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First Look: Adobe Illustrator CS4

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Thirteen versions and twenty-one years after the very first Illustrator, Adobe is rolling out beta versions of Illustrator CS4. After so many iterations, you might wonder what Adobe could possibly do to make Illustrator CS4 worth the cost of the upgrade. In this preview, I am going to highlight the most noticeable changes with big scoops of screenshots and video to give you a real taste of the new Illustrator. Note: this preview is done on the Windows version of Illustrator CS4 Beta.

Lets start with the obvious:

User Interface Changes

Section Summary:

  1. New Splash Screen (of course)
  2. No Microsoft Toolbar saves pixels
  3. Document Tabs!
  4. Document Frames
  5. More accessible workspace presets
  6. Some tools moved around on the tool panel

Adobe Illustrator CS4 starts flaunting its new look right from the start – the splash screen is still simplistic, but now features some shiny transparency effects on the “Ai”.

The next interface change may have you wondering if there is something wrong with your view settings. No, everything is working fine. Illustrator is overriding the Microsoft Windows Title Bar – the minimize, maximize and close buttons are integrated right into the main window (similar to Google Chrome). This not so subtle tweak actually saves quite a few pixels, which, it turns out, you’re going to need!

One of the best changes to the user interface in Illustrator CS4 is document tabs. If you have more than one Illustrator document open at a time, they automatically form tabs ala Firefox. If you want, these tabs can be separated from the main Illustrator window by grabbing the tab and dragging outward. You’re probably already an expert at managing tabs, and after a few minutes in Illustrator CS4 you’ll wonder how you put up with all that minimizing and restoring of documents. Tabbed documents save a lot of clicks.

If you look closely at the screenshot below, you’ll also notice that there is no ‘Filter’ menu – only an ‘Effects’ menu. I speculate that Adobe did away with the redundancy of the filter menu because of increases in effect performance and changes to the appearance panel.

CS4 has more document management tricks up its sleeve – frames. These frames are accessed via a little icon to the right of the menu bar called “Arrange Documents”. Click and you’ll find a drop down list of frame presets for two, three, four and more open documents. These presets are useful for comparing two documents side by side (especially on that new 30″ cinema display, right?). The “Arrange Documents” menu contains many presets for arranging open documents – stack side by side, on top of each other, in a grid, etc.


First Look: Adobe Illustrator CS4 Document Management from Go Media on Vimeo.

The paradox of new software is that it must balance conflicting interests: more power and improved usability. That is probably why the most recent versions of Illustrator keep re-thinking panel (they’re only palettes in Photoshop) management. Well, CS4 is no exception. The brains at Adobe have made workspace presets more accessible by putting a drop-down menu right above the panels. They’ve also done a lot of the leg work to convince us that custom workspaces can save time. These presets are easily accessible and fill the dock with customized panels for typography, web, painting, etc. The presets from Adobe also include application specific layouts such as “Like Photoshop”.

The Illustrator’s toolbox has been slightly shuffled in Illustrator CS4. The eraser tool is given a more prominent place in a group of often used tools – it now sits along with the pen, text, shape, and brush tools. This means that the scissors and knife tool have also moved (they’re only accessible in the flyout of the eraser). The slice tools use to sleep in the fly out menu from the crop tool. Now, they have their own spot on the toolbar.

Finally, while having little effect on your workflow, Adobe moved their logo and link from the tool box to the menu bar. These are the kind of little tweaks I really enjoy – they make CS4 feel more polished, refined and purposeful.

New Tools

Section Summary

  1. Blob Brush
  2. Artboard Tool
  3. Updated Gradient Panel
  4. Appearance Panel Overhaul
  5. New Document Options

Blob Brush Tool
The first new tool I noticed was the Blob Brush Tool. If you’ve ever worked in flash or frequently expand brushes, you’ll probably appreciate this new tool. Here’s how it works: it organically draws a shape instead of a path. As you draw with the brush, the path is expanded every time you raise your wacom pen (or mouse). Then, as you add more brush strokes, overlapping sections are automatically added together to form one shape. Here’s a video of the brush tool in action to see what I mean:


First Look: Adobe Illustrator CS4 Blob Brush Tool from Go Media on Vimeo.

When the blob brush tool is double clicked, brush options are available. I was happy to see that Wacom tablets will be fully supported with blob brushes. Depending on how the final product turns out, Wacom artists may be able to ditch the Photoshop + Autotracing routine and stay in Illustrator the whole time by using blob brushes.

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Blob Brush
Artboard tool

While this could technically fall under “changed” features, it is cool enough to warrant its recognition as a whole new feature. The artboard tool is an evolution of the crop area tool from Illustrator CS3. However, instead of using cumbersome hotkeys to create multiple crop areas, CS4 re-thinks the whole concept of an artboard. In CS4, using the artboard tool will create a new artboard by default and give it a number automatically. Clicking on the white space of any artboard with the Selection Tool will activate it. These new artboards are way better than the nearly invisible crop areas of CS3, and make it much easier to manage projects-in-progress! Adobe makes it clear that these new artboards mean business – Artboards can have their own rulers! Just right click on the active artboard and tick “show artboard rulers”. Artboards are always editable – you can resize and move them around until you’re satisfied.

