April 18, 2007

My review of Illustrator CS3

Until now, I've kept away from sharing my own personal opinion about the Illustrator CS3 upgrade only because I was asked to write a review for CreativePro.com. Today, the review was published. Feel free to comment here on whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts.


jimHere said...

AS I noted in your "Jason" video, AI CS3 looks pretty good. I started using ai in about 1995, so all these incremental changes add up.

Mordy: "Making it easier to navigate within the application, Illustrator CS3 features a new panel-based user interface..."
Easier? Were you having trouble with your deadlines with those olde palettes?
As I've whined about to Johnny Nack and on the PS CS3 beta forums, I don't like the new panel system thing. Since it's inception in Macromedia MX series, it's benn a nuisance. Maybe this kinda thing makes sence for new users, but as a pro-user, why would I want the app to guess that just because I've clicked the brush tool I need the Swatches panel to expand (complete with web 2.0 ajax-ish easing)?
Since MM's first implementation in MX (2002?), Adobe has added more helpfulness to it, like all those tiny minimize or close or close (yup, an "-" and two "X"s. One X closes and the other... closes. But only if you click verrrry carefully).
My screenshots:

Mordy:"Creating new documents is less of a chore..."
Making new documents was a chore for you? It wasn't that hard...

Mordy:"I have swatch groups that contain colors for different clients..."
and "the Color Guide gives you variations of that color..."
and "you can instruct the Live Color dialog to only work within a specified range or library of colors..."
This stuff is great. So much mre useful in the real world than Photoshop's new "convert to Smart Layer before using Smart Filters" feature.

Mordy:"designers have always used Illustrator to design artwork that was later brought into Flash for development."
That's right. As a since 2000 Flash user, Symbols and Groups are already natural to me. But the best thing is that Adobe has apparently replaced Flash's pen tool with theirs.
I've never had problems copy/pasting Illustrator to Flash because I knew it had to be RGB with no gradients, but I guess it's nice that it's official.

Mordy:"What would change my life is a tool that could crop artwork or images inside Illustrator, much like the Crop tool found in Photoshop..."
That would be nice. Is this new so-called Crop tool pretty much what Slices were in AI CS2?

-- Thanks for a readable summary. Now if only Leopard would come out sooner than October...

R. Brown said...

CS2 was a pretty polished release, so the interface and performance refinements on top of that should make for a solid version. I'm excited that the Illustrator team is paying attention to improving small things like selection behavior and group editing. Those small things probably have the biggest impact on my productivity.

Guy van der Kolk said...

Experimenting with the new CS3 Illustrator, I thought the new "document-presets" thing would prove usefull, even if creating new documents wasn't very hard in CS2.

Although I find it great that you can now choose raster presets in the beginning, the fact that everything opens as letter-size was definately annoying as a European. And lo-and behold, no way to save a custom preset.

A little digging around found the location of the presets to be ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator CS3/New Document Profiles. Opening the documents in here, making them A4, and saving resolved that issue. Making a new document in here, for example Print portrait, makes it show up in the dialog as well.

Not very intuïtive, so a mini rant and a possiblle solution in one.

He who is going to die of shame if he overlooked a "Save" button after a hard days work... ;)

G. van der Kolk said...

P.S. Is there any way to rip the new dock from the right hand side of my 20" Cinema Display and stuff it over on my MacBook screen?

Teri Pettit said...

Very comprehensive review. I like how you emphasized the little improvements.

However, I thought the statement "To see which circle corresponds to the artwork in my document, I need to switch to the Assign tab, click a button to highlight where the selected color appears on my artboard, and then switch back to Edit to make a change" was somewhat misleading.

It makes it sound like colors cannot be adjusted directly in the Assign panel. But they can, by using either the Color sliders or by double-clicking on any color to bring up the Color Picker. You only need to go back to the Edit panel if you prefer to locate your new color on the color wheel instead of by one of those other two methods.

john seckman said...

Multiple spot colors in gradient meshes sounds great. It will be easier than the workaround. Am I correct to assume we will also be able to create blends and gradients with multiple spot colors and have them separate properly as well?

Thanks for the review/overview.

Aongus Collins said...

I've been experimenting with CS3 for a day. The path editing enhancements are a revelation. It's far, far easier to select points and handles, and the ability to click once to select a segment and once again to select a point or handle will pay for the upgrade in time saving alone.

Live color does involve a learning curve. Thanks, Terri, for your clarification.

I had dismissed the new eraser tool as a so-what feature, but it achieves some amazing results in cutting through 3D objects and Live Paint groups with such complex fills as gradients and patterns

John Kallios said...

>> "will also be able to create blends and gradients with multiple spot colors and have them separate properly as well?"

I don't know about blends in CS3, but earlier versions of Illustrator can create multi-spot gradients and have them output correctly.

With blends, it would take the ability to have a multi-ink swatch. I have not heard anyone mention if CS3 can make multi-ink swatches. (mixed ink or whatever you wish to call them)

There are workarounds by utilizing the appearance palette for multiple spot blends.

Mordy Golding said...

According to my tests, spot to spot blends STILL convert to process (SIGH)....

George said...

Great followup to your video podcast. I am even more excited to get my hands on Illustrator CS3 now. I was wondering what benefits the code re-write had for PowerPC users, and you have laid my concerns to rest.

Anonymous said...

Illustrator cs3 is very good but it's full of bugs! One of the biggest problem is saving to eps v.8 All objects/paths which have attached a stroke with "place inside" feature it will convert stroke into a open path. This mean everyone who want to work for stock agencies will have big problem, because they will reject all work with open path on it.

That things make me mad because that's my job! They screwed up again!

Best Regards

CyberWolf said...

Illustrator CS3 has some problems that I've discovered. Just to mention one of them: For the Pantone Coated Solid and Uncoated Solid color palettes (probably any color palette for that matter), if you view in a small list view and then quit the program and reopen it, it does not remember that you wanted small list view. It goes back to small thumbnail view. Selecting the persistent option only makes the palette show up persistently, not which view you want. This was not a problem in CS2.

Editfish said...

The 'paste inside' feature is one I've been wanting for a very long time. I fell in love with it in the mid-nineties with Corel Draw 8 and have been waiting ever since for Illustrator to add it.

Perhaps with CS4...

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