . . Please . . . lets wait another 5 years for an upgrade from the open source community. Freehand is a pretty great product now – just keep using it as long as you can stand your old hardware – that’s the best you will get, that and hope Adobe will roll some of the best Freehand features into Illustrator CS4 or 5
    I have used Freehand since version 3. I have also owned every version of Illustrator just so I could open up my clients documents. I never used Illustrator unless I had to. I have tried to learn Illustrator more than one occasion – never quite got the hang of it. I never could understand why it was so non-intuitive and slow to use.
    Illustrator makes it so difficult to do perform the actions that are the most frequent.
    Multiple pick tools in illustrator just seems crazy, Freehand only needed one to pick points, objects and groups, hit the tab key to de-select. Very fast way to work. The funny thing is its almost like they designed it to be fast and easy to use – WOW what a concept.
    When you are zoomed in on a bunch of objects in Illustrator and are trying to pick or deselect it is not the easiest thing to do, click away to de-select and you invariably select a background object. It may take multiple clicks to get just right. Otherwise it’s “command-shift-A” to de-select In Freehand I just hit TAB to deselect –very fast and easy, and from a ergonomics point of view a lot nicer on my hand than “command-shift-A”.
    I also never have to remove my eyes from the screen to hit the TAB key because my finger is always on it. I can never hit “command-shift-A” without looking at the keyboard. If I try to keep my fingers on that key combination my hand starts hurting.
    Hey why not help your users AVOID carpal tunnel – not help your users GET carpal tunnel.
    Remember (for me at least) picking and deselecting are things I do more than anything else in the program! Please make this very very very easy and fast! Don’t’ make me change pick tools, don’t make me take my eyes off the screen, don’t make me use two or three key combinations to do these very basic operations.
    I really hope the folks at Adobe will look at usability (UI) issues in future upgrades.
    Bezier editing in Freehand is far superior. Sit two expert users down (1 FH & 1 Illy) and have them create the same complex bezier path. Say draw a path around a scanned image using the pen tool.
    Then look at the number of keystrokes, mouse clicks and time that each expert user had to perform to build it.
    I think you will find Freehand is a much more productive tool. (That is the whole idea of using computers as a tool, being productive right?)
    Why can’t I easily edit the corner radius of a rectangle after it is created?
    Come on guys this is illustrator 13 and I can’t accurately change the radius of a round corner rectangle??????? Illustrator is supposed to be the “premier” vector art software on the market and I can’t edit a stinkin radius corner???
    Freehand has one pallet (object pallet) to edit all the aspects of an object. (Including stroke and fill) Seems like a pretty clean and simple well thought-out interface.
    Everybody seems to jump on the multi page feature, for good reason – it’s incredibly useful. I always assumed that Illustrator never added multiple pages because they didn’t want to cannibalize sales of Pagemaker and later In-Design. Anytime you start leaving incredibly useful features out of a product for reasons like that you are making BAD decisions period! You are crippling one product to sell a second – this does not help users it only helps fill the corporate pockets. Not a good long-term strategy. Please make the best software you can for your users ALWAYS, EVERYTIME, keep the corporate marketing strategy out of product feature design decisions.
    As for other things I think Illustrator could take from Freehand, I agree with most all of Alex’s comments above – he makes some very good points
    I really miss the clone command – use it all the time in FH it is soooo much simpler & easier than copy, paste in front. The same for moving an object between layers, sure you can do it in Illy, but its more command option key combinations to memorize. Please make it EASY to use. Nothing quite as easy as select and click on the layer you want to move to – BAM – DONE. Fast and easy
    Alignment tools: how about the ability to lock an object and still pick it to use the align tool
    Halftone screens: The ability to have different halftone screens on different objects in the same document Is very useful – please add it. It may not be used by tons of people but I use it all the time in Freehand. This is very useful to printers.
    Zoom Level – a couple more increments of increased zoom would be real nice for aligning/building objects like aligning (non 90 degree) lines to the tangent point of a circle etc. Or give us a snap to object that works like a CAD program.
    Can you please put the transform tools in a pallet that stays open on the desktop (move, rotate, scale, reflect) or at least give us keyboard shortcuts for ALL not just move.
    It is very slow to use menus to get work done, especially when you have to cascade through a couple of levels of nested menus to get to your final selection. The Transform tools are tools I use ALL the time. Over and over. Going back to the nested menu is Slow, slow slow!
    Freehand has implemented this very nicely – clean interface easy and simple
    Filter and effect in Illus. does seem a bit out of place – more like Photoshop tools than vector tools. I never know which menu to go to when I want to use them??
    I don’t want to make this sound like a complete Illustrator bashing session. Illustrator does a lot of things very well – PDF export and import is great (it better be) Importing DXF files is a boon – THANK YOU! Opentype – great, Integration with Photoshop wonderful.
    The bottom line for me when I compare Freehand to Illustrator is not that you can’t obtain the same results in both programs, for the most part you can. It’s just that Illustrator makes you change tools too many times, use menus for which there are no keyboard shortcuts (for frequently used tools), or remember multiple different key combinations, mouse clicks to do the same thing. It is not very efficient or fun to use.
    The “concept” of having a common interface between multiple programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, In-Design is great in theory, but the way you work when doing bitmap creation and manipulation (Photoshop) VS. vector creation and manipulation (Illustrator) is completely different. I would think you would want to optimize the tools for each different working method. I know you have users that use your products in lots of different ways for lots of different purposes. It’s a very difficult problem to solve – to create a user experience that will make everyone happy.
    I was very happy to read that you are going to fire up Freehand and see for yourself what all the fuss is about, I hope some of the points made here in the comments will become features in the next Illustrator. It’s no easy task – good luck and thanks for listening.

  • Mike Murphy — 8:31 AM on May 21, 2007

    I have a trial version of Illustrator CS3 now. It is the only application besides Freehand of course to open Freehand files.
    Fair enough I probably have to use it in future. Why this clumsy application takes over a GIGABYTE of Hard-drive space while Freehand MX only takes 50 MB is a complete mystery to me. Maybe one of the Adobe Programers could explain?
    [What system are you running? On my Mac it takes 742MB of space. Part of that (half, actually) comes from the app being a Universal Binary.
    The relentless growth of apps isn’t cool. I’m not sure what explains it, but it’s not limited to Adobe (not that that makes it better). I just downloaded the latest version of Stuffit Expander and see that it’s grown from 5MB to 30MB (!!). Meanwhile Apple’s little iWeb mini-WYSIWYG editor tips the scales at 600MB on my machine. There’s something about the way modern apps are written that swells their disk footprint. –J.]

  • Pete Mason — 11:32 AM on May 21, 2007

    Gotta say, this is awesome news for Illustrator, now they’ll never have to bother upgrading that thing ever again!
    It has certainly been a trip down memory lane, reading all these comments!! FreeHand vs Illustrator has been one of the classic battles in software, even if it’s pretty much died down over the past five years or so.
    I’ve always been of the opinion that Photoshop really killed FreeHand. Starting in the late eighties, every single graphic arts person had to purchase PhotoShop. Once the Adobe sales rep had them for PhotoShop, it was pretty easy to bundle in Illustrator as well, especially with a special price. I’m convinced that the vast majority of Illustrator purchases had nothing to do with a taste-test versus FH, but were simply the result of a PhotoShop sale. If you compare the feature sets of the first five or so versions of each app, it’s even harder to argue otherwise.
    It has been really… ummm, is “heart-warming” too strong a term? to read about so many people still using FreeHand, and to learn that the passion is still so strong.
    I was an engineer for FH 1, 2, and 3, which was tons of fun and extremely exciting, and then I had the misfortune to be stuck in Macromedia’s marketing department for nearly two years, circa FH 5 and 5.5… heck if it hadn’t been for me getting totally burned out by the marketing dept, I might still be in the software industry in some capacity!
    Now that FH is dead, maybe I can finally put to rest my reoccurring nightmare about being out on the road, having to demo the new version of FH, and discovering I’ve lost all my demo files and have no clue as to what the new features are! I haven’t demo’ed FH for a decade, yet I still have that stinking dream at least once a quarter….
    — Pete

  • JoseDLF — 1:20 PM on May 21, 2007

    First paragraph: is not “neé” but “née”.
    [Thanks; I’m never sure about the rule on that one. –J.]

  • Rich — 2:37 PM on May 21, 2007

    I think FreeHand will go down in history as the program that thousands of people fought for. The petition page I started for support of FreeHand is well in the thousands with signatures from around the world. One thing that people can’t argue with is that FreeHand’s users are very loyal and faithful to their product.
    I am accepting Adobe’s discontinuation, as much as I don’t agree with their decision. But why did they wait so long? It was stupid on their part: if they announced FreeHand’s demise last May (instead of saying it was a rumor), FreeHand users could have worked closer with Illustrator developers. FreeHand users weren’t told it was over…so many of them foolishly chose to not communicate with Illustrator’s team through the forums.
    I hope Adobe will learn from their mistakes in the future. If they plan on not developing a program, don’t wait over a year to communicate this. There would have been a lot less anger. Let your customers know your intentions so that they can choose alternative programs. I can understand if no one was asking for a new version, but with all the talk, couldn’t they see that it was important to tell everyone sooner? Adobe could have handled this much better!

  • Mark Thomas — 11:00 PM on May 21, 2007

    Meanwhile Apple’s little iWeb mini-WYSIWYG editor tips the scales at 600MB on my machine. There’s something about the way modern apps are written that swells their disk footprint.
    iWeb is a bundle, e.g. a folder disguised as an app, so it contains the OS X executable plus a huge number of graphics-rich templates in multiple languages. Still a disk space hog, but you can trim it down by 500+ MB just by removing the extra language resources.

  • Mario Artoni — 11:10 PM on May 21, 2007

    Terrible, Mr. John Nack. Adobe kill Freehand, but it has not of similar. Illustrator has a way to manage the job much old. It is a good software for paintings but other does not have nothing. I hope that Adobe rethinks to this, or that it gives to Illustrator functions that they see freehand more fastest and more efficient about Illustrator.
    best regards

  • Emanuele — 12:43 AM on May 22, 2007

    FREEHAND PETITION FOR ALL GRAPHIC PROFESSIONIST AND FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED FOR YEARS WITH THIS SOFTWARE:
    join us against adobe’s monopoly:
    http://www.enrichdesign.com/freehand.html
    Adobe Illustrator is a good software for design, NOT FOR IMPAGINATION PROCESS!!! ADOBE LIES…

  • KVman — 8:56 AM on May 22, 2007

    I am a architect and designer from Brasil.
    and i think, every Freehand user will migrate ( in 2013 hehehe ) to the first Software to have :
    – Multi-Pages. ( with multi-formats and freedom placement )
    – Paste Inside. ( not that zorro mask )
    – a intelligent point selection.
    – a decent color List. ( name all colors and delete unused named colors )
    – and a workable find replace tool ( of course, with the remove all overprint function )
    – o yeah master pages :)
    – a CMYK + Pantone + RGB : Workspace
    or we can try to ask Dr.James R. Von Ehr II, to develope a Freehand successor.
    It’s the second time adobe try to kill Freehand way of design.
    and I hope it not happens.
    KV
    ps Fireworks multi-page ? its a joke ?
    ps2. competitors it’s time to gain terrain ! and don’t forget to include de ability to import FH files . ( corel do it in a good way ( FH8 files ).
    ps3. To adobe market people , good look with your fat pattent frankstein !
    ps4. o yeah, and here comes the multi-touch devices, who, real can kill the way we design today !

  • Gonzalo Chacon — 10:14 AM on May 22, 2007

    In a few words…
    FH it’s really simply, AI it’s too “pajero”
    [I take it you’re not referring to the truck… –J.]
    greetings from Chile
    chac
    PS. do you know when Adobe will translate the FH – AI guides?
    [I’m afraid I don’t. –J.]

  • FarmerBob — 12:22 PM on May 22, 2007

    First, another Adobe lie. You promised continued support:
    http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/05/31/adobe/index.php
    I won’t go into all the operational differences that it’s clear Adobe can not see that are listed in the responses above. I have been using and promoting Freehand since the late 80’s and when I had Illustrator and FH side by side on a PC or Mac, I was able to get the work done Quicker, Better, and Easier with FH than Ills. I have always compared the two as: Ills for Fine Art and FH for Commercial Art and even Ills users agreed. When I have had to farm out work to houses that use Illustrator, it cost me more because it takes them longer, pay by the hour, to produce the work than houses that use FH. And afterwards the Ills files are more difficult to deal with outside of Ills than FH. Plus the the Photoshop cross translation is better from FH than Ills to its own Photoshop. So I have working proof that Ills is not as efficient as FH and this is even when it is used by experienced Ills users/artists/Addicts.
    I hated to have to retain OS9 in the Tiger move for apps that refused to migrate that I needed. I have close to if not more than 15 years of FH files. What now? Looks like I’ll have to make provisions for Freehand, if I go to Leopard, if they ever get it out.
    I use FH to make a living and have tried many times to migrate to Ills, but can not take/afford to charge for the extra time and all the idiosyncrasies that you have to deal with in Ills. Also I got a call from a friend yesterday that just returned CS3 due to all the bugs and after a total 10 hours on the phone with Adobe and their poor support with no positive resolution. And he got an RMA, which is hard to do, so that means to me they admit to problems. Also I have read in numerous forums and articles with many complaints for both Mac and PC versions since CS2. I have never had a problem with FH nor Macromedia Support. Guess the good ol’ days are gone.
    You promised continued support, no more? What else do we have to look forward to, more lies and manipulation? Oh and what about all the rumors of Mal and SpyWare in CS3? The big developers just get bigger and more brash at the expense of their clientele and show no concern nor remorse about it. That’s the Adobe I know.
    I a case of an “apples” to “apples” comparison, Ills operationally is a Kumquat, physically a Watermelon with parasites. I knew I had reason to be scared when Adobe bought Macromedia. Really scared.
    . . . fb

  • chris — 1:17 PM on May 22, 2007

    Adobe Illustrator?
    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I LIKE FREEHAND!!!
    since 1980 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andrew Arnold — 2:45 AM on May 23, 2007

    have a look at this project and convert all your anger into energy for supporting it: inkscape.org – this could become what we’re all looking for. open source will be the way to get out of this miserable adobe dependance FOREVER! tools have to be free (isn’t that what karl marx said?)!

  • Simon — 1:42 PM on May 23, 2007

    For me, Illustrator and Freehand are like comparing Windows to OS X. Illustrator is the slowest, dumbest workflow I’ve ever seen whereas Freehand has always been lighten fast and easy to use. It took me a long time jumping in and out of Illustrator and talking to Illustrator users to understand why Illustrator sucks so badly (I think it sucks). It turns out that Freehand attracts technical illustrators while Adobe Illustrator attracts the graphics artists and those interested in printing. I just can’t use Illustrator as a tool to do technical work, it’s just such a backwards application workflow-wise and usability-wise that I’ll need to look elsewhere to replace Freehand (Fontographer? ;) or just keep an old OS 9 / OS X box around to do my technical artwork.
    Good bye Freehand. RIP.

  • Chris Hopkins — 3:38 PM on May 23, 2007

    I think it depends what sort of work you want your software to do. Page layouts and packaging layouts, or illustrations. I have always used Freehand for packaging artwork, but would use illustrator and Photoshop for image creation and manipulation.
    The move to me will be to InDesign or Quark. But I really feel like there should be a dozen software packages to choose from. I would like Apple to buy Freehand from Adobe, and then invest some money in the programme.

  • alex — 4:14 PM on May 23, 2007

    ok john, now that i’ve spit out my disappointment and anger, maybe it’s time for the positive approach. as someone mentioned earlier, i think no one here cares what name our favorite program has (it might as well be called adobe illustrator) or who made it, we only want a truly great, versatile design program that makes us productive beyond our dreams and that’s easy and fun to use.
    here’s what i think adobe should copy from freehand to make illustrator exactly that:
    1. make selecting and deselecting straightforward and logical
    1a. PLEASE, ONLY ONE selection tool, that behaves differently when a certain modifier key is pressed (e.g. alt select = subselect). no more unnecessary, frustrating, time consuming and RSI invoking switching of tools.
    1b. PLEASE allow the user the choice of contact sentitive selecting or not.
    1c. alt-clicking a path selects the entire path if the path is grouped or is part of a group, and selects just the segment you clicked on if ungrouped.
    1d. when you subsequently click a point, select that point; shift-click it again and it’s deselected while the rest of the selection remains untouched (really, it’s that simple).
    1e. clicking ‘through’ objects to select underlying objects (check indesign)
    1f. clicking within the bounding box of an already selected underlying object doesn’t change the selection to the topmost object. this allows you to move the underlying object easily even though it’s below another object.
    1g. have easy key strokes for absolute and relative deselecting. freehand has the tab key to deselect all (absolute) and the wonderful tilde key to superselect (relative): it deselects the current object and in stead selects the group that the object is part of. it works with points, parts of a group and masked objects. an incredibly simple and truly wonderful feature, check freehand to see how great it is.
    1h. make it impossible to select parts of a masked graphic that fall outside the mask. it makes no sense and it’s frustrating because these parts are always selected by accident.
    2. make creating en editing paths straightforward, fast and logical
    2a. PLEASE, ONLY ONE path tool, that behaves differently when a certain modifier key is pressed (check freehand to see what happens when you alt click, alt drag, shift click, command drag or any combination thereof with the path tool). no more unnecessary, time consuming and RSI invoking switching of tools.
    2b. PLEASE, implement the concept of corner points, curve points and tangent points, it’s so much easier.
    2c. lose the scissors tool. simply select a point and choose a ‘split’ command.
    2d. make primitives (rectangle, oval, polygon etc.) behave as primitives as long as they are not ungrouped into regular paths, which means that certain attributes specific to that primitive can still be altered in a simple way, e.g. the number of spikes in a star, the roundness of the corners of a rectangle and the number of steps in a blend.
    2e. check freehand to see what happens when you alt drag a point that has no bezier control points… and copy it!
    ———————–
    these features alone would already make illustrator the ALMOST IDEAL TOOL for me…
    ———————–
    3. show me only the things that i want to see
    3a. show details only when needed. when a path is grouped, it means that it is no longer a path but that it’s become an object of which the details are no longer of any concern to me. so, when i select a grouped path or a group of paths, i don’t want to see it’s details (points and keyline paths) anymore. to see what i mean, compare a selected group consisting of many paths in freehand and the same group in illustrator…
    3b. lose the bounding box around everything that is selected. i understand the idea behind it, but in practice it’s very confusing and not helpful. maybe copy the freehand way: show the bounding box only on double click.
    3c. show the masked parts of a masked graphic ONLY when the entire contents of a mask is selected (this is where the tilde key in freehand excels, check it out).
    4. be more context sensitive
    4a. don’t scatter all the vital characteristics of an object over at least 10 palettes, but make ONE CONTEXT SENSITIVE inspector that gives easy access to everything vital to the selected object ONLY…
    5. rethink the toolbox, the palettes and the menu’s. adobe’s interface philosophy is clear: all functions – and even subfunctions – need either a separate toolbox tool or a separate palette. result: a perverse orgy of tools and palettes. wrong philosophy. tools and palettes are only necessary when everything else is less than ideal. some functions need a tool, others a menu command. think functionality and not corporate strategy… freehand once again proves it: less is more. i’d say, now that it’s yours, copy it! no more lawsuits…
    6. and of course, the multipage thing. and i don’t think it should be a threat to indesign either. indesign is about large, structured documents. illustrator (freehand ;-) is about small and flexible, and having multiple pages in multiple sizes in one document would be irresistable.
    i could go on a little longer but i think you get the idea. again, if illustrator were a great program i would gladly forget freehand and i hope these few hints will help you (and me) get there.
    good luck, alex
    [Thanks for all the detailed feedback, Alex. I’ll digest it & (more importantly) will make sure the Illustrator team sees them. –J.]

