Adobe Creative Suite 5: an in-depth guide

Adobe CS5 features new tools to improve your art and mundane but useful productivity aids

Illustrator CS5

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True perspective comes to Illustrator CS5 with the Perspective Grid tool, which allows you to use a grid that supports drawing directly in accurate linear perspectives. You can also create objects in flat space and then apply them to a perspective plane, automatically transforming them into the correct shape.

Illustrator users also now have the Bristle Brush, offering vector painting that resembles natural brush strokes. Painting control is substantial: you can blend colours and set bristle characteristics such as size, length, thickness, and stiffness or set brush shape and bristle density. You can also finely control stroke width, dashes, arrowheads, and how brushes stretch along a path.

Meanwhile, better corner handling makes stroke shapes behave predictably in tight angles or around sharp points. There’s also Draw Inside, which offers instant masking, and the Shape Builder tool, which lets you merge objects, break overlapping shapes into distinct objects, and more.

To prepare graphics for the web, Illustrator offers a new Align to Pixel Grid option, anti-aliasing character options and nine-slice scaling, enabling you to resize symbols while maintaining proportions.

Illustrator CS4 introduced multiple artboards; in CS5 you can work on 100 artboards of varying sizes in a document. There’s also now an Artboards panel, where you can add, delete, and duplicate boards with panel controls or keyboard shortcuts.

InDesign CS5

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Of all the new Creative Suite applications, InDesign has seen the greatest efficiency boosts, with a raft of apparently small but incredibly handy little additions that solve bumps in the process of laying out pages. So, for example, the Selection tool now allows you to quickly rotate frames, and position and scale frame content such as images using on-screen handles.

Persistent frame fitting maintains the relationship between images and their frames, even when the frame dimensions and white space change. New controls make it simple to change the look and feel of a frame as you go, for example dragging a corner of a frame to directly affect its radius and shape.

There’s new support for different page sizes in a single document; InDesign also now automatically installs packaged fonts when you open a packaged document.

The useful Span Columns paragraph attribute means that, you can have a headline or crosshead span two columns; Split Columns does as the name suggests.

Creating interactive documents is easier than before in InDesign CS5, as Adobe has tidied its controls into the new Animation, Object States, Timing, Media and Preview panels.

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