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\[\]. It is a key and extremely useful piece of software. It is standard practice now to fine tune (qualify) your CAD drawings in Illustrator after drawing them up in your CAD program of choice. Illustrator is one of the programs with which proficiency is now expected in the design community.


Adobe Illustrator CS4


Adobe Systems, USA

Operating system:

Mac, Windows, Linux,

Native filetype:



Illustrator is a vector based graphic editing software

Next version release:

Most likely late in 2010



See also:

Adobe Systems  


Creative Suite  


Vector vs. Raster  


LEARN, The Catalogue 


Official Support 
Post a question to Media Centre


Illustrator is the industry standard for vector graphics  

Wiki Markup

Primary functions:

Illustrator is primarily used for:
1.     Drawing vectors/vector objects
2.     Qualification of CAD drawings.  Drawings are put together in AutoCAD or Revit or similar and then drawing legibility and articulation is strengthened by taking the drawing through Illustrator.  This is called qualifying your drawing.  Legibility is increased by fine tuning aspects of the drawing such as line weight, line colour, transparency, layer opacity etc.
3.     Presentation lay-out

There is not really any program similar enough in functionality and power to Illustrator.  Although other vector graphics editing software is on the market, none, at present, come close to Illustrator.

Primary outputs:

Primary outputs for Illustrator include:
1.     Print
2.     Laser-cutting


Illustrator is part of Adobe's Creative Suite.  As such it shares 90 per cent of its layout and keyboard short cuts (not to be confused with Short Keys) with the other programs of the Suite.  In this way, if you are familiar with one you will find working in Illustrator for the first time easy and logical.  However, implementing details to lines, objects, transparencies and colours, and the dual (black and white) arrow differences, are unique to Illustrator.  Once these are learnt, you will be away.  This tutorial outlines these aspects.

Illustrator's interface is logical and graphically oriented.  All tasks and functions are accessed via graphic menus and tool boxes.  However Short Keys make operating the program far more efficient.  With short keys the key (L, or W, etc) calls a single tool.

The program is fully interoperable with other Creative Suite programs.  One of the great advantages of working across multiple programs within the Suite is the File>Place function.  With File>Place Illustrator places a document, say a photo, onto the canvas of the open Illustrator document.  Now, any changes made to the original photo file in Photoshop will be updated in the Illustrator document upon saving the change in Photoshop.

Illustrator exports and imports in all the necessary filetypes. 


Over and above those strengths and weaknesses listed already, Illustrator at present is:
+ + Very extensive in terms of functions for vector/vector object editing
- A little slow to draw in. It is highly recommended therefore that you do the bulk of your drawing work in CAD and use Illustrator to qualify the drawings afterwards.

Learning support:

The principal official resources for Illustrator can be found here.

To get you started Media Centre suggest the following tutorials:
Beginner A: Introduction
Beginner B: Creating a new document
Beginner C: Multiple artboards

Intermediate A: Drawing
Intermediate B: Scaling and skewing
Intermediate C: Filling and Stroking

Advanced A: Live trace and live paint
Advanced B: Working with colour groups and colour harmonies
Advanced C: Working with gradients


You will also likely find interesting:

"Adobe software is full of interesting features.  I find that I am constantly learning more through constant use. The advanced functions are plentiful and useful. I really like to use to continue learning... "

Design Center Video Workshops



External links:



First published Mon. 1 Feb. 2010