  • Rich — 6:25 PM on May 23, 2007

    I really liked what Alex wrote and agreed with everything he said. It got me to thinking…what if there were a competition for Adobe to see…FreeHand versus Illustrator? Maybe broadcast it on youtube or on Adobe’s own site. This way, Adobe gets to see first hand what us FreeHand users are talking about. It would be both entertaining and educational, seeing what makes each tool faster, etc. All you would need is someone proficient in FreeHand and someone proficient in Illustrator and give them a series of tasks. Then others would see why FreeHand is just such a great program!

  • Mark Thomas — 7:25 AM on May 24, 2007

    Illustrator needs multiple pages, yes, but just as importantly Illustrator needs to simplify selecting.
    There should be one selection tool as in FreeHand, and it should be smart as in FreeHand. Click on a path to select the path. Click on a point to select the point. Click on the shape to select the whole shape. I’ve been secreaming for Illustrator to ditch its needless, poorly thought out insistance on having two selection tools for what seems like a decade. Does anyone really think having to switch tools all the time is a benefit? You shouldn’t have to switch tools all the time and you shouldn’t have to hold down modifier keys just to pick between a shape, a path and a point.
    Come on, already.

  • William Rabb — 1:54 PM on May 24, 2007

    Where can I find an older version of Freehand. I have Freehand MX (11.0.2) for Windows, and it’s full of technical problems. I’m hoping Freehand 8 or 9 would be better. Thanks. 850-437-5585.

  • Charlie Yarwood — 3:38 PM on May 25, 2007

    I started using Freehand with version 3. Stuck with it up through version 9. Even though I had the MX versions, I found them to be clunky and sorta broken. I’ve used Ilustrator since version 4. Had both programs side-by-side for years. Almost all my local service bureaus offered full support of Freehand (up through v9). That combined with the fact that I could do almost everything twice as fast as with Illustrator made FH9 my tool of choice. I still think FH9 is superior to Illustrator in many respects, even CS2. It just seems more like a professional tool than AI. The multi-page feature, the search and replace (even colors), bezier editing, and more; are all features that AI desperately needs to assimilate. Since I pretty much quit using FH when the MX versions hit, I’m actually an AI convert now. I’m finally at a point where I can do stuff with it. But it still seems to go around the block just to get next door. To this day, when I get in a pinch and have to create a complex vector object in a hurry; I still go to FH9, then export it to AI for finishing. I don’t know what’s taking Adobe so long to incorporate FH’s strengths. It’s very frustrating. They are in a position to create a vector editing/illustration program that will rule the world. And they’re just sitting on it. Reminds me of the kind of corporate apathy that drove me away from Quark.
    [I have to say, it’s frustrating to hear all these statements from people who seem not to have checked out AICS3–which does, in fact, incorporate changes requested by FH users. No one is saying that Illustrator is perfect or that it couldn’t stand to learn some tricks from FH. But it *is* a little frustrating that a fair number of FH users seem not to take the time to check out the current state of the world. –J.]

  • Chuck Erickson — 4:28 PM on May 25, 2007

    I agree with much that has been said here about FreeHand features Illustrator could/should incorporate. One thing I have not seen anyone talk about is the accuracy of elements inside Illustrator. The main difference I have observed between FreeHand and Illustrator users is their concern with accuracy. As a broad generalization, Illustrator users are less concerned with exactly how big a circle is, or if these two elements really line up. I love the ability to know that things are exactly where I want them to be.
    [I’m not sure I understand this feedback. I remember visiting a printer in Chicago and having them get jazzed because some print output dialog had changed to offer four decimal points’ worth of precision. –J.]
    Here are some things I can’t do in Illustrator, please correct me if I’m wrong as I would love to know how to do these things.
    1. Place a guide at an exact location. As in type in a value and have the guide adjust to that location. In FreeHand you can double-click a guide and give it a precise location.
    [Phil Guindi, Illustrator PM, replies, “In AI, select your guide, and either use Control Panel (in CS2 or CS3) to enter specific coordinates or use Transform panel. Note that the Guide cannot be locked if you want to move it. In CS3, guides are no longer locked by default. To unlock guide, select guide in question, and go to View->Guides->Unlock.” –J.]
    2. The ability to change the size of an object by typing in the appropriate value. If you have a long rectangle and you want to make it 2 picas shorter, i want to see a value and type in the new value, not drag and look at the ruler or however else it may be done.
    [Phil: “Same as above. In CS2 or CS3, you can use contextually sensitive Control Panel to enter Width and Height of any object, or you can find this same control available in the Transform panel.” –J.]
    3. Have the edge of objects or newly drawn points actually snap to a guideline (or the page border for that matter). What is the purpose of a guideline if you can’t snap to it? This even works better in InDesign, so it’s not like Adobe doesn’t know how to do it.
    [Phil: “Anchor and edge snapping will align to guides. With selected object, use Direct Select tool, and drag from the anchor or edge you want to align to.” –J.]
    4. Please look at the way text boxes work in FreeHand. I don’t know why you would ever want a text box to stretch the text in it horizontally or vertically. At least the ability to have the text box snap to the size of the text (again like InDesign).
    [Phil: “Not sure what is being described here. Scaling a text box with selection tool doesn’t scale text, but rather it scales text frame. We agree some of the text controls in FH are interesting, and would like to see some of those make their way in AI in future releases.” –J.]
    I live blocks away from your Fremont offices, and while I don’t know if any coding goes on there, I would be more than happy to come in and show someone any of the techniques describe in the comments above. Anything to help make Illustrator a better program.
    – Chuck
    [Thanks for the offer of help & for the specifics on what you need, Chuck. I hope Phil’s responses are illuminating. I think that many FH users owe it to themselves to check out the latest version of AI, as it sounds like a number of recent tweaks may address some of your beefs. –J.]

  • Mark Thomas — 1:53 AM on May 26, 2007

    I have to say, it’s frustrating to hear all these statements from people who seem not to have checked out AICS3–which does, in fact, incorporate changes requested by FH users. No one is saying that Illustrator is perfect or that it couldn’t stand to learn some tricks from FH. But it *is* a little frustrating that a fair number of FH users seem not to take the time to check out the current state of the world. –J
    Most of use old FreeHand die-hards have tried many versions of Illustrator many times over the years. In general, from a FreeHand user’s perspective, Illustrator has appeared to get worse and less direct with each revision, and Phil’s tips even illustrate this as it is usually more complicated to do things in Illustrator than it is in FreeHand. I know that for me the last straw with Illustrator was when the pathfinder tools stopped working, but when I say they “stopped working” what I really mean is they went from being a simple matter of click, click, click to being a laughable circus act of discovering exactly the right combination of groups and/or layers that Illustrator requires before finally, grudgingly, performing the Pathfinder function . . . only to then have the actual result be a kind of illusion that has to be “flattened” or something. Meanwhile, in FreeHand you just click, click, click and it just works. As someone who used to do tech support for Illustrator, I grew to hate using the app, even while other people I know never seemed to mind or notice that things which used to be simple became more and more complicated and fussy.
    To me, everything that’s wrong with Illustrator is symbolized by the philosophy behind the dual path selection tools. Things in Illustrator — typically very basic things that you do all day long — tend to be twice as hard as they are in FreeHand. However, let me also say that I would not consider FreeHand MX to be the ideal form of FreeHand. In Macromedia’s hands the app became more bloated and less reliable, and the GUI turned into some Flash-fan’s idea of good interface design. To me the very best version of FreeHand was the NeXT version called Virtuoso. I’m not sure which Mac version was the most like Virtuoso — maybe 4.x? — but in the hands of Macromedia who were supposed to be rescuing FreeHand from certain death at the hands of Adobe after the Aldus merger — the app languished along with that other Altsys gem, Fontographer.
    If Adobe really cared about pleasing FreeHand users, they would — instead of raiding FreeHand for more scraps to stuff into bloated old Illustrator — create an all new, very focused illustration app based on Virtuoso. Let Illustrator be the one-page wonder with silly Flash support and two selection tools and path operations that don’t work, and let Virtuoso be the artist’s fast, simple, focused drawing tool.
    I downloaded the Illustrator CS3 demo and from what I could tell it was still as slow and clunky and needlessly complicated as it has ever been. It still imposes two selection tools on users, and even the palettes — which Adobe seems to have tried very hard to improve — are more complicated now. That’s the mistake Illustrator has made continuously over the years: every version gets more complicated instead of more powerful.
    And, of course, I tried CS3’s Pathfinder operations. Lord have mercy.

  • Mark Thomas — 5:51 AM on May 26, 2007

    I’d like to ask that Adobe stop calling FreeHand “Adobe FreeHand.” That’s an insult. FreeHand was never an Adobe product, and Adobe played no part in its creation or development, only its demise.

  • Mike Murphy — 1:52 PM on May 26, 2007

    I wonder why Corel has stopped updating Corel Draw for Macintosh? If I was a Windows User my choice was easy.
    [Is that because you actually like CorelDraw, or because you just hate Illustrator? And as always, specific reasons for these assessments are the useful feedback. –J.]

  • Bryon Thompson — 7:21 PM on May 26, 2007

    It no longer matters to me if Adobe is listening to FreeHand users. Not that they really did (where is paste inside, simpler point/curve editing, multipage, simplified everything!). We know where Adobe stands and will remain standing. That’s fine. At this stage what does matter to me is if there are individuals reading these concerns who can see an opportunity and have the capability to either A) further develop existing technical drawing programs (you know who you are) to be as efficient and robust as FH, or B) recreate FH, under a new name, for the worldwide loyal FH users.
    I’ve been a professional illustrator for 14 years and have made a very nice living using FreeHand exclusively. Yes I started “migrating” to AI about a year ago, and for all the cumbersome reasons listed previously I’m still no better off now as there seems to be no way to gain the speed, economy and productivity of FreeHand. Period. FreeHand is efficient, quick, strong, reliable. Did I mention efficient?
    My clients appreciate that I turn around projects quickly. That’s one reason why they return to me. Not only that but I enjoy working fast. Freehand allows those of us who like to work efficiently to do just that — be efficient. To most self-employed individuals, efficiency = success. Productivity seems to be low on the priority list for AI, while bells & whistles seem to take the high slot. That’s counterintuitive to my thinking.
    [I guess it’s all a matter of one’s perspective and priorities. I’ve been playing with FH more over the last few days, and while I definitely like certain things about it, I find various omissions laughable (no support for transparency in bitmaps? in 2007?). One man’s bell & whistle is another man’s bread & butter. And by the way, I’m not some marketing hack: I made my living with this stuff for years before coming to Adobe, and I relied on the features I find missing in FH. –J.]
    AI is what it is and people swear by it. Fine. But FH wasn’t broken, it simply became a niché software, but what a loyal niché it produced eh? Any Mac software players in the technical illustration software biz care to step up to the plate? Someone who loves the biggest time-saver in the world known as “paste inside”?
    [What’s somewhat disheartening to me is that some FH users promise never to get past their antipathy for AI, regardless of what changes AI makes on their behalf (which, of course, doesn’t help the case for making those changes). I hope the reality is that most people *will* give Illustrator a chance. –J.]

  • Mark Thomas — 3:01 AM on May 27, 2007

    What’s somewhat disheartening to me is that some FH users promise never to get past their antipathy for AI, regardless of what changes AI makes on their behalf. –J.
    This is really Adobe’s fault. It’s no different than how many Mac users cannot get past their distaste for Microsoft. To paraphrase Silence of the Lambs: They were not born with this apathy. They were made apathetic through years of systematic abuse.
    No support for transparency in bitmaps? in 2007?
    Bitmap transparency is an effect that can be applied and adjusted using the context-sensitive Attributes Inspector. You probably couldn’t find it because you were thinking like an Adobe dude. ;) I’d even wager that FreeHand could do this years before Illustrator could.

  • Ratko Asanovic — 4:47 AM on May 27, 2007

    We heard a lot of things here from FH users almost i believed them. Almost. I have concluded whatever Adobe change or add to Illustrator won’t please FH users even i think that can make them more angry.
    Now the Illustrator features FH users want to see or not.
    1. New user interface = AMAZING, for me is top of the functionality. I get use to Adobes approach for user interface since i started using Photoshop so this is like i am at “home”.
    2. Two selection tools? = WHY NOT, as FH users said why need two? This is matter of opinion you get use to familiar with FH and some of us use Illustrator. I get my job done quickly and efficiently with those TWO selection tools. So this can be open debate for FH users and Illustrator users because everyone of use get familiarized with some of those two applications. FH user if you think is easier for you to select with one selection tool? Use FH than. I did worked in FH almost 7 years (because i cooperated with some design studio, so it was a must)and by my opinion i didn’t liked the functionality of it.
    3. Palettes = AWESOME, i did like more my COLOR and SWATCHES palette more than FH handles that. Additionally in CS3 LIVE COLOR just ROCKS!!! Now i have all colors and tints just like that so i won’t be bothered to make them. ILLUSTRATOR TEAM = HATS DOWN FOR THIS FEATURE!!!! I appreciate it and i think many, many more of them will.
    CONTROL PALETTE now in CS3 = double functional than before. So FH user if you bothered by so many Illustrator palettes Control palette is just for you since you have something similar bellow main menu in FH. Oh yes you have TRANSPARENCY in Control palette in case you missed in FH something.
    4. Bezzier Tool vs. Pen Tool = PEN TOOL. I do my job in same amount of time as you FH user with Bezzier tool. Did i mentioned that i find quite intuitive working with Pen tool? It is very!!!
    5. Multi page = InDesign. Very powerful application. I couldn’t live without it. Simply my prints just look better with it. FH user you want multi page in Illustartor = open big enough document. I just like to have both applications opened Illustrator and InDesign. Make my design and import it in InDesign, if in any case i want to change something EDIT ORIGINAL works perfectly. I have an impression like i never leaved one of those application. Just works like a charm.
    6. Flash integration = AWESOME, so i am not sure that FH is better integrated with Flash than like Illustrator is doing now. Now you can keep Layers or convert them to keyframes, make movie clips from illustration elements, gave them instance names. FH was integrating like that?! C’mon!!!
    ILLUSTRATOR TEAM THANK YOU AGAIN ON THIS FEATURE!!!
    My list can go on even i would get tired to read it all.
    What i wanted to point out here is some people use to work with FH and i respect that and some like to work with Illustrator. You always have a choice what toll you will use for your creative work. I know what you think now, Adobe won’t develop FH anymore. So Macromedia didn’t too for past years while FH was in their hands. My answer to you is if FH is so far superior to you instead of Illustrator why bother to make comments here? Just use FH because is superior and meanwhile Illustrator become that “powerful” as you like you can make a switch to it. So why than Adobe should develop FH? Illustrator is their child and what parent abandon their kids? I know Macromedia did for FH before even Adobe acquired them. Adobe is smart enough not to do the same.
    Now my suggestion what Adobe should improve.
    I really hate that align function in Illustrator. I will gave you an example. Let’s say i have one object large as document and one circle which is quite smaller. And when i want to align them both in their vertical and horizontal centers Illustrator do that but it move my objects from document area in paste board area. I set the alignment to center of the document but it do same thing. Could you please make that you can lock alignment to artboard because this ain’t function well. Even if Align to Artboard is checked this won’t function as it should be.
    Besides that i enjoy my work in Illustrator and every new version of it is worthwhile upgrade.
    Cheers

  • alex — 4:18 PM on May 28, 2007

    I find various omissions laughable (no support for transparency in bitmaps? in 2007?)
    john, freehand allowed us to make bitmaps transparent (or adjust grey scale images for that matter) since version 2 and probably even before that.
    [D’oh; sorry, I don’t know how I missed that. (I actually found it after posting. My impression goes back a ways, to when I was using Illustrator in production. I had a copy of FH that I used for one or two tasks, but on the whole I found FH to be dominated by “or” (tranparency *or* bitmaps *or* perspective *or* envelopes), whereas Illustrator was about “and”. In any case, I should have checked before posting. –J.]
    we’re talking 1989 here, not 2007… and by the way, freehand 2007 doesn’t exist.
    [I know; I was referring to the present year, not the version (which is MXa, 11.0.2). –J.]
    the last version is freehand 2004 (2003 really) and i believe that’s exactly the point everybody is trying to make here…
    [If you mean that people are trying to make the point that FH had various features before Illustrator, then I think A) you’re right and B) it’s irrelevant (just as irrelevant as if I started crying about all the stuff we had in LiveMotion seven years ago that still isn’t in Flash). How does that help anyone now? –J.]

  • Toine — 8:28 PM on May 28, 2007

    After reading all these comments I’ve downloaded AI CS3 this morning, installed it and opened a simple Freehand MX file. So far so good.
    However, when I went to print it wouldn’t let me set the page size – too small. I make a living by making business cards (mainly) so the page size has to be small. My RIP will step it up for me, so I won’t have to create another file with the business cards stepped up.
    I also couldn’t find the bleed settings (stopped looking into that when I realised I couldn’t set the page size anyway). In Freehand I set up the document at 86 x 55 mm with a bleed of 1.5mm. When I print I specify a page size which includes the bleed (89 x 58mm). Then my Creo RIP will step them up for me.
    So, AI is out for me until these issues, along with so many features mentioned above, get sorted. There’s not much point in checking the new features in AI CS3 as I can’t use it anyway…
    I expect to be able to upgrade to AI CS4 for the same price as CS3? In fact, it shouldn’t cost me anything, as I already have a program that does what I want it to do (but isn’t, and won’t be, optimised for the Intel Mac!).

  • Nora Brown — 8:59 PM on May 28, 2007

    John, thanks for your informative post and your patient response to comments. I have only worked in Freehand, and am definitely not looking forward to learning a whole new program. The one difference I am aware of between the two really concerns me: the inability to have multiple pages. I use pages not only to lay out simple documents, but also group ideas. For example, variations on a logo might fit into different groups that I would put on different pages. The other worry I have is how will Illustrator open a multi-page Freehand document? Thanks again for addressing Freehand user’s concerns.
    [Nora, you can choose to import individual pages, or you can import them all onto a single artboard. –J.]

  • Nigel Moore — 12:45 AM on May 29, 2007

    Toine: you can set the document size retrospectively (at least in AI CS2 and earlier, I haven’t tried CS3) from File > Document Setup…
    Or you can set crop marks by placing a suitably sized rectangle over the artwork and then Object > Crop Area > Make.
    If this doesn’t help, then try the U2U forum at http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx/.3bbf2755/?@5.zvrLhmZ8kDz@
    [Thanks for the info, Nigel. –J.]

