Review: Illustrator CS5 a solid, not earth-shattering, update
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Review: Illustrator CS5 a solid, not earth-shattering, update

By David Creamer

As the Creative Suite versions of the Adobe (http://www.adobe.com) software mature, the list of new features for each program grows smaller, but the new features seem to be getting better. This release has some nice features, making this an important upgrade for those using Illustrator for more artistic purposes -- of course, many of those features are useful for graphic designers, too. Here are the top new features for Illustrator CS5 (a.k.a. version 15).

The Perspective tools are a welcome, if not overdue, addition to the Adobe Illustrator (AI) feature set -- one wonders if this feature was on the drawing board for some time or was the technology a pick-up from Adobe FreeHand MX.

Two new tools have been added: The Perspective Grid tool (Shift-P) and the Perspective Selection tool (Shift-V). The grid tools are easy to work with. The Perspective Grid tool adds a default grid to the page that can be visually modified. When a grid plane is active, many of the normal drawing tools work in perspective. When moving or scaling perspective objects, you must be sure to use the Perspective Selection tool to keep the object in perspective.

Think of the new Shape Builder tool (Shift-M) as “Live Paint meets Pathfinder.” You can work with selected shapes (much like Live Paint) to merge and subtract the overlapping areas (like the Unite and Minus Front options in Pathfinder). At first I thought this was a tool for those who didn’t like the Pathfinder panel, but the more I work with it, the more I like it. I wouldn’t necessarily upgrade just for it, but it certainly adds to the overall package.

Variable-width stokes is one of the best improvements to happen to strokes in a long time. The Width tool (Shift-W) allows you to take a standard stoke and change the width dynamically by clicking on a stroke and dragging away from the center of the path. Stokes can be adjusted on one side of the path by holding-down the Option (PC: Alt) key and dragging. The settings can even be saved as a stoke profile for future use. Compared to the old process of outlining a stroke, adding points, and then editing them with the Direct Selection tool (A), this tool is a big time saver.

Arrowheads have been added to the bottom of the Stroke panel and are much easier to implement now. A nice new feature is to have the arrowhead end at the path anchor point, rather than sticking beyond it.

The oft-forgotten Brush panel gets a fun, new type of brush: the Bristle Brush. This allows Photoshop-like brushes to be created and used with the Paintbrush tool (B) in Illustrator. Of course, just like previous brushes, they can be applied to existing paths and shapes. This tool really requires a tablet for proper freehand use—with a tablet you can see the brush shape and angle.

The multiple artboard features get some needed improvement by way of the new Artboards panel. Artboards can be named, reordered, added, duped, deleted, and rearranged with the new panel. In addition, the panel can be used to jump from artboard to artboard.

There’s now a Paste on All Artboards command (under the Edit menu) -- handy when working with repeating elements such as symbols. Artboard rulers got a needed makeover, too. Instead of separate rulers that didn’t do much (as in CS4), the traditional ruler changes for each artboard. Each artboard can have a custom zero-point, too. Another big change with rulers is that they’re now oriented in the upper-left corner like InDesign, not in the bottom-left corner like the previous version.

In previous versions, raster-based effects -- such as drop shadows, glows, and Photoshop effects -- in a print-based document could really bog down your computer. One trick was to work with a lower effect resolution and increase it later during final output. Unfortunately, some effects were measured by pixels; so changing from 72 ppi to 300 ppi could dramatically alter the look of the effect. Now, the settings are recalculated to look similar; however, because they’re being recalculated, the appearance might change slightly.

This feature is important since Illustrator CS5 isn’t 64-bit, but still 32-bit, so it can’t access more than 3–4 GB of RAM. Granted, most users would never need the 64-bit option, but I’ve seen Illustrator slow down due to high-res effects.

There are three drawing modes now: Draw Normal, Draw Behind, and Draw Inside (you can find these options near the bottom of the Toolbox). Draw Normal is what you’ve normally used in AI in the past. Draw Behind does just that: Draw behind the selected object(s). If nothing is selected, it draws beneath all objects on a layer. Draw Inside draws inside the selected object; basically, it creates a clipping path automatically, but it’s much easier than previous methods.

Symbols have had a number of improvements, but the most dramatic is the support of 9-slice scaling. While it was available in the last few versions of Illustrator, it was only for symbols being exported to Flash. The feature was meaningless in Illustrator. Not any more—now it works in AI, too!

When creating graphics for the Web, the Transform panel has a couple of new options: Align to Pixel Grid for existing objects and Align New Objects to Pixel Grid. This prevents any “fuzzy” graphics when exported for the Web. Another feature is similar to the pixel grid feature in Photoshop: When View>Pixel Preview is on and the zoom level is greater than 600%, a pixel grid is visible for precise alignment of objects.

Some of the new features are just improvements of existing features; in other words, they’re not earth-shattering. Overall, this is a nice upgrade -- either by itself (does anyone buy separate packages anymore?) or combined in an Adobe Creative Suite.

Illustrator CS5 costs US$599 for new users. Upgrades from previous versions at $199

Rating: 9 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://www.layersmagazine.com ).

