18 Replies Latest reply: Apr 28, 2015 8:48 PM by Mike Henden RSS

    Why Illustrator

    d.eva81801

      So for those of you Pro Graphic designers, Why do you prefer Illustrator over other programs?

        • 1. Re: Why Illustrator
          Steve Fairbairn Community Member

          Such as ?

          • 2. Re: Why Illustrator
            SRiegel MVP

            It's not a matter of preference for me, as much as it is using the right tool for the job.

            We bought Creative Suite becasue it was an good and economical set of tools.

             

            I use Illustrator mainly for doing illustrations and creating logos. Photoshop for manipulating photos, and InDesign for most of my layout work (most, becasue some printers I work with require native Illustrator files, and I don't get to choose my printers, so...)

            • 3. Re: Why Illustrator
              Mathias17 Community Member

              Illustrator isn't the industry standard - it's the industry monopoly.

               

              It only becomes a question when something Illustrator could do might be better done in Photoshop or Indesign. Depends on the task at hand, and whatever preferences the designer has, or even what standards or requirement the end-result must observe.

               

              I realize the replies you've gotten so far are rather ambiguous, but it's a rather broad question, so . . .

              • 4. Re: Why Illustrator
                Kurt Gold Community Member

                Tell some more details about the background of your question.

                 

                There may be hundreds of reasons to take or to not take AI, depending on the specific requirements of a project.

                • 5. Re: Why Illustrator
                  Just_A_Mac_Guy Community Member

                  Because Aldus (Sort of) Sold Freehand to Adobe, but didn't really then it faltered and was surpassed by Illustrator, and was then really bought by Adobe which let it die....

                   

                  Some say Corel Draw quit the Mac Market, but I say they wetre never really a player.

                  • 6. Re: Why Illustrator
                    Kurt Gold Community Member

                    Some say Corel Draw quit the Mac Market, but I say they wetre never really a player.

                     

                    Rather an overused cliché.

                     

                    For example, almost all sign shops I know who do advertising art in general are using Corel Draw. Often as their main tool. That market is not that small as some people may think. At least in the region where I live.

                    • 7. Re: Why Illustrator
                      d.eva81801 Community Member

                      I'm just doing some reasearch on AI, I have it and use it occasionally but I'm not professional and I was just wondering about Illustrator and why people use it. It sounds like there isn't much competition. Sorry I'm a little out of my element I have only been using Illustrator for like 3 months and it's a bit hard for me still. I am just in the learning phase.

                      • 8. Re: Why Illustrator
                        [scott] Community Member

                        There really isn't much competion anymore. Which, honestly, is bad for users. While I like Illustrator, there's really little options once you hit a specific area. The shareware/freeware vector apps out there are okay, up to a point. But since Freehand died and CorelDraw never really took off for the Mac... if you're a Mac users there's only a handful of vector apps and all of them fall somewhat short compared to Illustrator.

                        • 9. Re: Why Illustrator
                          vladi013 Community Member

                          First of all Ai i far from being ideal vector software. As a matter of fact I think it is the weakest flagship product of Adobe and it's only a time before we see some integration of it into InDesign.

                           

                          Today I use Ai mainly for logos, stationary design (it's cool to have bc, letter head, envelope in the same doc and in the same view) and some type manipulation. I think fashion designers are more dependable on Ai than graphic designers so it has it's market.

                           

                          What I always found ironic is the actual name of the software: Illustrator. But it sucks big time in illustrating. Sure you can do it but it consumes so much unnecessary time. Pen tool is a joke really and unless you have VectorScribe or XtremePath you will just loose your time to do something that could be done with one click.

                           

                          Ever tried to do a drop shadow? That's a disaster just like any other effect where you can't move your mouse to adjust it but you need to punch in the numbers and check on preview box and then you wait, and wait because once it gets complicated with multiple points Ai can barely handle it since it only uses one CPU core, no matter how many of them you have in your machine.