Most importantly, this tool is very well integrated into the Export window. Finally, you can export multiple artboards (crop areas) to separate files in one step!

Last, we’ve got artboards within artboards. if you think this is getting ridiculous – so do I. While I can hardly imagine the need for nested artboards (on top of the document-taming tab tools in CS4), Adobe must have found a need for this feature. To enable it, simply hold shift while dragging with the artboard tool inside of an existing artboard. Check out the video for a short demonstration of the new artboards in CS4.


First Look: Adobe Illustrator CS4 Artboard tools from Go Media on Vimeo.

Updated Gradient Panel

Adobe finally addressed one of my biggest complaints about Illustrator: the inability to form a gradient from color to transparency. Now, Gradients have opacity options – Finally! This option lets you select any of the colors on the gradient slider and choose its opacity. For even more control, you can now double click on the color slider and access the full range of color picking tools.

The gradient panel now has a handy button to quickly “reverse” the gradient – another one of those little refinements that will save you tiny bits of time and effort. The angle tool on the gradient now has a slider so you can now dial in the correct gradient angle a little faster. Finally, Radial gradients now have a ’roundness’ option. No more stretching gradients and applying clipping masks – now you can just define the roundness of the radial gradient.

If these updates weren’t enough, Adobe has iced the gradient cake with the Gradient Annotator. The Gradient Annotator allows you to adjust gradients intuitively – right from the shape itself. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, just take a look at the screenshot and video below to see what I mean. This tool won’t enable dazzling new effects, but it will make it easier to get gradients just right the first time.


First Look: Adobe Illustrator CS4 Gradient Tools from Go Media on Vimeo.

Appearance Panel Overhaul
Admittedly, I rarely (if ever) use the appearance panel, so I may miss a few things here. Anyway, here it goes: Changes to an objects’ appearance can now be hidden / shown via Adobe’s signature ‘eye’ to toggle visibility. Also, the appearance panel now gives you access to raster effects previously only accessible in the “effects” menu.

EDITED: Teri from Adobe sent me this nice email about why I should be using the Appearance panel. Definitely got me thinking…

Adam,

In your review of Illustrator CS4, you wrote that you “rarely (if ever) use the Appearance panel”.

If you don’t, you are missing a lot of power! The Appearance panel is the only way to add multiple strokes or fills to a single object, or to add strokes or fills to groups. It is also how you change the options on previously applied live effects, or target an effect to just the fill or just the stroke instead of to the whole object. It is a whole tool kit for constructing and modifying complex graphic styles.

One of the best ways to figure out the power of the Appearance panel is to open it up in conjunction with the built-in Graphic Styles libraries, draw a few simple objects, and go through the various styles, applying them to your sample object, expanding the various little triangles on the Fill and Stroke rows in the Appearance panel, double-clicking on the effects used in the style, and in general seeing how the “recipe” for that style is constructed. Soon you will be on your way to constructing your own complex styles.

You might also enjoy looking over some of the demo files on my web site, especially the ones in the “Folder Full of Style Demos”.

http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/adobe/index.html

Whats new with…Ctrl+N?

Adobe gives a nod to print designers in the updated new document dialog. In Illustrator CS4 you’ll be able to define the number of artboards and how they’ll be arranged. These controls will make it much easier to set up documents for multipage print projects. Custom bleed settings are also possible with Illustrator CS4. Check out the screenshot below – new features have been highlighted.

What do you think?

My gut reaction is that Illustrator CS4 will be an enjoyable upgrade. I like that Adobe has kept the glint and glamor to a minimum (few fancy new tools with little practicality) and instead made important workflow improvements. When I have four color variations of a logo to export, the new multiple artboard features are going to be nice.

So what is your reaction to the new features? Has Adobe used this year wisely? Let us know what you think in the comments and check out the CS4 poll at the bottom of the page.

‘Till next time!

About the Author, Adam Wagner

I'm a marketer, designer, armchair singer/songwriter, wannabe theoretical physicist/philosopher and recent college grad trying to pack as much living as possible into each day. Working at Go Media makes this pretty easy. Catch me on Twitter!!
Discover More by Adam Wagner

Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • Don G.

    I thought I would skip this upgrade, but I might have to rethink that decision…

  • Kyle Bennett

    Looks very good, I can’t wait

    I’ve tried CS4 Photoshop and Dreamweaver and they’re both fantastic too

  • http://www.ceaweed.com/ramble Chad Engle

    Looks good! I am anxiously awaiting it. Maybe you could let us know what the Blob tool does?? haha

  • http://www.ceaweed.com/ramble Chad Engle

    Looks good! I am anxiously awaiting it. Maybe you could let us know what the Blob tool does?? haha

  • KillerBeez

    Thank GAWD (or Adobe, I guess) for:

    1. Multiple artboards! It’s about #&^@^* time.
    2. Gradient to transparency! It used to take such a work around just to get something to fade into the shirt.
    3. YES! Blob brush, no more working in flash first, yeah!!!
    4. Tabs.

