Adobe Illustrator is a package for creating, processing, and editing vector graphics on Windows and other platforms. It allows users to create designs for a user-friendly gambling site, cartoon characters, or stickers. We’ve figured out what Illustrator is for and what benefits it has for the user.
The Main Features
Let’s start with the most important. So, this software works with vectors, unlike Adobe Photoshop and its counterparts. What does that mean? The fact that it uses curved lines on the plane instead of pixels. Because of this, the picture is essentially a mathematical model, as it is described by the coordinates. This approach made it possible to create pictures of all sizes and formats, which are easily scalable without losing quality and detail.
So, what to draw in Illustrator if you are an artist or designer? Pretty much anything:
- Logos and simple fill-in illustrations.
- Icons for websites or applications.
- Complex images with lots of elements. From banners to book covers.
- Isometric images. Simulation of a three-dimensional image to visualize an object.
Versatility allows you to use the program Illustrator for layouts used by printers. These are postcards, flyers, calendars, brochures, stickers, labels for packages. If the image size does not exceed 5.7 m, and the layout itself is not multipage, it is much more convenient to layout in AI.
There is a reason the program got its name. After all, a professional artist working in vector graphics is capable of creating photorealistic works that are not inferior to bitmap images. To this end, the tool is used in the form of a grid. It allows you to use tonal transitions, create shadows and highlights, increasing the realism of the image.
The Main Benefits of AI for the User
Many people wonder why Adobe Illustrator is so popular among artists and designers. Let’s try to answer this question objectively. So, what makes this package from the famous developer so good?
- Full compatibility with other products of the brand. In particular – Photoshop. You can import and export files. Rasterize or, conversely, translate into curved raster lineworks.
- An interface that is completely understandable to the Photoshop user. Some options will have to be remembered, but in general immediately understand where there is some functionality.
- The convenience of the system. It can be easily adapted to your tasks. You can decide which tools you need, how to place the palettes, etc.
- AI can make layouts for almost any task, from simple logos to large projects of external advertising with high detail.
- Almost any printing service works with Adobe Illustrator CC, which makes it easy to submit a layout. You send it in, they examine it, edit it if necessary, and send it to print.
- Many tools available “out of the box. That is, you do not need to buy a huge amount of commercial content to get the desired level of product functionality.
- Works with PDF and EPS directly.
- When converting raster files to vector format there are no artifacts.
- A large number of effects for both vector and raster image elements.
- Correct color reproduction, which is important in printing.
While layout saved in TIFF or PSD takes a lot of space, the vector format AI is significantly superior in compactness. It can easily be sent by email, messenger, or shared through a cloud service for access by another user.
3 Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator
This is the most popular vector graphics processing tool. It was first released in 2003 and is still in the “preview” stage. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent free replacement for Adobe Illustrator, capable of becoming a desktop tool not only for amateurs but also for professionals. A team of developers from different countries is working on the software tool and, if you wish, you too can help make this open source product better.
Inkscape has everything an artist needs. You can use it to create paintings of almost photographic quality. Aside from the wide range of tools, there’s also a whole series of effects.
Expression Design 4
Expression Design 4 is not quite as powerful as Inkscape in the way it works. But it is pleasingly small in size and is perfect for web-based UI and graphics developers. It’s still pretty good for tasks that don’t require blending visuals. You won’t be able to use it to blur backgrounds and apply shadows, but it provides basic options for creating lines and shapes, adding text, creating layers, and much more that a designer needs. For creating banners and logos, its capabilities will be enough.
Another tool that allows you to work with vector graphics. Its interface is understandable even to the untrained user. The layer stack is on the left, your virtual canvas is in the center and the settings have a place in the right side of the window. The toolkit is minimalistic, but that’s only at first glance, because you can switch to an extended set.
Vectr is suitable for creating business cards, logos and posters, that is, designs that don’t involve a lot of fine detail.