15 Replies Latest reply on Jan 12, 2011 9:04 AM by Aimiel2


      The arrowheads need the capability to be set to either work the way they do now - (extending out from the end of the line)OR the way I think they would more commonly be used, extending back from the end of the line so they do not add to the line length.

      Many other programs can work this way. Does someone have a patent that prevents Illustrator from doing this? This has to be one of the biggest dysfunctional things in Illustrator.
        • 1. Re: ARROWHEADS
          JETalmage Level 6
          I agree with this problem, but I think a traditional arrowheads feature containing just a few arrowhead types is obsolete nowadays.

          Illustrator has elaborate Pattern Brush and Symbols features. Yet it doesn't let you customize arrowheads, as FreeHand, Canvas, and Draw do.

          With the end tiles of a Pattern Brush, you can use just about any path or artwork to build your own "arrowheads." But the interface for controling the position (the unstroked, unfilled rectangle at the back of the group) is cumbersome and counter-intuitive. Also, there is no option provided in Pattern Brushes to disallow distortion and scaling of the end tiles (which I think should not be the default behavior for end tiles). Also, Pattern Brushes require artwork in the side tile (but shouldn't).

          I think the functionality of Pattern Brushes should be improved so as to obviate the need altogether for the archaic Arrowheads Effect.

          If the Brush Options dialog were re-worked to allow easy and intuitive placement of the end tile relative to the path endpoints, and to let you choose whether the end tile distorted; and if the feature were made to not require a side tile--then the "feature" for common arrowheads would be a simple matter of providing a group of preset default brushes. Those presets would, of course, then be entirely editable, as are presets for Brushes, Graphic Styles, and Swatches today.

          • 2. Re: ARROWHEADS
            I think Adobe needs to go even a step further here. When us designers are using arrows and creating complex diagrams it would be great to really take a look at other diagraming tools like Visio and OmniGraffle. I know that those programs are great for this task and illustrator can't do everything. But they need to start heading down the path with smart arrows that snap to objects and allow more precise controls on arrow refinement instead of making us use brush styles.
            • 3. Re: ARROWHEADS
              JETalmage Level 6
              But they need to...allow more precise controls on arrow refinement instead of making us use brush styles.

              Again, my point is, if Pattern Brushes were changed in two ways:

              Ability to disallow distortion of end tiles.

              Ability to define a Pattern Brush without having to include side tile content.

              ...then that would constitute what commonly is called Arrowheads in most programs today. That is, I don't care if it's called Arrowheads or Brushes or PathEnds (which would probably be my preference), the functionality would be there.

              Situations requiring the use of both arrowheads and Brushes would also benefit from a third enhancement that could be made to Brushes:

              Ability to allow/disallow scaling of stroke weight of strokes used within the Brush artwork. So, for example, if the custom arrowhead had a 1 pt white outline (a common practice to make arrows more visible on photos), you could use the Stroke Weight of the Brush to change the size of the arrowhead, while keeping its white outline at 1 pt. This, too, would be very beneficial in many other uses of Brushes.

              Using it would be no more awkward than the existing Arrowheads Effect--you'd still be applying a single Effect to a path. But those enhancements would be beneficial in other common applications of Brushes as well, because customizable arrowheads is essentially the same thing as the end tiles of a Pattern Brush anyway. So why not do it elegantly and kill two birds with one stone, and thereby end up with the greater versatility of a more integrated feature set?

              > But they need to start heading down the path with smart arrows that snap to objects....

              That's a separate issue, at least in the conventional-wisdom approach to "connector lines." Among FreeHand, Draw, Canvas, and Illustrator, AI is the only one still without connector lines. So I consider that a separate feature from "arrowheads" or "brushes." Ideally, one would be able to create connector lines with or without any combination of Arrowheads or Brushes.

              And when connector lines are added, they need to be able to attach to any anchorPoint, not just to bounding box corners as is the case with FreeHand.

