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Hidden Gems in Adobe Illustrator

Article Description

Brian Wood, contributor to Adobe Illustrator CS6 Classroom in a Book, shows you how to optimize content for use in projects such as websites, apps, and more.

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Must-See Preferences

Must-See Preferences

Several preferences (Edit > Preferences [Windows] Illustrator > Preferences [Mac OS]) everyone should touch at some point in their Illustrator careers, and here are a few of those found in the Preferences dialog box:

  • General settings: Select Use Preview Bounds. Suppose you apply a drop shadow to a rectangle. By selecting Use Preview Bounds, the bounding box will go around the shadow and note just the rectangle. This can be very useful for alignments (see Figure 5).
  • Figure 5 Without Use Preview Bounds selected (left), and with Use Preview Bounds selected (right)

  • Scale Strokes & Effects (also found at the bottom of the Transform panel in Illustrator CS6): This setting I couldn’t live without. Turn it on, and the strokes and effects will scale with scaled content (see Figure 6). Ever taken a shape with a stroke applied and made it a lot smaller? The stroke usually stays the same weight. With this option selected, it would scale (see Figure 6).
  • Figure 6 Scale with Scale Strokes & Effects selected

  • Selection & Anchor Display: Make anchor points bigger by clicking the button to the farthest right in the Anchors option (see Figure 7).
  • Figure 7 Change the anchor point size

  • Guides & Grid: Ever zoom in really closely to artwork and the pixel grid appears (greater than 600% zoom)? If you don’t want to see it, you can deselect Show Pixel Grid.
5. Reset Bounding Box | Next Section Previous Section