May 30, 2014

The Adobe Illustrator Story

Adobe recently released a short video (about 20 min) entitled The Adobe Illustrator Story, featuring interviews and insights with John Warnock and influential personalities throughout the years, including Ron Chan, Bert Monroy, Russell Brown, and Luanne Seymour. I am lucky to count them among my friends (although I have yet to actually meet John Warnock).

I am honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Adobe Illustrator team and to have helped work on making that application do what John so eloquently stated in the video, "I think what we've been able to do is just release the creativity in people and allow them to think anything they want and to be able to create it."

Here's the full video:

The Adobe Illustrator Story from Terry Hemphill on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Max Pinton said...

Very inspiring and some interesting history.

Unsurprisingly, there's no mention of FreeHand. I was first exposed to Illustrator and FreeHand in my high school Mac lab in the late '80s. Right from the start, it was clear to me that FreeHand was the better tool, and when I subsequently worked at a print shop and a service bureau, FreeHand was the clear favorite.

I think early UI decisions hobbled Illustrator, particularly the multiple selection tools, but also the fiddly way it handles clipping paths, blends, transformations, locked elements, etc. Given the focus on precision, it's amazing that you still can't position the origin of a transformation numerically, for example, the way you always could in FreeHand.

It also seems that Adobe is trying to protect its other properties. Text handling in Illustrator is an abomination and I pity the fool who has to work with justified text in AI, which simply doesn't work. But hey, you should be using InDesign for that! Likewise, multiple artboards were added long after they existed in FreeHand presumably because Adobe didn't want to hurt ID sales. And when will we be able to import a multi-page PDF as multiple artboards?

Of course, Adobe bought Aldus and promptly killed FreeHand without understanding what made it great. What a tragedy.