What’s new in illustrator CS5?

It’s always exciting to see what’s new in new versions of your favorite software. Longtime adobe illustrator fans certainly have a great interest in learning about the changes in illustrator CS5, but those changes are not of interest only to people who have used illustrator extensively in the past. New users and people who currently use other products also want to know if this new version adds must have functionality.

In this chapter, I introduce all the enhancements and fixes as well as the single new feature that has been added to illustrator CS5. Fortunately, illustrator CS5 maintains a strong connection with the past so that you don’t have to relearn much at all. Most of these changes are minor enhancements to existing functionality, and the perspective grid feature is very specialized.

Enhanced strokes and brushes

In the past, strokes were always the limited functionality add-on to fills: want to surround an object with a frame ? use a stroke. Need to outline text?  Use a stroke. But strokes have always had limitations, the most common being that they were a constant width; if you wanted a stroke to taper from on size to another along its length, you needed to use a brush, a very different beast (though in fairness, you could always apply a brush to stroke, essentially replacing it )

Flash XML Graphics

Illustrator now supports filters, text, gradients and  blend elements for FXG. Allowing files to be more easily interchanged among flash illustrator fireworks and Photoshop.

Align to Pixel Grid

While illustrator has had the ability to view the pixel version of the current document for several versions, it was a manual and time consuming process to adjust artwork and text to avoid unwanted jaggies and blurred edges. This new feature, shown as a check box at the bottom of the transform panel in figure automatically aligns artwork so that both jaggies and blurred edges are minimized.

Summary

Illustrator CS5 has several small enhancements and fixes to existing feature and a single new feature :

Perspective grids. You leaned that:

  • The changes to illustrator CS5 are primarily minor enhancements to existing functionality.
  • Strokes can have variable widths assigned to them, and arrowheads can be easily placed on each end directly from the stroke panel.
  • Illustrator now does the right thing when you attempt to join paths.
  • The new perspective grid is the sole new feature in this release of illustrator.
  • Artboard functionality has been enhanced with a new artboards panel and artboard rulers.
  • Gradient mesh points can now have opacity applied directly to them.
  • The shape builder tool makes filling overlapping path sections easier than ever before.
  • Symbols have been enhanced, including the ability to have built in registration points.
  • Illustrator now supports FXG for easier interchange among fireworks, illustrator, flash and photoshop.
  • The new align to pixel grid function keeps the jaggies and blurries to a minimum.
  • Raster- based effects now work properly when document effects resolution is changed.

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