Become a Vector Virtuoso with Adobe Illustrator Tips and Tricks
written by: Amber Neely•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 4/16/2012
While it promises to deliver fantastic results in the hands of a seasoned expert, Adobe Illustrator remains to be one of the more difficult design software to work with. No need to worry though, as this guide is filled with tips, tricks, and tutorials that are sure to have you designing in no time.
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Created nearly 25 years ago, Adobe Illustrator had humble beginnings as primarily font development software. It slowly evolved throughout the years to become one of the most widely used graphic design and desktop publishing programs out there. It's a vector-graphics editor, meaning that you can create graphics that can be scaled infinitely with no loss of quality. This is fantastic not only for web elements and fonts, but great for merchandise design and logos as well - imagine only having to create one version of a logo that can be printed on everything from business cards to billboards.
Made to work hand-in-hand with other products in the Adobe Creative Suite line - such as Photoshop and Flash - Adobe Illustrator is a product that promises great results from experienced graphic designers. However, if you're new to the software, it can be overwhelming at best. That's why we've got a collection of great tutorials and tips that can show you how to do everything from setting up your first document to designing more elaborate projects, such as brochures and business cards, and even help you create elements for your web design projects.
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Learning the Ropes
Daunting is a fantastic way to describe most Adobe software packages when you first use them. After all, there are menus that seem to go on forever, as well as endless amounts of options and triggers and shortcuts that you could probably never hope to find on your own. But don't let that scare you - the program becomes much easier to work with once you take your time to learn a few simple functions. Here you'll learn a few simple things that are sure to build your confidence, as well as familiarize you with the basic functions of Illustrator. Try your hand at creating a new document, setting up your tools, and learn how to save in a wide variety of formats.
If you're familiar with any software in the Adobe Creative Suite line, you're well aware that the biggest selling point is the expansive amount of tools that are offered to the user. These tools give designers the ability to create a fantastic array of effects and designs, putting some serious creative power at their fingertips. However, these tools may put you off a bit if you don't understand them at first. No need to avoid using certain tools in your project now, as this guide covers everything from the shape tool to the brush tool, the text tool, and even how to use gradients, color fills and strokes.
Now that you've taken the time to learn the ropes and play around with the tools, it's time to move on to creating elements for your projects. By following the steps in any given tutorial you'll become comfortable using the Adobe Illustrator interface - after all, practice makes perfect! Not to mention, you'll also learn how to work with the program in common ways that can help you in future projects. A majority of these projects are geared toward creating fantastic buttons for presentations and web design, but the skills that you'll learn can be applied to a wide variety of projects, such as logo and graphic design.
Now that you've honed your skills, you've worked up to being able to create entire projects with multiple steps and skills applied. This is where you take what you've learned and put it into practice. Adobe Illustrator, much like other Adobe products, are often used for a wide variety of projects. Here you'll learn how to use Adobe Illustrator for everything from creating brochures to web design, business card printing and even creating neat effects for your photos.