Up and Running with Astute Graphics for Illustrator
Illustration by John Hersey

Up and Running with Astute Graphics for Illustrator

with Mike Rankin

Video: Overview

With Astute Graphics Stylism, you can instantly Below the resolution settings, there are eight So these eight buttons will go back to their default state.
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  1. 7m 10s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What can you do with the Astute Graphics plugins?
      4m 30s
    4. Installing the Astute Graphics plugins
      1m 22s
  2. 47m 4s
    1. Overview
      2m 28s
    2. Working with dynamic corners
      8m 16s
    3. Working with dynamic shapes
      5m 57s
    4. Editing paths with PathScribe
      8m 28s
    5. Using the Extend Path tool
      8m 30s
    6. Using the Smart Remove Brush tool
      4m 56s
    7. Using the Dynamic Measure tool
      5m 14s
    8. Using the Protractor panel
      3m 15s
  3. 13m 14s
    1. Connecting and straightening objects
      5m 11s
    2. Drawing tangents and perpendiculars
      4m 0s
    3. Drawing circles and arcs
      4m 3s
  4. 8m 24s
    1. Using the Snap to Collisions tool
      3m 56s
    2. Using the Rotate at Collision tool
      2m 14s
    3. Using the collision spacing
      2m 14s
  5. 11m 19s
    1. Mirroring artwork
      4m 40s
    2. Drawing with symmetry
      2m 43s
    3. Mirroring text and images
      3m 56s
  6. 14m 43s
    1. Adjusting colors with filters and effects
      6m 29s
    2. Creating vector halftones
      4m 34s
    3. Applying effects to photos
      3m 40s
  7. 14m 3s
    1. Drawing with InkScribe
      5m 44s
    2. Editing path segments with InkScribe
      4m 37s
    3. Adding, removing, and changing points with InkScribe
      3m 42s
  8. 16m 56s
    1. Drawing and modifying paths
      7m 45s
    2. Using Repeat Sketch
      2m 46s
    3. Using Intelligent Join
      2m 55s
    4. Using Gesture Trim
      3m 30s
  9. 16m 28s
    1. Using the Width Brush tool
      4m 35s
    2. Using the Width Gradient tool
      7m 21s
    3. Using the Width Selector tool
      4m 32s
  10. 27m 44s
    1. Overview
      5m 18s
    2. Working with drop shadows
      4m 38s
    3. Working with feathering
      1m 36s
    4. Working with Inner Glow and Outer Glow
      3m 15s
    5. Working with Transform effects
      5m 26s
    6. Working with Free Distort effects
      2m 4s
    7. Working with Offset Path
      2m 25s
    8. Working with Gaussian Blur
      3m 2s
  11. 1m 10s
    1. Next steps
      1m 10s

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with Astute Graphics for Illustrator
2h 58m Appropriate for all Mar 21, 2014 Updated May 23, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Want to be more precise, more efficient, and more creative with Illustrator? Learn how the Astute Graphics plugins can revolutionize the way you draw and edit artwork in Adobe Illustrator. Mike Rankin covers drawing and editing with VectorScribe and InkScribe, aligning and arranging objects with ColliderScribe, creating beautiful symmetry with MirrorMe, adjusting color with Phantasm, and the tools in DynamicSketch and WidthScribe that make drawing with a tablet even more natural and intuitive.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic corners and shapes
  • Editing paths with PathScribe
  • Connecting and straightening objects
  • Drawing circles and arcs
  • Using the Snap to and the Rotate at Collision tools
  • Mirroring text and images
  • Creating vector halftones
  • Editing path segments with InkScribe
  • Using DynamicSketch
  • Working with the WidthScribe brush tools
Mike Rankin


With Astute Graphics Stylism, you can instantly apply and change Illustrator's live effects with an intuitive set of controls that are attached to objects on the art board. You can also easily combine effects, save and apply your favorite effects settings with just one click, control the output resolution of effects, and remove effects. To see how Stylism works, I'll start by selecting an object in my document that I'd like to apply some of Illustrator's live effects to. So, I'll click on this star. And once you've installed Stylism you'll see a new tool in the tools panel.

