Illustrator CS3: What’s New? Lots!

Selecting Points has never been easier

New drawing tools and controls promise to make Illustrator not only easier to use but more efficient. One of the biggest complaints I have had over the years in Illustrator is selecting individual points. As I age, so do my eyes, and the small points are difficult to see and to grab. In Illustrator CS3 that has changed! Using the Direct Selection Tool run your cursor over any point and it will enlarge so you can select it. Even without any objects selected the cursor will show a larger square whenever it detects a point. You now have choices in selection tolerance and anchor display too; check out the new settings in the preferences dialog.

pointsPoints are easier to select

Path Editing

As soon as you use the Direct Selection tool to select any point, all of the path editing tools are now displayed in the Control panel for fast access. You can delete or add points and cut or join paths without going to the object menu. One click hides or shows handles or converts anchors from smooth to corner or vice versa.

Control panelControl panel

Point Alignment

Use the Direct Selection tool to select two or more points and the Control panel will display the same alignment buttons you see for objects. Points can be aligned to the artboard or to a crop area.

Align PointsAlign points as well as objects

Multi-Threading Advances

Work faster than ever. Speeds have been increased for scrolling and zooming, and you will see faster refresh rates and greater responsiveness even when working on complex illustrations. Computers with multiple CPUs will even greater performance improvements.

Control Panel

The Control panel has added functionality, putting more tools and settings within easy reach. Because the Control panel is context sensitive, it displays the options that are the most fitting for the current selection. Settings that were previously only accessible from menus or palettes like anchor point controls, clipping masks, and envelope distortions and more are all accessed right in the Control panel. Clutter is reduces and you work more efficiently.

Control PanelControl Panel has extra settings

9 thoughts on “Illustrator CS3: What’s New? Lots!”

  1. 25 years ans still unable to gradient from color to transparent (apart using an extra mask to the object) ! Laughable when one knwo that this feature has been available in competing products (even open-source ones !) for more than a decade now.

  2. Franp: weird…especially how Indesign cs3 sort of has something like that.

    Import an image, drag the gradent tool over it and it seems to automatically create a square, crop it to fit exactly over the area of the image, and apply a color to transparent gradient to it.

  3. Nice overview Sara, it’s very interesting. Finally you get to align points and to erase stuff. One question however, I know this is not a pixel based program, but did you have time to play around with the eraser tool and see if you can get semi-transparent areas with it? Such as a 50% transparency for example.

    Even though one still cannot apply a gradient from colour to transparent (!), maybe the eraser tool can help do some of it.

  4. Great features, but I am wondering if Adobe could make the mech tool in Illustrator more flexable with Flash, you know that when exporting a file with mech to Flash it takes it as a bitmap not vecor, I think this feature will help us alot.

  5. Do anybody knows what does the page tool do (other than showing a page dimensions), and how to edit and delete it after you apply it? It’s really anoying if you don’t know hoe to.

    Thank you.

  6. @ Perez: It sets the area to be printed. To reset it, double click the Page Tool icon. To hide it, go to View, Hide Page Tiling.

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