Archive for April, 2009

April 24, 2009

Differences in approach

Contributed by David Macy, Illustrator Sr. Product Manager

Do you sketch digitally? Is your working style in Illustrator tight or loose? Do you plan everything before creating a new .ai file or do you make it up as you go?

Here are a couple of almost diametrically opposed approaches that both lead to very impressive results.

Well known Salem, Oregon Illustrator Von Glitschka shared with us not only his beautiful, inspirational and technically pristine artwork, but also a lot of fantastic detail into the technique itself. Von is a great artist and also a very good teacher, so his tutorials are well worth checking out.



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April 22, 2009

Mysteries of the Eraser Tool — Revealed!

Contributed by Brenda Sutherland, Illustrator Team Rowing Captain

In my last post, I talked about <a href=””>Pathfinder and how Illustrator uses the Pathfinder engine to power other great features as well. One of those features is the Eraser Tool, which erases away parts of an object as if were a vector Art Gum.

You might wonder how this could be tied to Pathfinder, and more importantly, how an understanding of its underlying technology will benefit you. Let me explain it this way; the tool can’t read your mind, although it might sometimes seem that way as it erases some objects and not others. I for one love a great mystery, but I think this tool will be even more useful to you if I demystified it by sharing how it works, what it’s limitations are, and the best ways around those limitations.

If you have used the tool, you have probably noticed that it’s very similar to a calligraphic brush. In fact, it can even be used with a pressure sensitive tablet to vary its size, angle and roundness. Double clicking on the tool opens up its Option dialog, where you can customize it’s settings.


The options dialog isn’t the only place were settings can be changed. Just like the Calligraphic Brush, the diameter can be changed by using the bracket keys, ] and [ respectively to increase and decrease the size.


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April 14, 2009

Finding Your Way — with Pathfinder

Contributed by Brenda Sutherland, Illustrator Team Rowing Captain
Several years ago I used to teach Beginning Illustrator at a local Jr. College. When we would get to the section on Pathfinder my students would look at the following diagram and and experience two very strong emotions. First was excitement as they realized with a single click of a button they could combine or divide objects into new shapes. The second was immediate intimidation over the number of buttons, the mysterious icons, and the fear that they would never master them all.


“Relax” I’d tell them. “You don’t need to memorize them all. Just remember that it’s possible! As long as you know there is a way, you can experiment until you get it right. That’s what Undo is for!”

So why is this tool so important? What’s the big deal? Let me explain. You know that Illustrator provides a lot of shape tools. You have your basic circles and squares, which can also create ovals and rectangles, then there’s the star tool and the polygon tool which can create objects with various points and sides, there’s even a rounded rectangle tool, line tool and a grid tool. But it doesn’t matter how many tools we provide. There will always be shapes that you need to create that won’t be possible with any single tool. For example, if you wanted to create a key. There’s no “Key Tool” in illustrator, and even if there was, it probably wouldn’t create exactly the right key for you anyway.


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April 12, 2009

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Contributed by Anubhav Rohatgi, Group Program manager

In 1987 John Warnock, co-founder and chairman of the board at Adobe Systems, demonstrated Adobe Illustrator 1.0. I saw this video for the first time, yesterday on YouTube. It was very inspiring.

Meet Adobe Illustrator, John Warnock Demonstrates AI 1.0 in 1987

I am not sure that I have the clarity of thought and vision to think of something like Illustrator in 1987.

There is some historical information on Illustrator on wikipedia also. The current Illustrator team is standing on the shoulders of giants and we are committed to carrying on the torch set alight by the remarkably talented folks who came before us. Our team is on the hook to make Illustrator more and more relevant to designers today and make their job easier and fun.

The names of these titans on the Illustrator team are listed in all Illustrator releases. Have you seen this yet? On the Mac, select Illustrator>About Illustrator. A dialog will come up. Click on the credits button. We list everyone who has contributed to Illustrator since Illustrator 1.0 in this dialog. Corresponding steps can be followed on Windows by selecting Help>About Adobe Illustrator.


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April 10, 2009

Muscle Appreciation

The Design and Illustration Muscle Collection should keep you busy for a while. Not everyone can contribute though, this flickr collection is curated, so you need to apply.

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