  • KillerBeez

    Thank GAWD (or Adobe, I guess) for:

    1. Multiple artboards! It’s about #&^@^* time.
    2. Gradient to transparency! It used to take such a work around just to get something to fade into the shirt.
    3. YES! Blob brush, no more working in flash first, yeah!!!
    4. Tabs.

  • MikeTheVike

    I’m looking forward to a lot of new features in the whole CS4 suite. I can’t help but think I won’t even use half the features. Not because they aren’t useful, but because I can never find the time to learn about these new features. How do you guys stay up to date on new features?

  • MikeTheVike

    I’m looking forward to a lot of new features in the whole CS4 suite. I can’t help but think I won’t even use half the features. Not because they aren’t useful, but because I can never find the time to learn about these new features. How do you guys stay up to date on new features?

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  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    I wanna see some OSX screenshots of the interface ;)

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    I wanna see some OSX screenshots of the interface ;)

  • http://jimiyo.com jimiyo

    Blob tool looks awesome. Seems like it would be pretty processor heavy, but great tool. Pretty much like painting in photoshop with a brush and have it ending up being vectorized in real time.

  • http://jimiyo.com jimiyo

    Blob tool looks awesome. Seems like it would be pretty processor heavy, but great tool. Pretty much like painting in photoshop with a brush and have it ending up being vectorized in real time.

  • http://www.oastler.ca JamieO

    Artboards – When going to inDesign just seems like too much effort?

    The wireframing / workflow improvements for web designers that come out of this will be pretty significant I think.

  • http://www.oastler.ca JamieO

    Artboards – When going to inDesign just seems like too much effort?

    The wireframing / workflow improvements for web designers that come out of this will be pretty significant I think.

  • http://www.williambiwer.com Bill Biwer

    Time to get the checkbook out…

  • http://www.williambiwer.com Bill Biwer

    Time to get the checkbook out…

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  • http://colorburned.com/ Grant Friedman

    I just had a nerdgasm after seeing the changes to the gradient palette! I am still hoping they upgrade the way Illustrator interacts with Photoshop. Would really love to be able to copy and paste entire illustrations into photoshop all in one time instead of having to copy each object one by one.

  • http://colorburned.com/ Grant Friedman

    I just had a nerdgasm after seeing the changes to the gradient palette! I am still hoping they upgrade the way Illustrator interacts with Photoshop. Would really love to be able to copy and paste entire illustrations into photoshop all in one time instead of having to copy each object one by one.

  • Lisa

    *drool* I think I’m going to wait for the new CS4 before asking my company to upgrade our old CS2 versions!!!

  • Lisa

    *drool* I think I’m going to wait for the new CS4 before asking my company to upgrade our old CS2 versions!!!

  • http://www.robotmojo.com JoMo

    Holy crap, the blob brush made me curse out loud as I was reading the article.

    @KillerBeez: Pretty much everything mentioned here warrants an “It’s about #&^@^* time!” Doesn’t each version of CS seem to add great new features and simultaneously miss glaring updates that would presumably be easy to pull off?

    Either way, i am mega-stoked.

  • http://www.robotmojo.com JoMo

    Holy crap, the blob brush made me curse out loud as I was reading the article.

    @KillerBeez: Pretty much everything mentioned here warrants an “It’s about #&^@^* time!” Doesn’t each version of CS seem to add great new features and simultaneously miss glaring updates that would presumably be easy to pull off?

    Either way, i am mega-stoked.

  • http://www.chrisobriendesign.com Chris OB

    Looks awesome. That blob brush looks really handy. I use illustrator to output to a vinyl plotter, so anything to speed up the time it takes to join overlapping paths will be great for me.

  • http://www.chrisobriendesign.com Chris OB

    Looks awesome. That blob brush looks really handy. I use illustrator to output to a vinyl plotter, so anything to speed up the time it takes to join overlapping paths will be great for me.

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  • Simon H.

    Hmmm.

    Well it looks really interesting.

    The only thing is that I bought my CS3 in june. And now the CS4 is annouced. They should allow students (like me) to upgrade for free.

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  • Tori

    I had to get CS3 for class….now I’m bummed…I want that gradient fix soo frakkin bad I can taste its transparent loveliness!!!!!

  • Tori

    I had to get CS3 for class….now I’m bummed…I want that gradient fix soo frakkin bad I can taste its transparent loveliness!!!!!

  • http://www.geoffmay.com Geoff May

    I’m getting excited for it!

  • http://www.geoffmay.com Geoff May

    I’m getting excited for it!

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    Looked @ the Photoshop features and I must say Im unimpressed…Oh well. Unfortunately Adobe has us by the balls when it comes to upgrading.

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    Looked @ the Photoshop features and I must say Im unimpressed…Oh well. Unfortunately Adobe has us by the balls when it comes to upgrading.

  • Anonymous

    The new gradient options are more than worth the upgrade… transparent gradients have been such a hassle.

  • http://www.divadev.com/ Toby Cummings

    The new gradient options are more than worth the upgrade… transparent gradients have been such a hassle.

  • http://www.grandmasterb.com Bryan

    Excellent review of the beta. Thanks Go Media crew!

  • http://www.grandmasterb.com Bryan

    Excellent review of the beta. Thanks Go Media crew!

