5 Replies Latest reply on Aug 30, 2009 5:34 AM by JETalmage

    Need some advice on the whole "Ill vs. Visio".

    ( Adrian M. )

      Long story short: Doctoral student (cancer cell biology) creating illustrations for my dissertation, manuscripts and posters for meetings.  I am just starting so I have some options right now.  So ran a test. Needed to make 2 illustrations for the first chapter of dissertation, did one in Illustrator CS3 (13.0.2) and one in Visio 2007.  What I really want is Visillustrator CS2007.  The "connection points" in Visio are the killer feature there, pretty much everything else is better in Illustrator (in fact I made some of the symbols I needed in Illustrator and then broght them into Visio). It's just those connections points make changes really easy but I layout all my stuff (manuscripts, posters, a dissertation) in InDesign.  Using Illustrator makes for a nice workflow until my mentor wants to move things around on the illustration and then the issues begin with Illustrator.


      Any advice, suggestions, musing?  I need to pick one of them and go with it.



      Thanks for your time,


        • 1. Re: Need some advice on the whole "Ill vs. Visio".
          JETalmage Level 6
          What I really want is Visillustrator CS2007

          Then try just about any mainstream drawing program other than Illustrator. Illustrator does not provide connector lines. It is "brain dead" when it comes to org charts, workflow charts, etc. You basically have to draw such things as individual objects and just deal with there being no live connectivity between them.


          Much depends on the level of illustration work you are doing.


          Assuming Windows (you didn't mention your platform):


          If your drawing needs are modest (sounds like it) go to Sun microsystems and download OpenOffice.org. I actually find its drawing module less tedious to use for connector diagrams than Visio. It contains a full set of prebuilt diagram symbols and has a surprising amount of capability for that kind of program. Also exports to PDF.


          If you need to create the org charts in a full-blown vector drawing environment, try Corel Draw. It includes connector lines (which can connect to specific path nodes, rather than only to bounding box handles). Canvas also provides connector lines. Both of those programs are more amenable to techish illustration than Illustrator, because they include dimensioning tools, custom ruler scales, connector lines, 2D extrudes, etc., etc.



          • 2. Re: Need some advice on the whole "Ill vs. Visio".
            Wade_Zimmerman Level 7

            From what I understand Canvas is very good for what you want and excellent for charts and diagrams.


            Not so certain how well the will intergrate with ID. So your desire to work with ID might be the answer which would be Illustrator.

            • 3. Re: Need some advice on the whole "Ill vs. Visio".
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

              To throw one more alternative in the ring: EdgeDiagrammer. Probably the truth is somewhere inbetween all these tools...



              • 4. Re: Need some advice on the whole "Ill vs. Visio".
                ( Adrian M. ) Level 1

                Thanks for the advice Jet and Wade, I appreciate it.


                I'm gonna go with Illustrator.  The one feature that I really must have is seamless integration with ID.  I use it now for manuscripts, grants as well as my dissertation.  My friends in science think I'm crazy (they use Word for everything) and that's it's overkill until they see me place a multi-image figure, without having to convert my Photoshop files, right into the text and the wrap is flawless, highly controllable and no headaches with the figure legend.  Most of the science world uses PowerPoint to do this kind of work!  One guy in my lab was baffled... had no idea what Visio was much less Illustrator.


                Thank again for your help.  Now I just have to learn Illustrator this weekend. 

                • 5. Re: Need some advice on the whole "Ill vs. Visio".
                  JETalmage Level 6

                  What is so "seamless" about working between InDesign and Illustrator? (One of the most overused words in software hype.)

                  InDesign can import raster and vector artwork created in other programs.

                  Most decent programs can save as PDF, AI, EPS, the usual array of raster formats.

                  You can set the Edit Original settings for placed files to whatever program you like.

                  Any decent page-layout program can import just about anything. (That's mainly what they are: an environment for assembling graphic pieces from a variety of sources.)


                  Personally, I use whatever works best for the kind of illustration I'm building. That has never kept me from using InDesign as the page-layout program.


                  Don't foo-foo MS Word for this kind of text-heavy work. Someone who knows how to use Word properly can do nice stuff with it. Someone who doesn't know how to use InDesign properly can build garbage with it. If the document is bookish in nature, not particulary design-intensive, with nothing but text and spot illustrations here and there, the argument between using a page-layout vs. a word-processing program can be moot. The more apropos questions may be how the document is intended to be reproduced (contains color-critical artwork and requires color separation or not) and distributed (electronic vs. print).