Illustrator 10.0 review: Illustrator 10.0

  • 1

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good New symbols support makes it easy to draw and edit frequently used images; offers powerful slicing options for Web graphics; renders live SVG effects at best resolution for browsers.

The Bad Cannot generate JavaScript rollovers or GIF animation directly; requires extra software or programming know-how to create final data-driven graphics; sheer number of tools is overwhelming.

The Bottom Line Illustrator is a must-have tool for professionals who generate vector graphics for print and the Web. Version 10.0's new symbols support makes it a worthwhile upgrade.

Don't Miss

For many years, Adobe Illustrator has set the standard for drawing programs in the print production environment, and with good reason. This professional graphics program offers powerful vector drawing tools, clean PostScript output, and tight integration with Adobe Photoshop. Version 10.0 also offers more powerful new drawing and automation tools, such as editable warping effects and symbols (adaptable masters of objects or images). Macromedia FreeHand still remains a better choice if you are looking for synergy with Flash, the leading authoring program for Web animation. And if you're new to illustration tools, check out CorelDraw instead. But for an all-around drawing program that's suitable for print and Web output, nothing beats Illustrator.For many years, Adobe Illustrator has set the standard for drawing programs in the print production environment, and with good reason. This professional graphics program offers powerful vector drawing tools, clean PostScript output, and tight integration with Adobe Photoshop. Version 10.0 also offers more powerful new drawing and automation tools, such as editable warping effects and symbols (adaptable masters of objects or images). Macromedia FreeHand still remains a better choice if you are looking for synergy with Flash, the leading authoring program for Web animation. And if you're new to illustration tools, check out CorelDraw instead. But for an all-around drawing program that's suitable for print and Web output, nothing beats Illustrator.

An Adobe family likeness
Illustrator 10.0 sports the standard Adobe interface, in which creative tools (such as the Bezier pen), object attributes (such as color), and management functions (such as layers) reside on floating palettes. Anyone who has worked with Photoshop or InDesign will immediately feel comfortable with Illustrator.

Symbols do it faster
Illustrator 10.0's new support of symbols makes it easier to create and update complex drawings. Symbols in Illustrator behave much as they do in other drawing programs, including Macromedia FreeHand: You create an object (such as a six-pronged gear), define it as a symbol, store the symbol in a palette, then place multiple instances of the symbol throughout a document. When you modify the master symbol (the one in the palette), all other instances in the drawing automatically update as well.

Unlike other drawing programs, however, Illustrator 10.0 elevates symbols from having a strictly organizational function to a creative, artistic tool. The companion Symbolism tools let you create and manipulate multiple instances of symbols simultaneously. Using specialized brushes, you can spray numerous copies of a symbol and vary its size, rotation, tint, and transparency. The Symbolism brushes provide an easy way to create randomized or natural-looking effects.

Design once, publish many times
With version 10.0, Illustrator finally integrates an important technology: data-driven graphics, which let you create templates that link back to a database. Then, using the new Variables palette, you simply designate an element in a document as a placeholder object and update or replace it from an external data source. For example, a Web designer might create a single graphic for a banner heading. Web programmers can then generate all of the different headers needed for a site simply by writing the code that links placeholder elements in the header to a text database. However, Illustrator does not offer any easy-to-use commands to link placeholders to data sources. Instead, programmers must use Visual Basic or AppleScript to create live links to an ODBC-compliant database.

Web still wanting?
Unfortunately for Web designers, there are still some gaps in Illustrator's Web arsenal. For example, Illustrator can't produce JavaScript rollovers or GIF animation. Instead, you must export your Illustrator creations to a Web graphics program such as Adobe ImageReady or Macromedia Fireworks.

Don't Miss

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Illustrator 10.0

Part Number: 26001108
MSRP: $399.00 Low Price: $799.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Category creativity application
  • Compatibility PC