Adobe Illustrator CS3 | 772.74 MB

True to its name, Adobe Illustrator began life as a standard-bearer for vector-based illustration and design, but fell behind the times because it lacked the Web output of competitors. Eager to shed Illustrator's stodgy image as a print-only application, Adobe has since taught this old dog many new tricks.

One instantly noticeable change is the panel-based interface, a change from the familiar palettes of old. The panels can be minimized to simple icon docks. Clicking on an icon opens up the palette it refers to, while hitting the arrow at the top opens all the palettes. No more worries about palettes blocking your workspace.

Colors get a lot of attention in CS3. They can now be grouped as you want them, and you can have CS3 suggest similar or related colors to you. The new Live Color function lets you easily change existing colors in your image. The app also includes integration with Adobe Flash, minimizing the hoop-jumping required for creating symbols in Illustrator and seamlessly importing them into Flash. Both programs now share the same hot key for defining symbols, and Illustrator now has Flash's graphics engine, further simplifying the crossover and importing process.

Other new features include a vector erasing tool, an improved cropping mechanism, tweaks in Live Trace, overhauled New Document Profiles, and more, but Illustrator is not for everyone. As is typical for Adobe products, the price, system requirements, and learning curve can be daunting. That said, this program offers features and functionality that can't be matched, and is a must-have for anyone who is serious about professional-quality digital illustration.

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