Adobe continues to lớn refine its flagship illustration tool with Illustrator CC 2014, a minor update with just a handful of feature additions. Interestingly, many more new features were introduced khổng lồ the vector phầm mềm with the mid-cycle Illustrator CC 17.1 update in January. A number of these earlier additions merit discussion, & combined with the enhancements in CC năm trước, they address one of the longest-standing complaints I’ve had with the application.

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Better tools

In my past Illustrator reviews, I have consistently lamented the application’s anemic object tools. Select the rounded rectangle tool, click the artboard và you’d be asked to lớn specify the corner radius; once the radius was determined, it was locked in và uneditable. Stretch the object in one direction, và the corners would stretch và distort, too. Similarly, the star & polygon tools provided little in the way of settings, & those too were locked in once phối. Creating a star with rounded corners or a polygon in the shape of gear was a logistical nightmare for even the most hardened Illustrator veterans.

Illustrator CC 17.1 (released in January) took the first step lớn addressing this issue. It introduced an incredible feature called Live sầu Corners that lets users round, invert, or chamfer one or more corners of an object at a time. Stars can now have rounded corners with a few simple clicks. Create a star object và then choose the direct selection tool; when you bởi, a series of small control circles appear adjacent lớn each corner anchor. Drag a control circle & all corners in the object will change at the same time; option-click a control circle and the object will alternate between round, inverted round & chamfer corners. Don’t want lớn apply changes to lớn all corners at once? Just select one or more corner anchor at a time. And Live sầu Corners aren’t limited lớn star và polygons—any corner anchor in any object can be edited this way, including those in rectangles.


Live Corners allow you to quickly create rounded stars and gear-like objects.

Unfortunately, rectangle corners in Illustrator CC 17.1 were still subject lớn distortion when stretched. That’s been addressed in Illustrator CC 2014 with a new feature called Live sầu Shapes, which adds a layer of intelligence lớn rectangle objects. As with live sầu corners, the corners of rectangles can be easily configured with round, inverted round, or chamfer corners of any kích cỡ, & by selecting a single corner anchor, you can edit each one individually. However, you’re now không lấy phí khổng lồ resize, rotate & stretch the rectangle as you wish without distorting the corners. Options in the Transform panel allow you lớn specify the corners’ radius & shape, và you can also choose whether you’d lượt thích the corners to scale when resized.


Live Shapes allow rectangles to lớn have consistent, shaped corners that bởi vì not distort when resized.

The feature is not without caveat. Shear the rectangle or reposition a single corner anchor, & it regresses khổng lồ a standard object with Live sầu Corners. And for the moment, Live sầu Shapes is a feature that only applies to rectangles, leaving polygons & stars still relatively basic (save for Live sầu Corners enhancements). I look forward to lớn the day when stars and polygons are equally intelligent objects, allowing users lớn quickly reconfigure the number of points/sides & stretch the objects without corner distortion.

The Illustrator CC 17.1 update also introduced a significant & very sensible change khổng lồ the perspective grid. Previously, an object attached lớn the grid stayed in place if the grid was repositioned, requiring the user khổng lồ remove sầu và re-attach objects lớn the grid lớn alter the perspective. Now you can lock the Station Point and reposition both the horizon line & vanishing points, và all artwork attached to lớn the grid will change perspective along with it. It’s another small but significant change that lets users make minor changes without a major effort.

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The Perspective sầu Grid now alters the perspective sầu of attached objects when you change the grid itself.

Another series of small but meaningful changes come lớn the Pen tool in Illustrator CC 2014. The most obvious of these changes is new automated pđánh giá. As you lay down anchor points, a blue previews line extends from the most recent point you’ve sầu drawn so that you can see the exact shape of the curve sầu before you drop your next point. Additionally, holding down Commvà after you drop a point allows you create unequal paired handles, giving you much more control over the shape of an object as you draw. A further refinement lớn the Anchor Point tool allows you khổng lồ convert just one side of a corner point baông xã lớn smooth, a much-needed change that preserves one half of the original curve instead of obliterating both sides. And finally, control handles no longer snap to grid, offering you much more freedom when you must work with grid-based workflows.


The Pen tool’s new preview feature shows you the shape of the next line segment before you drop the point.

What was left out

One thing that struông chồng me as odd was that Illustrator CC 2014 did not import presets from Illustrator CC, whereas Photosiêu thị CC 2014 offers lớn import presets from Photocửa hàng CC. So once again the tedium falls khổng lồ user lớn bring over items such as Variable Width Line presets & Actions. It was refreshing to lớn see this respect for continuity finally added lớn Photosiêu thị, và Adobe would do well khổng lồ add it Illustrator as well.

However, it’s worth noting that neither application inherits the workspace layout or preferences of its predecessor. Upon installing Illustrator CC 2014, I was required to rearrange panels & reconfigure settings khổng lồ match my preferred workspace in Illustrator CC. Given that Adobe allows you to sync many settings via the Creative sầu Cloud, it was disappointing that these were ignored upon the launch of the new ứng dụng (which is of course tied lớn the same Adobe ID).

Other minor issues persist. Outline mode still presents jagged lines (aliased) rather than smooth lines (anti-aliased), an anachronism in this day in age. Pattern anti-aliasing continues khổng lồ be flawed, with seams occasionally appearing within Illustrator and when exported to Photocửa hàng. And we’re still unable to lớn choose inside or outside alignment for strokes on text, requiring the user lớn either layer multiple text objects or convert text khổng lồ paths for more advanced graphic treatments.

Bottom line

Illustrator CC năm trước cannot be considered a major new release, but rather, the continued refinement of a venerable tool. It’s refreshing khổng lồ see Adobe go bachồng to the basics, upgrading simple shape tools that have been stagnant for over a decade. Usability enhancements to lớn drawing và perspective sầu tools round out this lathử nghiệm revision, and as whole, it feels as though there’s been a shift in focus from headline features lớn everyday functionality. It’s a welcome change, và the phầm mềm is better for it.