                           

                          Oh btw have you ever tried to get outline behind live text fill? It's not possible unless you convert it to outlines first. Also have you ever tried to drag and drop non-swatch color to live text? It doesn't work but it works on outlines.

                           

                          OK why am I saying all this? I am saying to let you know that Ai is not the complete solution even if it's the leading vector based tool. It's number one vector software because of lack of the others and that is why it's so slowly evolving there is no pressure from others.

                           

                          The last improvement that made me happy was the gradient tool, it's so neat! But it came straight out of CoreDRAW, sure it's a lot more improved in Ai but idea came from somewhere else. That is exactly what vector artists need: more choice.

                           

                          If you are really into big point to point drawing (I am not so I stick with Ai) I think you should give CorelDRAW or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro a chance. Their bezier support is superior to the one in Ai. If you are using mesh a lot to color your artwork I suggest to give Corel a try once again, it has a lot better mesh implementation than Ai.

                           

                          Once you try others give Adobe a shout and maybe they will listen like they did with gradient tool.

                          • 10. Re: Why Illustrator
                            Grant H Community Member

                            So for those of you Pro Graphic designers, Why do you prefer Illustrator over other programs?

                            Because its "suite"...

                             

                            So "everyone" (pros atleast) have it. Integration and workflow with other Adobe products. Works well for what it is intendedas long you are intimate with it... most of the time the complainers of it just are not um,... savvy enough with it....

                             

                            G

                            • 11. Re: Why Illustrator
                              Just_A_Mac_Guy Community Member

                              Some say Corel Draw quit the Mac Market, but I say they wetre never really a player.

                               

                              Rather an overused cliché.

                               

                              For example, almost all sign shops I know who do advertising art in general are using Corel Draw. Often as their main tool. That market is not that small as some people may think. At least in the region where I live.

                               

                               

                              Absolutely Cliché... but none the less... your milage and experience may vary. Corel was (is?) a major company but Draw was never big outside sign makers and never a factor in the widespread Mac community, imho.

                               

                              Illustrator is a powerful tool for what it does and is the most versitlie for things like logos, packaging, diagrams and anything that needs to be self contained and used in other layouts.

                               

                              Unfortunatly I know far too many who also think of Illustrator as a PDf editor and page layout application. You can perform these functions with Illustrator but there are other applications that are more suited to the task.

                               

                              As to the Original posters Questions...

                              illustrator is a very complex application and not the most inuitive to the beginner user. There are many tutorials... I personnly always like http://www.bamagazine.com/ 

                              I was a very early subscriber to the printed Mag. Showing my age.

                               

                              http://rwillustrator.blogspot.ca/ is good too.

                              • 12. Re: Why Illustrator
                                John Stanowski Community Member
                                The last improvement that made me happy was the gradient tool, it's so neat! But it came straight out of CoreDRAW, sure it's a lot more improved in Ai but idea came from somewhere else. That is exactly what vector artists need: more choice.

                                 

                                I don't care one bit that it may have been inspired by CorelDRAW.

                                There's A LOT MORE I wish they'd steal from them.

                                 

                                • Like being able to drag out rounded corners instead of entering some decimal which we have no idea what will look like unless we try it.

                                • Dragging out Drop shadows.

                                • Contour

                                • The unbelievably better way to select Text. Working in text in AI is a nightmare.

                                • More sensible way to scale.

                                • Being able to select a fill by clicking on a swatch; select an outline color by right clicking a swatch.

                                • Friendlier Blends

                                • Being able to move each letter in a block of text separately by clicking on a node.

                                • Being able to convert Point Type to Paragraph Type and vice Versa.

                                • Ungroup All

                                • Remembering rotation, and being able to clear it.

                                • Super easy way to extrude text... and a sensible way to see it outline mode.

                                • Giving you a lot of options if you right-click on a point in a path rather than having to resort to extra tools.

                                 

                                A few years ago I could probably go on and on, but Corel is beginning to get faded in my memory. (sniff)

                                 

                                Illustrator's problem is it's more like a CAD program or something. It's not friendly. You have to enter numbers in to get stuff done.

