September 26, 2007

A bit of humor

As the owner of a somewhat popular blog, I get many email from folks with questions about Illustrator. But that isn't all the email I get. Apparently, people see a popular blog as a market that they can target. And so I get press releases from many many companies (several each day actually), informing me of the Next Biggest Thing. An EXTREMELY small percentage of these solicitations are actually for a product or service that I believe you (aka, my readers) would be interested in. For example, Pantone reached out to me with some advanced information about their new GOE system, which enabled me to talk about it at the time it was announced. But that was an example of something I think you folks would be interested in.

But just to give you a taste of the absurd requests I get, check THIS email I got today:

My name is ****** and I work for *********. I've just taken a look at your
website and I think your customers would find our Car insurance product really

OK, first, it's quite OBVIOUS that you DIDN'T just take a look at my website. If you did, you'd quickly figure out that folks who read my blog are probably interested in Illustrator, as well as things revolving around the life of a designer, or someone who uses Adobe products. But Car Insurance?

But I really feel bad about how it's obvious this person put a tremendous amount of effort into reaching out to me. I get the feeling he really wants me to advertise his product for him and he promises to pay me for referral clicks frm ad banners that I'd place on my site. I feel obligated to do SOMETHING, you know? But at the same time, I am really fed up with these constant solicitations that have no relevance to my readers. If you're a PR person, or a marketing person from a company, you should at least have the courtesy to not waste my time with things that aren't relevant to me or my devoted readers.

And so I've decided to do the following: I'm going to endorse this fellow's competition.

I personally use All State car insurance. I think they are wonderful. The agent I use is the same person that my father uses, and so he's been with the family for quite some time. The one time that I was unfortunate enough to get into an accident (someone ran a red light and broadsided me), they were extremely helpful and I received a check to cover the damage before I even got the bill from the body shop.

I'd also like to endorse the folks at eSurance only because their TV ads are done in vector illustration style, and I assume there's a good chance they use Illustrator for some parts of their production process.

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled program...


Anonymous said...

Well if it makes you feel any better, these messages are not sent by real people, they're sent by scripts whose sole purpose in life is to harvest email addresses and spam vulnerable contact/comment forms. This guy's "competition" is probably running on a machine right next to his in a Bangalorean prison somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Erin eSurance! Yeah, fun Ads, but done entirely in Flash. No illustrator. Of course with CS3, the drawing tools pretty much are from AI, no?

Anonymous said...

You're giving this industry too much credit. I used to work for a firm as a designer, and as they lost more and more cash I found myself watching people get laid off while I was squeezed into the sales department. I eventually quit, but not before making a few crummy "cold calls". I feel sorry for anyone who sells things they don't create.

Nevertheless I'm still rude to salespeople in hopes that they'll quit too.

Unknown said...

There's actually quite a difference between the drawing the tools in Flash and AI -- even in CS3. The only thing that was changed in CS3 is that the underlying vector graphics engine in the Flash application was reworked to match that found in AI. Specifically, "anchor points" and "control handles" now have the same architecture and when you move art from AI to FL, the positioning of these anchors and handles remain intact.

If you've never seen how bad it was before CS3, try going the other way. Draw a circle in FL and copy and paste it into AI and see what you get :)

For now, they only had time to fix the workflow from AI to FL, and hopefully in the future it will get better the other way around as well.

But it's nice to hear the eSurance stuff was done in Flash. Cool stuff.

I once reached out to the folks who created the opening sequence to Casino Royale (the recent 007 movie). It's a fantastic sequence and all seemingly vector. I was sure that Illustrator played SOME part in its creation and even wanted to write it up on the blog here. But I got a curt response from one of the head designers on the team that created it. They used Inferno to create it. The tone of the email was "we don't use toys like Illustrator"...

Jack Cole said...

khiltd: very true. I just got a comment on my blog this morning, and did a search for one of the phrases used in the comment, "I couldn't understand some parts of this article", finding over 100k blogs that let the post through. I get at least 5-10 similar posts per week - makes me <3 screening even more!

Morty: " like Illustrator"? Wow, what a steaming pile of arrogance on their part. One thing I wish we could do with PS/IL/ID and a few others that Inferno et al. can do is composite on a dedicated second box. Do you know if anyone's working on such a thing at Adobe?

Anonymous said...

The film and animation industries are still quite sadly (and surprisingly) behind the curve when it comes to computers. A friend of mine recently applied for a job at a large animation studio in Canada, and her first task was to complete a background vector illustration (which consisted entirely of solid, color filled shapes) in Photoshop. When she asked if she could do it in Illustrator instead, the guy got really angry with her. I looked at the example document he wanted her to copy, and basically his entire production technique consisted of drawing a path in photoshop, making it a vector mask for a raster layer, and then filling that entire layer with whatever color he wanted. He wasn't even using custom shapes properly, so complicated illustrations such as this ended up containing many hundreds of layers and occupying many hundreds of megabytes.

