Adobe Illustrator is a widely-used
vector drawing program that also offers a high degree of graphic control,
color selection, and stylized effects.
Illustrator is your best
resource for text effects such as drop shadows, diagrammatic line
effects like arrowheads, single page presentation board layouts, and
touchups to GIS or CAD output files that retain their original vector
precision and crisp resolution.
Illustrator 10 is available on all
computers in the DCRP lab. A
newer CS2 release is available in the LAEP lab. This program is included in the
Adobe Creative Suite package, at about 200 dollars with the student
discount (this purchase is highly recommended if you plan on using the
software at home, as the full price of the software is about 2000
The following tutorials are
available in .pdf form:
of Illinois at Chicago's Great Cities Urban Data Visualization Seminar
Series has produced a set of Illustrator tutorials that include
Tips and tricks
for using Illustrator
similar objects into layers (for example, a layer for blocks of
background color, a layer for text, a layer for the title block, and a
layer for photographs) allows you to lock the content on one layer at
a time. This is useful when objects become stacked on each other and
you wish to select only certain objects. Within each layer, sub-layers
can be created for further separation.
- To avoid large
files that will slow down the computer, create a separate Illustrator
file for each presentation board.
- Use the Pantone Solid Uncoated
swatches menu for colors instead of the standard color pallete or
creating your own colors. The results are far more consistent during
- Minimize the use of
transparency and effects such as shadows together in the same drawing,
as they may cause printing problems.
- It is a good habit to
create a separate folder for each Illustrator file. Save your image
files in the same folders that contain the Illustrator file that
references them, and leave them there. That way, when moving your Illustrator
files around between network locations or burning archive copies to
CD, all of the files that have to remain with it are already in place
by moving, burning, or copying the entire folder.
- When inserting
objects into a file with the "Place" command, make sure to
check the "link" option in the dialog box. This will keep
your Illustrator files small, in turn making them much easier to
print. However, you must make sure that the source file does not get
moved around after you place it as a link.
keyboard shortcuts are available for all of the tools in the tool palette.
To see the default shortcut keys, allow the cursor to hover over the
buttons on the palette, and the keystroke will be displayed in
parentheses. For more advanced users, these shortcut keys can be
customized. Panning throughout the drawing can be achieved by holding
down the space bar.
- Before placing
image files into Illustrator, first open them in Photoshop and save
them as a Photoshop file type (*.psd). The Adobe-native file format is
interpreted better by Illustrator than a generic *.tif or *.jpg file.