Adobe CS4 Illustrator, Reviewed

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by Patric King

Review of CS4's Illustrator

About the Author

Contributing editor Patric King is the co-owner of web design and development studio House of Pretty.

Illustrator takes a lot of cues from Adobe’s absorption of Macromedia by integrating the blob brush from Flash—a drawing tool that allows a designer to draw freeform, and then expand the shape into an outlined path that intersects or combines with the paths it touches. Think of it as “sculptural drawing”—you build a picture by adding areas of color and volume. Another long-needed addition from Flash is called “group isolation mode.” This allows the designer to jump in and out of embedded groups on the art board and edit them without disturbing adjacent objects via accidental selections.Illustrator’s biggest improvements, as in Photoshop, are found in the program’s smaller details. Designers can now use multiple art boards. Each board can be a different size, so an entire campaign of objects of various sizes can exist in the same file.

My favorite new feature in Illustrator is the gradient tool, which has been completely overhauled for the first time in several iterations of the application. The designer can apply a gradient directly on the object—rather than in a floating palette—using a bar with editable color and transparency, also new to CS4. PATRICKING

Adobe Creative Suite 4 review

* Main introduction to CS4.* Bridge “In Bridge, a designer can manage a campaign and its assets across print, video, web, and mobile media.” Click to read more about Bridge.

* Photoshop “Some of the greatest differences between CS3 and CS4 can be seen in Photoshop.” Click to read more about Photoshop.

* InDesign “It’s now easier to design prototypes of Flash sites in InDesign to hand off to a full development team.” Click here to read more about InDesign.

* Flash, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver “Dreamweaver is now basically reborn with several new, useful concepts powering it.” Click to read more about Flash, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver.