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When you first open up Illustrator CS6, you're going to notice a big difference from the previous versions of the program. Most notable is the new dark interface which mimics the look of popular video editing applications like Adobe After Effects and Premiere. Adobe has adopted this new darker interface to help keep you engaged while you're working in Illustrator. Personally, I love it, but I realize you might not. Lucky for you, Adobe has provided you with tools to change the interface brightness at any time simply by going into your Preferences. If you want to access the Preferences dialog box, you can go up to the Illustrator menu on the Mac or the Edit menu on a PC, find the Preferences, and select User Interface.
You can also access the Preferences dialog box by using the keyboard shortcut Command+K on the Mac, Ctrl+K on the PC. Once you're inside of the Preferences dialog box, and you're on the User Interface tab, you can find the Brightness controls here at the top. You'll notice that you have a dropdown menu and a slider. The dropdown menu provides you with four choices: Dark, Medium Dark which is the default, Medium Light, and Light. You'll notice each time I change the brightness level, Illustrator automatically updates itself to reflect that change. It's pretty cool! If you're not happy with any of these brightness controls, you can simply use the slider.
Dragging the slider to the left decreases the brightness of the interface, dragging the slider to the right, brightens it right back up. Depending on your personal choice, you could set this at any level you want. For now, I'm going to reset this back to the default, Medium Dark. You'll also notice that you have a Canvas Color control. This is the area that surrounds your artboard. Currently, it's set to Match User Interface Brightness. So as you can see, the area around my artboard is dark just like my interface.
If I happen to switch this to a lighter color, the canvas automatically updates itself. If you don't like this auto-updating feature, you can change this to simply be white. Once you do that, the surrounding area around your artboard will always be white. Personally, I like to match the user interface brightness, and keep it on the Medium Dark. It just helps me center my eyes right on my artboard and the things I'm working on. Once you've got your interface brightness exactly where you like it, just hit OK and you can continue working.
No matter what your preference, the new Illustrator UI is certainly easy to customize, whether you want it super dark or light as a feather, Illustrator now allows you to fine-tune its appearance to any degree you see fit.
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