                                Corel let's you interactively drag something out. The same way you use your hands when you sketch on paper or shape clay.

                                 

                                Problem is if you tell people you use DRAW they look at you funny.

                                But, alas, we have little choice. AI is the standard and if you want to play nice with other programs like Photoshop and Cinema 4D, and share with people and printers, and get resources... you need AI.

                                 

                                Don't get me wrong, I love Illustrator. But only half of it. The other half I hate.

                                • 13. Re: Why Illustrator
                                  DocPixel-BMW Community Member

                                  Well... I wouldn't say a) "Freehand faltered", and nor was it b) "sort of purchased from Aldus".

                                   

                                  Actually, Freehand was not allowed to be purchased from Aldus  by Adobe (pasted from Wikipedia post):

                                  In 1994, Aldus merged with Adobe Systems and because of the overlapping market with Adobe Illustrator, FreeHand was returned to Altsys by order of the Federal Trade Commission.

                                   

                                  Unfortunately, when Macromedia, who eventually owned Freehand, decided to sell their business to Adobe, the FTC was asleep at the desk and let the purchase proceed in full, thus creating a "professional" vector program monopoly (outside of CorelDraw).

                                   

                                  Re: Freehand faltered: no, it did not.

                                   

                                  The numbers were skewed in Illustrator's favor, because every designer had Illustrator "in their toolbox" of must have programs for assorted reasons, but mostly for opening generic EPS, Corel .crd, and PDF files. Once opened, vector data could be copied and pasted into Freehand for further layout and manipulation.

                                   

                                  Here in Germany, the most "used" vector program was Freehand by a long shot over Illustrator. I'm a consultant for over 20 years here in the printing industry and Ad agencies, and I can state this as fact by 8:1. Regardless of the fact, because Illustrator was on every desktop system, also partly due to being included in almost every Suite configuration from Adobe, it "appeared" to have the most "users". But once again, while the statistics would say Illustrator had more "users" which would be true, the time spent in each program daily weighted hugely on the side of Freehand.

                                   

                                  Summarily: Illustrator "was" just a utility to get vectors into Freehand. In many shops, replace "was" with "is" to this day, and the main reason I can't get many of my clients to fully upgrade their Macs to Lion. They need Freehand, and Rosetta is no longer licensed by IBM to Apple, for who knows why.

                                   

                                  So... that's the "far too long of it" from my side.

                                   

                                  PS. While I and the literally few 100 designers that I come into contact with over the year have come to "accept" Illustrator, the lack of "ease of use back then" (pre-kill of Freehand) is still a huge topic. Specifically, when is Illustrator going to come up to speed with simple things like choosing objects with one arrow instead of 2, without the disturbing Smart guides which we never needed before, when groups show boxes instead thousands of points if Extras are on... but when off, you can't see if you've marked text correctly or not, etc. etc.

                                   

                                  Again... Illustrator is just a utility in it's present state, and certainly not a "designer-friendly" professional application for conceptual visualists.

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  Just_A_Mac_Guy wrote:

                                   

                                  Because Aldus (Sort of) Sold Freehand to Adobe, but didn't really then it faltered and was surpassed by Illustrator, and was then really bought by Adobe which let it die....

                                   

                                  Some say Corel Draw quit the Mac Market, but I say they wetre never really a player.

                                  • 14. Re: Why Illustrator
                                    DocPixel-BMW Community Member

                                    This morning I wrote the post above before I took a look and saw that Illustrator CS6 will be available shortly.

                                     

                                    Thus I would like to amend my comment above. I see some hope from looking at the "sneak-peek" videos, that Illustrator might have some good things going in the new, re-written version just around the corner. I'm most pleasantly happy with the announcement that it is at the very least now 64-bit native, and will have the same new Mercury rendering engine as does Photoshop.

                                     

                                    Maybe.... just maybe... we can put "the good ol' Freehand days" behind us once and for all...?!?

