Hold down the Option key when erasing using the Eraser Brush, and you’ll get a marquee that you can drag to erase a perfectly rectangular area.
Bonus Eraser Tool tip: edit the keyboard shortcuts so the Eraser uses the “E” key, and remap the Free Transform tool to Shift-E (essentially swapping the keyboard shortcuts for the two tools). Seems much more intuitive this way.
The control system is very intuitive, requring no knowledge of how to manipulate vector paths. While simplistic, it gives one a high level of control over exploring interesting symmetrical objects. I did find that there seemed to be a bit of a genre of shapes that were the calling card for this tool, but maybe I just didn’t play with it enough.
Symmetries does not generate tiled patterns, but rather single vector objects, which then can be pasted into the vector software of your choosing for futher editing. The demo mode doesn’t allow this, so I couldn’t test it.
Just a quick tip for the freelancing and self-employed — that pain you feel paying all your taxes at once because you’re too lazy or forgetful to dole out your quarterly tax payments to Uncle Sam? It’s over. If you’re like me, and 99% of your banking and bill-paying is done online, there’s a tax payment solution for you.
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.
Default Folder X is one of those shareware utility applications that seem pretty handy while you are demoing, but until you use another Mac without Default Folder installed (or the demo runs out), you don’t realize exactly how perfect the software actually is.
I constantly run across these “714 Absolutely Essential Mac Applications” blog posts that always leave this one out. And I think the only reason is that the author is unaware of it’s existence. There’s no other explanation. Half of the time the apps I see on those lists are so-so anyways.
So what is this so-called “Default Folder” anyways? In short, it’s a way for you to access — from the Open/Save dialog windows — not only commonly used folders, but also recently used folders and open Finder windows, all with (mostly) user-defined keyboard shortcuts.
If you aren’t familiar with cartoonist Tom Richmond, make yourself familiar. This guy’s work is absolutely amazing. Very much in the style of Mort Drucker from MAD Magazine — only taken to the extreme. Not only is his cartooning & caricature style excellent, but his color work is also phenomenal. Tom graciously has taken the time to outline exactly how he digitally colors his artwork in Photoshop in a juicily-detailed three-post tutorial/how-to series on his cartooning blog.
Ever need to temporarily reference another document while working on something – this may be an image, or instructions, or a PDF file. Many times you want it floating right on top of your current document so you can refer to it while you are working, and not have to switch back and forth between applications.
I do this a lot when working in Illustrator, especially working from reference images, but also the occasional email message or PDF file sent by a client.