  • http://www.ugmonk.com Jeff

    Finally, multiple artboards! What a concept. Gradient tool looks really nice too.

    Seems like they are finally implementing some basic features that we have all been waiting for.

  • http://www.ugmonk.com Jeff

    Finally, multiple artboards! What a concept. Gradient tool looks really nice too.

    Seems like they are finally implementing some basic features that we have all been waiting for.

  • Kevin

    Anyone know if there is a “trim” function?

  • Kevin

    Anyone know if there is a “trim” function?

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    @Simon H.

    Adobe needs to just outright stop putting out new versions in such a short timespan. If they just rolled the changes of CS3 and CS4 together into one big update it’d be much less of a hassle on the consumer — but of course Adobe obviously wants to make a buck.

    That’s what happens when you have a borderline monopoly.

  • http://www.battlemedialab.com Joe

    @Simon H.

    Adobe needs to just outright stop putting out new versions in such a short timespan. If they just rolled the changes of CS3 and CS4 together into one big update it’d be much less of a hassle on the consumer — but of course Adobe obviously wants to make a buck.

    That’s what happens when you have a borderline monopoly.

  • Don G.

    I thought I would skip this upgrade, but I might have to rethink that decision…

  • Kyle Bennett

    Looks very good, I can’t wait

    I’ve tried CS4 Photoshop and Dreamweaver and they’re both fantastic too

  • http://www.franciscogalarraga.com Francisco Galárraga

    how is the performance of CS4? does 64 bit make any difference?

  • http://www.franciscogalarraga.com Francisco Galárraga

    how is the performance of CS4? does 64 bit make any difference?

  • http://designerts.com steev7

    No all they have to do is incorporate text distortion control like “Typestyler” used to…mirrored bezier handles, etc.

  • http://designerts.com steev7

    No all they have to do is incorporate text distortion control like “Typestyler” used to…mirrored bezier handles, etc.

  • Simon H.

    Hmmm.

    Well it looks really interesting.

    The only thing is that I bought my CS3 in june. And now the CS4 is annouced. They should allow students (like me) to upgrade for free.

  • ChequeredManiac

    I’m happy with everything I saw there. The artboards is a huge one for me. I can think of a possible use for the nested artboards, you could be designing for a site and want to use the save for web option, with the artboards nested you can have the whole design arranged and all you need to do is export the artboards. Possibly

    Looking forward to using it :)

    Thanks Adam, great post.

  • Rafael

    Looks great, and some of this features were already in freehand and corel draw (forgive me to name corel). I thought when abode had bought macromedia some of the freehand features were going to be integrated into illustrator rigth away, but it appears we will have to wait some time as they have been improved. I think that some features will have to wait some more feature illustrator versions like more gradient options (those like photoshop or freehand) gradients in strokes and so on….

  • Rafael

    Looks great, and some of this features were already in freehand and corel draw (forgive me to name corel). I thought when abode had bought macromedia some of the freehand features were going to be integrated into illustrator rigth away, but it appears we will have to wait some time as they have been improved. I think that some features will have to wait some more feature illustrator versions like more gradient options (those like photoshop or freehand) gradients in strokes and so on….

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  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Regarding the utility of nested artboards: consider the fact that an “artboard” is any area of your layout that you want to be able to easily print or export as a unit, and then think of all the times when you sometimes want to print or export a smaller area that is contained within a larger area that you sometimes want print or export as a whole. For example, a map or ad insert within a page layout, or, using your own example of “four color variations of a logo to export” – using one artboard for each color variation, laid out 2 x 2, and a outer artboard containing the four smaller artboards, using Fit to Page on printing, you could print or export a 5 page PDF containing a cover sheet with all four logo variations followed by full-page enlargements of each variation, without having to duplicate the variations in the file.

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Regarding the utility of nested artboards: consider the fact that an “artboard” is any area of your layout that you want to be able to easily print or export as a unit, and then think of all the times when you sometimes want to print or export a smaller area that is contained within a larger area that you sometimes want print or export as a whole. For example, a map or ad insert within a page layout, or, using your own example of “four color variations of a logo to export” – using one artboard for each color variation, laid out 2 x 2, and a outer artboard containing the four smaller artboards, using Fit to Page on printing, you could print or export a 5 page PDF containing a cover sheet with all four logo variations followed by full-page enlargements of each variation, without having to duplicate the variations in the file.

  • http://www.giackop.com giackop

    love it!! it’s just so cool.. i need it!!

  • http://www.giackop.com giackop

    love it!! it’s just so cool.. i need it!!

  • dana

    blob tool
    new gradient features
    :) :) :)

  • dana

    blob tool
    new gradient features
    :) :) :)

  • Creative Inside

    So far im not to impressed to be honest the Multiple artboard is a nice addon. Worth the upgrade I’m up in the air so far

  • ChequeredManiac

    I’m happy with everything I saw there. The artboards is a huge one for me. I can think of a possible use for the nested artboards, you could be designing for a site and want to use the save for web option, with the artboards nested you can have the whole design arranged and all you need to do is export the artboards. Possibly

    Looking forward to using it :)

    Thanks Adam, great post.

  • Creative Inside

    So far im not to impressed to be honest the Multiple artboard is a nice addon. Worth the upgrade I’m up in the air so far

  • Marcos Cortes (Dominican Repub

    So amazing…..wao.

  • Marcos Cortes (Dominican Republic)

    So amazing…..wao.

  • http://www.thermosis.com/ Jayden Lawson

    Great post. I’m hoping Adobe have finally addressed their insalling/uninstalling problems…. I went through pure hell installing CS3 – and the only solution was to wipe my hard drive and reinstall Vista.

    http://www.cruciallimit.com/blog/?p=74

  • http://www.thermosis.com/ Jayden Lawson

    Great post. I’m hoping Adobe have finally addressed their insalling/uninstalling problems…. I went through pure hell installing CS3 – and the only solution was to wipe my hard drive and reinstall Vista.

    http://www.cruciallimit.com/blog/?p=74

  • Corbin

    wondering where we can get the beta version…….anyone know?

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  • Corbin

    wondering where we can get the beta version…….anyone know?

  • canardo

    the blob tool seems just an importation of the (very needed) flash drawing tool (that has been here for years). (at last !). that surely wasn’t too dificult to implement.

  • http://www.eightvisions.net Michael

    great post!

    i’m waiting for the beta too, i hope it will be available soon.
    really looking forward to try blob brush, i guess that might really be useful for me :P

  • http://www.eightvisions.net Michael

    great post!

    i’m waiting for the beta too, i hope it will be available soon.
    really looking forward to try blob brush, i guess that might really be useful for me :P

  • canardo

    the blob tool seems just an importation of the (very needed) flash drawing tool (that has been here for years). (at last !). that surely wasn’t too dificult to implement.

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  • http://www.gomedia.us Adam Wagner

    Thanks Terri & others for some practical examples of how those nested artboards WILL be useful. Makes sense now…

  • http://www.gomedia.us Adam Wagner

    Thanks Terri & others for some practical examples of how those nested artboards WILL be useful. Makes sense now…

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Canardo,

    The Blob Brush is not very similar to anything in Flash. It is based on Illustrator’s existing calligraphic brushes and Pathfinder. You can use any calligraphic brush, and it expands the brush stroke, then searches for other objects of the same style that touch that stroke (and that aren’t below a blocking object of a different color or kind in the stacking order), and unites them using Pathfinder. It wouldn’t have been too hard to implement if it weren’t for the fact that we wanted to make it work with transparency, effects, gradients, patterns, Live Paint groups, etc., and Pathfinder doesn’t play easily in that field. (Live Paint, from CS2, is more similar to drawing in Flash than the Blob Brush is.)

    Corbin and Michael, the beta program is over. (It is always over by the time the real product is announced, since the purpose of beta is to guide development.) But the real app will ship very soon.

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Canardo,

    The Blob Brush is not very similar to anything in Flash. It is based on Illustrator’s existing calligraphic brushes and Pathfinder. You can use any calligraphic brush, and it expands the brush stroke, then searches for other objects of the same style that touch that stroke (and that aren’t below a blocking object of a different color or kind in the stacking order), and unites them using Pathfinder. It wouldn’t have been too hard to implement if it weren’t for the fact that we wanted to make it work with transparency, effects, gradients, patterns, Live Paint groups, etc., and Pathfinder doesn’t play easily in that field. (Live Paint, from CS2, is more similar to drawing in Flash than the Blob Brush is.)

    Corbin and Michael, the beta program is over. (It is always over by the time the real product is announced, since the purpose of beta is to guide development.) But the real app will ship very soon.

  • http://www.creativecurio.com Esben Thomsen

    @Teri
    Blob is based in eraser tool, which was introduced in CS3, sorry for picking :) So if anyone really want to check out how blob brush is going to work, then try draw with the eraser tool -its a bit tricky I must admit :)

  • http://www.creativecurio.com Esben Thomsen

    @Teri
    Blob is based in eraser tool, which was introduced in CS3, sorry for picking :) So if anyone really want to check out how blob brush is going to work, then try draw with the eraser tool -its a bit tricky I must admit :)

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    It’s true there are a lot of similarities, but it’s more accurate to say that the Eraser tool is also based on calligraphic brushes and Pathfinder, than that the Blob brush is based on the Eraser. (I should know, I am the implementer of it – google on my name.) :) The main difference is that the Eraser tool doesn’t need to do all the stuff about paying attention to styles and stacking order.

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    It’s true there are a lot of similarities, but it’s more accurate to say that the Eraser tool is also based on calligraphic brushes and Pathfinder, than that the Blob brush is based on the Eraser. (I should know, I am the implementer of it – google on my name.) :) The main difference is that the Eraser tool doesn’t need to do all the stuff about paying attention to styles and stacking order.