  • Rich — 7:24 AM on May 29, 2007

    Jack, I’m glad to see that both you and Phil are responding to FreeHand users. I think we felt ignored for so long and now it’s a relief to know that there are people who actually hear us at Adobe! I finally feel like maybe FreeHand users can work with Adobe on making Illustrator a vector program we all can use!
    By the way, I’m glad you downloaded a trial of FreeHand! I hope you’ll keep us updated on what you like and don’t like about FreeHand!

  • alex — 2:04 PM on May 29, 2007

    [If you mean that people are trying to make the point that FH had various features before Illustrator, then I think A) you’re right and B) it’s irrelevant (just as irrelevant as if I started crying about all the stuff we had in LiveMotion seven years ago that still isn’t in Flash). How does that help anyone now? –J.]
    sorry, no john, i just couldn’t resist pointing out that most people here probably wished they really had a brand spanking new freehand 2007 version installed on their computers, in stead of having this discussion. in the light of all the things you get trown at yourself here, i realise that maybe it sounded just a little more hostile than it was intended.
    and i must say you got a pretty thick skin john, respect for that. i’m also pleased that you seem sincerely interested in what people have to say here, even if at times the comments are pretty harsh. just try not to take them personally, we simply feel that something valuable is taken away from us and we take it out on you because there’s no one else to take it out on. thanks for that.
    [Thanks for saying so, Alex. All I can do is try to provide an accurate picture of where things stand, gather info, and help map a path forward. –J.]

  • alex — 2:37 PM on May 29, 2007

    [D’oh; sorry, I don’t know how I missed that. (I actually found it after posting. My impression goes back a ways, to when I was using Illustrator in production. I had a copy of FH that I used for one or two tasks, but on the whole I found FH to be dominated by “or” (tranparency *or* bitmaps *or* perspective *or* envelopes), whereas Illustrator was about “and”. In any case, I should have checked before posting. –J.]
    i’m not sure i understand what you mean here, but as far as i’m concerned: i’ve hardly used any of the freehand ‘features’ you mention here. the ideas for them were nice enough, but the implementation was total crap and living proof of the fact that macromedia didn’t have a clue as to what the real strenght of freehand was. they simply added things that looked nice in an ad, but were useless in everyday practice. if you want to see freehand at it’s best try version 5.5. that is, if you can still find a mac with macos 9 installed. ok, it’s 15 years old and lacks a few things no one wants to do without today, but man, what a beauty. and not in the least because it ran some very nice illustrator plug-ins ;-)

  • KV — 2:54 PM on May 29, 2007

    Some Patents Adobe have Now:
    – Graduated Fills
    – Blend
    Not a patent (hehe):
    – Multiple Pages – The FreeHand Style
    ops… competitors hurry up :)
    or, Mr.Jack, Why not introduce it in CS4 ?
    p.s.. ok, ok, good work at Live Color, its looks like to use the find replace technology, and … it is a design improvement.
    p.s. 2 .. no transparency at bmp … :P ( I can’t resist )

  • Steam Crow — 4:14 PM on May 29, 2007

    I’d love to see future versions of Illustrator use some of Freehand’s pen tool functionality. Specifically, the “control click” when you drop a bezier point.
    This “locks” the beziers, but allows you to pull the point anywhere you’d like.
    I’ve found that jumping to Illustrator kills my ability to draw with the pen tool, which is how I’ve illustrated 2 books thusfar.
    Thank you!
    [Thanks for the feedback; cool option. I find FH’s “rubber band”-style path previews interesting as well. I don’t know whether I would want them in AI as I haven’t tried to draw anything really serious in FH, but it’s an interesting option. –J.]

  • Mark Thomas — 7:01 PM on May 29, 2007

    Here’s an idea: If Adobe is wary of upsetting Illustrator users by changing Illustrator to be more like FreeHand (which is perfectly understandable considering that old habits die hard — and that cuts both ways), they could — instead of replacing Illustrator’s two selection tools with FreeHand’s simpler, more direct single selection tool — simply leave the two selection tools as they are and add a new FreeHand-style selection tool to the toolbar in a popup menu behind the topmost main illustrator pointer (and make it so that the tool choice is sticky between sessions). They could call it the Universal Selection Tool. Later versions of FreeHand, such as MX, added a second, Illustrator-style direct selection tool even though the standard pointer still performed both functions as before.
    [Rather than adding a whole new tool, I can imagine AI adding a preference/mode change option to the existing selection tool, making it easy to toggle the preferred behavior. (I should note that I’m just speculating and don’t speak for the AI team; i.e. I have no idea what’s involved in making that work, or what any disadvantages might be.) –J.]

  • Harald Köhler — 4:47 PM on May 30, 2007

    I have the feeling that the real cause why freehand must die isn’t illustrator – it’s indesing…….
    I think adobe would have no problem with a second vector tool in his portfolio – but the have a problem with a third layout tool beside quark and ID…….
    Second thing i want to say:
    Why talked Adobe not before FH was killed to it’s users?
    This is the first “discussion” you john and adobe made with the Freehand customers…..
    Why couldn’t you do this before????
    Perhaps Adobe had understood the FH users and had consider this longer……

  • Paolo Lugli — 12:09 AM on May 31, 2007

    It is a shame! You buy a treasure then you kill him.
    [Thanks for not listening to anything I’ve said. :-\ –J.]
    I hope that your monopoly finish quickly. I HATE ILLUSTRATOR. I think to abandon Macintosh, Corel Draw is better than Illustrator.

  • PiP — 1:38 PM on May 31, 2007

    Uh, a few freehanders claim not to be able to adjust word spacing in Illustrator. Go to the Paragraph palette and you can adjust it in the Justification window. Welcome to Illustrator! You may grow to like it just like I did. I was also dragged, kicking and screaming, from Paint Shop Pro to Photoshop. I’m now a Photoshop ninja and I’ll never look back.

  • Steve Allcock — 11:30 PM on May 31, 2007

    Adobes decision on Freehands future — or lack thereof is much like their software counter-intuitive and rather slow… not too bright.
    I will continue using Freehand until a similarly intuitive and clever application arises… obviously it won’t be Illustrator.

  • Mark Bunegar — 7:10 AM on June 01, 2007

    I’ve been using freehand pretty much exclusively for all of my career (I’m a designer, not an illustrator) and the reason I originally chose Freehand was because it was a space where I could do what I wanted – I could draw logos, design booklets, produce exhibition panels – I could do it all in one application and even in one document if I wanted.
    It was streamlined and easy to use, like using a pen and pad – the technology/interface became invisible to me. Gradually it became bloated with ‘features’ I didn’t want, use or have the time to learn and I began to suspect I was basically paying for bug fixes with a few new features added to sweeten the taste. But, I could still do what I wanted (quickly) so I stuck with it…
    The whole Illustrator/Freehand debate is missing the point when the discussion is purely about features and even methods of doing things – it’s more about how and what people use the applications for – I use Freehand a lot for general page layout – I’ve just produced a 52 page booklet using it – what use is Illustrator to me?
    Yes, I know InDesign is the obvious choice for page layout, but that’s what it feels like when I open the application – it feels like Quark – just another dull page layout application – it doesn’t feel like a creative space – which is how Freehand feels to me…

  • Ikhem — 9:21 AM on June 03, 2007

    To me, Illustrator is simple a Vector Effects package. Freehand is truly frees you. No constant dialog boxes, no bounding box around your shapes as you create and work and of cause, path operations such as joining, splitting, knife actually work as the designer expects with clean results.

  • d. schubert — 4:47 AM on June 05, 2007

    Freehand is the best Layout Program i know…
    I know to work with nearly all existing Graphic and Layout Programs…
    But Freehand is the only Program where you can with vector-graphic (still modifiable) and images one several pages…
    I studied Graphic-Design and Architecture… In our office (Architecture, Graphic-design, Product-Design,…) we always have to work with graphics, vector-plans, text and images in one time… and Freehand was really the only program for complex design….
    It was so easy to put big designed vector-images on several pages and modify them….
    It takes to times longer to have separated pages in indesign… and go always back to illustrator… import it again… check it… go back in illustrator…..
    For a cool presentation (plans, images, text) with 40 pages i need with freehand 3 days… with CS 4-5 days and it always looks like a standard-design-layout…
    Sorry for my bad english…
    I hope there is someone outside who will update freehand… and get rich…

  • Kristleifur Daðason — 6:31 AM on June 05, 2007

    I had a lot of trouble figuring Freehand out. I hated it until I learned it properly.
    I have a nagging suspicion that those who believe that Illustrator and InDesign can adequately replace Freehand are comparing these two different approaches to DTP / 2D graphics work on the surface level only.
    May I humbly suggest to the Adobe engineers: Please do get to know Freehand. Please. In the interest of better programs. May I suggest Olav Martin Kvern’s Real World Freehand books?
    Of course I don’t mean to be arrogant. It’s just that Freehand is both a wonderful tool, and slightly unintuitive. It has to be *learned*. This is a drawback, but there’s functionality to be had that makes it worth it. Functionality that isn’t in Illustrator or Indesign.

  • Jorge — 6:13 PM on June 05, 2007

    Voy a extrañar FREEHAND

  • Chris P — 2:22 PM on June 06, 2007

    First of all John, I applaud your efforts and I sincerly hope that Adobe can implement some the of the changes that have been recommended here. I’ve used FreeHand since version 3. Even though this has been mentioned many times already I just want to say the two features that I just can’t live without are FreeHand’s wonderful Selection Tool and the way FreeHand handles Bezier curves. I have tried to use Illustrator many many times over the years and I just can’t wrap my head around how it deals with selection and curves. I think that if Illustrator gave the option to toggle between “Illustrator Style” and “FreeHand Style” selection and bezier curves I could probably live quite happily with Illustrator. For me those are the most important inhibitors for migration to Illustrator. Until then I’ll be sticking with FreeHand.
    [Thanks for the feedback, Chris. We shall see what the AI team comes up with. –J.]

  • Georg Zimmer — 5:45 AM on June 07, 2007

    Today I started a new project (that will hopefully continue for years, yay!) and used… FreeHand. I’m just so much faster. I take a picture and paste it inside a ‘frame’ take this object and paste it inside another ‘frame’ then alt click the picture and scale and rotate it inside the two objects it’s pasted in. Then change the second ‘frames’ shape. You don’t have to switch tools to do this. You don’t have to TRY hard. Then, you’re finished, you take the entire site and copy it beside the existing to make a mutation. Different colors and all that. Easy. Spotcolor or CMYK. Always global. If it’s in italics it’s CMYK. On the third site are logo variations made in the same document. All the elements used and a few more all around that page. Soon enough the document has 20 pages; and you can tweak every Logo to fit the layout right there. Then you select ‘define all colors’ and ‘delete unused colors’ select all remaining ‘swatches’ turn them into CMYK, save and collect for output to get rid of all the stuff of the first suggestions. I’ve done this for over a decade. Maybe it’s time for a change, but it seems like a step back. Way back. Hopefully Freehand will survive Leopard. It’s so much faster in Rosetta than the native Illustrator!

  • alex — 12:51 PM on June 07, 2007

    reading georg’s comment i realised an important reason why a multipage illustrator won’t have to be a threat to indesign: most freehand users use the pages feature mainly to have multiple versions and variations of one design in one compact place, not to do multipage design. one big difference could be that illustrator doesn’t do ‘facing pages’ (as freehand doesn’t)…
    [I honestly don’t think that the Illustrator team has chosen not to implement multiple pages because they feel the feature would compete with InDesign. Rather, they want to optimize what Illustrator already does, especially drawing objects & displaying artwork on the screen. They’ve made good progress there in CS3, and they have ideas on making things better still. They need to weigh that goal against other features, like support for multiple artboards. –J.]

  • alex — 3:26 PM on June 07, 2007

    [I honestly don’t think that the Illustrator team has chosen not to implement multiple pages because they feel the feature would compete with InDesign. Rather, they want to optimize what Illustrator already does, especially drawing objects & displaying artwork on the screen. They’ve made good progress there in CS3, and they have ideas on making things better still. They need to weigh that goal against other features, like support for multiple artboards. –J.]
    haha, ok john, let me rephrase: i think it would be fantastic if the illustrator team would find a way to have multiple versions and variations of one design in one compact place (one file). it’s how designers work…
    [Agreed. I comped up a multi-page design the other day using Illustrator and would have loved a quick and easy way to shuttle among design variations. You might want to check out custom views (see Mordy Golding’s notes on the subject). It would be interesting to look at Photoshop Layer Comps or the new Fireworks pages. –J.]
    of course, all of us outside adobe don’t know how decisions are made inside adobe or how much power a single product team has, so we can only go by how things look from the outside…

  • Nigel Moore — 11:51 PM on June 07, 2007

    i think it would be fantastic if the illustrator team would find a way to have multiple versions and variations of one design in one compact place (one file).

    They have already … nested layers. I have a ‘top level’ layer for each variation, and layers within those for the design itself. Collapsing, locking and hiding layers makes it a breeze.
    Or have I missed something?

  • John deBoer — 11:54 PM on June 07, 2007

    I’ve had CS2 Illie for some time now, I find the workflow horrendous (selection is a nightmare compared to FH – I also hate the bloated file sizes).
    Why don’t you guys just sell FH?
    (or release the code)
    [I have to ask: Rationally speaking, why do you suppose Adobe would do that? Do you see car companies building two cars, then selling one alongside another that they give away for free? I keep hearing that suggestion, but it’s not a serious one. Nor is the idea that another company would pay a significant sum for a product that was abandoned in the market years ago. –J.]
    You’re simply killing off the competition right?
    [No, that happened a long time ago. –J.]

  • Georg Zimmer — 3:33 AM on June 08, 2007

    Layer Comps, yeah, why not. It’s just one pallet more.
    [As opposed to pages…?
    The idea with comps, btw, is that content can easily exist on multiple comps, in multiple forms. I don’t know whether FH pages permit it, but using comps I could have objects 1, 3, & 5 visible in Comp A, and 1, 2, 5, & 6 visible in Comp B, optionally with different positions and appearances. It’s a way of storing states of the document so that you can easily flip among design iterations. –J.]
    What I forgot to mention is why I need 20 pages in one document. Of course it’s convenient to always see all colors used and change them on all sites at once. Or to just alt-drag an object from one site to another. But when I’m done it’s so easy to drag the pages in the disired order. Lets see; this one’s good, that’s second… For the PDF that goes to the client (or even printer). ONE PDF/X-3. One application. No errors. No dialogue boxes.
    How should I do this in illustrator? You never know how many sites/concepts it will be. You need to see them side by side. You don’t show everything you create to the client. And you know, with bigger clients you got like 20 correction runs on 7 different designs before it gets presented to the 5 decision-makers. It gets really complex real fast. And what if they change the colors 10 times, ’cause they just can’t decide. Am I suppose to export the swatches each time and import them into all documents? It’s just prone to errors. (If that’s english…) In FreeHand you got 1 document for each design-stage. You don’t need something like VersionCue for that.
    I made some great illustrations with Illustrator and ran all kinds of effects on them. It’s one cool app. Especially with a tablet. But the layers-pallet gives it away: it’s not meant for page design. While InDesign is great (and I use it a lot) it’s obviously not meant to do a little more complex vector design. And especially in the first stages of most of my jobs the borders between the two are liquid. So FreeHand fills a gap, at least for me, which hopefully someone will fill. I wouldn’t mind if it’s Adobe.
    P.S.: I’m not kidding I just got a phonecall from a client and lets just say without mulitple pages, paste inside and that wicked selection tool I would have been fckd – but she got her PDF back in under 5 minutes. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m still in business. Of course I’m not only fast but awesome in general.
    [And modest, too! ;-) –J.]
    P.P.S.: I know it’s kinda pathetic, but imagine they take away photoshop and tell you to use fireworks instead…

  • Diego — 6:23 AM on June 08, 2007

    Using FreeHand mostly for pre-press in the pass 6 years and AI for the same amount of time this is the way I see it:
    FH is a “must have” for pre-press, reasons?
    1-the ability to visualize overprinting objects always (without open up a palette, setting simulate overprinting and hitting the refresh button like in AI),
    2-the ability to set different halftone patterns and lineatures inside a document, mainly to create “latent text anti-copy” works without having to purchase a different soft
    3-search, select and replace graphic attributes (instead of select first, select same, change)
    4-the ability to change the corner radius of a box at any time as long as you don’t un group (instead of drawing a box, applying the round corners effect “but not” the round corner filter as it is a destructive change, btw when you do it this way in AI the outline mode still shows you a box with square corners)
    5-FH 10 its still “a lot” faster than AI 10 or CS in older machines, not only when working, but when launching, opening and saving.
    6-the ability to do as many copies of an object at once like “cmd+E,move 10mm, repeat 100 times, hit enter, done (instead of transform, cmd+D, cmd+D,cmd+D, etc… or transform filter, set values, expand)
    7-multiple pages so you can print them out at once (you can always create a “big document, set “multiple pages” in AI print dialog, then go back and align the “pages” with the “show page tiling option” on, but that really hurts your productivity)
    8-when you print a document with “page tiling on” in FH you get those nice alignment marks in the overlapping areas (when you do the same in AI you can set overlapping only in CS2 and CS3 but you get no alignment marks)
    9-the text ruler in FH (cmb+/) its really cool when you need to see/change the tabs value
    10-the way AI creates a new path when you have an endpoint selected is not “really intuitive” at all, as well as filled open paths, they always create a mess with the old RIPs.
    Thats all I can think for now, hope my english is not that bad so you can understand what I’m talking about.
    On the other hand, I really love AI “creative tools”, like gradient mesh, live paint, blending modes and the new live color feature, but when it comes to pre press work FH it’s a lot more productive.

  • Mike Murphy — 2:02 PM on June 08, 2007

    I am forced to use CS 3. I run my own print shop with a Heidelberg 46. Freehand was a great All – rounder.
    I am running CS 3 for 3 weeks now and I am not an Illustrator who to spent weeks on one Logo . I am not a Designer to spent weeks on a design for a big co-operation. Plain Pre-Press Layout & Designs day to day work.
    illustrator is slow and inconvenient – on my G4 it is much slower then Freehand, Illustrator has not deserved any Credits. I have mentioned a GTO 46 so people from the trade should know what I am talking about. With advertisement power Adobe has pushed Illustrator to the market top. For me it is not worth the Euro 200 upgrade, It is a step back!
    CS4 must improve – or I will consider any alternative.

  • Gonzalo Chacon — 2:47 PM on June 08, 2007

    hi.
    Here again… every day that happens, i think that this global / marketing / strategic decision taken by Adobe, were made for the US market and not for the rest of the world. Here in Chile, and a lot of countries, as i see in this blog, FH is the most popular and demanded software for art directors, designers, and creative communicators community.
    [The team is well aware that FreeHand was relatively popular in certain locales (e.g. South Africa, Germany). That’s why Adobe continues to sell it: we don’t want people to buy a new machine and have to switch to Illustrator overnight. Now, whether FH is “the most popular and demanded software,” I don’t know. I’ve generally been skipping opportunities to point out the degree to which AI has been outselling FH for many years now. Therefore I wouldn’t say that relative strength = most popular in any particular case. In any event, none of that changes the fact that continuing to split resources between two big, very mature codebases would be dumb (and not in customers’ best interests). –J.]
    As someone said “think global, act local”.
    greetings from Chile
    chac

  • Steven Kostis — 10:04 PM on June 09, 2007

    [The team is well aware that FreeHand was relatively popular in certain locales (e.g. South Africa, Germany). That’s why Adobe continues to sell it: we don’t want people to buy a new machine and have to switch to Illustrator overnight. Now, whether FH is “the most popular and demanded software,” I don’t know. I’ve generally been skipping opportunities to point out the degree to which AI has been outselling FH for many years now. Therefore I wouldn’t say that relative strength = most popular in any particular case. In any event, none of that changes the fact that continuing to split resources between two big, very mature codebases would be dumb (and not in customers’ best interests). –J.]
    Make that “still is”.
    Let’s start a boycott of all Adobe’s products until we get a Universal Binary version of FreeHand.
    NO MORE EXCUSES, ADOBE! CREATE FREEHAND CS3 OR FACE WORLDWIDE BOYCOTT!