 
AAPL
$106.98
Apple Inc.
-0.36
MSFT
$46.05
Microsoft Corpora
-0.57
GOOG
$550.31
Google Inc.
+0.98

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Sandvox 2.9.2 - Easily build eye-catchin...
Sandvox is for Mac users who want to create a professional looking website quickly and easily. With Sandvox, you don't need to be a Web genius to build a stylish, feature-rich, standards-compliant... Read more
Cocktail 8.0.1 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.3.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
VMware Fusion 7.0.1 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion allows you to create a Virtual Machine on your Mac and run Windows (including Windows 8.1) and Windows software on your Mac. Run your favorite Windows applications alongside Mac... Read more
OneNote 15.3.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.4 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more
Iridient Developer 3.0.0 beta 3 - Powerf...
Iridient Developer (was RAW Developer) is a powerful image conversion application designed specifically for OS X. Iridient Developer gives advanced photographers total control over every aspect of... Read more
TextWrangler 4.5.11 - Free general purpo...
TextWrangler is the powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator's tool. Oh, and also, like the best things in life, it's free. TextWrangler is the "little brother" to... Read more
NeoFinder 6.6 - Catalog your external me...
NeoFinder (formerly CDFinder) rapidly organizes your data, either on external or internal disks, or any other volumes. It catalogs all your data, so you stay in control of your data archive or disk... Read more
Chromium 38.0.2125.111 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Night Sky Pro™ (Reference)
Night Sky Pro™ 3.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Reference Price: $2.99, Version: 3.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Night Sky Pro™Wonder No More™ Night Sky Pro™ is the ultimate stargazing experience. From the creators of the original... | Read more »
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena (Games)
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A zombie shooter audio game. Made from gut-wrenching 3D binaural sound, for a new kind of weird immersion. You... | Read more »
RPG Asdivine Hearts (Games)
RPG Asdivine Hearts 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: SPECIAL PRICE50% OFF (USD 7.99 -> USD 3.99)!!! Travel alongside four companions and a cat in the adventure of a... | Read more »
Haunt the House: Terrortown (Games)
Haunt the House: Terrortown 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: 66.6% OFF! SPECIAL SPOOKY HALLOWEEN LAUNCH PRICE! 66.6% OFF! ...What was that sound? Is somebody there? | Read more »
SAS: Zombie Assault 4 Review
SAS: Zombie Assault 4 Review By Jennifer Allen on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FLAWED SHOOTERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Shoot everything that moves in this fun, if flawed, twin-stick shooter.   | Read more »
Naailde the Witch Review
Naailde the Witch Review By Amy Solomon on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PITCH-PERFECT STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Marvelous storytelling, narration, and moving illustrations make this storybook... | Read more »
1st & Goal Review
1st & Goal Review By Andrew Fisher on October 30th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FOR THE D&D LOVING QBUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad 1st & Goal is a board gamer’s football game, a football fan’s board game, and... | Read more »
French Developer Pated Unveils Seashine
French Developer Pated Unveils Seashine Posted by Ellis Spice on October 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] French one-man studio Pated has unveiled Seashine, “a poetic journey into the abyss.” Players take on the role of a jellyfish strugglin | Read more »
Agents of Storm: Tips, Tricks, and Strat...
Calling all agents: Would you like to see what we thought of this rather pretty base builder? Check out our Agents of Storm review! Have you downloaded Agents of Storm, been bowled over by the graphics, and aren’t quite sure what to do next? Never... | Read more »
Any.DO 2.0 Hopes to Help Manage Producti...
Any.DO 2.0 Hopes to Help Manage Productivity Posted by Ellis Spice on October 30th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Regains Momentum As Windows Stutters An...
The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to March 2014, shows Apple performing strongly in the first quarter of the year, with sales bouncing back in... Read more
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Increase 25.2%...
New smartphone releases and an increased emphasis on emerging markets drove global smartphone shipments above 300 million units for the second consecutive quarter, according to preliminary data from... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2014 15-inch M...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Apple drops prices on refurbished 2013 Retina...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on 2013 Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros, with Retina models now available starting at $999. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and... Read more
New 2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $949, save $5...
Abt Electronics has the new 2.8GHz Mac mini in stock and on sale for $949.05 including free shipping. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller... Read more
Sale! 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro available for...
 B&H Photo has the 3.7GHz Quad Core Mac Pro on sale for $2649 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $350 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from any... Read more
Mujjo Steps Up The Game With Refined Touchscr...
Netherlands based Mujjo have just launched their Refined Touchscreen Gloves, stepping up their game. The gloves feature a updated elegant design that takes these knitted gloves to the next level. A... Read more
Sale! Preorder the new 27-inch 5K iMac for $2...
 Abt Electronics has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale and available for preorder for $2374.05 including free shipping. Their price is $125 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more
Simplex Solutions Inc. Brings Secure Web Surf...
New York based Simplex Solutions Inc. has announced the release and immediate availability of Private Browser 1.0, its revolutionary new secure web browser developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch... Read more
Save up to $180 off MSRP with an Apple refurb...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Every day, business customers come to the Apple Store to discover what powerful, easy-to-use Apple products can do for them. As a Business Leader, Read more
Sr. Manager, *Apple* Deployment Programs fo...
**Job Summary** Apple is seeking candidates for a new position on the Education Content and Technology team. iPad and Mac is in the hands of millions of teachers and Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple I...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.