As Adobe MAX is rapidly approaching, we’re undoubtedly close to a new round of updates from Adobe for several of the Creative Cloud applications. Over the past few years I’ve become more and more involved with Adobe Illustrator CC, mostly because of my work at lynda.com, but also because it’s become my go-to application for a lot of the graphics work that I do now. That being said, there are some areas I’d like to see improved in Adobe Illustrator CC, and I thought I’d share those with you in this article.
A Better Image Trace Workflow
When Image Trace was first introduced, I was really excited about it. In fact, I was so excited, I devoted an entire online video course to it. Since then, however, it seems like Image Trace has been forgotten. I expected the algorithms to be updated and more presets to be developed, but so far there’s been very little change. I’m hoping that is corrected in a future version of Illustrator CC, because there are a lot of users that could benefit from a true raster-to-vector workflow enhancement like that. I’m not looking for a one-click-fix here, but just a better method of controlling the output of the vector artwork I create with this tool. Oh, and while they’re at it, I sincerely hope they add the “Output to Swatches” checkbox back into the Image Trace panel!
As a former Fireworks user, this is a big one. Remember how cool it was to build quick prototypes within Fireworks that could actually show the intent of the design? Well, why not bring that into Illustrator? When Adobe sent Fireworks off into the sunset with version CS6, I thought Illustrator would jump to the forefront as its replacement. Sadly, it seems as though Photoshop and Illustrator are duking it out over who can become the web designers tool of choice these days. Photoshop has added Generator and an enhanced vector shape workflow, while Illustrator is pushing forward with copy/paste SVG and many other web-centric features. The time has come to name a successor to Fireworks, and if Illustrator would add in this small bit of functionality, it would clearly win this fight.
While we’re on the subject of web-centric tools, let’s just go ahead and talk about Generator. Why this technology isn’t being used in Illustrator is beyond me, quite frankly. Again, if Illustrator wants to be in the “big leagues” when it comes to web design, they’ve got to address their web graphics optimization and output methods. The Generator feature in Photoshop isn’t the greatest thing in terms of UX, in my opinion, but the underlying technology is fantastic. Adding a feature like this to Illustrator would render the Save for Web dialog useless, and give designers a more flexible way to generate graphics for their web/screen based designs.
Cloud Sync for Symbols
I’m a huge fan of symbols in Illustrator, and I use them a lot, but the workflow for getting symbols from one machine to another or sharing with your co-workers is tedious. I want to be able to have my symbol libraries sync to Creative Cloud like my TypeKit fonts and other app settings. Think about how great it would be if you could create a symbol library on your laptop, sync it to the cloud, and then have that same symbol library show up for everyone on your team or just on another machine. Please, Adobe, make this happen!
Mini Bridge Panel
Yes, I still use Bridge. I know, you probably don’t, and that’s okay! The Mini Bridge panel that used to exist in Photoshop was phenomenal! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a panel that allowed you to browse files using Bridge without ever having to leave the parent application. To be honest, I’d love to see this in all the CC apps, not just Illustrator. I really miss the Mini Bridge!
This isn’t a big one, but it’s something that just drives me bat sh*t crazy! Every time I jump from Photoshop to Illustrator and I’m not able to scrub through a value in a panel or adjust width and height values with a scrubby slider, I want to pull my hair out. The Photoshop team always ships a ton of JDI (just do it) features when they release a new version of Photoshop… It’s time to do the same for Illustrator, and give me my scrubby sliders!
As you can see, I’m not overwhelmingly unhappy with Adobe Illustrator, but there are a few things I’d like to see tweaked. Hopefully throughout the next few years, thanks to Creative Cloud, we’ll get some of these updates trickled down to us by the fine folks at Adobe. What’s on your wish list for Adobe Illustrator? Let me know in the comments or shoot me a line via social media. Thanks for reading!