  • Rand MacKay — 5:13 AM on June 14, 2007

    I use Adobe Illustrator at my office on a daily basis. It is part of my CS2 suite. I have used it since version 8 (1998). For DTP, InDesign CS. Now, I’m a former QuarkXPress user who made the leap to ID2 about 4 years ago. And, I’ve been happy. However, as a designer, from time to time I received FH files, and had a FH install on my machine for that reason. A colleague suggested I give it a try, and I did. I migrated my home office to FH, and have been very pleased. At work, AI is used for me for some artwork production, editing PDFs, etc. However, at home, I find more and more often I’ll prefer to use FH for a quick 2 or 3 page document that I can place and edit artwork directly inside AND can flow text. For larger docs, it’s always ID. But, you just can’t beat FH for the quick multi-page design! FH has its warts, particularly on the PC side, however, it’s solid and has great prepress features. What I really want is ID with stronger basic artwork editing. I don’t want to fire up Illustrator everytime I need to slightly edit EPS artwork. Honestly, I think many of the complaints listed above would be solved if ID had a few more Illustrator controls built-in. Creating a line-art map in a Freehand 2 page document was so much more enjoyable then messing around with the same artwork creation using sluggish InDesign tools.

  • Hrududu — 11:43 AM on June 14, 2007

    Why not re-package Freehand as “Flash Elements”?
    The only feature that would need updating every now and again would be the SWF export mechanism (it needs to match the one in Flash so we can make SWFs compatible with Flash Player 6, 7, 8 and 9)
    No other work would be required. No need to make any AI compatability.
    The product would be perfect for existing Freehand users and would not compete with the CS applications (no Bridge etc).
    Count me in…I’d definitely buy it.
    I’m not interested in Illustrator or Photoshop. As I commented earlier last month why would I want to give up to 1GB of RAM and 2GB of available hard-disk space to install the oh-so-slow-and-irritating Illustrator application, when I can enjoy better performance, better Flash integration and far better CSS/HTML export from Freehand while using only 64 MB of RAM and 70 MB of free hard disk space?
    Again, you’ve got no idea how Freehand screams when working with 2GB of Ram on a 17″ MacBook Pro.

  • Jan Gemmecke — 4:48 AM on June 15, 2007

    I am really looking forward to CS3 because I think the new GUI is a great improvement over CS/CS2. (Ironically the new icons remind me of Freehand’s old interface, the one that Adobe sued them over in the 90s.)
    [The lawsuit (in 2000) concerned tabbed, dockable palettes. –J.]
    Illustrator CS3 can now open Freehand files!
    I have waited for this announcement for the past 10 years and was wondering what took the AI-team so long:
    [Lack of documentation? –J.]
    Freehand could always open Illustrator files while Illustrator ignored Freehand files through all these years. (As I still marvel how it can possibly be that Illustrator after 20 years still only supports a single page; let’s talk about sacred cows within the Illustrator team!)
    [Have you read anything that’s been said above? These “conversations” don’t really work if you don’t take the time to read what others are saying. –J.]
    But that can be said about a lot of nice and user friendly features that did not make it into Illustrator in the last 20 years.
    I find it very interesting to compare the different interface designs of Adobe, Aldus/Macromedia, Apple, Quark and Microsoft concerning ease-of-use and efficiency. The old Quark stuff was quite cumbersome and not very flexible to use but they improved that with the advent of InDesign while for a long time it seemed that Adobe was just adding more and more features without rethinking the user interfaces.
    I used to work in Photoshop 5 for many, many years and I recently switched to Photoshop CS2. I found it amazing how cluttered the whole GUI feels. Everywhere new features and tiny icons have been added (see the layer palette).
    [I agree that the Layers palette has become overloaded with functionality. We have good ideas for improvements. –J.]
    To me it seems as if the PSD-Team just looked for band-aid solutions to place all the features that crept into it instead of tackling the underlying problems. (If Apple had to design a layer palette, they would probably simply add a “+” in a corner and make the user choose which kind of layer he wants in a simple pop up and with “…” behind the layer style to signal that a dialog with more options will appear. Deleting a layer would be a “-” instead of some miniscule trash icon that deters the user’s attention by cluttering the palette window.)
    [So, you find it hard to concentrate in the presence of a trash can icon, but you’d celebrate the elegance of a minus icon? –J.]
    Illustrator’s GUI was redesigned in version 6, I think, to look more like Photoshop for marketing reasons
    [It was redesigned in 7, for the sake of providing UI consistency. After the initial pain, t’s among the most successful UI decisions I can think of, at any company. –J.]
    (“it looks and feels like its big brother!”). That’s how some quirks from Photoshop appeared in Illustrator and now crept into InDesign as well.
    Strangely Illustrator (and InDesign) copied Photoshop’s foreground/background color mode feature: fill color/border color as well as text color/text outline color – and only one is active at any given time (by being in the foreground)! It may have made sense for Photohop but it is clumsy and counterintuitive in a design application. I never understood what Adobe’s obsession with color modes is all about and I still marvel why it hasn’t change it in the last 15 years. Freehand never had that color mode and certainly not in the tools palette (probably because it’s not a tool, it’ just a coloring option that belongs in the color swatch and color mixing palette).
    I think Adobe should also improve its predictions what the user wants to do in a given situation. 3 examples:
    1. Typing text in Illustrator and then dragging a corner of the text box makes (or at least made) the text stretch and scale, who wants that? (I actually never figured out how to change from stretching text to the kind of text box that makes text move to a second line.)
    [Click and drag with the text tool to create a text box (area text). –J.]
    2. Dragging the sliders in Illustrator’s color mixing palette makes a selected object change its color (and loose all painfully applied gradients). In Freehand the color mixer only has one function: mixing color. For changing the color of a selected object you have to deliberately drag a color to a small border or fill color icon
    [Ah, so that’s how it works? Honestly, I never knew. I would select an object in FH, change the colors in the palette, then wonder why the color of the object wouldn’t change. I concluded that I had to drag the new color chip onto the object–lots of fun on a big monitor.
    If requiring the extra step of drag-and-drop is so desirable, I wonder why the ex-FreeHand engineers who wrote Fireworks did away with it. I also note that it’s absent from Flash, which works like Illustrator. –J.]
    (in contrast to Adobe applications both can be accessed at the same time).
    [That seems like a fair point. In Illustrator you hit “X” to toggle between foreground and background colors. I’d like to make it possible to click either foreground or background and get a little Macromedia-style set of colors. And there are lots of ways in which I’d like to improve color selection in Photoshop as well. –J.]
    (In InDesign selecting a whole text box and clicking a color changes the background’s color. Wouldn’t it make more sense and save clicks to change the text’s color? To do that I either have to change to the text tool and select the words or I have to change from background color mode to text color mode.)
    [I’m not enough of an ID user to comment. I know that in CS3 they added the ability to set transparency on a finer level (text vs. stroke vs. container). –J.]
    3. And so many people already commented on the single selection tool in contrast to Adobe’s inelegant two selection tools that make you switch tools constantly. (Isn’t software supposed to get rid of cumbersome features over time? Does not really seem to work in Illustrator’s case though.)
    Yeah the great thing about Freehand is that you can do vector manipulation as well as layout stuff (columns, text wrap, great typography) in a single application!
    [Illustrator does all these things (with much more power in many cases). The difference is that it doesn’t support multiple pages. –J.]
    That can save you a lot of time and you can concentrate on designing. Very neat! Especially if you are working on projects that need a constant back and forth between vector design and layout manipulation. And for designs that do not necessarily require the page organisation skills of InDesign or Quark (though you may even manage those).
    It frees you as a designer by being an electronic drawing board without having to think about limitations just yet. Without having to choose applications. Without having to make decisions about page sizes and bleeds and master pages and styles.
    Freehand is also great for projects that require a unified look through many differently sized pages: I simply create all in a single document, from business card size to poster size. That’s very easy and convenient for small to mid scale corporate design projects.
    [Yes, that makes sense. As I’ve been saying, it’s not that people on the Illustrator team disagree. Multiple, differently sized artboards (as opposed to multiple pages as done in an app like InDesign) could be very useful. It’s just that other things have been higher priorities. Now, if you just read the comments on this post, you’d say, “Damn, *everyone* wants multiple pages; Adobe must be insane/incompetent/Machiavellian not to recognize it!” But this is of course one very specific set of users commenting–those who have chosen an app that does multiple artboards. I don’t know where that request fits into the big scheme of what all illustration users are requesting.
    I also create exhibition booth graphics in 1:1 in Freehand. That’s very convenient too and requires less files than creating them in Illustrator and without the administration stuff like importing the right styles and colours etc.
    Finally Freehand is a great starting tool for designing. You can copy pages for alternative designs and intuitively start designing. It is not as clumsy as Illustrator, it does not require you to change tools as often as Illustrator. There are not this multitude of palettes with all these miniscule icons and an additional menu. Where Illustrator has 6 text palettes, Freehand has three by just combining functions more intelligently and more intuitively.
    Illustrator only supports a single page and InDesign does not offer the vector manipulation part.
    [InDesign does have some vector drawing/manipulation tools, but that’s not its focus. –J.]
    So Adobe requires users to constantly switch between applications. That works of course but it is far from an efficient or elegant solution, now is it? Far from the creative solution I am used to with Freehand.
    Do the folks at Adobe believe that no one would buy InDesign anymore if Illustrator became more of an layout tool? Then what about making AI-files editable in InDesign?
    [So, you want InDesign to take on a bunch of Illustrator vector editing tools? Would you honestly not then say, “InDesign is so big and bloated, lacking direction and focus!”
    I don’t want to jam more of Illustrator into InDesign or Photoshop or Flash, or more Photoshop into Flash or Illustrator, etc. What I want it to make the apps insanely well integrated, to the point that it feels like you’re in a single tool with different modes. Does that mean a ton of work? Absolutely. And it’ll take time to get there. But I believe it’ll be a much better, more powerful, more elegant solution than Frankenstein-ing together one-stop-but-oh-not-quite applications. –J.]
    What about adding Illustrator’s vector design tools to Indesign? With added support of differently sized pages that would be one powerful design tool, right now there is a lot of redundancy between them.
    [You’re asking for lots more. –J.]
    On the other hand I don’t think that redundancy is a bad thing and I also don’t think that InDesign and Illustrator would compete with each other even if Illustrator had more of Freehand’s advanced layout features.
    Well, Fireworks CS3 now has multiple page support (I always used frames for that) and I hope that Illustrator will be next in line.
    [We shall see. Thanks for the feedback. –J.]

  • Jan Gemmecke — 12:40 AM on June 17, 2007

    Hey John,
    thanks for the feedback to my comment above.
    [Have you read anything that’s been said above? These “conversations” don’t really work if you don’t take the time to read what others are saying. –J.]
    Honestly it’s quite a challenge to read all of the 166 comments above and keep them in mind. I tried to read them when I had some time, on different days through several weeks and I also wrote and rewrote my comment for the past several weeks, so I am sorry, John, I must have missed some. :-( Thanks for repeating anyway.
    [That’s cool; I wouldn’t expect everyone to read all the comments (and I can’t believe the total is up to 180 or so!). I guess I got frustrated with the suggestion that Adobe must be keeping multiple artboards out of Illustrator for the sake of getting people to buy InDesign. –J.]
    [Yes, that makes sense. As I’ve been saying, it’s not that people on the Illustrator team disagree. Multiple, differently sized artboards (as opposed to multiple pages as done in an app like InDesign) could be very useful. It’s just that other things have been higher priorities. Now, if you just read the comments on this post, you’d say, “Damn, *everyone* wants multiple pages; Adobe must be insane/incompetent/Machiavellian not to recognize it!” But this is of course one very specific set of users commenting–those who have chosen an app that does multiple artboards. I don’t know where that request fits into the big scheme of what all illustration users are requesting.]
    Yes, you’re right. This is a very specific set of users that comment on the differences between AI and FH and what they like about FH better. Many people tried AI over the years and many people switched (it’s a great application after all). But for many others AI wasn’t really an alternative because it lacked basic features that they needed. For them it seemed as if Adobe never considered them interesting enough to woo them. And now, when you ask users to move to AI without taking steps into their direction and offering the most basic FH feature (could be optional), no wonder that many people are not too happy. And it isn’t a consolation to know that integration just wasn’t a priority because the AI team had better things to do. :-)
    [The timing of the Macromedia integration was such that many things in Illustrator were already locked and loaded for CS3, yet the team was able to write a FH file importer and make some other tweaks. –J.]
    [I agree that the Layers palette has become overloaded with functionality. We have good ideas for improvements. –J.]
    Looking forward to CS4 then. :-) Due out about 2009?
    [We shall see. It’s not going to be a one-cycle change, nor should it be (given that even positive change can be disruptive). But in CS2 & CS3 the Photoshop rendering pipeline has grown dramatically more powerful. We need the UI to catch up with (and unlock) the power that’s now in the pipeline. –J.]
    [So, you find it hard to concentrate in the presence of a trash can icon, but you’d celebrate the elegance of a minus icon? –J.]
    In this place? In this size? With this function? Yes, I would prefer a reduced icon to an intricate one indeed. For me the main focus in this palette are the layers themselves not the additional options. So having to choose between a row of tiny icons in the palette and a simple “+”, “-” and maybe a cog wheel icon (for other palette options that neither add nor delete) I would opt for the latter, yes.
    [Click and drag with the text tool to create a text box (area text). –J.]
    So, there really is no way to change to area text after a text has been created? Why not? And why stretch text as a default?
    [I don’t know. How do you scale or stretch text in FH? I just tried it, and the answer isn’t visible at a glance. –J.]
    [… If requiring the extra step of drag-and-drop is so desirable, I wonder why the ex-FreeHand engineers who wrote Fireworks did away with it. I also note that it’s absent from Flash, which works like Illustrator. –J.]
    Actually, I don’t know. Fireworks is in many aspects more like Illustrator… Maybe it was Macromedia’s goal to attract more Adobe customers by taking a step into their direction? :-)
    My point was the more deliberate decision to change a color. I always thought that it was more intuitive as it translates from the function’s metaphor we know since kindergarten: mixing color first, maybe adding it to a swatch palette and then painting objects with it.
    [Yes, I agree that having a dedicated color mixing area would be great. We could be so much more creative with this than what’s been done in the past. Often times, however, this is the kind of thing that just never gets done because there’s always something more urgent to address. That’s why a number of us are pushing hard to make the apps much more easily extensible, so that a developer could pretty easily write a mixing surface (or lots of other things) that could be dropped into one or more Adobe apps. We have to get out of the business of the design community waiting more or less exclusively on Adobe to make enhancements every 18-24 months. –J.]
    John, thanks for taking the time.
    Actually I believe AI is a great product, in many aspects superior to FH (scope of functions, scope of options, scope of exporting features, scope of integration with CS), sometimes (still?) a little awkward to use and still lacking some essential functions some FH users like me need to fully embrace it as our vector tool of choice in our daily workflow.
    [I hear you, Jan, and thanks for the thoughtful, detailed feedback. –J.]

  • FarmerBob — 10:00 PM on June 17, 2007

    After printing that Freehand would survive and Dreamweaver was going to be the Pro web kit and GoLive entry level, and now this Illustrator over FH (FH being far easier to use, with more and better results) and GoLive (total crap) over DW thing, makes it official that what I have heard over the years is true. That Adobe is not real smart. That is completely obvious now.
    I have had the opportunity y to use Ill over FH many times. But I was able to get things done quicker and easier in FH and use the resulting files in a larger arena than Ill with far less complications.
    Wise Up Adobe! Before it’s too late.

  • Jan Gemmecke — 2:29 AM on June 19, 2007

    [I don’t know. How do you scale or stretch text in FH? I just tried it, and the answer isn’t visible at a glance. –J.]
    Yes, you’re right. Again. :-)
    You press option/alt to stretch and option/alt+shift to scale proportionally (at least on my Mac). So stretching text is not the default, changing the size of the text box is (probably because it generally is a typographer’s no-no to stretch text). :-)
    The neat thing about text is that there is no difference between one line text and area text: a area text box is created either way. By double clicking the outlined squares on the right or bottom of the text box, you can lock text flow in either way. When you drag these boxes the character shapes are not stretched but either line spacing or letter spacing is extended.
    By double clicking the square below the box you can adjust the box size to its content. It is also the place to start a text flow by clicking and dragging to another empty text box (a bit like Pagemaker at that time, hey, that was an Aldus application as well, and today like AI and IND, except that you can’t create a new text box but have to use an existing one).
    Obviously all these functions are not intuitive. But they can all be reached by clicking parts of the text box, without using palettes and changing tools. And that’s why many FH users are sometimes puzzled why things seem to be so complicated in AI when it’s so easy and efficiently to do in FH.
    By the way, a nice way to explore FH: just try alt or alt+shift, double or single clicking, grouping or ungrouping and see what happens. Many functions are covered by a few very basic techniques.
    (Though I have to confess that I am a Freehand 8 guy at heart. FH MX is new to me and really is quite disappointing, especially the German localization of it with the titles of palettes too close to the top of the tabs (used to be neat icons) and this new properties palette instead of the old context sensitive inspector palette.)

  • AdamM — 4:56 AM on June 19, 2007

    Looking at the migration from FH to Illy, the main thing we are going to have trouble with is Illustrator not importing any of the freehand styles. All of our files are totally style driven and not something we necessarily have time to recreate. Any way round this or have I missed something?

