Anyone who works in Adobe Illustrator will find a number of attractive features in its new version. The new features include variable width strokes, Bristle Brush, Perspective Grid, anti-aliasing text for the Web, Flash Catalyst integration. These and more new tools and features make Adobe Illustrator CS5 a compelling upgrade for creative professionals using Illustrator.
First let’s see what new is there for painting.
- A new Width tool provides possibility to vary the width of strokes. When a path has been created and a stroke color chosen you can select the Width tool and increase or decrease thickness of the stroke by dragging a small diamond which will appear on the stroke. The width will change only in that part of stroke where you apply the tool and it will taper down (or up) toward the ends of the path or the next corner anchor points, which will retain the path’s original thickness. In similar way you can change as many parts of a single stroke as you wish. And also there is a possibility to save a pattern of alterations and apply it to other strokes. Unfortunately this tool can not be used to alter brush strokes.
- Now there is more control over art and pattern brushes. Previously they were equally distributed along their paths, but in Adobe Illustrator CS5 you can choose which parts of a brush will stretch and which will remain unchanged. For example, decorative ends of a banner brush can now be protected to retain a permanent size while the middle section of the brush is extended as far as necessary.
- A new tool Bristle Brush allows more natural painting in vector than ever. It provides a great variety of options for brush shape (round or flat) and style (point, blunt, curve, angle, or fan), bristle length, density, and thickness, paint opacity and stiffness.
- In CS5 great improvements were made with regard to brush cornering. It is now easier to control intersection and joining of pattern segments avoiding awkward collisions or empty spaces. Dealing with dashed lines was improved in similar way. Dashed lines can be arranged easily and neatly in the places where path segments of different lengths meet or where a path angle changes. Also Precision scaling of arrowheads was added to Adobe Illustrator CS5.
Now let’s review what those who design for the Web or Flash Platform applications gain with upgrade to Adobe Illustrator CS5.
- Text anti-aliasing system newly adopted by Adobe Illustrator CS5 provides new possibilities for creation of Web graphics with text. Now you can optimize the rasterization of type destined for the Web or mobile devices by setting its anti-aliasing to be Sharp, Crisp, Strong, or not anti-aliased.
- Adobe Illustrator CS5 provides a number of new capabilities which make it compelling for developers working in Flash, Flash Builder, Flex, or Flash Catalyst. Files in Illustrator CS5 can be saved in the FXG format for further work in Flex. Also it is very efficient to use Adobe Illustrator CS5 with entirely new application Flash Catalyst. After a web page or its separate elements have been designed in Illustrator the file can be opened in Flash Catalyst and necessary elements can be made interactve. And then the interactive pages can be again opened in Illustrator for further creative work without loosing the results of work done in Flash Catalyst.
Adobe Illustrator CS5 includes a new tool for creation of three-dimensional images. This tool is called Perspective Grid and it simulates drawing in three-dimensional space. It makes drawing in perspective fast and easy.
There are even more new or improved features in Adobe Illustrator CS5 which may seem not so exciting but are really going to make the creative process faster and easier. The new Shape Builder tool provides a more efficient way to control, combine, and divide pieces of overlapping elements.
Among other new Illustrator features and abilities are new modes to draw behind or inside objects, the ability to select objects behind the current object, better path joining, 9-slice scaling of symbols (a kind of intelligent scaling), and resolution-independent effects. Also From now on a default starting position of vertical and horizontal axes in Illustrator is in the top left as it is in other CS applications, and not in the bottom left as it used to be in previous versions of Illustrator.
Live services provided by Adobe are also integrated in Illustrator CS5. Adobe BrowserLab provides possibility to check how a Web page will look in different browsers. CS Review enables easier and faster team project management. Also there is a panel linking to helpful Illustrator how-tos and other resources. The live services are complimentary during a year after signing up.
Adobe Illustrator CS5 is amazingly faster than its ancestors. For example, when tested CS5 took only four seconds to render a very complex project while CS4 required 20 seconds to fulfill the same task on the same hardware. And naturally thanks to faster operation the workflow productivity is increased. This alone makes upgrade to CS5 worth the price. But undoubtedly every user will find a number of enchantments which will accelerate their work and make it more efficient.