And of course, if you wanted to recolor the thing for a night scene, there went another two days...

Pablo said...

Mordy, I hope that it is ok to use this space to express my frustration with Illustrator and to see if there will be a light at the end of the tunel.
Let me tell you, I started to use Illustrator in 1992 but a few years later I changed to Freehand because it has many friendly and easy cool features that Illustrator didn’t have at the time. Since Adobe bought Freehand and I read that they are not going to upgrade Fh anymore, I am pushed to start using Ai again. It has been 3 long months since I started to use Ai. I have been watching many videos including yours, which are very helpful - and I see that Ai CS3 have many cool effects and features... But, for day to day basic handling of the program it seams almost prehistoric and I’ll tell you why, for example:
1. I thought that after so many years of program evolutions, Illustrator would imitate the multiple pages palette. Fh can have unlimited pages at diferent sizes, vertical and horizontal in the same document...I tried your recomendation of tiling “illution” of multiple pages in Ai, but I cannot make multiple pages of PDF to send to my clients. It converts only one huge page that my clients cannot handle. Unbelievable...!!
2. The way selection tools works in Ai is a nightmare. I designed a nice background that had a lot of lines, shapes, ect. and at the time to select a section by dragging the cursor acros the area, it selects everything else!. I tried to group it, but all the line and shape lines still shows and get selected. I also tried to put everything in a clipping mask and guess what, all the lines and shapes shows anyway when I click on any part of it or outside. What? it even selects all the guide lines -Who will want a guide line to be treated as a regular blue line?... How I’m supposed to see through hundreds of lines? It is imposible to acomodate or move with presition with all that mess. In Fh, if you group something or “paste inside”(mask) it allows you to work without seing the unnecesary mess (lines,shapes) so you work in a clean environment with presition and you can select only what you need. Does somebody knows how to get rid of the lines in Ai when you are moving elements? Also in Ai, if you press “select all” it selects everything outside the page too- How I will be able to “align to page” if Im not able to get a clean selection?
3. While trying to solve this problem, I got to the Layers palette. I can not belive that Ai makes a layer of every single dot, type, shape or line without asking. Why will I want hundreds of unnecesary layers? Imagine, trying to scroll through hundreds of layers to find a specific shape to see if I finally can select it- Unreal. In Fh you only make and use the layers that you need- sound simple and it is simple.
Also, Ai does not have the default background layer. how can you draw/trace without this layer? In Fh you put a photo or sketch you want to draw in that layer and it becomes lighter so you can see thru and draw like if you had a lighbox.
4. Gradients, another dissapointment. I’m not talking about special complicated effects, just simple every day gradients. Fh have six kind which I use a lot, linear, radial, countour (my favorite), longarithmic, rectangle and cone. Ai only has linear and radial. I don’t understand.. I appreciate the Mecth effect that Ai has, but that is good for more advaced or complicated projects.
5. Blead area...Where is it in Ai?
6.To replace a color, in Fh you drag and drop it on top of the swatch you want to replace and thats it. In Ai you have to get to a special pallette that does not show the name of the pantone colors and you have to guess when you have similar hues of color which is which...too many steps. It is very hard to get used to it when you had it so simple before.
7.Another simple feature that I miss a lot is that in Fh anything that you select, you can double click it and automatly let you rotate enlarge or distort right there. You do not have to get to each of the actual tools to do all this things. Also if you double click the corner of the Type box, it automaticly closes to the last word you use in that frame. A lot of time saving when you deal with tipography, but in Ai you have to do it manually.
8. A lot of the colors that I use in my CMYK brochures are later adjusted for internet use. Fh lets you work in RGB and CMYK at the same time so you can compare how the colors will look in different enviroments. Ai work with one at a time. Bummer.
9. Putting type around a circle... Ai still in the 90’s
10. Collect for output, Ai does not have it...!! Give me a break
11. To complete the long list of dissapointments, Ai is very, very, slow. I guess it will only run normal for the new super Mac computers...
After all of this I have no option but to go back to Freehand MX and limit the use of Illustrator for some special effect that I might need. I hope that the Adobe people in charge of the programing will attend this issue and make a good fusion between both programs in the near future...
Mordy, please, talk to somebody there...Help!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Illustrator's gradient options are ridiculously anemic and that the gradient mesh tools which are supposed to compensate for them are more difficult than they really need to be, but the rest of your issues seem to stem more from lack of experience than genuine deficiencies in the application. Try working through the tutorials in the help files, starting with the basics, and exploring the preferences dialog and you should be able to find incredibly simple solutions to all of your problems (save for multiple page support, which I personally do not want in Illustrator).

Pablo said...

I know that I don't have a lot of experience with this new version of Ai and that's why I have being watching and reading many tutorials about it. I even ask fellow designers friends who are Ai lovers and so far I can not get a good equivalent to this simple tasks. On the contrary, when I show them how easy and convenient it is in Freehand they get very impress and the ones who alredy did the migration from Fh to Ai 2 year ago, can only said with a sarcastic smile, that I will have to get use to do things the hard and long way (the Ai way)
I can’t belive that you mention that you do not want the multiple page support, that is the best way to organice, create multipage PDF, be able to see multiple layouts options at the same time, name it..Once you use it, you can not picture yourself without it... -One page at a time, not in year 2007 please.
I took your advise to check the preference dialog again and I did not see a solution to be able to change the horrible default way to select, use the layers palette, the way to replace color, the slownes, the blead area, ect. Yes, there where mentions of this topics with minor options, but no solutions.
Let me try to be more specific, at least with the selection problem wich is very, very importand: In Fh if you select a complicated background you will see hundreds of lines and shapes just like Ai does, the diference is that in Freehand, once you group it or mask it, all the lines disappears when you select it - it looks just like a Foto with only 4 dots in the corners, that way you can move it freely without the interferece of the hundreds of lines getting in the way, you will get the necesary visibility to design with presition. If you know how to make the lines dissapears while you move the illustration in Ai, please, I beg you, let me know how - Im tire of reading the Ai help and the tutorials...
And if somebody knows where is the “Collect for output” or ”package” in Ai, or how to replace color by drag and drop, or avoid the unnecesary hundreds or layers, plese, say how, you will make a lot of people happy and maybe Mordy can add this solutions in his video tutorials "Migrating from Freehand to Illustator" because he does not mention this solutions in there.
In case that there is no solutions for this, I only want to suggest that Ai consider making a Fusion like the one Extensis made with Font Reserve and Suitecase, the best of both programs in one...Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

er, when are you going to tell us how to make that Stuffed Breast of Veal you mentioned a couple of posts back? (Sorry to get in the way of Pablo and the book he's writing in this space.)

Anonymous said...

Imagine a world where everyone dropped everything they were doing in order to dedicate their full attention to those who were too lazy to do their homework, free of charge, simply because they complained a lot in a completely inappropriate place.

I personally don't see a lot of point in asking Mordy to document basic procedures that are already quite well documented in the help files you don't want to bother reading. If you require personalized hands-on instruction then I'd suggest you pay Adobe a visit and find a certified consultant or authorized training center near you. If you simply want to tell the world how much you prefer Freehand over Illustrator, then I'd suggest getting a blog of your own.

Anonymous said...

If I may, I've got another issue I've been puzzled about, regarding EPS files (which could be entirely a faulty software problem, but I want to make sure of that).

1. Every time I try to rasterize a AI CS3 EPS file in Photoshop, I get an error message and PS closes.

2. EPS files saved in AI CS3 (i don't know if prior versions do the same) don't seem to keep the settings. To be more precise, I work a lot with different color profiles, since I have to process files for different printing systems (digital and photographic). EPS files don't keep the profile embedded, even tho I have that by default in my color settings. Also, EPS files don't seem to keep none of the saving settings, i.e. Language Level, Embed Fonts, etc.

I know it's off topic, but I thought I'd ask. Sorry if it's inconvenient.


Anonymous said...

I just saved an EPS file with an embedded ICC profile in Illustrator CS3 and opened it in Photoshop CS3 without incident, and it seemed to use the same profile I assigned to the .ai document, so I think you're doing something wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answer. I'm still having that issue in PS though. It just closes down. In comparison, I saved the same file as .ai with PDF support and it did just fine.

The other issue is when you re open that same EPS in AI. Even with Color Settings set to Preserve Embedded Profiles it just uses the working profile. I've got, for example, several RGB profiles for different materials in a Lightjet Photographic Printer and the working profile set to Adobe 1998. I save the file with the corresponding profile and, when reopened find that profile gone and 1998 instead.

Of course, it's perfectly possible that I'm doing something wrong, I just can't see what.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you aren't actually embedding the profiles, and I'm not sure why you're using EPS for any of this in the first place.

Pablo said...

If you read my post, you will notice that I mention that I have being reading and watching a lot of help tutorials. Since there are no answers in there to my questions, I decided to try the blog of the person who makes the Ai tutorials. I would undertand your criticism if I where writing in the Food Network Blog or the Disney Chanel Blog... But, I found this blog in the Adobe web site, and my questions are about Adobe Illustrator. A lot of people might benefit, if there's a solution to my questions posted in here- or if Adobe would consider correct things in a future version of Ai, even you, could learn something new. Illustrator is a great program that can be better, because now, Adobe owns Freehand. But never mind, is not my intention to disturb anybody... your suggestions are totally out of content... I wont even comment on that...
Mordy Golding was so kind to let me kwow that he can answers the questions when he comes back... I'll see if there is some other way to share info without bugging you...

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