Brought to you by Norton Symantec
Astute Graphics Phantasm CS Designer/Studio
A plug-in that's worth a look
- Easy to use, competitively priced, vector Halftone filter, compatible with Illustrator Actions and Live Effects, familiar Photoshop adjustment tools, advanced pre-flight and separation toolset
- Can be slow when working with larger images
Any designer who uses Illustrator should check it out.
Price$ 175.00 (AUD)
With such a range of Illustrator plug-ins on the market, it's rare to come across one that excels to this extent. Phantasm CS adds Photoshop-style adjustment tools and functionality that seamlessly integrates with Illustrator's native features, including standard gradients, meshes, filters and effects.
Furthermore, Phantasm CS is fully compatible with Illustrator's Actions and Live Effects, which can potentially speed up your workflow.
We first reviewed Phantasm CS 1.5 back in March 2007, when it received our 'Best Buy' award. With the release of Phantasm CS, Astute Graphics has made a great product even better — it's available in two new variations: Phantasm CS Designer and Phantasm CS Studio, each progressively adding hugely to the popular original toolset.
Phantasm CS Designer is aimed at professional freelance designers and publishers who are looking for greater control of their colours. All the filter effects, such as Brightness/Contrast, Curves, Duotone, Hue/Saturation, Levels, Temperature/Tint, can quickly be applied to adjust both vector and embedded raster images.
Phantasm enables you to save these settings for future use, and for loading Photoshop Curves (.ACV), HSL (.AHU), and Levels (.ALV). These edits can be applied as either permanent filters or Live Effects, which can be modified at any time and saved as Graphic Styles.
Without a doubt, the feature that will attract most attention is the Halftone filter/effect that, again, works on both vector and embedded raster images. This opens a world of creative possibilities: designers can experiment with infinite variations, ranging from conventional dot types to custom symbols, which remain faithful to the original artwork mode and preserve any spot colours.
Larger images require some patience, but for such complex effects this is to be expected.
Phantasm CS Studio has all the goodies of the Designer edition, but with advanced pre-flight features. It's aimed at studios of all sizes, and at publishers and printers whose work must comply to specific rules for output devices.
The Studio edition makes light work of pre-flight checks with the help of sought-after colour control and checking tools — including separations, ink coverage and in-line embedded image editing.
It also has the ability to ignore white, rich and pure black, remove white overprint and add overprint to pure black. It's here that the plug-in really succeeds in making these sometimes daunting technical issues user friendly.
Phantasm CS is available for Illustrator CS, CS2 and CS3, although users of CS and CS2 will find outputting Full Separations with spot colours limited, as is selecting spot colour swatches with the Duotone filter using Illustrator CS. However, this is due to the technical limitations of Illustrator's previous releases.
To have all these features available in Illustrator (Adobe take note) and at such a modest price tag puts this product in a class of its own. We wholeheartedly recommend that any designer or studio adds it to their software arsenal.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 2 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Peak performance from a home entertainment heavyweight
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- WWDC 2018: Apple gives us a first look at an all-new Mac App Store
- Apple combats iPhone throttling backlash with new iOS 12 features
- Budget 2018: Government seeks to boost Australian AI capabilities
- JBL take smart speakers back to the living room Link 300
- Sonos say Aussie Alexa support for One smart speaker won't arrive until Autumn 2018
PCW Evaluation Team
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
- Computex 2018: Everything you missed at Asia's biggest tech tradeshow
- Computex 2018: Nvidia launches new AI-focused hardware and software platforms
- Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies