Illustrator CS3 adds Live Color

Adobe Illustrator CS3 was introduced on Tuesday with the rest of Adobe’s Creative Suite products. As with the other applications, Illustrator features tighter integration within the suite and it also has some new features.

“Essentially there are three main themes in this release — innovation, productivity and integration,” Philip Guindi, Illustrator Product Manager, told Macworld.

Perhaps one of the most interesting new features in Illustrator is Live Color, a complete color exploration environment. Live color is designed for people that have ever been frustrated in choosing the appropriate color for a project.

Live Color allows you to interact with the application to discover new and unique color combinations that you can save and reuse. Using the Color Guide you can find compelling colors and save them to organized color groups in your Swatches panel.

You can also create color schemes based on 23 classic color-harmony rules such as Complementary, Analogous, Monochromatic and Triad, or you can create custom harmony rules. Choose a base color, and then see what variations you come up with according to rules you choose. You can also limit color schemes to existing libraries such as PANTONE solids or any set of colors you may have saved in a previous project.

If you reduce the number of colors in your artwork, Illustrator will re-map new colors to your objects based on the parameters you define.

Illustrator CS3 also includes integration with Flash CS3 Professional. Features that are of particular interest to Flash designers include Illustrator symbols and type tools. Save any Illustrator shape as a symbol that you can paste into Flash, and use symbol tool options that are now similar in Illustrator and Flash.

According to Adobe, the underlying architecture of Illustrator has been improved so you can now work more fluidly, without waiting for the application to catch up with your hands and your thoughts. You can now scroll and zoom with increased speed, and you’ll notice snappier refresh rates and responsiveness. If you’re using multiple CPUs, you’ll experience even greater performance gain due to multithreading advances made in Illustrator CS3.

“If you are looking at PowerPC versus Intel, we are actually seeing 250-300 percent improvements with typical files,” said Guindi.

Other enhancements to Illustrator CS3 include improved drawing tools and controls; a new eraser tool; new document profiles; a crop area tool; and enhanced symbols.

Adobe Illustrator CS3 will begin shipping in April 2007 to customers in the United States and Canada. Adobe Flash CS3 will cost $599 — upgrade options are available from the company’s Web site.

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