Over the years it’s gained some highly impressive features, such as mesh tools for drawing photo-realistic objects, perspective tools for taking the pain out of vanishing points and much, much more. So, what can Ai CS6 bring?
- Pros: 64-bit support, fun-to-use pattern feature, significantly better performance with certain files, gradients on stroke, and better results with image tracing.
- Cons: Updated user interface uses more space, making for limited real estate on lower resolution displays. Image tracing still relies on confusing settings.
Before we get onto features, let’s talk about the interface and the tuning that’s gone on under the bonnet. The Pattern Options panel enables you to control the pattern, with a really handy slider enabling you to dim your instances so you can work on and edit the original object. As you do edit it, the repeats update. The pattern is automatically added to the Swatches panel and updates when you hit Done in pattern creation mode. You can choose to save a copy to add another swatch to the Swatches panel.
But the best thing? Double-clicking the swatch in the Swatches panel enables you to go back to edit the pattern. When you update it, it updates any object the pattern is applied to. It’s quite brilliant and textile artists, designers and illustrators who use patterns in their work will absolutely love it.
The other ‘big’ feature is the removal of Live Trace – being replaced with a new bitmap tracing engine called Image Trace. Now, don’t expect this to magically turn any photos into vector artwork, but it does a pretty good job. And there are more options for tracing than ever before.
Over the years the application has been given some quite remarkable features – from the Gradient Mesh in the 1998 release of version 8 to multiple art boards in CS4 and the Perspective Grid in CS5 (which Adobe ported across from FreeHand, the tool it bought from Macromedia and then phased out), it is a behemoth of an application, whether you want to create photorealistic illustrations or slick logos. So, what has Adobe done in Adobe Illustrator CS6? A facelift, some speed improvements, a few tweaks and one major addition that illustrators and designers in particular will love are all on the agenda.
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