  • K.V. — 12:20 PM on June 22, 2007

    John
    I saw people in adobe are really occuped with business and sells.
    Why not sell a ” FreeHand Gold Edition ” keep the code in this state , just port it to new OS versions or allow another software house to do it.
    [I wish I could express just how enormous either of those tasks would be. –J.]
    one point more.
    FreeHand in this freeze state ( four years, like you said ) continues better than illustrator CS3 for lots of people, and I really think what Adobe are doing with thousands of users is at the very least a education lack.
    good luck

  • Mark Coleran — 1:46 AM on June 24, 2007

    It has been fascinating watching this thread especially considering how passionate (sometimes aggressive) people get about their chosen tools.
    I started using Freehand at version 2 on the SE30. I loved it. Continued to use it for many years. Occasionally got exposed to Illustrator 88 but hated it. Over the years kept going with my tool of choice. Gradually over a period of time, spent more time in Photoshop and less in Freehand, but still hated Illustrator.
    There was something about Freehand that just felt easier, better and more solid.
    Then something changed.
    I can’t remembert the exact version, but I do remember the circumstaces. It was when the first release came out from it’s new owner macromedia. It wasn’t quite as smooth, not as refined or easy. There was this ‘clunk’ factor that had been added.
    It was at that point I started looking again at Illustrator. To my surprise it was much improved. It was still very very difficult to use as the tools you had in Freehand, simply weren’t present. But with some effort and persistence, I eventually made the transition. It was made all the more easier and neccesary as I was using Photoshop and After Effects alot more those days.
    Changing any system is a difficult proposition. As passionate as most people can get about their chosen tools and platforms, the vast majority ‘DONT CARE’. All we want and need are tools that get the job done, go home and do more intersting things. Sometimes you have to learn a new tool to do that. Sometimes two.
    Perhaps this over attachment has deeper roots though.
    Maybe there is a fault here in how we approach and use these applications in the first. How much training out there, teaches you how to use a tool, rather than how to complete a task? The apps being so complex that our primary investment is so great that no wonder people fight, kick and scream when forced to change. We can learn an app so well, that we can finally just get on with the task without having to think about the software. Developers forget this at their peril. Maybe it should have just been easier to start with.
    But even then perhaps we are looking at the wrong problem. Perhaps the problem isn’t the individual tool itself. Perhaps it is the fact that most of these tools are like seperate countries, and we need a passport to go from one to the next, then need to learn a new language. Bit by bit, some of them come to agreement and make going from one to the next easier, but they are still different places. Perhaps you could even use the term balkanization for software.
    On that note and returning to topic, I don’t think Indesign (and if im right in thinking, was created by the original people who made freehand?) and Illustrator should be seperate products. The multi page/multi size feature in Freehand was one of the greatest tools in there, and it’s loss is a real backward step. The seperation of these two particular apps, feels like a forced division.
    For years people talked about digital synergy, many devices and tools becoming one. Software seems to have gone in exactly the opposite direction.
    Enough of the incoherant Sunday morning ramble.
    Cheers
    Mark

  • Hervé — 2:39 AM on July 11, 2007

    After installation of Mac OSX Tiger 10.4.9, then 10.4.10 on my G4 MDD, I cannot open Freehand MX 11.0.1 as I was accustomed to do with Mac OS 10.3.9. FreeHand MX 11.0 seems to function correctly but quit during printing. It is very serious: all work for my customers is made with Freehand.
    I urge Adobe to update Freehand, or to yield it to another editor.
    I ask Apple to update Tiger to allow the operation of Freehand as it did with Mac OSX 10.3.9.
    Freehand vs Illustrator. Example. I received a Illustrator file for modification. This file weighed 24 Mo (!). Opened in Freehand, it weighed 1 Mo. Once cleaned without any loss, this file weighed about 300 KB. No comment…

  • Randy Mosher — 9:43 AM on July 17, 2007

    As a designer who started with Postscript drawing tools with the very first one available, Cricket Draw, in January 1986, then quickly moved on to FreeHand v.1, I think I am qualified to make a few comments.
    I always had the feeling from the marketing of FreeHand, that the folks that owned it really had no idea how much better and more powerful it was than AI–and back in the version 3-7 range it really was. Adobe’s marketing was always top-notch. Sad to see lame marketing kill a superior product, but it’s not like that’s never happened before.
    I would like to make sure Team Illustrator is very much aware of the huge chunk of productivity FH users will simply toss out the window as we learn the fundamentals and the quirky workarounds we need in order to get our work done in Illustrator. Seems to me Adobe ought to be very respectful of this as it amounts to a very large amount of unbillable hours for a very large number of people. I felt the same way every time the FH team re-juggled all the menus. One invests a large amount of time getting to know a tool intimately, then, whoops! It’s all different. Team Adobe, please keep this in mind and toss us a bone whenever you can. Decisions that seem inconsequential and/or perfectly logical to you have real monetary costs for those who depend on your software to earn a living. If you had a way of calculating those numbers, I think we would all be shocked at how large they are.
    Second, I think now that you have nothing further to prove, it is time to make the program easier to use. At the time Illustrator was being created, MacDraw was the main competitor, and a number of things were done with the interface just to make it look different (and, IMO, to appear more complicated and therefore more powerful). The dual selection arrows are the most painful example of this, and really offer no benefit over a single arrow as any FH user can attest. The fact that people are still complaining about them and that every AI book that mentions them apologizes for them should tell you something.
    For me, many aspects of the selection process are still unbelievably clunky. Having marquis selection where any part of the object is selected rather than objects that fall entirely within the marquis is not always (OK, ever) how I want to select objects. Even that marvel of Stone Age software, Quark, gave us a choice. It really seems like being able to set a preference either way wouldn’t be too much to ask.
    Also, trying to select clipped objects is very difficult. In FH, you option-click on the a visible part of the clipped object, and whatever you click on gets selected. In AI, the clipped objects get selected based on their relative stacking order, which necessitates moving them around or restacking simply in order to select, an unacceptably complex working method. With all those arrows, I can’t understand why it’s still so hard to do simple things.
    Also, having any selected group automatically go into preview or skeleton mode is extremely distracting when you’re trying to decide how things look, and this is another feature I’d turn off if I was able.
    Auto-naming of CMYK colors could also save me time. In FH, a mix is made and “new color” selected and unless it is renamed, the name becomes the color mix. In AI, I have to type this in manually. Needless effort, IMO.
    Everybody agrees the vector points are too tiny. Why not just make them bigger? And again, after working with it for a while, I still find it very complex to add or remove handles and change the point types, especially compared to FH.
    I’ll also chime in that multiple pages are very useful in FH, and being limited to single pages or using what looks to be the clunky new page crop option will cost me time. But I understand that you have two teams that get raises based on keeping the products as different as possible, so I am not expecting this customer benefit to ever become reality. This is where a lot of respect for the customer might make a difference, at least in a perfect world.
    That’s it for now. I am sure as I try to do more different things in AI, there will be more things that I think would improve AI. I used to give reports to the Macromedia team years ago about what I thought would be useful improvements–some of them even got implemented. Feel free to use me for the same, Adobe.
    –Randy Mosher
    randymosherdesign.com

  • Danny Santaana — 1:28 AM on July 24, 2007

    I switched to Illustrator in 2002, It took me quite a long time to get my head around the differences from freehand, but since I have,I´ve been very happy with it for illustration work. However to put my 2 cents in I´ve always missed Multiple pages and paste inside(quick and efficient), and when I changed over the autotrace in AI sucked(thankfully I don´t have much use for that anymore). But please just make the point handles bigger, or at least scale up a bit when zoomed, because I don´t suit glasses. Both great products for different reasons, It´s a shame freehand is effectively dead, but I think alot of people here that are hoping for a resurection would be better of popping open the hood of AI and seeing what´s inside than moping around.

  • Andrew Arnold — 9:19 AM on July 25, 2007

    Again, FreeHand is a tool that can do a whole lot more than ‘illustration work’. It’s all I ever needed in 15 years of graphic design for record labels – from sleeve design to ads to press folders to catalogues to interactive pdf presentations – well plus a little photoshop. no other software had this combined power. There is no use to see if all that could be done with AI – it simply can’t. You’ll need the whole CS3 mess instead. Should I see this as an improvement? Come on…
    [By all means, you’re welcome to keep using FreeHand.
    I do find it somewhat funny to note that on the one hand FH fans say, “Illustrator is bloated with stuff I don’t need,” and on the other they say “It should have more things like interactive PDF presentation creation!” One man’s bloat is another’s vital functionality.
    There is no single solution that would make everyone happy. It’s for that reason that I continue to push for us to modularize Adobe applications, so that you can use only the functionality that’s relevant to you. –J.]

  • Andrew Arnold — 11:28 AM on July 25, 2007

    john, i think the modul concept is just the opposite of what has been the freehand philosophy of an pro allrounder tool. probably that’s why the fh fans (as you call them) will never find adobe’s concept attractive. shifting apps for completing simple tasks like seems a waste of time, when you’re used to a tool that could do all that and more quickly and on its own.
    [I’m not talking about shifting among apps, although A) I think it makes sense not to try to jam every feature into each app, and B) shifting among apps should be made seamless. I’m talking about being able (but not forced) to pull up chunks of functionality inside Adobe apps, according to your needs. Think modules in Lightroom, but optional & configurable. –J.]
    why do i need iviewmediapro (now ms expression media) when photoshop includes an media browser? because its concept is weak.
    [Concept or implementation? The concept is not to make a full-bore asset management app with its own database, etc. –J.]
    same with many other added ‘features’ within adobe apps, maybe with the exception of indesign. that had to beat a strong competitor to become successful on the market. but the illustrator/indesign combination is still very! lame for someone used to the speed of a freehand workflow. many detailed examples above.
    sure freehand is still running somehow, but as hervé was mentioning, issues are coming up already. this will probably mean to carry along a second machine for the freehand diehards.
    what pricetag would a ub fh-version have? has there been a study on feasibilty?
    [I don’t know. Given that (from everything I can tell) Macromedia killed FH development in 2003 and redeployed the engineers, there’s no team that could update a large and old codebase. Making Photoshop and the other apps UB was decidedly non-trivial. We’d get far more bang for the buck from adding the requested features to Illustrator. –J.]
    no extra features, just compatibilty fixes? i paid $2000 for quark some years ago, freehand i would consider being worth more than that…
    anyway, thanks for reading and commenting me. i think this has been a great discussion but it’s getting a bit repetitive.
    bye a.

  • Sean Tevis — 10:57 AM on July 26, 2007

    This thread is monstrously long and I only got through 60-70% of it in an hour of reading!
    RECAP (for those just finding this) it is now impossible to continue Freehand development. There were many good suggestions, however, for AI:CS4 —
    1) real multiple page support
    2) no toggling of color/line
    3) larger bezier points
    4) a way to emulate Freehand bezier curves behavior (maybe)
    5) Jack suggested he was an advocate of being able to turn off unused function UI. That would be interesting.
    The one thing that I didn’t see was an option for the Text Editor window. Am I the only fan? I’ve loved it since Freehand 3; it was one of the reasons I switched from Illustrator 3. When working with lots of little type in a document, it’s so much easier to edit it there than zooming in and editing on the page.
    Thanks for hosting this thread!

  • Harley Johnson — 6:47 PM on August 04, 2007

    John, I think the one great irony here is the quotation by J. W. Gardner that you say you have stuck to your office door: “…one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.”
    If depriving thousands of users of a tool they’ve used for nearly 20 years, and suggesting they move to a package like Illustrator isn’t standing smack bang in their creative light, what is?!
    Business considerations aside, why do this anyway? It’s the kind of top-down decision that’s made without the slightest regard for those real live folk who, between them, have invested eons into their tool of choice. All this talk about how big a task it would be for Adobe to maintain development of FreeHand is a bit hard to swallow considering the gargantuan size of Adobe compared to Mother Aldus that first gave birth to this genius. And if it really is beyond Adobe’s capabilities, then why not sell it on or simply dump in on the open source table as so many have suggested? Perhaps it’s because it’s clear from the outcry from so many disappointed FreeHand users that there remains a potential market for FreeHand as a credible competitor?
    On the other hand if it’s more to do with Adobe wanting to hold on to the rights to some of FreeHand’s superior features for inclusion in Illustrator, should we actually believe that might happen? After nearly 20 years Illustrator is still playing catchup to FreeHand in a myriad of ways, many of them described in this thread. The fact that Illustrator hasn’t caught up with some of the FreeHand magic even over recent years must be an indication that the development team either haven’t taken, or have been bound by Adobe policy to avoid taking, the initiative to examine their greatest competitor and bring some of it’s superior features on board. After all, it’s unlikely that Adobe would risk upsetting it’s established Illustrator user base by making the product less ‘illustratorish’, even if that was due to the introduction of a raft of more productive features. Such apparent lack of enthusiasm to do better is unusual. As a Senior Product Manager for Adobe, its also surprising that even you hadn’t thought to download a copy of FreeHand before May this year, if only to find out what all the fuss is about. Maybe the development team is equally content not to know where the competition is coming from.
    Bottom line is that the majority of folk who’ve used both Illustrator and FreeHand seem to think that FreeHand has many indispensible qualities. I’ve used them both and am in no doubt that FreeHand enables me to do more, faster, and with greater spirit than Illustrator, though I accept that, equally, there are many Illustrator users who wouldn’t use anything else.
    Maybe FreeHand has always been the small fry in terms of market share, but that definitely doesn’t mean that it’s inferior and worthy of being buried. I will continue to hope that the magic that makes FreeHand shine will be allowed to live on, some way, some how. Illustrator, in the meantime, is not the answer it should have been after all these years.
    [Harley, I’m replying from a coffee shop on vactaion, so I need to be brief. Thanks for the feedback. At the end of the day, I fundamentally believe that splitting resources between two code bases would do nothing but waste effort and perpetuate the current state of affairs. FreeHand was dead and buried long before Adobe got a hold of it. The question now is how to move forward, and the answer is Illustrator. I and many others will continue to push for the best features of FH to make their way into AI. Doing anything else–particularly wasting effort by splitting it–would ultimately stand in everyone’s light. –J.]

  • Matt McDonagh — 1:54 PM on August 08, 2007

    I would just like to echo some of the comments made above. As a long time user of both applications (since 1989) I can appreciate that both have their strengths and loyal fan bases. I personally have always found FH to be much more intuitive. I teach design in a third level institution where we use both, along with the CS suite, Dreamweaver Flash, InDesign, Xpress etc.
    My biggest gripe is how much fussier is is to work with bezier curves in Illustrator. The second is for FH style multipage support. Like many others, I saw the writing on the wall many years ago. Instead of posting switcher pdfs, please impliment the above changes. FH users will stop griping, and AI users will suddenly realise what they’ve been missing.

  • Jason Holmberg — 7:50 PM on August 16, 2007

    The two programs really aren’t in the same class. I have to use InDesign and Illustrator to do what I did in FreeHand? Ha! Adobe would do well to incorporate many of FreeHand’s gems into into the next CS4.I am sure someone will create software to fill the FreeHand void if Adobe can’t get it together. Can’t wait!

  • Marc — 2:17 PM on August 25, 2007

    I’ve grown up on Freehand. Since I’ve heard about Adobe’s decision not to release a new version i pretty much thought my career was over in the design industry. I have to use Illustrator everyday now in my current position and i hate every second that I have to use it. The simplest of task that can easily be done in Freehand are made difficult and time confusing in Illustrator. Since Im forced to make the switch, here are my suggestions:
    Fist off, Copy Freehand’s Pen tools and functionalities with the apple/option/control/shift keys. Drawing in Freehand is easy and i can run circles around anyone using Illustrator to complete the same task.
    2) make selecting easier. again using all the control keys to allow the user to be able to select objects and multiple objects in the back or behind other objects.
    3) incorporate the paste inside/copy out feature like Freehands.
    4) when scrolling off text, have it automatically switch back to the pointer tool.
    5) Tab button deselects all.
    there are many more i cant think of now, but those are some of the basics and i mean basics that should be incorporated into Illustrator that will make the transition much easier. I havent used CS3 yet and maybe some of these have been incorporated.
    Thanks for Listening.
    [Thanks for the feedback, Marc. Speaking just for myself, I think there’s no reason we should settle for the Illustrator drawing and selecting tools not being the be-all, end-all in their disciplines. Now, there’s certainly room for legitimate debate about different strategies (I get beaten up equally for people wanting the AI pen tool to be more like the one in Photoshop, and for the PS tool to be moer like the one in AI). That said, if there’s something you can do in FH that’s not possible or elegant in AI, we need to make every effort to remedy the situation.
    Btw, changing the behavior of tab would drive people insane and break consistency with other Adobe apps. –J.]

  • Mark Thomas — 1:51 AM on August 26, 2007

    It can’t be done. You can’t take the best features of FreeHand and shove them into the inherently clumsy and claustrophobic conk shell that has been Illustrator for all these years and expect to please FreeHand users. Illustrator with multiple pages and a single, intelligent selection tool is still just Illustrator in the same way that DOS with icons and menus is still crap.
    [If you can’t articulate actual, concrete suggestions, then there’s right–there’s no way for Adobe to please you. Better to curse the darkness than light a candle… –J.]
    Before Adobe gobbled up Macromedia, FreeHand wasn’t dead and buried.
    [Dude, trust me… it was deader than disco. Macromedia shut down the TX office. People left or moved to Fireworks. Adobe inheirited a ghost ship. But I don’t expect you to believe me. –J.]
    It was merely neglected.
    [I guess that’s so, in the sense that the Monty Python parrot was just tired. –J.]
    Now it’s dead and buried.
    [Yes, it is. –J.]

  • Miguel — 1:26 AM on August 27, 2007

    Just got the awful news about Freehand (yes, I live in a cave) and read through this whole discussion.
    I’ve been using both Illustrator and Freehand for almost 20 years. All that time I have tried to like Illustrator and it’s just never clicked for me. Even after spending months at a stretch in an Illustrator shop on multiple occasions, ample time to become fully accustomed to the interface, I continue to find it clunky and slow to work with.
    Others have elaborated in depth on the reasons for this – the graceless implementation of selection and movement of objects and points, and their fills and strokes – but it seems like the point has been lost.
    I notice that whenever someone talks about a FEATURE, like exporting to some new file format, our Adobe host is quick to respond with a correction or to suggest that this feature may indeed be a possible candidate for inclusion in a future update to Illustrator.
    But whenever people talk about the basic object manipulation tools, which are the core of the program’s purpose and 95% of any serious user’s experience, there is no response but silence.
    This makes me think that as long as Freehand users are able to come up with ideas that will score bullet points on the box or in the adobe.com product summary page, they are quite welcome. But when they point out that the Illustrator team has for two decades fundamentally failed to achieve the basic elegance that makes it possible for me to draw something in half the time in Freehand as in Illustrator – basics like cloning, meaningful grouping, a select tool that actually selects the thing you have in mind, and fluid control over bezier control points – that’s left to be dismissed by the peanut gallery as nothing but whining.
    I suppose I will continue to follow the pattern I’ve finally settled into: If an Illustrator document is going to take more than 15 or 20 minutes of work, I export it to Freehand, work there, then re-import back to Illustrator. An EOL Freehand that never gets another new feature will always be more useful than an Illustrator with ten thousand new features that still makes basic drawing an unpleasant chore instead of a fluid transition from mind’s eye to computer screen.
    When the day comes that Freehand no longer runs on some future updated version of OSX, and no suitable alternative has come to the market, then I retire from doing this stuff. The idea of spending all day trying to do cartography or precision drawing in Illustrator is more pain than I need.

