Added over 2 years ago
What's new in Illustrator CS5?
What's new in Illustrator CS5?
Quite a bit, as it happens. Besides the beautiful new strokes, HTML5 SVG export and improved Dreamweaver compatibility, pixel grid alignment (for web and mobile graphics) and rather nice enhancements to the multiple artboards function (we can now name artboards as well as number them, paste-in-place across all artboards, and save artboards out to separate documents), here's five of our favourite new features that any graphic designer will get excited about.
Draw-inside and draw-behind modes
At the bottom of the tools palette there are two new toggle switches, the draw-inside and draw-behind tools. They're simple enough – with the draw-inside toggle on anything new you draw will be automatically masked by the last-selected object, which saves a lot of time on creating and applying masks (and managing them later), and with the draw-behind toggle on, any new object appears on the next layer below the last-selected object (and the next object created after that will be one layer down, and so on). Not Earth-shattering, but saves a lot of messing about with send-to-back and send-behind commands.
Select the existing item, then click the "draw-behind" toggle on the tools palette. Draw your next object...
...and it'll appear behind.
Then, click the "draw-inside" toggle...
...draw a new object...
...and it appears inside.
Brilliant stuff. Using the perspective grid and perspective selection tools we can now create a perspective grid, specify horizon and vanishing points, and apply objects to it. Then, when we move or adjust those objects they scale according to the perspective grid. 3D it isn't, quite, but for those of us graphic artists old enough to remember learning perspective drawing with a pencil, tee-square and set-squares it's close to miraculous.
Click the Perspective-grid tool and draw your grid.
Adjust the grid to suit your needs.
Maybe not this much.
A new item added is constrained by the perspective grid.
Text or shapes, either will work.
The shape-builder tool
Okay, perhaps this isn't revolutionary, but it's made the old Pathfinder function a whole lot faster and more efficient. Use the shape-builder tool to converts groups of objects into single objects.
Start with one shape.
Add another, overlapping object.
Using the shape-builder tool, either click-and-drag or multiple-select both objects.
Voilà. One single shape.
(Don't consider these tutorials, by the way, we'll give more comprehensive tutorials on each of these some time very soon).
Variable stroke widths – the width tool
Another awesome little addition: Use the width tool to apply variable stroke widths to single paths. That fiddly old problem of how to get a stroke to thicken gradually? History.
Take a standard stroked path.
Select the path.
Using the variable-width tool click the path and drag to expand the width of the line.
Add further points to control the width.
This is true magic,* even if it takes a little getting used to. The new Bristle brush allows a wider range of control over how strokes work and interact with other objects. Illustrator has taken a large step towards becoming the professional illustrator's perfect tool. We'll get into this one with a proper tutorial some time soon, I promise, but for the moment let's just say that from the point of view of the quality of graphic design out there in the world it might just be the most interesting development Adobe have introduced in a while. Plus, Photoshop CS5 has it as well.
*Okay, not literally magic.
The Bristle Brush is a great leap forward towards reproducing the effect of real media (paint, chalk, pen-and-ink, what graphic designers used to use in the Stone Age, basically), but in vector format. Photoshop and some of the other "paint" programmes work reasonably well, but in pixel format, so not scaleable to larger sizes. It's fiddly, and takes some getting used to (for which reason we'll hold off on giving you pictures of it in action while we develop a full-on tutorial).
There we have it.
The question of whether these additions are enough to warrant a design house spending the money on an upgrade is probably best approached after the excitement of the new bits has worn off somewhat, the heart will want them, but the head might decide that the graphic designer is better off waiting for the next hardware upgrade – new software is exciting, but only if it has the platform to run properly.
Posted by Art Webber at 3:15 pm 0 Comments