Lots of helpful Illustrator features are hidden in special key-commands or in the many Illustrator drop-down menus or dialog boxes. These tips may seem trivial, but I know I would have learned Illustrator faster if I’d started out knowing these basic tricks:
Creating smooth paths
The are several ways to achieve smooth paths without perfect fine-motor skills. The pencil and paintbrush tools both have settings dialog boxes where you can specify the fidelity and smoothness of new strokes. The biggest Illustrator secret though is the smooth tool which is tucked away in the pencil menu. You can use it on paths you’ve just drawn or on any path in the document. Just select the path and drag it along the selected path to adjust the contours of the path. It adds or removes points as needed and adjusts the handles. This blog entry explains how to create smooth points in illustrator in more detail.
Sometimes you need to adjust the curve of a path on only one side of a point while leaving the other side of the path as is. You can ALT-click any point with the direct selection tool (the white arrow) or the pen tool to adjust only one side of a point’s handles.
Sometimes you need to adjust a path in the middle of a curve but it only has one handle, or you’ve got a point with two handles that you need to turn into a 90 degree corner. Find the convert anchor point tool hidden at the bottom of the pen menu and click the point to toggle it between a two-handled point and no-handled point.
Often times you’ll need to create a single object, then multiply it across a document. The fastest way to do this is to ALT-click the selected object with the selection tool (the black arrow), and drag out a new copy. No copying and pasting necessary. If you’re stating out with Illustrator I hope these tips can help you save some time.
I’ve lost work as a result of Photoshop or Illustrator crashes many, many times. It’s easy to forget to save, or wait too long before hitting save again. Why doesn’t Photoshop include an auto save feature like InDesign or After Effects? Even the CS5 versions lack auto save functionality. Sure, auto save can disrupt your work and take up lots of disk space, but having a back up when things go wrong is usually worth it. It turns out that there’s a program out for Macs called ForeverSave that can auto save just about any program at set intervals. It’s been around at least since ’09, but it looks like it’s still the best thing out there.
Being from Marin, and caring a lot about education, it’s great to read about Venables Bell & Partners donating their time and resources to help bring attention to school budget cuts. The audience for these ads in Marin may have deep enough pockets to help turn the situation around, but unfortunately most schools won’t be able to plug the gaps in school budgets with donations.
The ads themselves look good. Typography as the key visual. Interesting-looking, yet still readable.
It’s kind of surprising that they’re discussing anal warts in an ad for a food brand, but it’s a funny spot. They do know their audience, as they demonstrated with stoned unicorn ad in 2009. It’s good to see that they do some things besides TV ads with shots of food.
- Production Company: DumbDumb Productions in partnership with Electus
- Co-Creators: Jason Bateman & Will Arnett
- Co-Producers: Jason Bateman & Will Arnett
- Agency: Gotham
- Chief Creative Officer: Marty Orzio
- Content Distribution: Electus
- Branded Entertainment Agency: Ensemble
Via Agency Spy.
I really like
this blog’s (my old) theme. It was developed by Jeff Star about five years ago. So when I read this article on Smashing Magazine about how to upgrade a WordPress theme to HTML5 I thought I’d update Minimalist. I changed the form styling, and some of the typography, but it’s mostly unchanged and it should validate as HTML5. I just think there’s something ironic about a minimalist bleeding-edge theme.
Jeff released Minimalist for free under the open source GPL so I figured I would release my updated version too. Jeff’s installation instructions are still included along with a complete set of files and images.
Download HTML5Minimalist [ v-1.3 | .zip ]