  • alex — 12:13 PM on August 27, 2007

    [I guess that’s so, in the sense that the Monty Python parrot was just tired]
    hahahaha, great aswer john. glad you havn’t lost that despite all. wish illustrator had half your wit.
    but ok, seriously. i’m really interested to hear what you (adobe) have gotten out of this discussion so far. has it struck a chord, any chord at all, or is it mainly a nuisance you have to put up with.
    [Oh, it’s a little of both. ;-) No, I’m kidding: on the whole it’s good info. The key takeaway for me is that no matter how badly we want to do the Next Next Thing, we must always focus on the fundamentals. The people who’ve stuck with FreeHand are largely concerned about the minutiae of point selection and the like. We have to keep going back and making sure those fundamentals are absolutely bulletproof. And that applies not just to Illustrator, but to Photoshop, Flash, and other tools. –J.]
    are we barking up the right tree in the first place (you’re not on the illustrator team but photoshop team, right)?
    [Yep–I’m on Photoshop. I just passed along the news because I happen to have a blog, and because I care deeply about vector illustration. –J.]
    tell us honestly, what are the chances that illustrator will indeed learn from the usability lessons freehand is giving, or adobe willing to listen to it and act upon it? and if so, what exactly?
    [Well, I will say that I don’t accept that FreeHand is the be-all end-all of usability. What I ask for over and over (and what a number of people have kindly supplied) is a list of *specific* things that they prefer about FreeHand. We can then evaluate those items point by point.
    It’s not useful to hear that “FreeHand is elegant, and Illustrator will never get it.” I could give you chapter and verse of what I consider FH’s inelegance and obtuseness. But the point is to identify the tweaky little things that FH people don’t like about AI, so that we can compare notes and figure out whether one method is really better than the other, or whether it’s just a matter of familiarity and preference. –J.]
    problem – i realize all too well – is that it’s not just a matter of changing illustrator. when illustrator changes, indesign and photoshop have to change too because of the unified adobe interface (the changes would be great for those two apps too by the way, but little chance i realize (investments, time, effort, pride probably), damn…).
    could you tell us what adobes (internal) definition of product quality is? again, we outsiders can only guess.
    [I’m sure someone here could offer a pithier defintion, but for me it’s a matter of Things Just Working. That means high stability, high performance, and effective, intuitive functionality. The latter items are harder to quantify. –J.]
    thanks, alex

  • Blanka — 3:41 AM on August 31, 2007

    While Freehand users always have chosen the best vector drawing application, Illustrator has always been the senile sister of Photoshop. It was protected by its big brother and you always got it as a “free” gift when buying the suites. Just take a look at the upgrade policy of the past. Upgrades from Photoshop or a previous suite got you the full discount. Upgrading to a suite from just Illustrator was not giving any discount at all.
    [I generally let this kind of commentary go by unremarked, in the interest of letting people air their sorrow over the loss of FreeHand & move on, but I need to correct some basic assertions here. The market had already chosen Illustrator–overwhelmingly–long before the Adobe Suite strategy came into effect. For example, by the year 2000 FreeHand market share was around 14%, and it wasn’t until late 2003 that Adobe offered a Photoshop-to-Suite upgrade path. So, this whole thing that “Photoshop and Illustrator conspired to crush FreeHand” is a canard, except insofar as the greater consistency (interface, color engine, font handling, etc.) between these apps offered a compelling reason to choose Illustrator over FreeHand. –J.]
    Illustrator never managed to become lean and mean like Freehand was. So just because of the smart tie-in sale by Adobe, we have to design the future with this slow over-featured memory hog. I’ll cherish Freehand 10 OSX and I will always keep a machine to run it.

  • Dennis H. — 2:35 PM on September 08, 2007

    I have used Freehand for years, periodically trying Illustrator as new versions came out, but never impressed with it. There are differences which may not be significant to many users but are to me: Namely I have many multi-page layouts, and used many of the typography features in FH which don’t exist in Ill.
    At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I do not intend to migrate to Ill. I will retain FH even as it ages (yeah, I know it’s 4 years old already), and change only if a change is forced on me in the future. And when I get to that point, I will examine all the options available to me at that time, including non-Adobe products.
    I will say that I do not blame Adobe for this … FH has always been a great product, but it was underpromoted and passed around too often to have built a solid market. If anyone is to blame, it’s Macromedia, for having left it hang out to dry before Adobe even bought it.
    Much the same could be said of Fontographer, another product I plan to stick with until I’m forced to give it up.
    A lot of people consider FH a relic, but I don’t, and it appears I’m not alone.

  • Janne — 2:38 AM on September 12, 2007

    Apple please buy Freehand from Adobe! And develope it into the ultimate design tool for art directors, designers and production people.
    [How do you think Apple would benefit from buying a 20-year-old codebase with no engineers assigned to it? How do you think Adobe would benefit from selling it? Do people even consider these questions before making a suggestion like this? –J.]
    The basics of Illustrator and Indesign are fundamentally so wrong, that those two programs will never be the replacement for Freehand.
    [Thanks, very specific and helpful… –J.]

  • Chris Wood — 10:25 PM on September 13, 2007

    One of the more common complaints between the 2 apps is that Freehand is a faster application to use. There is no question that Freehand loads, opens & saves documents and quits many times faster than Illustrator. You can start working in Freehand and have drawn a dozen objects before Illustrator has finished loading.
    Much of the speed of an application is down to perception, a small inconvenience can really irritate. Could it be suggested to the illustrator team that they trim down to speed up the user interface as much as possible: heres a few ideas. Anyone else?
    Load Illustrator faster.
    1) Instead of loading all plugins at start up, load them on a need to use basis. Say I need the Zig Zag Filter, load it when I first select that menu option. I doubt very much that in any one project every single plugin is required.
    2) I would like the option on opening a new document to not be presented with the artboard size/colour mode dialog. Just cmd N, – I’m working. Perhaps an ‘Apply last used settings on opening new document’ preference.
    Reduce number of menu choices & palette clutter
    3) Many effects and filters share exactly the same dialog box. Why not have just one Stylize/Distort menu. If I choose zig zag, instead of an OK button in the dialog, have an Apply as | Filter | Effect |
    4) Remove the Show/Hide bounding box menu item. Check out Freehands double click an object to see its bounding box.
    5) ‘Save As’ vs ‘Save as Template’ menu items. is their any difference in these two?
    6) Recent fonts menu item could be done away with. Instead have them appear at the top of of the fonts list. Check out Microsoft Word.
    7) Save for Microsoft Office menu item. Have it as an option in the Export dialog. As far as I can tell it saves a png file, functionality that is duplicated in the Export dialog anyway.
    7) Get rid of the 4 pen tools leave just one.
    8) Some of the palettes could be consolidated. To set a stroke overprint I have to come out of the stroke tab and into Appearance tab. Doesn’t it make more sense to have all stroke options/attributes in one place?
    9) Imitate Freehands contextual object palette. Here I can change the majority of an objects options/attributes in one tab of one palette
    10) Remove the small rectangle showing the Illustrator logo at the top of the tools palette. Only a small piece of screen but totally useless for work flow.
    11) Open Recent Files menu option could be done away with. Open has a submenu with New at the top then the recent files listed below
    12) New from template menu option could be done away with. New has a sub menu with New & New From Template option. Check out Quarkxpress’ Open & New menus.
    Quitting faster
    10) ‘Do you want to leave clipboard data for other Applications’ when Quitting. Other applications handle this kind of thing with a preference that asks “Save Clipboard data on Quitting ? | Yes | No | Ask |

  • Bryon Thompson — 12:45 PM on September 18, 2007

    What I love about about AI:
    1) The zoom keys (+ and -). Great time saver for me.
    2) Transparency. Truly a great feature. Thank you for this.
    What I love and miss about FH and would love to see in AI:
    1) Key command for “Place…” (see Import in FH)
    2) Ability to “Place” or import multiple objects at a time (see shift/select in Import in FH)
    3) Faster open/save/quit/print (I like the idea of optional loading plugins/effects for those of us who never use them. Good call Chris Wood).
    4) Please consider a Pen Tool like the one in FreeHand. It does it all by making use of option and command keys and combinations thereof. No need to switch tools every 2 seconds. You can just keep drawing.
    5) After you’ve nudged a selected point with the cursor/arrow keys, why not keep it active so you can begin drawing immediately from that point, instead of having to reselect it first before you can start drawing again? What is the value of having it inactive after a nudge? Just curious, maybe I’m missing something.
    6) Control + click to select down through layered items. Even grouped items (you know, like in FH). It’s quick & easy.
    7) It would be great if the freeform drawing tool (pencil) automatically connected end points when attempting to draw a simple closed shape. That is, when the starting point and end point are close enough together, have them snap/connect naturally (you know, like in FH) to make a quick, closed path.
    8) Do we really need an Appearance palette? Seems redundant. Isn’t that what Graphic Styles is for? Consolidate?
    9) After a line/shape has been selected how can you select a single point without having to change tools! In FH you select the line, then select the point you want to edit. Same tool. Simple. Done.
    10) I know better than to ask for “paste inside” from AI but maybe in the future when an AI competitor presents itself it will bring back this huge time saver. Sorry, had to plug it one more time! : )
    I realize these things may seem ridiculously small to the long-time AI user, but to us former FH users we’re used to speed and, well, we sort of miss it. Seconds turn into minutes, minutes turn into hour$, etc. No really, they do.
    Thank you for reading this far.

  • B. Foster — 4:57 PM on September 18, 2007

    John…
    I think it’s funny that you keep saying that Freehand was/is “dead”. Even though it has had only minor upgrades in the last few years, it’s still a superior program, even in it’s present state. I still have Freehand and will continue to use it until Apple’s code no longer makes that possible. After that I’m at a loss. I guess I’ll go kicking and screaming into Illustrator, as there are no viable alternatives out there.
    I started out my design career about 20 years ago as a die hard Illustrator user…until one day I was introduced to Freehand. Since that time I’ve used both programs on and off and I can tell you that they are completely different animals. I’ve always found Freehand a more intuitive platform, faster, easier to use with better, more usable features. Freehand and Adobe Photoshop have always been my winning combination.
    I’m very cynical that the “Illustrator Team” is going to be able to incorporate even a single good feature from Freehand into Illustrator. I think if they could have they already would have (like giving Illustrator multiple page support, which is the biggest single feature I would want a future Illustrator to have).
    I’m not wanting to bash Adobe as they have wonderful, superior products, but I think their decision, in this case, leaves much to be desired. If nothing else, I think psychologically a lot of people feel that it’s another case of cold corporate America railroading people. Maybe Adobe should address the issue and give people tangible information on the types of features they intend to incorporate into Illustrator in the future.
    Thanks for letting me vent.

  • David O — 3:43 PM on September 25, 2007

    Illustrator CS3 is unfortunately a real disappointment. I sort of hoped that some of the better features from Freehand would find their way into Illustrator. But that has not happened.
    I have read a lot, but not all, of the posts above, but I was pleased to see that I am not the only one who is often frustrated when working with Illustrator. I am also encouraged by the thought that Adobe has an open ear to these comments.
    Here are a few things that I would like to ask for:
    Please make closing paths and joining points easy like in FH.
    Please let illustrator allow me to manipulate points and objects regardless of whether they are grouped or not – without having to change pointers, expand or ungroup – or at least show me the state of an object before I attempt an operation with the wrong tool.
    Please stop Illustrator doing things that I have not asked for (like grouping things that I haven’t said I want grouped or lighting up half the illustration when I only click on one line or point.)
    Please add automatic naming to the color mixer.
    Please let me modify a graphic style by clicking on the name in the palette and adjusting parameters for line weight, end-style, arrowheads, dotted-lines, color, etc.
    Please let me modify a blend (e.g. number of steps) by option double clicking on the blend.
    Please let me disable the centre-points of objects at the press of a key so that I don’t activate things that I don’t intend to.
    Please give me more than one cursor distance, somewhere more accessible than in the Preferences panel,
    Please make blends simpler to look at in keyline mode.
    Please let me apply new line-weights using graphic styles regardless of whether an object is grouped, compounded, embedded or anything else. When I want a line to change from say; 0.3 to 0.5 mm that is what I want. I don’t want to have to release all the groupings or expand the object before I can make such a simple adjustment.
    Please make the entire application less confusing by cutting out the automatic stuff.
    I remember an Illustrator that drew wonderfully fluid lines and had a lightness of touch that made it a pleasure to work with. Now it is trudging along with a backpack full of all the accumulated ‘good ideas’ of the past 15 years. How about lightening that backpack and letting the drawing part of the application flow again – perhaps in its own module.

  • Hrududu — 11:50 AM on September 27, 2007

    What follows is feedback from a long time Freehand user, recently required to work with Illustrator. If you can’t be bothered to read the rest of the texts, just don’t install Illustrator 10 on a G4 Powerbook 800mHZ, instead, buy into a Dual-processor G4 or higher and run Illustrator CS2 or CS3.
    Ok. So the inevitable has happened. Two of my clients (both Fortune 500 companies) have bought into Illustrator (one office has AI 10 while the other has AI CS2) asking their freelancers to supply similar Illustrator source files along with final deliverables. The client is always right. Even when their minds have been corrupted by the hype surrounding the Adobe CS applications. Bravo Adobe Marketing; NICE copywriting job. Not. Two thumbs up, big grin and a wink, Gentlemen.
    In one office I get to use a Dual processor Mac G4 with AI CS2 (incredibly fast performance), while in the other office I get to use a Mac PowerBook G4 800mHZ with AI 10 (s-l-o-w, oh so very s-l-o-w, the thing crawls s-o s-l-o-w-l-y). Interestingly both machines have Freehand MX installed (there’s even an unopened Freehand MX box among the many opened FH boxes in the software room, go figure) which beckons and entices when I sit at the keyboard drawing in Illustrator.
    On the up-side, I was able to pick up immediately from the last time I used it (AI 9 many months ago) and did not need to refer to its ridiculous online “Help” as often as I thought I would. The online “Help” is very Macromedia-ish in its form: a masterpiece of un-helpful drivel, consisting of bland, confusing, uninspired writing. It’s lack of examples – relying almost entirely on mundane textual content (where are the supporting Flash or Quicktime See Me movies? where are the wonderful graphical infographic vector artworks that can cut reading time down to mere seconds of visual comprehension? you call this “Help”? JFC). Just hire Olav Kvern to write the documentation – he’s the best technical writer in the business – and, if I’m not mistaken I think he still works at Adobe.
    Anyway, the point is, for any Freehand user who is thinking of switching, Illustrator on the Dual G4 is fast and nice to work with. I’m surprised to find that I actually enjoy using Illustrator this time round (only on the Dual G4 Desktop). To get round the lack of multiple-pages I’m using a seperate layer set that acts as a Master for the other images in the remaining layer sets. I can output in multiple export operations, turning layers ON and OFF depending on what I want the exported deliverable to be, and get away with it.
    AI CS2’s 3D functionality is better than Freehand’s 3D tools IMHO.
    However, Illustrator’s Live Trace functionality sucks. It works fine on scanned hand drawn sketches but that’s no use to me. Last week I needed to quickly trace 10 pieces of hardware (photographs), convert them into simple line drawings and had no luck getting the simplicity I wanted; in the end, next week I will use the pen tool and draw over the photos manually. My beef here is that I expected more from Live Trace than was delivered. I’m not saying that Freehand’s trace tool is any better, but it wasn’t hyped the way Live Trace is. Bravo Adobe Marketing; NICE copywriting job. Shame the feature sucks where it counts – on our Desktop after the monies have been banked by Adobe. Two thumbs up, big grin and a wink, Gentlemen.
    Back to reality. Illustrator 10 on the Powerbook G4 (1GB RAM) is so slow, I wonder if Adobe actually QAa its apps on anything less than cutting edge technology.
    “H-e-l-l-o, anybody in upstairs? there are millions of folks using less than hot technology to run your wares. Can you atleast make an Adobe Illustrator (and Flash) Elements software for these people?”
    Nah, didn’t think so.
    Meanwhile, for anyone thinking of switching from Freehand to Illustrator 10 on a Powerbook G4, I say don’t bother; stick to Freehand or buy a faster machine. I don’t know if CS3 runs faster on a low-end Windoze PC or not, but on a Powerbook G4 800mHZ, forget it; if AI 10 crawls on this machine, then CS3 under Rosetta ain’t gonna be much different, probably slower.
    NOTE: Freehand on the same lower-end Powerbook G4 screams and cocks a snoot at Illustrator with its fast, snappy performance. I kid you not. The differences in speed are striking.
    Why does Illustrator require 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) and 2GB of available hard-disk space before it can run on any computer, while Freehand only requires 64 MB of free available system RAM and 70 MB of free hard disk space.
    Hrududu

  • Shin — 2:48 AM on September 28, 2007

    I can describe Freehand in just one word – smart. And this is one quality that AI does not have no matter how many more features it adds. AI is already a cumbersome and complicated program, and unless Adobe is willing to rid irritations and simplify functions in AI, it will remain inferior to a “dead” FH.
    Peers who use AI often rave how “powerful” it is, and how it supports functions lacking in FH (eg. AI’s better at blending colours!). I agree. However when pitted against FH users like myself, they take twice the time to create a simple layout. And simple layouts are what most designers do everyday.
    I shall not repeat what others had suggested on ideas to “improve” AI. But perhaps Adobe should realise that a great program is not about the add-ons and the extras. What FH has is a blank canvas all designers love (and oh, 1 fuss-free cursor). And if Adobe is sincere, they will take heed in this cliché metaphor.
    Meanwhile, I, among those with a preference for IDIOT-PROOF VECTOR PROGRAMS, choose to continue with FH.
    ShinC

  • Mike Murphy — 9:54 AM on September 28, 2007

    Look folks it is no use to post all your frustration here. I am about 4 month into Illustrator CS 3 now and i find the ‘thing’
    UNBELIEVABLE.
    I don’t know if it is any use to discuss this on the Illustrator user-user forum.
    Anyway this is the UrL:
    http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx?14@@.ee6b324

  • ray — 11:51 AM on September 28, 2007

    I’m still not as comfortable in AI as I was in FH, I must admit that I’m discovering very powerful features and capabilities in AI I didn’t know about (zomg! opacity masks!) and am increasingly excited about AI.
    I’m having to change the way I think a bit and I’m still stumbling with selections and pen tool behavior, but I sense that this all arises from my own incorrect assumptions and expectations, not from inferior workflow.
    I still miss paste inside and multi-page docs, but for the kind of work I’ve been doing lately, Illustrator is much cooler than I realized.
    …and no, john didn’t pay me to say this. ;)

  • Alan Guest — 8:49 AM on October 09, 2007

    I agree with JBs first comment – Freehand was dead (or at least dying) before the Adobe aquisition. What ground breaking feature was added between versions 5 and MX? I can’t think of that many except for the raft of Flash support/web support. As a print repro/artwork person it gave me nothing and started lagging behind some of the Illustrator features.
    We are still using Freehand but phasing a lot of this out. I suppose question is, whether we should use Indesign for some of the stuff or Illustrator. I’ll have fond memories of Freehand but Illustrator is a very good tool and the new features such as transparency & XMP are too valuable to stave off the migration.

  • Simon H — 1:44 PM on November 05, 2007

    This is really, really bad news. I started using Freehand while working in a signmaking shop 10 years ago and still love the program. The main way I find it better than Illustrator is in the point editing: just one way of selecting a point and 3 ways that the point can behave. After this when you try drawing with Illustrator you have to decide if you want the white or the black arrow, then chose one of the 4 different tools, then edit the point – horrible and unnecessarily complicated. The point was obviously to destroy the competition and force everyone to use the same bloated inferior vector program. Adode are behaving just like Microsoft.
    [Illustrator did destroy FreeHand–by drawing away all the customers, years before Adobe ever owned the dormant FreeHand codebase. But I’ve already said that over and over. The only interesting thing now it to work to make Illustrator the best it can possibly be, reflecting the input of FreeHand fans. –J.]

