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In Illustrator CS5 New Features, author Mordy Golding discusses noteworthy features and improvements in the latest upgrade of Adobe's vector graphics editor and drawing program. This course includes overviews of perspective drawing, expressive bristle brushes, and variable-width strokes, as well as anti-aliasing features for web design, a new Artboards panel, improvements to symbols and drawing modes, and integration with Adobe Flash Catalyst. Exercise files are included with the course.
Sometimes it's the small enhancements you will find in an upgrade that have the largest impact. With Illustrator CS5, Rulers work differently now. Some may argue this is the way they always should have worked. First, let me zoom in on this artboard right over here. You can see that the (0,0) point for my ruler is actually appearing in the upper left-hand corner of my document. In all previous versions of Illustrator, the (0,0) origin point was always at the bottom left-hand corner of the document. Now with the origin point moved away here towards the upper left-hand corner of the document, Illustrator's ruler system works the same way that just about any application does, including InDesign or Photoshop.
Perhaps more important though, is that in Illustrator CS5, each artboard gets its own rulers. For example, notice I am here on the Branding artboard. I am actually going to double-click on it to have it zoom to fill my screen. You can see that my ruler now is set to (0,0), right here in the upper left-hand corner. I will jump, though, to the Gift Cards artboard by double-clicking on it, and you will see that, again, I have the (0,0) point in this part of the artboard. If I zoom out a bit, you can see this more clearly. As I click on the artboard to turn it into the active artboard, you can see that the ruler automatically resets itself to that particular artboard.
So, basically, every single artboard has its own (0,0) origin point. This is fantastic for all kinds of designers who need to precisely position artwork on a page. For example, I'll often have my Transform panel open to help me position my artwork via coordinates. I will go to the Window menu here and choose down at the Transform panel. I will specify the upper left-hand corner in the proxy here, and you can see that the X and Y values for my object right now are just slightly offset from that (0,0) origin point.
When I click on a different artboard to make this the active artboard and I select this piece of artwork, you can see that the values that I am seeing in my Transform panel are tied to the rulers on this artboard. Now it is possible to use one ruler system for your entire document. When you are working in that way, Illustrator refers to your rulers as Global Rulers. You can switch to a Global Ruler system by either right-clicking on the ruler itself and then choosing Change to Global Rulers, or you can go to the View menu and then from there, choose Rulers and then choose Change to Global Rulers.
So, now with Illustrator CS5, we really do have the best of both worlds. We can use one ruler system for the entire document or we can have separate rulers assigned to each artboard. In either case, it's nice to know that the origin point, or (0,0) point of your ruler, is now always going to be in the upper left-hand corner. I think that you will find that in Illustrator CS5, it's far more intuitive to position your artwork.
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