Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video What can you do with the Astute Graphics plugins?, part of Learning Astute Graphics for Illustrator (2014).
- The Astute Graphics Plugins comprises a large and powerful set of tools and features that extend and enhance your capabilities in Adobe Illustrator. They can help you accomplish things that would take much more time and effort with Illustrators native features. And, the plugins don't just help you save time, they also open up new, creative possibilities for you. In this course, we'll look at ten different Astute Graphics Plugins. VectorScribe, SubScribe, ColliderScribe, MirrorMe, Phantasm, InkScribe, DynamicSketch, WidthScribe, Sylism, and Autosaviour Pro.
Here's what you can do with each one. With VectorScribe you can achieve a new level of control and efficiency in your Illustrator work flow. It offers seven major features. Dynamic Corners, which allows you to easily create and edit the shape and size of any corners in your Illustrator artwork. Dynamic Shapes, which gives you a new an intuitive way of creating and modifying objects like squares, rectangles, ellipses, polygons, and more. PathScribe, which allows you to reshape path segments in a much more natural manner than using Illustrator's pen tool, and you can manipulate direction handles with total precision and ease.
VectorScribe also includes the Extend Path tool, which allows you to extend or trim existing paths in several useful ways. The Smart Remove Brush tool gives you much more control over the task of simplifying paths with too many anchor points. The Dynamic Measure features in VectorScribe allow you to take precise measurements of just about anything in your document and save that information in the document, itself, for future reference. And, finally, the Protractor panel allows you to switch between different drawing angles with just a click.
The next plugin we'll look at is the free, SubScribe. With it you can quickly connect separate paths with natural looking curve segments and with just a click you can straighten crooked paths or whole objects, including linked images, and type. SubScribe also takes all the guess work and effort out of drawing tangents and perpendicular lines, and it gives you new ways of drawing circles and arcs. We'll also look at ColliderScribe, which makes Illustrator objects snap together along any edge or curve like they were magnets. Or you can quickly create equally spaced arrangements of objects, and you can manipulate Illustrator objects in a way that makes them seem like real, physical objects.
Aligning edges and rotating them so they fit together. The MirrorMe plugin might be the most fun one in the bunch. It allows you to draw symmetrical objects with total precision, and you can easily transform objects of all kinds to make beautiful, kaleidoscopic patterns in a way that's full of creative discovery. The Phantasm plugin is also great for creating eye-catching visual effects. You can use it to create an incredible variety of halftone effects, which remain vector, so they'll look great at any size. And you can apply Photoshop adjustments to both linked and embedded photos with tools like curves, levels, hue, saturation, and more.
You can even use Photoshop presets and apply them to Illustrator artwork with Phantasm. If you've ever struggled while working with Illustrator's pen tool, then you might be very interested in what the InkScribe plugin can do for you. It offers some powerful new ways to work with bezier paths and points. You can simply drag on straight lines to convert them to curves, and you can easily create smooth transitions between path segments for better looking artwork. If you use a graphics tablet, then DynamicSketch opens up new artistic possibilities.
You can draw paths that remain dynamic in both shape and appearance. You can adjust the precision and smoothness of paths at any time, and you can use your pressure, drawing speed, and other factors to determine the width of your paths. WidthScribe gives you powerful tools for adjusting variable width strokes. You can adjust stroke widths simply by brushing on your artwork with a brush tool, or you can apply stroke widths in linear or radial gradients. You can select, edit, and move width markers to smooth or taper variable widths quickly and easily, and you can also apply different stoke widths on either side of a path.
And, with the width stamp panel, you can create cool special effects by blending your existing artwork with contour lines that have variable stroke widths. Stylism gives you an intuitive set of controls for applying and adjusting Illustrator's live effects right on the objects in your document. You can also combine effects, save and apply groups of effects settings with one click, and you can control the output resolution of effects. And, finally, with Autosaviour Pro you never again have to worry about losing work if Illustrator freezes or crashes.
The plugin can automatically save your documents, or just remind you to save at a time interval of your choosing. And it can also create versions of your files as you work for an added measure of backup protection, or to allow you to experiment and then jump back at any time to a previous state of your artwork. So, whether you're looking for more powerful or intuitive alternatives to Illustrator's native tools, or you need to create and edit paths with more speed and technical precision, or maybe you just wish you had more creative options and effects in Illustrator.
In any case, the Astute Graphics Plugins can do a lot for you.
- 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
- Stippling vector graphics, photos, and text
Skill Level Appropriate for all
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.
Q: This course was updated on 04/15/2015. What changed?
A: The author added new movies on WidthScribe and Autosaviour Pro, and updated two movies describing the abilities of the entire suite of plugins and the process of installing them.
Q: This course was updated on 02/19/2016. What changed?
A: We added a new chapter, "Using Stipplism," which covers stippling vector graphics, text, and photos with the controls and stipple symbols in Astute Graphics's new Stipplism plugin for Illustrator.