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…
Video: Photoshop CS4 Drag-Resize Brush Keyboard Shortcut
Another brief video in my series introducing some great new features in Photoshop CS4 for artists, cartoonists, illustrators and anyone else who sketches or draws using Photoshop.
This video features the excellent new keyoard shortcuts that allow you to drag-resize the size of the brushes using the mouse pointer.
Adobe Illustrator Eraser Brush Tip: Option-Erase
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.
Both tips via FreeTransform
Video: Photoshop CS4 Spring-Loaded Keys
Another brief video in my instructional series introducing some great new features in Photoshop CS4 for artists, cartoonists, illustrators and anyone else who sketches or draws using Photoshop.
This video features the excellent new Spring-Loaded Keys feature that allows you to access a tool temporarily by holding down the key for that tool, similar to using the Spacebar for the Hand tool – only for every tool in Photoshop now.
Wacom: Bamboo Dock
Wacom has a new online service and free companion software tool download called Bamboo Dock. The apps available so far are basic — a drawing/doodling app, a map you can draw on and a handwriting recognition app. The others I couldn’t demo as a Wacom Bamboo serial number is required.
The online service is a sort of virtual sketchpad, allowing you to doodle, draw, scrapbook and upload files to “spaces” which are like collections, and inside of each one can add multiple canvases with different contents, themes and such.
I am having a hard time imagining a use for the online portion, but the companion apps look like they might be handy and should be interesting to see how things progress as new tools are developed/released.
Zen Of The Pen
Sharon Steuer’s free “Zen Of The Pen” PDF is an excellent introduction to the inner mysteries of the vector pen tool in Adobe Illustrator.
Update: Sharon has kindly asked me to remove the link to that PDF, she’s working on an updated version. I highly suggested you head over to her website and sign up for updates. Sharon is the mastermind behind the excellent Illustrator WOW! vector tutorial books for Adobe Illustrator.
The pen tool is one of those obscure graphics programs tools that everyone tries once, and then gets so confused by that they never get any further with it. And understandably. It looks like a fountain pen, but it doesn’t act like one. Click and “draw”, you get weird “handles” sprouting out from a dot. Ignore that, and some annoying rubber band line gets stuck to your pen tip, all distorted out of — not even a straight line! Right there most Illustrator users think to themselves “this program sucks”.
But they couldn’t be further from the truth…
“I Heart Illustrator” T-Shirt
Vector artists and Adobe Illustrator users – rejoice! You no longer have to toil away in obscurity. Let the world know where your heart lies.
This t-shirt will get a knowing wink from those in-the-know. If you look closely, you’ll notice the heart is in fact created as a vector object, complete with points and handles. Or perhaps these are “love” handles?
People may go on and on about the (former) Macromedia Freehand, or their own open-source or alternative vector application, but you know what vector software you love the most.
I know, I know. Not everyone is ga-ga over Illustrator. Well, no need to fret — the “I Heart Vectors” t-shirt design is available as well. Regardless of your allegiances, I think we can all agree it’s “Points, Not Pixels”.
Symmetries – Vector Path Software Tool
Symmetries from Earthlinksoft Software is an interesting symmetrical vector object generator tool.
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.
That Little White Triangle In The Corner: Global Process Color Swatches In Adobe Illustrator
I thought global colors in Illustrator were something everybody knew about, but perhaps not. Doesn’t anyone read the manuals for their software?
James Dempsey over at The Graphic Mac just posted a brief overview of the global process color swatches in Adobe Illustrator.