Among the comments on my list of details polished in Photoshop CS4, a number of people wished for a similar list for Illustrator & suggested that the Illustrator team start a blog. As it happens, my friend & former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding runs the great Real World Illustrator blog, and he’s posted some illuminating resources:
- Illustrator CS4 – The Facts is a pretty comprehensive round-up of what’s new in this release. (The Appearance panel is killer–everything I always asked that it be.)
- His interview with Illustrator PM David Macy offers good perspective on the team’s thinking & discusses other points of polish in CS4.
In the past I’ve said "I swear because I care," and caring a lot about Illustrator, I’ve directed some well-intentioned swearing in their direction over the years. I distinctly remember sitting at my desk at Agency.com some nine years ago and hearing a (long since departed) Illustrator PM dismiss my request by saying, "Oh, customers don’t want multiple pages." (At that point I started wondering, "Now, is it still murder if it wasn’t premeditated, and can I claim temporary insanity…?") That’s why I’m delighted that they’ve both addressed some eternal requests (yay, multiple
pages–er, artboards!) and have polished lots of existing functionality. As Mordy writes,
In the past, Illustrator had a reputation of adding new features, but never really going back to refine them in subsequent versions (i.e.,gradient mesh, 3D, brushes, graphs). With an improved Appearance panel, more capable graphic styles, a revamped gradient feature, better clipping mask behavior, isolation mode, and Smart Guides in CS4, it’s refreshing to see the team adding much needed polish to some of these "older" features.
The more I’ve played with the new Illustrator, the more I’ve found the "little" changes to have a big impact. I think you will, too.