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Illustrator Building Shapes and Perspective

IllustratorR CS5 has some new tools to replace the old Pathfinder for building shapes. The new Shape Builder tool can be used to quickly and easily build shapes. To combine many shapes into one, just select the individual shapes with the Selection tool and the Shift key. Then click the Shape Builder tool in the Tools panel and the shapes are automatically merged together. There is no need to open any dialog boxes. By using the Options/Alt key instead of the Shift key, you can subtract one shape or part of a design from the group. In the Shape Builder Tool Options dialog box, you have many options for this tool including the new Cursor Swatch Preview.

Drawing in 1, 2 and 3 point perspective has been made easier with the perspective grids. When building a scene in perspective, Illustrator CS5 does all the work. Just use the Perspective Selection tool to drag a design element onto the perspective grid. Illustrator will automatically transform the element to fit within the perspective grid. Most of Illustrator's line and shape tools work in perspective. For example, if you select the bottom plane of the perspective grid and draw a rectangle, the rectangle will automatically be drawn to lay flat on the bottom plane.

Editing live text in perspective is easy with the Perspective Object control bar. Just select the text from within the perspective scene and click the Edit Text button in the control bar. Illustrator automatically switches to Isolation mode where you can edit the text without affecting the rest of the perspective scene.

Pixel perfect artwork for the web is easier with the Align to Pixel Grid option. When using this option on design elements, Illustrator will automatically nudge your lines and shapes to the nearest pixel edge, preventing them from landing in between pixels. This is especially helpful when working with type. In the Character panel, you can easily choose between anti-aliasing options including None, Sharp, Crisp and Strong.

The integration between Illustrator CS5 and FlashR CatalystR is enhanced with this new upgrade. As with PhotoshopR, you can now import your Illustrator documents into Flash Catalyst with full fidelity. The layout and design elements are maintained along with your artboards, layers and other document information. You also have the option of using live editing in Illustrator while working in Flash Catalyst. Illustrator will open allowing you to edit your artwork. When you return to Catalyst, your changes are automatically updated.

*Adobe provided a review copy to me free of charge.

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