  • Simon H — 2:14 PM on November 05, 2007

    “Illustrator did destroy FreeHand–by drawing away all the customers”
    Well obviously not quite ‘all’ of them judging by most of the comments on this page.
    [No–just enough to get Macromedia to kill off the program in 2003. (I don’t know what the marketshare was then, before the Creative Suites hit. In 2003 FH was lingering at 14%.) [Update: Sorry, I mistyped: I meant to say that FH marketshare was 14% in 2000, not 2003.] –J.]

  • Simon H — 4:05 PM on November 05, 2007

    “to get Macromedia to kill off the program in 2003”
    Sorry but I don’t understand “killing off” a program. Burn the code? Drive it out to the desert and bury it in the sand?
    [How about, “Relocate/redeploy/lay off the dev team & close down their office; hand the code off to India for maintenance; and then move those folks onto other projects, leaving no one with current knowledge of the codebase”? ‘Cause that’s my understanding of what happened, and–as I’ve said–that was years before Adobe even announced its intention to acquire Macromedia (and thus FreeHand). –J.]
    You had Freehand and must have made a decision to not continue updating it to force people to migrate to a lumbering, flaccid drawing program. You haven’t told me that it was no longer financially viable at 14%.
    [Well, that wasn’t my decision; the decision belonged to the people who put the app out to pasture, then removed it from the Studio collection (all independent of the app coming to Adobe, btw; the latter decision happened during the “quiet period” during which the companies were legally prevented from coordinating plans). –J.]
    Apple computer was ‘lingering’ at an 8.1% market share at the start of 2007.
    [Yet even in its darkest hours the Mac has held a robust share of creative professional desktops. The same can’t be said for FH. Sorry. –J.]

  • Mark Thomas — 2:22 AM on November 06, 2007

    Illustrator did destroy FreeHand–by drawing away all the customers, years before Adobe ever owned the dormant FreeHand codebase.
    I remember it differently. Adobe’s purchase of Aldus killed FreeHand’s momentum by stripping away its distributor and forcing it to run into the neglectful, disinterested arms of Macromedia. How ironic (perfect?) to have Adobe then, years later, buy Macromedia and put the final bullet through FreeHand’s temple.

  • mnwrks — 10:07 AM on November 06, 2007

    Hi john, I am following the discussion pretty close the last months. Since I am a die-hard user of freehand for many years now, one question is very essential for me, do you think there will be a “paste inside & paste inside an object inside the pasted selection and so on“ function coming for illustrator or will this be something you guys at adobe don’t really waste any time thinking of?
    [Well, I certainly can’t speak for the Illustrator team, but it really is great that FH users have brought forward specific, concrete suggestions like this one. I know the AI team is considering the whole list of requests as they move the app forward. That’s as much info as I have at the moment, however. –J.]
    strangely enough in indesign something similar like paste inside is allready working and your goal as I understand is to keep the programms pretty close! anyway will there be someting like this in illustrator? yeah and also the pen tool, but as I guess the paste inside function is a thing any freehand user is missing right away, I got the feeling my whole designing is based on this function… and something like masks is not working for me… the concept is too slow.

  • Todd Patrick — 7:11 AM on November 09, 2007

    I can’t believe I just scrolled through (and at least skimmed) almost six months of comments, and that John is still responding.
    [My boss kind of can’t believe it, either. ;-) –J.]
    I wish I knew where to make feature requests on Adobe’s site, but since everyone’s griping about missing FH features, here’s a 15-year-old feature from Aldus Intellidraw: Highlight “tangent” and “midpoint” in Smart Guides.
    [Okay, I’ll pass that along; thanks. FYI, there’s a bug/feature submission form here. –J.]

  • Chris — 9:13 AM on November 19, 2007

    i agree with most users here, i’m a professional freehand/photoshop user for a decade now and won’t migrate my layout data to illustrator, several features (that are absolutely essential in every way) are missing, like
    – pasting inside quickly
    – multiple page layouts
    – quick handling, from color panel to print extension …
    i’m still using illustrator today for sending final data to several printers that works only with illustrator files, the software is not bad and has several new features, but is not intuitive enough.
    WHY THE HELL so many peanuts improvements but the essential, 1000 times needed features for quick and easy but professional layouts are not implemented in illustrator ?

  • KVman — 7:04 AM on November 29, 2007

    Hi Dr. John,
    1-Do you believe in life after death ?
    2-From Metaphysical eNews : Freehand MX continues to Works on Vista and OS X 10.5
    :)

  • Steve Allcock — 11:53 AM on December 24, 2007

    Well, I tried. And tried and tried to use AI but ultimately it seems to be the most irritating, non-intuitive design application I’ve ever had the misfortune to use… sigh! My 6 month experiment in crossing-over is done, I’m back using Freehand permanently until I can no more. I sure hope someone can purchase and resurrect it from it’s uninterested foster parents.

  • Hrududu — 3:51 AM on December 26, 2007

    My brief 3 month trial/affair with Illustrator is over. Been there, done that. Good-bye. So long.
    I prefer FreeHand MX 11.2. For one thing, I don’t “work” with FreeHand; I simply have fun with it. This translates into better output, which translates into happy clients, which translates into referalls, which translates into more projects, which translates into simply having more fun with FreeHand.
    Hrududu

  • tim — 9:02 PM on December 27, 2007

    Things Illustrator needs to incorporate from FreeHand:
    1. Better selecting. FreeHand users have long known that only one selection arrow tool is necessary for the job. Also, the incredibly useful ability to select objects below other objects by holding the Control key (Mac) down.
    2. More gradient options, such as contour and cone. Gradient mesh is too complicated for such tasks.
    3. Graphic Find and Replace. This is THE BEST feature in FreeHand and will save minutes out of every day’s work.
    4. Units of measurement switching on the fly. No need to open the Preference pane just to change your document’s units.
    5. Powerful object inspector. In FH after you draw a star you can change the number of points, inner radius, outer radius, whatever. Round corners on the fly. All kinds of things, with any object. Extremely powerful and easy to use. How can I change the number of points of a star that already exists in Illustrator?
    6. Connector lines for flow chart diagramming. I used to use FH for all my web site layout diagrams.
    7. Multiple pages with multiple sizes.
    All these things boil down to me being able to create anything in FreeHand at least twice as fast as in Illustrator.
    Let’s hope Adobe figures that out.

  • Rodi — 4:46 PM on January 15, 2008

    Why I love Freehand, Multiple pages, multiple sized pages in a document, the best H&J table in dtp (much closer to traditional typsetting). I love how it handels text of all sorts, pages of text, graphic to text. I could go on!
    Personally, I got it to print to every type of RIP (digital press, flexography, Adobe RIP, Harlequin, and even Scitex RIP), which I could never do with Illustrator. Another thing is that you don’t need a page layout program, just a photo editor and Freehand.

  • Bryan Steves — 1:49 PM on January 17, 2008

    I want to weigh in later, just joining for now.

  • johnnycat — 7:41 AM on January 23, 2008

    There are so many things about Freehand. I never even question what to do without this tool, its just to indispensable can´t do without. As for illustrator, i’ve tried and tried and tried so many times and the result is always frustration and time consuming for every task. Illustrator is a user enemy application. It doesn´t let you work properly. It complicates every task you’re trying to accomplish. Is´t hell pure hell.
    To adobe: How complicated would be if you could have 2 different interfaces with different shortkeys, different selection and manipulation of paths… you know, something you could switch in the prefs. so that you would have it very close to freehand.
    Meanwhile freehand is still my main vector / layout application. It just does it better.

  • Dan Peterson — 1:05 PM on January 29, 2008

    I, like johnnycat, have tried and tried with Illustrator but end up with tears of frustration everytime. I don’t believe it is simply a case of getting to grips with a different interface. I believe it is simply down to Illustrator being an inferior product.
    A while back on this Blog J wrote:
    “As far as I can tell, the FH codebase had been essentially dormant for 2.5 years before Adobe took ownership. So, blame Illustrator for surpassing FH in the market, leading to the current situation, but don’t blame Adobe for not reviving a dormant app.”
    Marketing played a huge part in this – it does not mean Illustrator is a better application. BetaMax video tape was superior all round to VHS but marketing and finance meant that we all ended up with the inferior product.
    [No matter what one believes to be the case, the important thing now is the future. How do we move forward? It’s useless to say that you find Illustrator
    unintuitive if you don’t supply specifics on what to change. Many folks have offered concrete suggestions in this thread, which is great. That’s the kind of thing the Illustrator team is bearing in mind as they move forward. –J.]

  • Dan Peterson — 1:31 PM on January 29, 2008

    Fair enough. I’d probably be a whole lot happier if the Illustrator team took the selection tool – the single selection arrow – from Freehand and removed the two current selection arrows (neither of which seem to do what the single Freehand selection arrow was able to achieve).

  • Oskari Oinonen — 10:55 AM on January 30, 2008

    “Steve Allcock wrote: Well, I tried. And tried and tried to use AI but ultimately it seems to be the most irritating, non-intuitive design application I’ve ever had the misfortune to use… sigh!”
    Sadly that is the case with us too. I have personally used FH since 3.1 and a few colleagues since 4.0, and none of us can use AI for what we do. It simpy does not have the tools/features (those are not even bad but missing completely), so using FH 9.02 (Windows) is the only way we know of (later FH versions could be used but 9.02 works best).
    I ordered the CS “1” Suite Premium the day it was announced, but have been really using only Photoshop (since 3.01 and Aldus PhotoStyler 2 before that like my colleagues) and InDesign (since 1.0 actually after PM 5-6,5). AI is used only to open some tricky PDF files and then imported to FH 9.02.
    I could create a long list of features in FreeHand that are essential for us, if someone at Adobe is interested (you have my e-mail). All of those are such that if single one of those is missing it is unlikely we will ever start using AI instead. The AI work flow is just impossible for what we do.
    [I’m not on the Illustrator team, but I’ve been channeling them the feedback received here. They’re very open to (and appreciate of) feedback. Obviously lots of FH users value multipage support. What else is critical for you? –J.]

  • Andrew Clark — 1:31 PM on January 30, 2008

    My specific demands:
    I want to be able to REALLY paste objets INSIDE boxes -easily (not just to appear that way)
    [I understand (from the feedback here) that FH really like the “paste inside” command. You should check out isolation mode in Illustrator. You can double-click a group to go inside it. I haven’t used FH enough to know exactly how the features overlap, but it’s worth looking. –J.]
    I also want multiple pages in my AI documents. When I open a Freehand document in Illustrator, I have anywhere from 2-20 resulting AI files -what a joke.
    Even better, Stop trying to sell us 2 separate products for a ridiculous price that have 90% of the same features but ‘coincidentally’ leave out the 2 or 3 necessary features that – surprise! surprise! – the other software has. Merge Illustrator and InDesign! Quit abusing your customers!
    [Somehow I doubt that slamming the apps together would make them leaner and more learnable. –J.]
    I can’t wait for an AGILE company like Macromedia was to create a vector design tool and thrash Adobe! If you’re that company or individual, email me, I’ll invest!

  • Andrew Clark — 1:47 PM on January 30, 2008

    Oskari…
    I would love to see the complete list. Please post it here for the rest of us.
    FH 9 allowed you to open any PDF and release it into vectors.
    [Are you saying you *can’t* open a PDF in Illustrator and edit it? Is that something you’ve tried? PDF has been the native graphics model of AI since v9 (released in 2000). –J.]
    By the way, how does FH handle PDFs containing transparency, a feature that was added ~8 years ago? Last time I checked, the FH transparency model was primitive. –J.]
    Freehand plays better with non-Macromedia apps than the Creative Suite plays with its own family of apps.
    [I don’t have time to give you the many, many counter-examples that poke holes in that statement. –J.]
    We were completely mislead by Adobe’s advertising on this front. The word ‘seamlessly’ was used heavily.
    [I Googled Adobe.com and found one instance of the word “seamless” being used to describe product integration. I have a similarly hard time finding anything by looking through press releases.
    In any case, no one said that Adobe app integration is perfect or that it couldn’t be improved. We have made great strides in recent revs, but there’s always more work to do. –J.]
    This has been proven to be completely and utterly FALSE.
    What’s up with the Illustrator’s 3D/extrusion tool that it NEVER gives you your manipulated text but instead just a preview of it. So useless.
    [I don’t follow you on this one. AI lets you apply a 3D (or other) effect, then edit the text on the artboard while the effect updates. You can hit Cmd-Y to see the outlines of objects, in which case you’ll see the letters on the artboard minus any ornamentation. –J.]

  • arturo bottino — 8:42 AM on February 01, 2008

    La peor decisión de Adobe fue eliminar FreeHand. La cantidad de cosas que se pueden hacer con FH y que con AI cuestan tanto!!!! La facilidad del “paste inside” de FH (que Adobe lo está usando en InDesign), las alineaciones a puntos o a cualquier objeto, la posibilidad GRANDIOSA de no ver lo que está enmascarado, las multiples páginas -que pueden ser de diferentes tamaños), la posibilidad de colocar imágenes con visualización en baja, etc. Uso FH desde la versión 3 y el AI lo conocí en su versión 6: fue como chocar contra un muro, lo intuitivo que es FH y lo complicado y obtuso que era ese AI, me hizo alejarme de ese programa para siempre por no resultarme amigable. Hoy enero de 2008 ilustro vectorialmente con FHMX (la última versión), PS como programa de imágenes e InDesign como programa de cabecera… Hay mucha gente en el mundo que quedó huérfana, el AI nunca pudo ser “su programa”. ¿Adobe no podría rever esa decisión? InDesign y Photoshop no tienen competencia… Tanto molestaba FreeHand?

  • Caleb — 11:47 AM on February 01, 2008

    I wish I could expound the benefits of growth and change to all the stubborn users of this ancient program “FreeHand”. As Adobe has stated MULTIPLE times, they are working to provide the BEST transition to AI for all FH users as possible. I rarely read any complaints written by users about their current software upgrades. Is this because you’re used to the current UI and now it just changed a little bit? Consider the switch to AI as a product upgrade and consider the few instances that contradict the term “upgrade” as personal issues. Just about everyone learning AI for the first time understands the UI just fine. Obviously, the problems incountered with AI are what I fondly refer to as B.C.A.M. Issues. (Between Chair and Mouse) Grow up and expand your horizons a little. Adobe is not going back to your precious FH. Get over it.

  • Andrew — 11:30 PM on February 02, 2008

    John: I did my own 1-minute search on Adobe’s website and found the word ‘SEAMLESS’ used a few times in BOLD and in pull-quotes in a marketing PDF Describing the supposed ‘seamlessness’ of CS. I could find many more but I prove my point.
    http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/pdfs/DArcy_CS2_Fnl.pdf
    Caleb: If you learned to fly, why would you ever choose to walk again? Flying is much faster and more efficient than walking. You’ve obviously never used Freehand or you’d be pleading with Adobe to give us our wings back. Designers who’ve never used FH stare up into the clouds with their Walkman personal cassette tape player and wonder what’s so bad about AI and what’s this thing called an iPod? If Freehand’s ancient, then Adobe must still be drowning in the primordial soup.
    All we’re asking is that Adobe compare AI feature for feature with Freehand and use the most intuitive, simplest, fastest, (aka BEST) solution of both worlds. They simply haven’t done this and that’s why we’re complaining. Adding the multiple pages feature would not be difficult at all programming-wise but then we wouldn’t need to spend hundreds on InDesign. Adobe likes to milk us for cash and waste our time opening 2 programs that take longer than 10 seconds to load. AI and InDesign each take 20-30 seconds to load on my Dual core 2 gHz Mac with 2 gigs of ram. That’s not even opening a document! Both also immediately and seamlessly crash when either is used simultaneously with Photoshop. Have faith Adobe! Take care of us and we’ll take care of you.

  • Andrew — 11:35 PM on February 02, 2008

    All we’re asking is that Adobe compare AI feature for feature with Freehand and use the most intuitive, simplest, fastest, (aka BEST) solution of both worlds. They simply haven’t done this and that’s why we’re complaining. Do what’s best for THE CUSTOMER, not what’s be$t for you.
    John, You probably have no idea how many lives you saved by giving us this little corner of the web to rant and vent. Thanks.

  • Tony Hunter — 11:25 AM on February 04, 2008

    ARGH! Rant and Vent time!
    Still trying to use CS2 after FOUR months of enforced migration from OS9 and FH8. Yes, EIGHT – I didn’t upgrade beyond 8 because 8 WORKED PERFECTLY WELL for me. This is a RATHER IMPORTANT ISSUE. If FreeHand hadn’t then started trying to be more like Illustrator and introduced multiple selection tools, it’s market share of dedicated users wouldn’t have dropped in the first place… WE DIDN’T LIKE ILLUSTRATOR. That was pretty much the POINT of FreeHand, and why we used it!
    I’m admittedly getting slowly better at CS2 but why on EARTH is there such poor global point control?
    I can’t really improve my workrate with these godawful tools for crying out loud. And that’s what they’re supposed to be – TOOLS. Does a carpenter have to put up with swapping between a hammer selection tool and a nail selection tool? Does he have to constantly swap between the two every five seconds?
    Why can’t we have a ‘make the point and selection control actually behave like FreeHand 8’ option in the Preferences?!? War over. Something glorious would be born instead.
    Why do they keep giving us ‘revolutionary new tools’ most of us will never actually USE in the real world? Why can’t they just get the SIMPLE STUFF right first?!?! Some of us have to draw more than one picture a day to get paid, you know…
    Example – This is hard to explain but I’ll try. I’ve recently spent an ENTIRE HOUR just trying to find a way to easily smooth alternate points equally on a 36-point polygon to create a simple flower petal -type effect, so the petals are round but joined by a corner (i.e. smooth anchorpoint, corner anchorpoint, smooth anchorpoint, corner anchorpoint…) –
    In the end, I copied it out and opened Freehand MX, selected the alternates points, clicked on the ‘smooth point’ button and then clicked on the ‘auto’ tag – hey presto, job done, all 18 curves equally rounded, copied it back into Illustrator. What’s the Illustrator equivalent of this operation? Can I find it? Can I heck…. and I don’t half miss it. And copying out isn’t always viable.
    Am I the only one that ever used this feature in FreeHand? Surely not. Is there some plug in somewhere that someone knows about that will let me do this!?! FreeHand’s had this option since version FIVE or maybe even earlier! TEN YEARS AGO! Help me! I’ll sell my granny for it!
    (And I’m not wasting my valuable time drawing 18 bloody ovals, rotating them 10°, and merging them either before anyone gets smart – that’s not the ‘point’ I’m making. And don’t get me started on the god-awful Join command… pre-selecting open endpoints for god’s sake – sheesh. AI? Illustrator doesn’t seem to HAVE any.
    John, if Adobe’s developers REALLY want to sort Illustrator out, here’s an idea… How about not automatically dismissing what’s being said by the FreeHand users? The Illustrator developers are labouring under the misapprehension that Illustrator already has equvalent tools to what FreeHand users had – Quite simply, it DOESN’T.
    If they can try and accept this possibility, and try to find out why they aren’t, maybe THEN we can all see some REAL progress and I can start possibly hitting a few deadlines again.
    Rant over… for now.
    Tony, UK

  • eze — 10:14 PM on February 07, 2008

    the thing I loved on Freehand other than the work dynamics were the light resource consumption
    have you tried LineForm?
    I liked how it is going, considering its a new software. seems promising