                                     

                                    Message was edited by: DocPixel-BMW

                                    • 15. Re: Why Illustrator
                                      Just_A_Mac_Guy Community Member

                                      DocPixel-BMW wrote:

                                       

                                      Actually, Freehand was not allowed to be purchased from Aldus  by Adobe (pasted from Wikipedia post):

                                      In 1994, Aldus merged with Adobe Systems and because of the overlapping market with Adobe Illustrator, FreeHand was returned to Altsys by order of the Federal Trade Commission.

                                       

                                       

                                      Just_A_Mac_Guy wrote:

                                       

                                      Because Aldus (Sort of) Sold Freehand to Adobe, but didn't really then it faltered and was surpassed by Illustrator, and was then really bought by Adobe which let it die....

                                       

                                      Some say Corel Draw quit the Mac Market, but I say they wetre never really a player.

                                       

                                      I gave a shortened toung in cheek version of the story... Potato - Potaaato

                                      Adobe anly merged with Aldus to get Freehand and there was much egg on face when the legal reality came to light.

                                       

                                      Fact remains Freehand was better, until almost everyone went to Illy. Adobe created a monoploy by economically bundling all their apps with the one everyone had to have. Photoshop. Then they made their software play nicest with their siblings and made outsiders out of everthing else.

                                      • 16. Re: Why Illustrator
                                        ninotindultat

                                        Illustrator is such a bad, unneficient, unintuitive, bloated and absurd tool I cannot believe people actually don't even try to run as far away from it as they can. It is just the worst vector tool I ever tried. No wonder why if you google "Illustrator hate" you find so many entries.. hahah and some are really hilarious, but absolutely deserved.

                                         

                                        Lots of truth in there

                                         

                                        Monopolies should be illegal. The day you Adobe bought Macromedia, we creatives lost.

                                         

                                        Hopefully this will change, but hey, people, stop praising shaitty products. Everything can be much better and competece makes it possible.

                                        • 17. Re: Why Illustrator
                                          dougofakkad MVP

                                          habit.

                                          • 18. Re: Why Illustrator
                                            Mike Henden

                                            Q. Why do I prefer Illustrator over other programmes?

                                             

                                            A. I don't. I hate the bloody thing. As I’ve pointed out in many other places on the internet, to anybody that will listen, Adobe has owned a vastly superior vector drawing package to Illustrator for many, many years. It’s called FreeHand (remember Freehand anyone?). It was easy to use, intuitive, smart — everything Illustrator hoped to be. Adobe brought it (in fact they almost brought it twice) with the express intention of killing it off because it was so much better than their own vector drawing programme. I used FreeHand 10 until 2013 when my G5 Mac couldn’t cope any more and I had to upgrade to an Intel-based machine that wouldn’t run it.

                                             

                                            Many of us die-hard FreeHand users hoped this meant that Adobe would incorporate FreeHand’s superior features into Illustrator but this never happened. Once the competition is dead and you have an effective monopoly, why bother spending the time and resources improving your product?

                                             

                                            As for Illustrator costing $600 ($US I assume?), well Adobe can’t even give it away these days. I mean, who in their right mind would buy it as a stand-alone package? That’s why it comes bundled in Adobe CC (Creative Cloud) subscriptions with other industry-standard applications (Photoshop and InDesign, ******* child of PageMaker) and imposed upon hapless users in the hope that they will use it.

                                             

                                            I’m using CS4 versions of Adobe software rather than paying ongoing Creative Cloud subscriptions. I suppose one day when my system no longer runs CS4 I’ll need to upgrade. I realise new features have been added to Photoshop and InDesign and DreamWeaver may have minimal improvements. But I can’t see any point in upgrading Illustrator when the latest version still has all the myriad shortcomings of earlier versions, albeit in a more bloated and resource-hungry form (OK, I could be corrected here as I haven’t used it but that’s the general trend for software development).

                                             

                                            I’m hoping for the day that FreeHand escapes the clutches of Adobe and we once again have a choice as to which vector drawing package to use. But, of course, that will never happen.