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  • http://tendou86.blogspot.com/ Takumi86

    Thanks so much for telling us this much, i’m planning to install this onto my comp and dump away the Coreldraw, cause i just love all Adobe Product

  • http://tendou86.blogspot.com/ Takumi86

    Thanks so much for telling us this much, i’m planning to install this onto my comp and dump away the Coreldraw, cause i just love all Adobe Product

  • snowgrind

    Adobe CS4 illustrator looks promising.

    i like how the windows pane is not visible, more screen area gained.
    the blob bruch has me intrigued, but looks to be very handy.
    tabs for different files opened = AWESOME! no more dealing with minimized panes.
    gradients that can have opacity adjusted will make things much smoother when creating.

    from the screen shots, it appears that the overall look has been streamlined, which is a good thing.

    i agree with others who have posted this, the changes to cs4 should have been included with cs3. however, adobe needs to stay in business and sadly many will have to shell out more coin to access the new features. still, the new version looks great, hopefully it will run like a champion too.

  • snowgrind

    Adobe CS4 illustrator looks promising.

    i like how the windows pane is not visible, more screen area gained.
    the blob bruch has me intrigued, but looks to be very handy.
    tabs for different files opened = AWESOME! no more dealing with minimized panes.
    gradients that can have opacity adjusted will make things much smoother when creating.

    from the screen shots, it appears that the overall look has been streamlined, which is a good thing.

    i agree with others who have posted this, the changes to cs4 should have been included with cs3. however, adobe needs to stay in business and sadly many will have to shell out more coin to access the new features. still, the new version looks great, hopefully it will run like a champion too.

  • brian

    think ill wait a while before purchasing

  • brian

    think ill wait a while before purchasing

  • http://www.creativecurio.com Esben Thomsen

    @Teri

    okay you win Teri :-)

    But I got a related question and I hope you don’t mind answering. I’ve read that there are enhanced support for tablets, but I haven’t been able to find additional information on what this support might mean. I was hoping for something similar to Corel Painter, where you can adjust pressure, size and tilt sensitivity through palettes on the fly. But Adobe use dialog windows, which prohibit testing your new settings! Are there any changes to this issue in Illustrator CS4? Or is it just me who is unaware of some very handy keyboard shortcuts?

    and thanks for answering our questions :-)

  • http://www.creativecurio.com Esben Thomsen

    @Teri

    okay you win Teri :-)

    But I got a related question and I hope you don’t mind answering. I’ve read that there are enhanced support for tablets, but I haven’t been able to find additional information on what this support might mean. I was hoping for something similar to Corel Painter, where you can adjust pressure, size and tilt sensitivity through palettes on the fly. But Adobe use dialog windows, which prohibit testing your new settings! Are there any changes to this issue in Illustrator CS4? Or is it just me who is unaware of some very handy keyboard shortcuts?

    and thanks for answering our questions :-)

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Esben, there are no significant changes to the tablet support for Illustrator CS4. There were some improvements to the smoothness of the calligraphic brush strokes, especially at low pressures, but that’s categorized as a bug fix, not a feature.

    Which no doubt explains why you can’t find any details listed! Probably what you heard about were the enhancements added to Photoshop CS4:

    http://www.wacom.com/cs4/index.cfm

    The Blob Brush tool and the Calligraphic brushes in CS4 do allow modifying the brush diameter up or down using the bracket keys, similar to the Symbol sprayer and the Eraser tool, but only while the mouse is up, not during drag. This small enhancement is not classified as a tablet support feature, since it applies to the brush options regardless of whether it is being used with a tablet or a mouse (or even to selected objects with calligraphic brushes already applied to them.) It does not apply to Scatter brushes.

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Esben, there are no significant changes to the tablet support for Illustrator CS4. There were some improvements to the smoothness of the calligraphic brush strokes, especially at low pressures, but that’s categorized as a bug fix, not a feature.

    Which no doubt explains why you can’t find any details listed! Probably what you heard about were the enhancements added to Photoshop CS4:

    http://www.wacom.com/cs4/index.cfm

    The Blob Brush tool and the Calligraphic brushes in CS4 do allow modifying the brush diameter up or down using the bracket keys, similar to the Symbol sprayer and the Eraser tool, but only while the mouse is up, not during drag. This small enhancement is not classified as a tablet support feature, since it applies to the brush options regardless of whether it is being used with a tablet or a mouse (or even to selected objects with calligraphic brushes already applied to them.) It does not apply to Scatter brushes.

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  • http://www.dadako.com hawken

    tabs did it for me. been waiting for that for a while.

    could have done with user grids & large spline handle options though… I’m always missing the little buggers.

    Also the pen tool needs a little re-think.

    Tell us, does apple+h hide illustrator now?

  • http://www.dadako.com hawken

    tabs did it for me. been waiting for that for a while.

    could have done with user grids & large spline handle options though… I’m always missing the little buggers.

    Also the pen tool needs a little re-think.

    Tell us, does apple+h hide illustrator now?

  • http://www.gomedia.us Adam Wagner

    @hawken:

    What suggestions do you have for the pen tool? I’d sure like to hear them, and Adobe probably wouldn’t mind either.

  • http://www.gomedia.us Adam Wagner

    @hawken:

    What suggestions do you have for the pen tool? I’d sure like to hear them, and Adobe probably wouldn’t mind either.

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Hawkin, Illustrator CS3 already has preferences to change the display size of the little selection squares for anchor points and the circles for direction handle knobs, as well as the hit detection radius. (They are independently controllable, in case you want a larger hit region without big knobs cluttering up the display.)

