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Photo tour: Adobe Illustrator CS3
A guide to the new features in Adobe Illustrator CS3
CNET Reviews staff
New to Adobe
Creative Suite 3, the Color Guide in Illustrator lets you quickly and creatively explore color combinations (1) and remap existing vector artwork colors (2). Watch out, though--this tool can be addictive.
One of my favorite new tools lets you select multiple anchor points and convert them to corners or curves with a single click. In addition, the updated interface presents you with all your tool options in a single ribbon bar. However, I find myself trying to adjust multiple Bezier handles as well--for instance, here I wanted to change the two top handles together to ensure the same curve--which you can't do.
With this interesting new tool, you either define a desired crop area--such as an 800x600-pixel Web page--or allow the program to guess what you're trying to select (1). You can then export pieces of a composition directly to PDF (2) or any other supported file format. It's especially useful as a workaround for Illustrator's lack of multipage/multiside support; you can create multisided publications and "crop" the individual pages straight to separate Acrobat files. It's still not the same as being able to create separate pages within Illustrator, though.
Like the Scissors tool, the new Eraser lets you brush swathes through vector objects, seamlessly turning them into distinct parts. Though it uses a different, less-powerful brush engine than the Brush tool, it supports various stylus options, such as pressure and tilt.
Frequently used palettes, such as Align and Transform, now drop down from the Tool Ribbon, along with other context-sensitive operation palettes. I haven't decided whether I miss the floating, persistent versions of those palettes.
You no longer have to guess which object you've drilled down to within a group. Illustrator now grays out all external objects, and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs for you as you drill further into the group. The usefulness of Isolation Mode rests on how diligently you name your layers, however; in the absence of names, the breadcrumbs read rather cryptically as "<Group> > <Group> > <Group>".
Adobe makes a fuss about the addition of Document Profile presets in CS3, but they've been long overdue. Unfortunately, Adobe neglected to add a Save option to put your custom Profiles with the presets. Instead, you must create the document, then save it either in the Document Profile directory or in a place where you can later Browse for it.
The nifty nine-slice scaling guides, which you set in Illustrator but that only take effect in Flash, allow you to determine how objects behave when scaled. Here, the symbol on the left has nine-slice scaling disabled, the one in the middle preserves the entire "4" when scaled, and the rightmost one preserves the counter (the hole in the middle of a letter). Their corresponding results in Flash, when scaled preserving the aspect ratio, are displayed below. Unfortunately, you can't preview the results in Illustrator.