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Home > Tools April 18th, 2012

Adobe Illustrator CS6 First Looks: New Gradient & Pattern Features

[UPDATE (April 23rd)Creative Suite 6 is out!]

With a barrage of Photoshop sneak peeks plus many for other CS6 products, you knew that finally Adobe Illustrator was bound to get more love of its own… Adobe has now slipped out two cool looks at the new Illustrator CS6, the next generation of the industry-leading vector graphics tool.

Two Great New Features in Adobe Illustrator CS6!

Similar to Photoshop, it’s been two years now since a major new version was released – and similar to Photoshop CS6, the new edition of Illustrator will also have a redesigned user interface that is both darker and more modern. The idea here is by making the background darker and the controls more streamlined, the content itself will more readily shine through and stand out.

Here below AI Product Manager Brenda Sutherland shares two quick peeks into a bit of what’s new for Illustrator CS6 as part of the upcoming Creative Suite 6 – a terrific new Gradients on Strokes feature that lets you create artwork that looks complex but is easy to edit, plus an exciting new way to create seamless, repeating vector patterns… check them out:

Notice there are three different ways to use this new capability: “Apply gradient within stroke,” “Apply gradient along stroke,” and “Apply gradient across stroke” – to apply gradients along the length, across the width, or within the stroke itself. This has to be one of the most requested features for Illustrator for quite some time – and means no longer trying to to use a gradient brush as a workaround.

Here’s the second AI CS6 sneak on patterns:

As Adobe’s Terry Hemphill says:

On-artboard controls let you create and edit patterns interactively. One-click tiling arrangements let you experiment quickly so you can spend more time being creative and less on planning.

If you’ve ever struggled with creating seamless patterns in Illustrator (and I know I have) , you’re going to love this new way of working.

Adobe Illustrator: 25 Years Young!

One big question customers are now asking: Will there be 64-bit and/or multiprocessor support in Illustrator CS6, with the improved performance that would bring? No indication has been given in the videos or anywhere else, but with all the time since the last release and the way other products are going, it would make good sense for Illustrator CS6 to have native 64-bit support, don’t you think?

[UPDATECS6 Grace Period: Buy CS5.5 Now + Get CS6 Free!]

As a side note – and in the hard-to-believe category – Adobe Illustrator celebrates its 25th anniversary this year… Ever wonder (or remember!) what the earliest versions of this flagship vector drawing tool looked like?

Well, if you’re up for a blast from the past, here are some nostalgic old and original demo reels of versions 1 (featuring Adobe co-founder John Warnock) and 2 (a.k.a. Illustrator 88)!

Give your input before it ships – what would you like to see in CS6?  Please share your thoughts below or at Adobe’s official feature request “wishlist” or on Adobe Ideas
 
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  1. Anya

    Wow, love those gradients, I have been wanting something like that for a long time……that motorcycle is amazing !

  2. Agreed on all points Anya!

  3. B77

    I’m really impressed with the possibilities of the new gradient system, but what spoils the CS6 for me is that, after so many years (25!), Illustrator still doesn’t have smart shapes and a simple double-click routine to add or delete points on a path, without the need to switch to separate tools for adding or deletion. Freehand and Corel Draw are still better in this regard and faster to work with (and a fast workflow is so important…), and I don’t understand why repairing these shortcomings are not seen as priorities – after 16 iterations I still have to buy a plug-in to get that functionality… (That’s why I asked about the upgrading price from CS5 to CS7, hoping they’ll take care of the problem in the next major update.)

  4. B77

    P.S. And man… I hate the fact that Illustrator always shows a contour on top of the stroke of a selected shape, obstructing the color of that stroke.

  5. B77

    So there’s hope, you say? :)

  6. EduardoRG

    All very beautiful but JESUS !!!!! they must improve the technical problems as “The File is not readable” or “Not enough RAM memory” or “Can’t export the illustration because the resolution is too high.”

    That 64-Bit upgrade should be a must in Illustrator CS6. Illustrator CS5 is not UP to the technical needs of a designer in terms to match the computer power one have. What matters is you have a 16 GB RAM memory computer if Illustrator doesn´t use it ???

  7. Al

    What a vague reply ProDesign, sheesh.

  8. Al

    No worries, I understand then.

  9. Steven

    Love the new features of CS6. The interface is more streamlined but less prominent as the toolbar icons are too tiny. That makes working in CS6 a little bit slower. Wish there would be an option to enlarge those icons as it in CS5. The Live Paint color disc in CS6 should have also been larger as it is CS5. Hope this is implemented in the coming upgrades, it will surely increase its efficiency from the user’s side.

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