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
$524.94
Apple Inc.
+5.93
MSFT
$40.01
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$536.10
Google Inc.
-20.44

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.16 - Create inventories...
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
TurboTax 2013.r17.002 - Manage your 2013...
TurboTax guides you through your tax return step by step, does all the calculations, and checks your return for errors and overlooked deductions. It lets you file your return electronically to get... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.769 - Route planning for...
Note: While the software is classified as freeware, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development. TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Livescribe 3 Smartpen Review
Made by: Livescribe Price: $149.99 for Livescribe 3 Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars Usability Rating: 4 out of 5 stars Reuse Value Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars Build Quality Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 4.44 out of... | Read more »
Unpossible Review
Unpossible Review By Carter Dotson on April 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RALPH WIGGUM APPROVESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Unpossible is much better than its English!   | Read more »
Hitman GO Review
Hitman GO Review By Carter Dotson on April 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: GO HITMAN, GO!Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Hitman GO is not the obvious way to do a mobile version of the Hitman series, but it’s an incredibly... | Read more »
Monster High Ghouls and Jewels is a Frea...
Monster High Ghouls and Jewels is a Freaky Fashion-Forward Match-3 Puzzler Posted by Rob Rich on April 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Dinosaur Train A to Z Review
Dinosaur Train A to Z Review By Amy Solomon on April 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DINO DETAILSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dinosaur Train A to Z is an educational app about dinosaurs that includes In-App Purchases... | Read more »
Easter Comes to Junk Jack X – Bringing N...
Easter Comes to Junk Jack X – Bringing New Crafts, Chemistry, and More Posted by Rob Rich on April 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Call of Cookie Review
Call of Cookie Review By Jordan Minor on April 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: COOKIE CRUMBLESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Call of Cookie proves that plants aren’t the only fighting foods out there.   | Read more »
Corel Launches Video Editing App Pinnacl...
Corel Launches Video Editing App Pinnacle Studio for iPhone, Updates iPad Version for iOS 7 Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 17th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Bad Vamp Review
Bad Vamp Review By Jennifer Allen on April 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: BASIC VAMPIRIC ADVENTURESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Run or destroy the vampires in this simple, single-screen game that lacks real bite.   | Read more »
The Shadow Sun gets a New Update, Goes o...
The Shadow Sun gets a New Update, Goes on Sale for the First Time Since its Release Posted by Tre Lawrence on April 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Hyundai Brings Apple CarPlay To The 2015 Sona...
Hyundai Motor America has announced it will bring Apple CarPlay functionality to the 2015 Sonata. CarPlay is pitched as a smarter, safer and easier way to use iPhone in the car and gives iPhone users... Read more
Updated iPads Coming Sooner Than We Had Thoug...
MacRumors, cites KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, well-respected as an Apple product prognisticator, saying that Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini in 2014/Q3, meaning the... Read more
Toshiba Unveils New High And Low End Laptop M...
Toshiba has announced new laptop models covering both the high-end and low-end of the notebook computer spectrum. Toshiba 4K Ultra HD Laptop Toshiba’s new Satellite P55t features one of the world’s... Read more
Save up to $270 with Apple refurbished 13-inc...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished October 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available starting at $1099, with models up to $270 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished iPad mini with...
The Apple Store has Certified Refurbished 2nd generation iPad minis with Retina Displays now available starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free.... Read more
Microsoft Blinks – Drops Microsoft Office 365...
Microsoft has dropped the annual subscription fee for Microsoft Office 365 Personal – which is needed in order to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office for iPad. However, Apple’s iOS and OS X... Read more
New AVG Vault Apps for iOS and Android Help K...
AVG Technologies N.V. an online security company for 177 million active users, has announced the launch of its latest mobile application, AVG Vault. The free app introduces an innovative user... Read more
Free Local Carrot iPhone App Helps Find Fresh...
I love fresh vegetables. I’m not a vegan, although I was for several years in the 1980s, but fresh vegetables and other whole foods are still my dietary mainstays as a matter of taste rather than... Read more
CarSO Pro – Car Service and Finance Manager/O...
Lviv, Ukraine-based BM-Studios’ CarSO Pro is a tool to manage operations concerning your car. Never forget to change the oil or prolong the insurance for your car. Remember when you’ve done the car... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Airs available startin...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. The following Airs are available today: -... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Holyoke - Apple I...
Job Summary Keeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you’re a master of them all. In the store’s fast-paced, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Market Leader - Cincinnati...
…challenges of developing individuals, building teams, and affecting growth across Apple Stores. You demonstrate successful leadership ability - focusing on excellence Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.