Posts Tagged Illustrator

Why Illustrator is more relevant than ever

 Illustrator CS6 is here, and I’m excited! I’m no designer; I pretend to be one sometimes, but I’m really not. What I can sometimes call myself, though, is a technologist; and what I see in Illustrator CS6 excites the technologist in me. Let me tell you why, I think, Illustrator is important, and why, in this time and age it is more relevant than ever.

Size does matter


John Warnock

Dr. John Warnock

Let’s start from the beginning, a good place to start. 25 years ago, John Warnock created Illustrator. In the years that followed, print was the dominant medium and size was important. You wanted your artwork on a postcard as well as a billboard on Times Square. Vector graphics were the way to go; Illustrator was the tool of choice. Of course, it helped that Adobe also pioneered PostScript®—used together, they provided a pretty exciting package that helped designers push boundaries.

The infant web

Flash forward to the infant web: Illustrator lost some of its sheen and appeal. It became a niche tool for designers and illustrators. The early internet was mostly raster.

Raster vs Vector

Folks consumed most content within the browser. GIF/JPEG ruled the roost for a long time, mainly because that’s what worked really well on those slow and unreliable dial-up connections. Internet was like the wild-wild-west, and the pioneers were happy with what they got. Then bandwidth exploded, Moore’s law and economies of scale made powerful computers available to more and more people, a better image format was needed. PNG emerged the winner: raster was, and in most cases still is, good enough.

Adobe SVG

Adobe’s SVG format was, I think, a little ahead of its time. Average folks didn’t really care about vector graphics and graphic fidelity just yet. Why would they? They were still used to crummy text. The web didn’t even have proper typography! If you saw bad typography everywhere, would you complain about pixelated graphics?

Size does matter. Again.

In the era ushered in by the Apple iPhone, HTML5 and then by the iPad and a plethora of Android devices, we’re now completing a circle. Size is relevant again. Just like you wanted to scale your design from a postcard to billboard, now you want the content to scale from an iPhone to a giant 104” HDTV, and everything else in between. (plus that postcard and that billboard.) Needless to say, the consumers now expect fidelity.
Infant tablets were happy with raster images. PNGs worked fine, just like GIFs had for the infant web. The early tablet and smartphone processors, were able to display images just fine, but didn’t pack enough punch to draw vector graphics. To give consumers the illusion of speed, technologists probably decided that PNGs are just fine.

Image Courtesy: Adobe Canada blog

As we found out recently, after the retina display was launched, we also need to account for platform and device fragmentation. For example, PNGs that worked well on the iPad 2 started looking really crummy on the retina display. Higher resolution PNGs break compatibility with older hardware, and require significantly higher bandwidth. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but to remain relevant, we’ll surely need infinite resolution pretty soon. (If you didn’t already, now you know the Illustrator team’s blog is


Don’t predict the future, unless you know. But it’s safe to hazard an educated guess.

Manufacturers are adding multiple cores, and faster RAM. You have more processing power in your pocket than NASA had in 1969#1; we can aim higher than the moon! We need to ensure pristine content on any class of device: phones, tablets, computers, TVs, or the emerging content-consumption devices such as smart-watches, smart-glasses, and whatever inventors will dream up next. Who knows, how soon you’ll be reading the morning news on your coffee cup?

To be successful, the content will have to be scalable. Which output format will finally prevail is open for discussion. We’ll need to wait a while to find out.


Whether content will be HTML5, SVG, PDF, Flash, or something else entirely, I don’t know. But it will be created in Illustrator, that I’m sure.
Illustrator has evolved immensely in the last 25 years. And today, it is poised to transform the world’s content, yet again: one path at a time.


 It's probably true, but I can't be sure; Apollo 11 had a 2.048 MHz CPU.


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Tool Galleries | Illustrator

This must be one of the fastest ways to Learn Illustrator!

Illustrator provides many tools for creating and manipulating your artwork. These galleries provide a quick visual overview for each tool.  Links below the tool take you to the nearest topic about using the particular tool, in case you want to read further.

For example, the Drawing Tool Gallery explains the Pen tool. Links below the tool take you to the nearest topic about using the particular tool, in case you want to read further.

Drawing tool gallery

Drawing tool gallery


See the following tool galleries for a quick look at the tools and how to use them.



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Toolbox Overview | Illustrator CS5

Every craftsman needs the right tool for the job. Illustrator has so many that sometimes I get confused, and just can’t find the tool I’m looking for. The following image is a life saver when it comes to quickly locating the right tool.

Adobe Illustrator CS5 Toolbox

Adobe Illustrator CS5 Toolbox

The above graphic is an extract from the Tools Panel overview from the Adobe Illustrator online help.

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Typeface using Illustrator

Playing with Illustrator today, led to this. Can I, now say, that I can create a Typeface using Illustrator?

Not to mention an aquatic life form too!

But seriously, it seems that it can be done. See the following tutorials to get you started.


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Ask a CS Pro | Illustrator | Rufus Deuchler

We are holding an Ask a CS Pro session tomorrow with CS Evangelist Rufus Deuchler which will focus on the Appearance Panel in Illustrator CS5.

Join us tomorrow from 12p.m. – 1p.m. Pacific Time, for the next Ask A CS Pro session on Adobe Illustrator.  Rufus Deuchler is this week’s host and he will be focusing on what he defines as the “coolest feature” in Illustrator: the Appearance Panel.  For more information visit the event invitation: Looking forward to seeing you there!

A little before  12 pm Pacific time, click on the following link and Adobe Connect will take over:

About Rufus

As Senior Worldwide Design Evangelist at Adobe Systems with an affinity for creative technology, Rufus Deuchler has established himself as a leader in a very specialized arena. With experience as a corporate and editorial designer, he brings more than 15 years of hands-on experience using Adobe Creative Suite applications to the creative table. Rufus adds another dimension to the arena by delivering comprehensive training programs to audiences large and small across the globe, and also contributes time as a teacher for graphic design students. And, he’s an expert in creative workflows based on Adobe solutions. Based in Italy, Rufus enjoys traveling the world to further his mission as a software evangelist.

For more information on Rufus and for links to his blog, please visit:


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