For longer than I can remember, I have been flustered with the Flatten Transparency feature in Adobe Illustrator CS3 and CS4. Very often I use the excellent Layer Targeting feature introduced into recent versions of Adobe Illustrator, however I found that when using the Flatten Transparency feature, it seemed to ignore the attributes of the Targeting, which forced me to find lengthy workarounds to solve this. Turns out there was an approach to solving this that I had overlooked…
Photoshop Cheatsheets and Reference Cards: Free Downloads
Great resource for Adobe Photoshop users — reference cards for quick overviews of Photoshop’s interface, specific and often-used tools.
Includes links to versions for Photoshop CS3 and CS4 as well as both Macintosh and Windows versions.
Some of the “cards” are actually links to Adobe’s own online help (which is where the default Help in CS4 apps now takes you). But the rest of the cards look helpful in learning or referencing common tools such as the Pen tool, the Marquee tool, and the Brush tool. Worth a look and a download for the reference cards that suit your workflow. Sure to enhance your productivity.
Creative Suite CS4: Custom Keyboard Shortcut Woes
Just a quick tip for those out there getting ready to upgrade to the new Adobe Creative Suite CS4: I discovered after the upgrade that CS3 customized keyboard shortcut files do not transition into CS4.
This is a huge bummer, as there is no easy way that I know of to display what you have changed compared to the default set. I can only speak for Photoshop CS4, Illustrator CS4 and InDesign CS4 as I do not use the rest of the programs in the Design Premium suite enough to customize keyboard shortcuts.
I can’t recall if this is the case with previous Creative Suite upgrades as well or if this is a CS4-only situation.
Free ‘Flatting’ Photoshop Plugin For Comic Artists
Just stumbled across these handy – and free – Photoshop plugins which should be a huge time-saver for comic artists who ink & color their pages in Photoshop. A process also known as ‘flatting’.
These have to be a huge productivity booster to any artist working with coloring line art in Photoshop, not just comic book artists and the like.
I can already envision many applications for these in my workflow, even though I am primarily a vector artist.
Fill Vector Paths Old-School Paint Bucket Style in Illustrator CS3
If you are like me and you are wondering why in the world Adobe decided to eliminate the previous functionality of the Paint Bucket tool in Illustrator CS3 with the introduction of the new ‘Live Paint Bucket’ tool, fear not — a solution is at hand.
Essential Adobe Illustrator Plug-in: Select Menu
A plugin that I always forget to tout, since the functionality it provides seems so intrinsic to Illustrator once it’s installed, I forget it’s a third-party enhancement.
Select Menu for Adobe Illustrator (Mac and Windows, free) from Graffix Software is available for every version of Illustrator from 8 on up to CS3. It adds additional selectable items under the Select -> Objects menu.
This plugin really comes in handy at the production stage of prepping your art, allowing you to find all sorts of items that you need to preflight. It especially comes in handy after flattening transparency, such as when you export art to an older version of Illustrator. I find lots of klunky and open paths all over the place after flattening transparency, and I couldn’t imagine how much of a pain in the neck it would be to clean up art without Select Menu.
Illustrator CS3 Tip: Create A Color Group From Selected Artwork
A great quick tip, from the excellent design blog BittBox, to create a color group of all the colors in an Illustrator document: Select all the art in your document, go to the Swatches fly-out menu and choose “New color group” – you now have a color group folder of all the colors in the artwork. Very cool!
Since color groups are a CS3 feature, this tip is Illustrator CS3 only.
Illustrator tip: Preserving transparency & effects on the clipboard (using copy/paste)
Ever find that you are trying to copy & paste ( or drag & drop) vector art from one Illustrator file to another, only to find all your transparency and other Appearance effects gone? I have to Google this every time it happens, so I thought I would make a post for it so I can look it up for myself, and help a few others along the way. Of course remembering this would be helpful, but I can’t count on that! Continue reading
Wacom Intuos3 Graphics Tablet Review for Cartoonists & Illustrators
***Update: See my review of the Wacom Intuos4 graphics tablet ***
I have been holding off on writing up a review of the Wacom Intuos3 graphics tablet until I had a chance to work with them for some time and really get a feel for real-world usage, particularly for cartoonists & illustrators. Oddly enough I had a hard time finding an in-depth review specifically geared towards artists that draw. There were some big questions that needed to be answered, most importantly that of how the Wacom tablets worked with Adobe Illustrator.