    Was the largest size provided in CS3 still too small for you?

    Can you describe what you mean by “user grids”, as opposed to just grids? Do you mean grids that have some units other than pts, inches, cm, etc.?

  • http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/ Teri Pettit

    Hawkin, Illustrator CS3 already has preferences to change the display size of the little selection squares for anchor points and the circles for direction handle knobs, as well as the hit detection radius. (They are independently controllable, in case you want a larger hit region without big knobs cluttering up the display.)

    Was the largest size provided in CS3 still too small for you?

    Can you describe what you mean by “user grids”, as opposed to just grids? Do you mean grids that have some units other than pts, inches, cm, etc.?

  • http://www.davestory.us Dave Story

    Yes, we worked hard on the installers. My apologies if you were one of those who had a configuration which caused issues in the CS3 installers. We have reworked them altogether for CS4. They are now faster and handle many more configurations and corner cases/error cases than before.

    If you are having problems with CS3, we also have written free cleanup utilities for CS3, which we posted several quarters ago on our tech support websites. They allow you to uninstall, then run the “cleaners” and then install again cleanly.

    Anyways, glad to see the excitement about Illustrator CS4, there are truly a ton of great usability enhancements and I’m very excited about the new features!

    Dave Story
    Adobe Systems

  • http://www.davestory.us Dave Story

    Yes, we worked hard on the installers. My apologies if you were one of those who had a configuration which caused issues in the CS3 installers. We have reworked them altogether for CS4. They are now faster and handle many more configurations and corner cases/error cases than before.

    If you are having problems with CS3, we also have written free cleanup utilities for CS3, which we posted several quarters ago on our tech support websites. They allow you to uninstall, then run the “cleaners” and then install again cleanly.

    Anyways, glad to see the excitement about Illustrator CS4, there are truly a ton of great usability enhancements and I’m very excited about the new features!

    Dave Story
    Adobe Systems

  • ez-kun

    cool stuff, can’t wait to try a shareware!

  • ez-kun

    cool stuff, can’t wait to try a shareware!

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  • smutek

    I’m excited personally. As trivial as it may sound, tabbed document windows sealed it for me.

    I’m also looking forward to the blob brush and multiple art boards will help with comping.

    Sounds like all around good work flow improvements, not just in illustrator but in all of the apps I’ve read about so far.

  • smutek

    I’m excited personally. As trivial as it may sound, tabbed document windows sealed it for me.

    I’m also looking forward to the blob brush and multiple art boards will help with comping.

    Sounds like all around good work flow improvements, not just in illustrator but in all of the apps I’ve read about so far.

  • http://www.artofgarth.com garth

    Have they improved the ability to select objects that are stacked one on top the other? In CS3 you have to right-click to bring up the contextual menu, scroll down to Select, then choose First Object Above, Next Object Above, Next Object Below, or Last Object Below… So cumbersome. In Freehand you just had to option-click to quickly select through a stack. I really miss that.

  • http://www.artofgarth.com garth

    Have they improved the ability to select objects that are stacked one on top the other? In CS3 you have to right-click to bring up the contextual menu, scroll down to Select, then choose First Object Above, Next Object Above, Next Object Below, or Last Object Below… So cumbersome. In Freehand you just had to option-click to quickly select through a stack. I really miss that.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2/123710301 web

    Wow! The blob brush and new gradient tools and reason enough for me to buy.

  • http://is.gd/Fo2/123710301 web

    Wow! The blob brush and new gradient tools and reason enough for me to buy.

  • http://www.JonathanCutrell.com Jonathan

    Still wondering if you can copy/paste smart objects as a group of layered/locked smart objects into photoshop.

    If not, I will be upset.

    But THANK GOD FOR TRANSPARENCY.

  • http://www.JonathanCutrell.com Jonathan

    Still wondering if you can copy/paste smart objects as a group of layered/locked smart objects into photoshop.

    If not, I will be upset.

    But THANK GOD FOR TRANSPARENCY.

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  • Bern

    I’m in love.
    I’ve only played around a couple hours now but it’s all sweet.

    However—it blows my mind why 14 versions later there is still no drag corner-rounding tool such as the one offered by Xtreme Path.

  • Bern

    I’m in love.
    I’ve only played around a couple hours now but it’s all sweet.

    However—it blows my mind why 14 versions later there is still no drag corner-rounding tool such as the one offered by Xtreme Path.

  • http://www.psdnation.info Mike

    Nice, can’t wait to upgrade.

  • http://www.psdnation.info Mike

    Nice, can’t wait to upgrade.

  • tim

    freehand is still faster and better even illustrator has some amazing tools i like to use.

    so i just use certain tools in illustrator and my day to day work i do really 10 times faster in freehand than in illustrator. there is so much illustrator is behaving like a grandpa in a wheelchair i dont have the time to name it.

    illustrator has some amazing tools like burshes etc. but for the usability it is a nightmare for everydesigner who things faster than the hands can do work. i am allways 10 steps afront in my mind and with illustrator i am allways 10 steps behind.

    i made work courses i am working with illu… but no illustrator is not a user friendly software…

    i will switch soon to xara because illustrator is just a nice tool for some specials but not fast enough and very clumsy.