I'll click on that and I'll open the Stylism panel by going to the Window menu and choosing Stylism > Stylism panel. Let's take a quick tour of the controls in this panel. At the top of the panel there's a field where you can set the output resolution of effects. Things like drop shadows, glows and feathering, plus the things that you'll find in the Photoshop effects section of the Effect menu. This is the same resolution value you can set by choosing Effect > Document Raster Effect Settings, and setting it right here.

It's just much more convenient to have it in the panel. And it serves as a good reminder of your current output resolution, when you're working with effects. Next to the field there are two buttons for quickly changing the value for web, or print work. And you can hold Option or Alt and click on these buttons to save custom values. So for example if your print workflow produces best results with a resolution of 225 pixels per inch, you can hold Option or Alt, click, and enter that value. Below the resolution settings, there are eight buttons for quickly applying and removing effects.

To use these buttons, select an object, then click a button once to apply the effect. Controls will appear directly on the object that you can use to adjust the effect instead of having to enter numbers in a dialog box or a panel. If you want to remove an effect, click its button. So, to remove this drop shadow, I'll just click the Drop Shadow button again, and it's gone. So, with these eight buttons I can apply and remove drop shadow, feathering, inner glow, outer glow, transform, free distort, offset path, and Gaussian blur.

And I can apply any combination of effects to the same object. So I can have a Gaussian blur and a drop shadow. Also note that I can hold Shift and click to add extra copies of the same kind of effect. So if I hold Shift and click the Drop Shadow button again, a second drop shadow is added. And I can see that, if I switch to the Appearance panel, and here I have two drop shadows. Note that any effects that I apply or edit with Stylism can be seen and edited here in the appearance panel as well.

Since these are all just native Illustrator live effects. So I can remove one of the drop shadows by dragging it to the panel trash. Back in the Stylism panel, below the eight buttons for the effects are four more buttons that you can use to save your favorite effects and reapply them with just a single click. These four right here. This way you don't have to recreate effects from scratch, and you know that your effects will use consistent settings. The way that you save an effect, or in this case a combination of two effects, Is to hold the Option or Alt key and then click one of these buttons.

The preview on the button changes to match the effects you're saving. So if I were to remove both the drop shadow and the blur, I can quickly reapply them just by clicking on this Favorite button. And at any time I can change these effects or apply different ones and then hold Option or Alt and click this button again to save a new favorite here. Likewise, I can change the default effect that is applied by any of the eight buttons by adjusting the effect settings. And then Option or Alt clicking the corresponding button in the panel. If I want to remove all customization and go back to the default behavior of the eight buttons, I can go to the panel menu and choose reset all standard effects.

So these eight buttons will go back to their default state. Below the four favorite buttons, there's a menu where you can select a particular effect to work with. And as I choose each one, you can see the controls on the star change. I can accomplish the same thing by Cmd or Ctrl clicking on the buttons. The bottom part of the panel contains a curve that you can use to adjust effects like drop shadows and glows if you also have a different plugin from Astute Graphics called Phantasm. I cover Phantasm and how to use this curve, in other movies.

The last thing I want to show is the panel menu. Here you can apply effects, remove all effects, again you can reset the standard effects, you can export your favorites, or import favorites, and you can also show the Stylism preferences. So here, you can change the annotation color, and make it more visible on certain artwork. You can also quickly open the Stylism Preferences just by double-clicking on the tool in the Tools panel. In this movie, we took our first look at the controls in the Stylism Panel that allow you to apply, remove, and save your favorite effects.

Next we'll really see the power and convenience of Stylism as we see how to adjust effects directly on objects on the art board

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Up and Running with Astute Graphics for Illustrator .

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Q: This course was updated on 5/23/2014. What changed?
A: The author added a new chapter (Using Stylism) featuring eight new movies, on working with effects like drop shadow, feathering, inner and outer glow, and more.
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