May 07, 2010

Vector painting hotness in Illustrator CS5

I’ve posted some demos showing off Photoshop CS5’s new physics-simulating brush engine–but did you know that the same engine is part of Illustrator CS5 as well?
Check out this painting
and behind-the-scenes info from Greg Geisler, one of the artists behind A Scanner Darkly (see previous). Greg makes amazing use of the new Bristle Brush engine. I’m also digging this illustration by Joel Cocks, done using the same tools.

Side note: When I met Greg in Austin a couple of years ago, he talked about how useful he’d find the ability to tell Illustrator to put subsequent strokes/shapes behind the current one, rather than on top of it. Apparently the Rotoshop artists use this technique extensively when tracing over imagery. I’m pleased to say that Illustrator CS5 implements the new Draw Behind mode. Here’s a brief (2-minute) demo of that feature, along with the related Draw Inside mode.

Posted by John Nack at 10:46 AM on May 07, 2010


  • David Macy — 11:43 AM on May 07, 2010

    Just came across this terrific Illustrator Bristle Brush demo (in French)

  • meitnik — 12:57 PM on May 07, 2010

    Um, according to the online docs for AI, there is a 30 stroke limit to using Bristle brush in saving, printing, etc.. Is that still the case with shipping version?? And why 30? Is this for support for older Iron?? Help me understand its limits better, thanks.
    Oh, and explain more about AI and PS Wacom Introus4 support for CS5.
    Otherwise I am trilled to see stuff I dreamed and waited for FH an era ago.

  • Nick — 1:51 PM on May 07, 2010

    Please can we see the pics, not the ‘How-to’ pdf?

  • J. Peterson — 3:26 AM on May 08, 2010

    The full collection of how-to guides is linked to here (along with the pictures).
    My personal favorite in AI CS5 is the “shape builder” tool. It’s an ingenious solution for creating shapes for multiple figures. Use it once and it’s like “yeah, right answer!

  • David Macy — 8:56 AM on May 10, 2010

    There is no limit on the number of Bristle Brush strokes you can create.
    If you hit more than 30 and you have the brush set to transparent, you will see a warning that says you should flatten before sending to a Postscript printer or saving as PDF.

  • meitnik — 9:57 AM on May 10, 2010

    ok, thx for some clarification. The docs are not that clear. So I can save/print an AI project with more than 30 bristle strokes, as long as they are not transparent? But once I use transparency, it gets tricky for saving, printing etc… Am just trying to make the best use of the cool tool. :-)
    Btw thnx for variable width tool! Man, am I am going to be doing font creation with AI.

  • David Macy — 10:03 AM on May 10, 2010

    You can save an Ai file with any number of strokes, transparent or not.
    You will only find a problem if you try to print directly to a PostScript printer (non-PS shouldn’t be a problem since Ai will rasterize), or if you save a PDF for someone else to print to a PostScript printer. The recommended workflow for this is to select all of the strokes and rasterize before printing.
    Yes, the Width Tool is awesome, thanks!

  • Greg Geisler — 6:43 AM on May 11, 2010

    Thanks for the mention, John. I can’t say enough good things about AI CS5 and the development team that was responsible for it. The Bristle Brushes are amazing and the Draw Under has already saved me countless hours. Bravo Adobe!

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