  • tim

    freehand is still faster and better even illustrator has some amazing tools i like to use.

    so i just use certain tools in illustrator and my day to day work i do really 10 times faster in freehand than in illustrator. there is so much illustrator is behaving like a grandpa in a wheelchair i dont have the time to name it.

    illustrator has some amazing tools like burshes etc. but for the usability it is a nightmare for everydesigner who things faster than the hands can do work. i am allways 10 steps afront in my mind and with illustrator i am allways 10 steps behind.

    i made work courses i am working with illu… but no illustrator is not a user friendly software…

    i will switch soon to xara because illustrator is just a nice tool for some specials but not fast enough and very clumsy.

  • tim

    I have to add something. the multiple pages is something designer enjoy allready since 15 years in freehand.

    i mean there is nothing to be proud on adobs side. they needed 15 years to get this done???

    also the copy into is not included which makes no sense to switch 100% to illustrator. at least they manage that that you are clicking by side a masked object and you are not selecting whats inside the maske but all this smal things were and are in freehand allready since 10 years. i mean were is the big development?

    another thing illustrator/adobe needed 15 years to manage is a proper gradient tool. i mean… even all the low budget software had it allreay in the beginning. like xara, corel and of cours freehand since ages.

    the blob brush etc.. just gimigs this is nothig i use day to day. thats something special and i can allways switch to illustrator and work with this tools.

    selecting objects inside a mask. a night mare something i use as a fashin designer 100times a day for placement prints, fabrics, logos.. etc.

    lets lists what is still missing:
    - copy inside
    - one pallet that changes to each tool so i must not chose palates all the time. very time saving
    - usability in selecting objects
    - selecting objects under other objects
    - fastness
    - ram killer / needs to be faster and
    - artboards in different sizes

    etc.

  • tim

    I have to add something. the multiple pages is something designer enjoy allready since 15 years in freehand.

    i mean there is nothing to be proud on adobs side. they needed 15 years to get this done???

    also the copy into is not included which makes no sense to switch 100% to illustrator. at least they manage that that you are clicking by side a masked object and you are not selecting whats inside the maske but all this smal things were and are in freehand allready since 10 years. i mean were is the big development?

    another thing illustrator/adobe needed 15 years to manage is a proper gradient tool. i mean… even all the low budget software had it allreay in the beginning. like xara, corel and of cours freehand since ages.

    the blob brush etc.. just gimigs this is nothig i use day to day. thats something special and i can allways switch to illustrator and work with this tools.

    selecting objects inside a mask. a night mare something i use as a fashin designer 100times a day for placement prints, fabrics, logos.. etc.

    lets lists what is still missing:
    - copy inside
    - one pallet that changes to each tool so i must not chose palates all the time. very time saving
    - usability in selecting objects
    - selecting objects under other objects
    - fastness
    - ram killer / needs to be faster and
    - artboards in different sizes

    etc.

  • http://www.roomfurniturechina.com bedroom furniture

    Pretty much everything mentioned here warrants an “It’s about #&^@^* time!” Doesn't each version of CS seem to add great new features and simultaneously miss glaring updates that would presumably be easy to pull off?

  • http://www.roomfurniturechina.com bedroom furniture

    Pretty much everything mentioned here warrants an “It’s about #&^@^* time!” Doesn't each version of CS seem to add great new features and simultaneously miss glaring updates that would presumably be easy to pull off?

  • Carlos

    I'm still waiting for Freehanstrator… or Illushand… I <3 FH

  • Carlos

    Oh and by the way… Freehand already has something like the “Blob” tool… the Variable Stroke Pen.

  • Carlos

    Oh and by the way… Freehand already has something like the “Blob” tool… the Variable Stroke Pen.

  • http://www.nmgresources.ph Outsourcing Philippines

    wow that is amazing! icant wait to have the new version of illustrator soon

  • http://www.nmgresources.ph Outsourcing Philippines

    wow that is amazing! icant wait to have the new version of illustrator soon

  • Dan

    I have adobe master collection, and I have Illustrator cs4, its amazing!!!, I love the new gradient controls, and the opacity option!!. the interface its polished and well done, I really love illustrator!!, PS: i HATE FREEHAND.

  • Dan

    I have adobe master collection, and I have Illustrator cs4, its amazing!!!, I love the new gradient controls, and the opacity option!!. the interface its polished and well done, I really love illustrator!!, PS: i HATE FREEHAND.

  • http://www.logobee.com/ Anansi

    Nice article, hanks a lot.

  • http://www.logobee.com/ Anansi

    thanks*

  • http://www.seizmicdesign.com/ powers

    envelope distort set to 1 & 1.

  • http://www.seizmicdesign.com/ poaz

    Now if they can just get that nifty gradient to transparency built into gradient mesh. I have been waiting for that since gradient mesh. That blob tool is pretty wicked tho. Wish I had known about that this past week!

  • fdanial

    This is great ,It really helped me a lot.For more please check out the link below.

    http://www.alogodesigncompany.com/process.html

  • Dan

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  • John

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    dizi izle

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