May 04, 2010
Illustrator CS5 has excellent pixel chops (at last)
When I started working at Adobe nearly 10 years ago, I got up in the Illustrator PM’s face. AI9 had just implemented Pixel Preview mode for Web and screen designers, but the feature was maddeningly incomplete. I made my point forcefully, and over the years Illustrator has made improvements (e.g. enabling inside/outside/center placement of strokes), but the job just wasn’t done.
You can now set up a document so that all art automatically snaps to pixel boundaries, meaning that, for example, 1-pixel black strokes will remain 1 pixel in width instead of looking like blurry 2-pixel gray strokes. You can also snap objects selectively to the grid, and you can choose among anti-aliasing options on text. See the Illustrator help docs for more info, or better yet, watch this three-minute video:
But don’t take my (or Mordy’s) word for it. Recently the noted Web designer Jon Hicks (creator of the Firefox logo, among other things) was unhappy with Illustrator for Web work. What a difference a month & a version make:
- March 22: “Illustrator [CS4] in particular irritated the hell out of me with it’s pixel preview artefacts.”
- April 30: After trying Illustrator CS5, “I’m rather smitten with it… Having pixels work properly in Illustrator is fantastic.”