Join William Everhart for an in-depth discussion in this video Common scenarios, part of Illustrator: Working with AutoCAD Files.
- Many Adobe Illustrator users will, at some point in their career, be faced with having to work with CAD drawings of one form or another. The problem here is that Adobe Illustrator is not a CAD program. This can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration. This chapter was written with these users in mind, but before I dive into the particulars, I should define some of the common scenarios where this work flow is found. The first scenario I'd like to discuss is product pacakging. Every label, every box, and every form of packaging is, at some point, touched by CAD.
For instance, cutting dies for labels and cartons are manufactured from CAD drawings. Molds for VacuForm and blow mold constructions like drink bottles and blister packs are also typically designed in a CAD application. These drawings will most likely be handed over to a package designer to fit their design to the package structure. Adobe Illustrator is a primary tool for designers creating packaging of all kinds. The construction and mechanical fields are, of course, heavily dependent on CAD. Architects and engineers use various CAD applications to design houses and commercial structures as well as bridges and roads.
Basically, if something has to be built, then there was an engineer and CAD software involved long before construction began. And while architects and engineers themselves can live without Adobe Illustrator, the marketing department and other supporting team members will rely heavily on applications like Adobe Illustrator to produce proposals and promotional materials. These materials are then used to acquire investors or tenants to submit for building and other permits. They're also used to promote the firm to other potential clients.
Land developers and civil engineers will use applications like ArcGIS to create detailed maps that incorporate various forms of geological data. Graphic artist can use these CAD files to make the maps more presentable for proposals or marketing materials. The last scenario comes from the world of manufacturing. Most any product that is mass-produced was most likely designed in a CAD application first. In addition to any form of packaging, these products will need to be marketed to potential buyers.
Designers and illustrators will use these CAD files for reference to create the marketing materials and any graphics that will be present on the product itself. Now, these are just a few scenarios, but anywhere an object meets or needs graphics, then CAD will collide with Adobe Illustrator. While there are many types of illustrator users, there are specific groups that simply must work with and around CAD documents. This chapter was dedicated to those users and offers solutions to the difficulties of working with CAD files in Adobe Illustrator.
- Working with scale drawings
- Opening DWG and DXF files with Illustrator
- Importing files from SketchUp
- Preparing Illustrator artwork for export
- Using plugins in Illustrator