October 1, 2006

Put Worker 72a to work for you

Only because I've been busy, I have this stack of plugins for Illustrator that I've promised myself I'd take a closer look at. And then I realize it's been like months since I've had them sitting here. Like most of us in life, we know in the back of our minds that "there's gotta be a better way" -- but we're always so caught up in the "now" of things and the work that we need to get done before deadline that we tell ourselves "I'll do it the better way next time, for now, I'll just get it done any way I can".

The sad truth is, the next time presents itself and it's the same story. There are all these cool plugins out there that can really offer a better way to get our work done -- even some that offer capabilities that we've been begging for in Illustrator over the years. So I decided to drop work on some other things I'm working on at the moment (including my first episode of my new podcast which should be out soon - yay!) and give a few of these plugins a try. I'm glad I did.

Worker72a is certainly a unique name for company that makes plugins, but the key word to focus on here is "work" -- because that's what these plugins do. The brains behind Worker72a is Douglas Habben -- whom I've known for quite some time now. (Doug is one of those folks whom I've known since the time of Illustrator 5.5 but whom I've yet to actually meet face to face with.) Doug knows about Illustrator, but more importantly, he knows how people USE Illustrator -- only because he's been using the application for so long. Doug worked at a major production house and has used Illustrator in a real-world packaging and design environment. And now, rather than make feature requests to Adobe for ideas for future versions of Illustrator, he's taken his expertise and has implemented his ideas as Illustrator plugins -- giving us those feature requests in TODAY's version of Illustrator -- CS2.

What are some of those "feature requests"? What about a Collect for Output feature? Yeah, we've been asking for that for quite some time now from Adobe. Scoop will collect images, fonts, and even extract embedded images. If you're in the business of handing off files to printers, or other designers, or even archiving jobs to CDs, you'll want to take a closer look at Scoop.

And how many times have we wished we could align individual points on a path -- or delete several anchor points at a time (without breaking the path)? Point Control is a plugin that allows you to do just that, and more.

Adobe InDesign and Acrobat have both been able to view color separations on screen for over 2 versions now. And yet, Illustrator hasn't followed suit. I've given up holding my breath for this functionality and have been quite happy with the SepPreview plugin from Worker72a.

There are other plugins available as well, and it's certainly worth an hour perusing the site, downloading a few demos, and giving these important "work" enhancements a try. Who knows, you just might find something that will let you go home early...

5 comments:

jean-Claude Tremblay said...

I agree, Doug as created some amazing usefull plug-ins. We use SepPreview for a few time now and we cannot imagine working without it.

mleavitt said...

Point control seems really interesting, anyone out there use it; I know you'll probably review it, but I am still curious

Nick said...

I've been interested in using SepPreview for my design work. But how does it handle spot colours in practice?

Vonster said...

Ah a common sense approach to path editing in CS2 that mimics the intuitive methods I valued in FreeHand.

Thanks a ton Mordy the 'Point Control' plugin alone is a no-brainer buy. I also picked up the 'Zoom to Select' too.

I don't fee quite as handicapped now outside my FreeHand comfort zone.

Trevor said...

I've found Point Control a realy useful tool in Illustrator. As a comic strip cartoonist, I often save re-useable items like the logo on a character's T-shirt for example, in an ever expanding symbol archive. On the original cartoon, the character might have been in close-up, so the lines were to suit the rest of the drawing. But if a symbol was re-scaled to a much smaller size, it often needs the line weight fixing to suit it's new position on the page.