Adobe Illustrator CS3 review At almost 20 years old, Illustrator is the veteran of the core CS3 applications and at one stage looked ready to be put out to pasture. However, with recent innovations such as CS2's Live Paint and Live Trace, Illustrator has reinvented itself - and, with it, the whole field of vector drawing and creative design.
As with all the main CS3 apps, Illustrator now sports the new floatable palette groups stacked neatly into collapsible docker windows. It's Illustrator that gains the most from the new CS3 streamlined interface - especially if you set up your own customised workspaces. Illustrator also provides an alternative via its context-sensitive Control bar; the control this offers has been greatly extended, making alignment easier, for example, and letting you quickly select objects similar to the current selection.
The Control bar is also more useful in contexts such as working with envelope distortions, clipping masks and, crucially, anchor points. You can now align and distribute points just as you do objects. Handling anchor points is also easier, with a more sensitive and accurate Direct Selection tool that highlights nodes as you move over them.
There's a great new Eraser tool that lets you rub out artwork just as easily as you do in Photoshop, while automatically taking care of creating and smoothing the necessary new paths and anchor points. Symbol handling is much improved, and it can be used to apply an instance name that will then be available for scripting in Flash. More importantly, it provides a new Edit Symbol command that replaces the previous complex system of breaking links, editing and replacing.
Now all you have to do is double-click on a symbol and it opens in Isolation mode, where it's brought into focus while all other objects are greyed out. This makes editing much easier and, when you're finished, double-clicking on the artboard automatically updates all other symbol instances. This system of drill-through editing is provided for live paint objects, envelope distortions and any other objects that have been grouped.
It really does make working with complex artwork much simpler. If you want to work separately with the different components that make up the final artwork, the new Crop Area tool lets you quickly mark up any rectangular area for output. Plenty of preset sizes are provided, and you can also display rulers and video safe areas, and align objects to the crop area rather than to the artboard. You can also set up multiple crop areas and quickly swap between them, particularly useful if you're exploring multiple design ideas.
This doesn't make up for the fact that Illustrator CS3 still has no support for layer comps or multiple pages, though.
Illustrator CS3's must-have, killer feature comes in the form of its reworked colour handling. While previous versions left users to their own devices when selecting and editing colours, CS3 has a new Colour Guide panel. This takes the currently selected colour as a "base colour", from which it then selects up to five other colours based on colour harmony principles and generates a palette of tints and shades.
You can then select from these and save a "colour group" that appears on its own line in the Swatches panel for easy application. It's a big step forward, but design is an ongoing process and you're almost certainly going to want to tweak your selection. That's where the all-new Live Colour dialog comes in. In Edit mode, this shows all the colours in your current object selection including gradient mesh colours on a large central colour wheel.
The colours are live, so that you can quickly drag either the group as a whole or individual components to shift hue, saturation and brightness. Page 1 of 2 Adobe Illustrator CS3 review.
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History[ edit ] Versions 1—1. Adobe Illustrator is the companion product of Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is primarily geared toward digital photo manipulation and photorealistic styles of computer illustration , while Illustrator provides results in the typesetting and logo graphic areas of design. Early magazine advertisements featured in graphic design trade magazines such as Communication Arts referred to the product as "the Adobe Illustrator". Illustrator 88, the product name for version 1. One window to show the work in progress, the other window to show a preview of the work in progress. Versions 2—6[ edit ] Although during its first decade Adobe developed Illustrator primarily for Macintosh, it sporadically supported other platforms. In the early s, Adobe released versions of Illustrator for NeXT , Silicon Graphics , and Sun Solaris platforms, but they were discontinued due to poor market acceptance. The first version of Illustrator for Windows, version 2.