After an engaging exchange on Twitter with illustrators: Garth Bruner and Von “Vonster” Glitschka, who are constantly Twittering about their frustrations with being forced to switch from Freehand to Illustrator after Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia, things reached the point where all involved thought that we need a way to band together and get some feature requests implemented in the next version of Adobe Illustrator.
Adobe Illustrator pluginÂ Phantasm CSÂ offers in-line embedded image editing, color checking and separations, duotones and vector halftones, filters and live effects color adjustment. Looks like a pretty great plugin for Illustrator users who do a lot of bitmap image placing.
Personally I do any layout work in InDesign, and not much of my work requires having bitmap images in the Illustrator file outside of placing a template for tracing. However, the halftone and separation features look like they might be really handy.Â
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.
I recently had the opportunity to try out a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet, having purchased one for my Dad this holiday season. Dad is not a graphics guy by any means, but I use my Wacom tablets for so much more than just drawing and graphics applications – and love it so much – that I thought the Bamboo was a perfect accessory for another ardent computer geek.
In short, the Bamboo is a great entry-level tablet for casual users, but graphic artists will want to seriously consider investing in one of the pricier, but more fully-featured Intuos3 models. Read on for full details.
Sim Daltonism works as a floating palette which converts an area under your mouse cursor to the selected type of color blindness — it works similar to the Apple Digital Color Meter sampling utility. There are 8 different types of color blindness to test. Color Oracle works as a menubar item which converts the entire monitor to the selected mode of color blindness, but only offers the three most common forms.
A cartoon illustration & design project for a friend’s party required the resulting art to be suitable for reproduction on a photocopy machine. After some trial, error, Google search, trial, error, Google search, trial, error I discovered the magic combo that allows you to create a halftone in Photoshop for an image and print it out on your inkjet printer so the art will be perfect for photocopying.
This technique is perfect for flyers, newsletters or any other short-run printing needs you have where the cheapness of a photocopy is desired, but so are grayscale images.
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.