Thursday, May 17, 2007

Illustrator CS3 Enhancements

Now that I got the rant out of my system, I've got to say that the Adobe Illustrator Color Guide panel (?) is really cool. It is one of those features that make you slap your head and wonder why someone didn't think of it 10 years ago!

The editing of groups is very Flash-like now also. You can even name groups. Of course, if you duplicate a group, it is still a duplicate. Illustrator has had symbols for years, I think they are even easier to work with now, especially for the Flash artist. Now you can even specify the symbol to be a movieclip or a graphic. The distinction seems to be meaningless in Illustrator, put there for the purposes of allowing you to better prepare the artwork for import into Flash. F8 is even mapped to the New Symbol command.

A small touch that I like is the ability to specify larger anchor points and control handles. You only get to chose from 3 sizes, but that is 2 more than before. I never thought I'd like larger control handles but recently I felt like the current ones were getting smaller. :)

Adobe CS3 Rant

I try to stay positive with my blog, this is really my first big rant. But I had such a bad experience, I had to blog it.

I had been looking forward to the Adobe Creative Suite 3 (CS3) upgrade for a month (or more). When the Design Premium version finally arrived, I excitedly tried to install it. After going through the entire install routine (between one to two hours), it failed. I tried again, and again it failed at the end. The next night I searched the web for solutions, called Adobe and tried two more times, both failing. The next day I called Adobe again and this time they finally knew what the problem (and solution) was, which is here. So it took five installs which cost me two and a half evenings (not to mention stress).

I've used Adobe products since early 1987. I'm very disappointed with this experience. If you read the tech note I linked to, you'll see that the problem was the Flash 8 Player! How does a problem like this make it through QA? Adobe used to have very good QA. The Macromedia acquisition may be having a bad effect on Adobe.

While I'm ranting... what is the deal with the user interface for the CS3 line of products? While the new features are GREAT, the new UI is cumbersome! Who designed that and thinks it is a good idea? What a waste of screen space. Apparently someone who does not use the products to make a living and has a very large monitor (or two). I've had to spend time creating workspaces that somewhat resemble in function the CS2 and earlier functionality. The Flash CS3 workspace does not bother to remember the location/orientation of the timeline, nor does it remember how much you were zoomed into the stage.

And did someone actually get paid for this branding? It is like a bad (almost generic) version of the Macromedia branding for their products. Colored squares for the program icons. For Illustrator's splash page, it is just an orange box. No more Venus, or even flowers.

One last rant... I'd hoped that they'd improved the Flash to Illustrator conversion. They improved the Illustrator to Flash but it looks like they did NOTHING going the other way, from Flash to Illustrator. As I've posted in the past, I now love doing some types of illustrating in Flash. For creative vector drawing, Flash blows away Illustrator. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't live without Illustrator for most types of graphic illustration. It is a shame Adobe didn't see fit to focus on this aspect of the product line integration.

Well, looking on the bright side, at least these problems are not to the magnitude of the Illustrator 6 to 7 upgrade. Now that was a nightmare! I don't even want to think about it anymore (shudder).