              • 4. Re: ARROWHEADS
                Level 1
                adobe, wake up !
                • 5. Re: ARROWHEADS
                  There seems to be two areas that Adobe has stayed away from, technical illustration, and 3d.
                  Arrowheads may seem a little too drafting-like. They are currently letting Corel Designer and Canvas handle the more technical kinds of drawing. I am using HotDoor's CadTools plugin but this functionality would be better as a real part of Ill.
                  3d effects aren't enough. These seem to be leftover from Adobe Dimensions, ok for flying logos, I guess. They're letting Strata handle the 3d stuff (Adobe style UI).

                  • 6. Re: ARROWHEADS
                    Yes, it is possible to shift the arrows back so the point is at the end of the line.

                    Unfortunately it takes hacking the plug-in and then the end of the line protrudes through the end of the arrow since it has a squared end, not a pointed one. So someone would also need to determine how to shift the end of the line back from the endpoint as well. Hopefully Adobe will enhance the effect in the future.

                    I shifted the arrowhead as follows:
                    In the Add Arrowheads.aip file, there are definitions for 27 arrowheads (search for %AI5_BeginLayer). I worked with the first one. The coordinates for the arrowhead's origin are the line "229.2221 488.0606 l". This is followed by a block of X,Y coordinates for the lines that make up the arrowhead. By shifting the origin's X coord. to match the highest X coord of the arrowhead drawing (change 229.2221 to 235.2573) the arrowhead point is now anchored at the end of the line instead of past it.

                    • 7. Re: ARROWHEADS
                      I totally agree. As someone who does thousands of pieces of math tech art each year, the arrowheads feature in Illustrator is a nightmare.
                      • 8. Re: ARROWHEADS
                        JETalmage Level 6
                        To repeat (and summarize) things mentioned in Posts 1 and 3 (way back in May and June of 07), three changes would render Illustrator's archaic Arrowheads feature unnecessary:

                        1. Enable Pattern Brushes to have End Tiles without Side Tiles. (It can presently do the inverse: A Pattern Brush can contain only a Side Tile.)

                        2. Add a checkbox to the Pattern Brush to Disallow Distortion of End Tiles.

                        3. SHOW THE INVISBLE RECTANGLE WHICH DEFINES THE BRUSH REGION IN THE DANG BRUSH OPTIONS DIALOG and allow the user to manipulate its height and width there!

                        This applies to Art Brushes as well. Why is this functionality treated so esoterically? Why provide an elaborate modal dialog yet require the user to drag a Brush onto the artboard, feel around for an invisible rectangle, modify it there, and then re-define the Brush in order to adjust the placement of the tile relative to the spine path? What is intuitive about that? The stupid dialog includes a direction arrow; by what logic is a simlar control over the tile's bounding box left out?

                        • 9. Re: ARROWHEADS
                          Steve Fairbairn Level 5
                          Does anyone know if it's possible to edit or make your own arrowheads?
                          Is there a library somewhere that you can dump designs into?
                          • 10. Re: ARROWHEADS
                            Kurt Gold Adobe Community Professional

                            as mentioned above, the code for Illustrator's arrowheads is stored inside the Arrowheads plugin file (.aip) which is located inside the Illustrator programme folder.

                            So, theoretically you can edit it if you know how to modify that code properly. If not, it is recommended to not doing so.
                            • 11. Re: ARROWHEADS
                              Tricia Ho Level 1
                              InDesign arrowheads are so much better and they're contained in the strokes palette. I feel that's so much more intuitive.
                              • 12. Re: ARROWHEADS
                                MarioMari Level 1
                                I totally agree. !
                                • 13. Re: ARROWHEADS
                                  Scott Falkner Level 6
                                  >The arrowheads need the capability to be set to either work the way they do now...

                                  Why? What's the point of the arrowheads as they "work" now? It's clearly broken as is, so why continue to leave it broken? Better to make arrowheads work as they should and introduce some conversion so that legacy arrowheads don't shift.
                                  • 14. Re: ARROWHEADS

                                    If just I could get the possibility to make custom arrowheads like I can make custom bevel styles I would be happy

                                    • 15. Re: ARROWHEADS

                                      After reading this thread, I think I'll try drawing the object to scale in Illustrator, and then dimension it in InDesign. Thanks for the advice, all. =)