Illustrator CC review
Price: £14.65 plus VAT per month
Pros: Smarter workspace appearance; extensive resources; Kuler iPhone app interaction; improved type control.
Cons: Commitment to CC, uninspiring bitmap image strokes.
Ben The Illustrator puts the brand new version of his namesake tool through its paces.
Being new to Creative Cloud, I was interested to see what Illustrator CC had to offer, and I wasn't disappointed.
The software introduces three new features, which will be a useful addition to every designers toolkit. The first of these is the Touch Type Tool – something I’ve wanted for years. Being able to edit (rotate, resize, recolour, and so on) each letter individually, without having to change the type to outlines is fantastic, though I can't understand why Adobe hadn't offered this option before. As you adjust individual letters, Illustrator maintains the kerning, but most designers will still tweak this themselves.
I’ve always been a fan of Brushes in Illustrator, and this version has one great improvement – you can now have a brush made up of a raster image. So you could, for example, paint linework with a photo, or develop detailed brushes of your own.
The downside is that the Image Brushes supplied are a little uninspiring, and not of the highest quality. They are also already starting to look a little dated. However, it's relatively easy to create your own and – as with most resources like this – it won’t be long before the usual sites offer Image Brushes for you to download.
The third and final new addition to Illustrator CC is the Kuler online colour palette generation tool, which you can access via the new free Adobe Kuler iPhone app. (Hopefully, Adobe will release an Android app, too.) The app is simple to use and does exactly what you want. You can even use your iPhone's camera to record colour palettes, which you can then open up in Illustrator CC.
You’ll need an Adobe account to connect everything (which you’ll have anyway if you’re using Creative Cloud), but it really is as simple as it sounds. Personally, I take a lot of inspiration from nature, so being able to record the palette of a flower or sunset, and use those colours perfectly in an illustration opens up a wide range of creative options.
Whatever your colour inspiration – food, clothing, cars or vintage textiles – you can now integrate those palettes seamlessly into your design and illustration work.
Incorporating these tools with Illustrator CC’s integration with Typekit and Behance could really improve your workflow, and open more creative doors. I’m sold on it.