  • Tony Hunter — 1:21 AM on February 08, 2008

    Me again – I feel I should back up my claim about ‘getting simple stuff right first’ with a proper example.
    The Fill and Stroke toggles – why isn’t there a third toggle? A toggle that allows you to drag and drop a colour change to BOTH fill and stroke colours at once? That’s REALLY basic.
    [So you’d like to change the stroke and fill simultaneously to be the same color? I’m having a hard time thinking of a case where that would be useful. –J.]
    If I need to change the unnamed colours in 20 artworks from a previous edition of a book from CMYK to, say, a PANTONE Duotone, I don’t want to have to drag and drop twice umpteen more times than I have to in all 20 files.
    (Of course, if Illustrator had advanced ‘name all colours’ and ‘replace colour’ options like FreeHand 8 onwards, I wouldn’t actually have that much dragging and dropping to do in the first place, but that’d obviously be too much to ask… wouldn’t it?)
    [I don’t know all the find-and-replace options Illustrator offers. I do know that the Live Color features in CS3 offer some extremely powerful ways to map colors to specific outputs. –J.]
    Why can’t this third toggle just sit with the other two on the toolbar, or even just in the colour pallete, like it used to in FreeHand, where it would make sense?
    —-
    I can’t help but feel that a big reason for such odd absenses is Adobe’s ridiculous pursuit of so-called ‘cross-appplication integration’ for the last few years now.
    Can I just point out something important…?
    InDesign is meant for DTP.
    Photoshop is meant for Raster.
    Illustrator is meant for Vector.
    So why did anyone think we NEEDED to have identical tools in all three? They aren’t intended for the same jobs anyway!
    [Correct. But are you saying that it shouldn’t be possible to draw a shape in Photoshop or to define a path in InDesign, or to place images in Illustrator? It’s not as if PS or ID have strong vector-drawing tools, or as if ID or AI offer bitmap editing. –J.]
    I remember back several years when our company used FreeHand, Photoshop and Quark for ALL our needs – and all had different tools (and parent companies, come to think of it, until Adobe bought Macromedia) – yet at no point did any of us think our lives would be any easier if they all had identical toolbars and shortcuts.
    We’re now in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign – and our lives are genuinely much tougher, not easier.
    [I don’t mean this sarcastically, but why don’t you go back, then? All those programs should run just fine & integrate with one another just as they always have. Why did you spend time and money making the switch if you’re so unhappy? I’m genuinely curious. –J.]
    God forbid anything that might make the toolbar in one application look different from the rest it’s Creative Suite brethren.
    [So, just to get this straight, you’re beating us up for being *too consistent*? That’s at least refreshing, as normally complaints are about not being consistent enough. –J.]
    I’m sure the new Eraser tool in CS3 was only developed purely because there was already one in Photoshop. But why bother?
    [It’s there because the the AI team wanted to make it easier to carve out pieces of vector graphics without having to think about their structure first (as it is, FWIW, in Flash). If FreeHand didn’t have it, though, it must suck. –J.]
    After all, most of us don’t go home to our own Macs and PCs and expect the same mouse clicks in, say, World of Warcraft and Warcraft III, to do exactly the same thing. Different apps, same company – and yet we cope with the differences quite easily.
    [Damned when we do, and damned when we don’t. –J.]
    Let’s have a return to common sense, eh?
    Tony, UK

  • Tony Hunter — 7:00 AM on February 11, 2008

    John, you wrote:
    [I don’t mean this sarcastically, but why don’t you go back, then? All those programs should run just fine & integrate with one another just as they always have. Why did you spend time and money making the switch if you’re so unhappy? I’m genuinely curious. –J.
    Ooo… a challenge! I’d roll up my sleeves if I wasn’t wearing a Tee…
    Right then – I’ll answer your actual query first, John, though it’ll take a bit of rambling…
    We can’t go back to FreeHand simply because of the nature of our business. The company I work for is a pre-press outfit which has the often awkward task of working with files supplied to us from various other sources and preparing them for final print – this can include files from a huge range of different programs and applications.
    As a result we often have to deal with brand new electronic artwork – or electronic artwork recovered from previous editions – all supplied to us by various freelancers, publishers and external artists, all of whom have their own way of working and supplying files, and are quite often people with surprisingly limited understanding of how digital print actually works – even the differences between supplying in RGB and CMYK. Flight-checking artwork and resolving problems, rogue elements and colour issues in EPS files is an important part of our work, and FreeHand 8, coupled with a proper preflight application, has always proved to be a much better tool for doing this than Illustrator (and worryingly, it still is. This isn’t bias – it’s a fact).
    As time has gone by, the suppliers have upgraded to newer versions of the apps they were using (often just for the sake of credibility with publishers, so their websites could boast they used the latest software). Of course our older dated programs were no longer capable of opening the files they supplied, should the publishers and authors have any amendments needed to be made. Usually there isn’t time to get the original creators of the artwork to do the amendments and resupply because of print deadlines, so we have to be able to make changes in-house. And in order to do that, we have to have the ability to work in the programs the files were created in.
    As a result, we’ve always had to have at least one up-to-date version of the most often used software so we can access the files, whether it be Illustrator, Freehand, Photoshop, Word, Quark, InDesign etc. However, because of some of the more advanced features in newer programs (i.e transparencies, drop-shadows), it often isn’t possible to save them back down to a format usable in older applications. And of course, as time goes on, more and more files are going to be supplied in the latest version of Illustrator, for example.
    By choosing to move to Illustrator in the last few months, we’re trying to be proactive and tackle a major problem for our company, which is in fact only going to escalate with the discontinuation of FreeHand, and the last version of Freehand’s inevitable inability to open more and more recent versions of Illustrator EPS files.
    If it was simply a case of drawing and supplying artwork ourselves, we WOULD have stuck with FreeHand 8 (we’ve already stuck with it for ten years after all) – however, we’ve tried to make the jump before we’re pushed too hard by misinformed publishers who, sadly, believe the very latest software somehow guarantees excellence (many are jumping on the Certified PDF bandwagon, for example, without even an understanding of what it actually entails).
    The hope was that working for an extended period in Illustrator would give us the chance fully familiarize us once-and-for-all with the program, and to find hidden, equivalent tools to the ones we enjoyed in FreeHand. Sadly, we haven’t, and Illustrator is constantly letting us down with it’s limitations.
    We had an Illustrator trainer in a few months back and gave him a list of things we’d found we couldn’t do anymore, and he could give us no alternatives. In fact, he even went as far as saying that, now he’d seen them, he wished many of them were things Illustrator could do as well. And he’s head of a design company.
    The thing is, our own company is in a fairly unique position in that we can legitimately compare the pros and cons of both Illustrator and FreeHand – we had to be capable of working in both on a regular basis, and unfortunately, the program we found best for our uses is the one that is now going to become outdated, redundant and unusable to us in the near future.
    At the end of the day, Illustrator CAN do a lot of the things FreeHand could, but sometimes it just can’t – and often, even if it does, it takes a damn sight longer to do.
    Illustrator CS2 has simply proved a poor replacement in terms of productivity and usefulness, and CS3 seems little better according to my studio colleague who has been working with it for a month.
    Unfortunately, from this point in time onwards, it looks like we’re firmly stuck with it. All we can do is point out what doesn’t work as well as it should and hope for the best that someone will ever care.
    Speaking of which…
    —-
    You said:
    [So you’d like to change the stroke and fill simultaneously to be the same color? I’m having a hard time thinking of a case where that would be useful. –J.]
    Well, that’s maybe just because you don’t do our job, John – but quite frankly, that response totally astonished everyone in our studio.
    This isn’t the only use, but it is one – If we have to standardize artwork in Illustrator to work to a new colour scheme for, say, a new edition of a book, and the previous artist who created the artwork from the last edition didn’t bother naming and using global colours in his artwork, we have to create a new swatch in EACH artwork and apply it to ALL the lines and fills, ESPECIALLY if the job is now a duotone (black and one PANTONE colour).
    A box may have a fill and a stroke exactly the same colour regardless if it needs a stroke or not, especially if it’s been converted from an external program like Excel or Word. To change the colour of both, I’ve got to drag-and-drop from the colour palette TWICE. In FreeHand, just once, because of the ‘third toggle’. Multiply that for say, 100 artworks throughout a job, then the same operation takes at the very least a hundred more clicks. And obviously, you have to do this more than once in a single artwork… and all this clicking adds up during a workday.
    (The third toggle in FreeHand also has a bonus use, in that if both stroke and fill are the same colour, it flags it that way. If not, it displays a dash to indicate they have been assigned different colour values. This can help identify a RGB black sitting alongside a dark grey in the same object – again, helpful during flightchecking issues.)
    Regardless, we have to do all this manually now because Illustrator has no option to simply name every colour that’s lurking in an open document and list it in the colour palette. FreeHand 8 did, and once all the colours are named there, it would let us select one of these colours, and then chose ANOTHER colour from the list to globally replace all instances of that colour with.
    At present, we haven’t found a way for Illustrator to do the initial colour naming. As a pre-flight option… well, it’s frankly a huge miss for us.
    I can go on and point out other niggles with tools and their limitations if you like, but I’ve not the time right now… let me know if you want to hear them.
    Tony, UK
    —-

  • Caleb — 11:48 AM on February 11, 2008

    I hope I’m not the first one to realize that it is not necessary to drag and drop from the color palette TWICE like you claim, Tony. Try dragging a color into the ‘fill color’ now, move your mouse a FRACTION of an inch and go ahead and drag that ‘fill color’ right into your stroke color. I’ve tried many combinations of Ctrl+Shift+Alt, etc. to no avail; pitch the unnecessarily long click-and-drag.

  • Tony Hunter — 12:56 AM on February 12, 2008

    Thanks for that Caleb – That does work actually better that dragging direct from the colour palette twice – would still like a third toggle though!
    My point about the third toggle giving indications about differences between two different but similar looking colours in the stroke and fill panels still stands, I feel.
    Sometimes you have to stumble on these things by trial and error (like being able to change measurements on the fly by control-clicking the document rulers – I only found that by accident!)
    Many thanks again, Caleb!
    Tony, UK

  • Chris — 6:15 AM on February 13, 2008

    I absolutely agree with Tony – how to handle professional packaging design with 30-page layouts? making 30 Illustrator PDF taking 10 times longer, connecting them in Acrobat or getting nasty in the Printer Menue of Illu CS2 ??
    Neither Illustrator nor Indesign
    (that does not open Freehand Vectors) can replace Freehand MX/9 in any case.
    That’s not only unlucky, it’s a desaster for a truly professional company like Adobe that normally develops excellent software.
    Illustrator is also well programmed, but absolutely essential features are missing, and the usability compared to FH (multipage, pasting inside, creating vectors/drawings is horrific!
    I could use Illustrator, Freehand,…
    I would not care, but Freehand MX does not display several foreign languages as greece, Central European.. correctly, so those Multipage artworks must be developed in Freehand 9 – and that works only in Mac OS Classic mode – and that only works on Motorola Macs that aren’t developed anymore … noticed anything ?!
    I appreciate the (buggy) Freehand import feature, but
    have you ever thought about that? have you ever tried to convert thousand of multipage layouts to Illustrator? come on, that’s sick, really sick, to provide really professional software in that market, there must be a either THIS or THAT software, but Adobe forces us into a desaster, a neither nor!
    There was a professional Tool called Freehand for more that a decade now, an all in one product – and even it was one for all, it did and still does a far better job that the highly specialized and some cases really unusable Illustrator. Well, theres another application, Indesign & Illu, and BOTH are not able to replace Freehand – that’s a shame.
    As stated: normally i would not care a second if i could continue to use FH on a newer Macintosh, but the facts are that if the support of FH will be completely dead, can’t we expect at least the features that provide the ability to continue our work?

  • Caleb Vainikka — 9:46 AM on February 22, 2008

    I will offer some clarification on the multiple page layout issue that seems to be the most important problem faced by FreeHand users:
    The maximum size allowable in AI is 16,383px. by 16,383px. Recall that a letter sized artboard is 612px by 792px. SO: realistically it is possible to create 26.76 pages horizontally by 20.69 pages vertically. Lets work with whole numbers: 26 times 20 is 520 pages!!!
    AI has a wonderful tool called the KNIFE which can slice a drawing into multiple saved files; so….USE IT!
    I keep reading repeated problems about creating 20-30 page layouts, which is miniscule in comparison to the available space on the artboard.
    I understand the need/desire to have bleed area surrounding each page of a project, and this is still possible! Create a number (

  • caleb — 8:36 AM on February 25, 2008

    Part of my rant was missing:
    Create a number of rectangles(less than 520) and spread them across the artboard, leaving room for bleed/extra space outside your drawing. Select ALL and lock selection. Now save file as a template for future use.

  • Steve Thrall — 5:47 PM on February 25, 2008

    I’ve searched and googled for two days trying to find out if anyone else feels as I do. I’ve used Freehand since its inception and it wipes Adobe out…by doing all the things I need to do in one program. I just hope it goes open source some day. Remember, beta was better than VHS but it was killed, too. Sometimes good things just don’t last.

  • Chris — 5:31 AM on February 26, 2008

    @Steve
    indeed
    @Caleb
    oh my god, what a usability!

  • Graeme Chambers — 5:50 AM on February 29, 2008

    I’ve used FH for the past 12 years in medical illustration for publishing, but recently my publisher, (one of the UK/world’s largest), have been hinting that global directives on pdf work flows etc may leave me and my beloved FH artwork out in the cold.
    As a result I’ve been struggling all week to get a hook on Illustrator. Something that is going to make me want to get out of my bed in the morning and look forward to my day.
    It’s Friday morning and once again I feel I’ve tried and failed. All week I’ve perservered with tutorials and books showing me how to find/do this and that. Lots of the Illustrator’s features I like and could very happily use in the creation of my illustrations.
    However, there always comes a point in the day when I scream at my mac and totally lose the plot. This regularly happens following any use of the pen/selection/clipping masks, the list does go on! (Please see Alex’s superb list-May07- of additional trigger points that will enduce this state of mind).
    Add to this a new annoyance. When I set up a page, change the font/size, line weight I’d like to use, unlock the guides etc and then save, I’d like to believe that the next time I open that file all will be as I left it. But no, it’s all change back to the defaults.
    Dear J, please do your best to see to it that as many as possible of Alex’s suggestions are realized in CS4. I agree that most of this could be done via preferences and why not just call them ‘Freehand’ preferences. After all who else would possibly be interested in them …..only FH converts…..or anyone interested in efficiency and speed.
    Thanks in anticipation of a storming CS4.
    G
    Co Down. Ireland

  • serena — 1:49 PM on March 06, 2008

    With all the incredible input seen and understood here and elsewhere, in the past and in the future, one day there WILL be ONE beautiful, sublimely simple, intuitively rich programme that combines everything great that has ever been developed across the board in digitial design – not possible! Anything is possible. It won’t be called by any name we have come to love and know it will be called PHOENIX! Out of the ashes of great things comes one beast even greater, it won’t be perfect, there’s no such thing, what’s perfect today isn’t necessarily tomorrow. But it will be the collective global creative community who will work constantly, together, to ensure that it gets better and better.
    No I am not a businesswoman, yes this is simplistic thinking.I am a realist but I am also a dreamer and Dreams can come true!

  • jc — 8:17 AM on March 07, 2008

    I’ve been using both Illustrator and Freehand for a number of years, but mostly FreeHand since the interface is so intuitive, and I can work extremely fast in it. It takes much longer to do the same work in Illustrator. As an illustrator/designer, I can ‘sketch’ quickly in FreeHand, and work spontaneously…not so in Illustator. Features like style sheets (I know they’re made much-needed improvements for type control in Illustrator), multi-page capability (great when designer trade-show panels, exhibits, etc…), and the excellent masking and selection controls, all make it a better option for me. I wish they could incorporate multi-page funtionality in Illustrator; why is this so difficult? Also, they need to fix the inadequate selection commands…you should be able to ‘drill down’ through a stack of objects (even InDesign does a better job at this) rather than use the Illustrator key command that selects objects in layer order all over the page; a frustrating waste of time. And they need to fix the masking tool so that clicking outside of the mask DOESN’T select the contents; equally frustrating. But sadly, FreeHand is being eclipsed and is becoming outdated. Some printers now regard it as a non-standard application because of compatability issues and inefficient rip times, and may charge extra if we use it.

  • mcs in usa — 3:30 AM on March 16, 2008

    I knew all along that Adobe would kill Freehand.
    [Please. Read. The. Thread. Posting the same uninformed statement over and over isn’t going to make it true. FreeHand development was killed at least two and a half years before Adobe acquired the program. –J.]
    Freehand was too much of a threat to Illustrator and Illustrator is “their” program. While I will give Illustrator it’s credit, Freehand just works better. Things make sense in Freehand. Adobe’s interface has just gotten worse and worse and Illustrator always has (and still is) SLOW.
    Also what is with the lack of multiple pages? I mean come on, this is 2008 and they can’t get multiple pages in Illustrator?
    Instead of FORCING people to move over to Illustrator (yes, this is what they’re doing), why not just update Freehand? Give us full Vista compatiblity, more reliability, faster performance and update all the file importers (like the Illustrator file importer). Instead of pissing off customers, Adobe would have won over loyal Freehand customers who would pay for upgrades.
    I will never buy Illustrator unless they make it run and operate JUST like Freehand. I won’t be holding my breath…
    [Neither will I, thankfully. –J.]

  • Christian Lenaerts — 6:38 AM on March 16, 2008

    As a CEO of a international brand development agency for over 15 years, I have worked with many designers using Freehand and/or Illustrator. Freehand users were to me always more intuitive AND more precise in their work methodology. They just delivered faster and better jobs (using FH looked like a game and not a quest) Sorry AI users but my best designers ALL converted to Freehand after a while.
    Having experienced incredible frustrations of learning new interfaces over all these years with many different software applications I must say that Freehand always was a superior exception: every new version of FH felt, better, more logic, one could feel a collaboration of top level graphic designers, interface designers and coders.
    I do understand all the sadness in this forum: losing FreeHand means to a lot of leading designers going “back” in time. Knowing that a more effective tool is taken of the market and having to convert to counterproductive tool is against all logic.
    Thank you Freehand for all these great years with the best vector tool
    Courage to all actual FH users! We understand your sadness.

  • Shin Yee — 1:42 PM on March 16, 2008

    John, It’s almost a year already. I followed much of the debate here, and I feel that you still do not understand why designers love Freehand. You wanted concrete suggestions, yet you question the relevant ones.
    [I think there are plenty of good suggestions, plenty of things that FH does better than AI. I’ve responded to those ideas and have discussed them a number of times with the Illustrator team. They *are* listening, and you *will* see changes you’ll like. By the same token, you’re not going to see Illustrator turn into some FreeHand clone. –J.]
    I’m sorry it’s not your fault. But if you really want to help, bring back Freehand one way or another. You can call it what you want – Freedraw, Smarthands etc. Bring back a program with common sense.
    [The idea that putting a team onto a product that was killed five years ago by another company, thereby splitting resources between two very large 20-year-old codebases, would produce better results for customers than focusing efforts on a single best-of-breed solution is absurd.
    Sorry, but I’ve grown tired of pulverizing the same very dead horses. No new ideas have been generated here in a very long time, so I’m now turning off comments on this thread. Thanks for all the feedback. –J.]

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