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October 28, 2014

Get to know Adobe Illustrator CC on Surface Pro 3

It has been just over a week since we returned from Adobe Max and we have been loving the enthusiasm as attendees are getting started with their Surface Pro 3s. There has been a recurring theme this week and moreover amongst our Artists in Residence + the community at DeviantART: What artists can do with Surface Pro 3 when running the full-powered, uncompromised Adobe Illustrator.

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Adobe announced some really exciting changes to its flagship vector application in Los Angeles. When you use Illustrator CC on your Surface you don’t just get the Illustrator digital artists know and love you also get a workspace optimized for touch input. To get started with this new Touch workspace just remove the keyboard on Surface or select it from the dropdown menu in the top right.

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The first thing you will notice is a new pen tool. It is the pen curvature tool and it allows you to create objects with rounded edges without having to worry about bézier paths to model smooth curves. So if you are looking to trace an object to get you started on a new logo for example – the process has been significantly simplified. Tapping once adds a point, double tapping makes it a corner. With the new Touch Curvature Tool, I don’t have to constantly switch between several tools or hold down keyboard shortcuts to create and edit curved paths.

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Getting around your workspace is also super simple now. You are able to manipulate the objects you are working with directly on the artboard. This really starts to change the way you think about using Illustrator. It’s simple, fun, and natural.

With the brand new align panel you can arrange the objects you are dealing with. Because Surface Pro 3 has an active stylus you can also hover over the align tool to get previews of what your canvas will look like once you make a selection. With the help of the align panel and shape build you can now create a logo in just a few simple steps. Once you have selected all the objectives you want you can merge objects to create shapes and remove lines to create negative space. Doing all this with the pen gives you direct control and just feels natural.

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Really, the ability to draw directly on the screen of the surface makes a huge difference. It allows me to draw more fluidly than ever before with a mouse. I am getting full pressure sensitivity with the Surface pen in Illustrator.

Often when I work in Illustrator I try and work fast and rough. I want to get something on my artboard quickly and then spend time later refining and fixing. The new Join Tool is some real Adobe Magic that you can experience on your Surface. This brand new tool allows you to extend, join, or trim paths that intersect or barely missed each other. So if I have gotten a bunch of lines on my canvas to quickly sketch an idea, I can now you the Join Tool to connect and merge what needs to touch and trim the lines that overlap and go too far. It’s as easy as an erase motion over the paths you are looking to modify.

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When I first heard of Adobe Sketch and Adobe Line I was blown away by the newfound ease with which you could draw parallel lines with Adobe Slide and shapes using stencils. These same tools are now part of the full Illustrator and you have full access to them on Surface Pro. With the guidance of Adobe Slide I can use the on screen ruler to draw parallel lines with ease. Picking from one of the many available stencils I can draw beautiful french curves and manipulate the position, size, and orientation of the stencil with my other hand. Working quickly side-by–side, I am able to create vector art work like never before!

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All these new features are in the Touch workspace, but what is truly amazing is that this workspace is an addition to the full blown Illustrator you already know and love. If there is something you are looking to do and you can’t find it in the new layout you can go back to the Illustrator workspace you are already familiar with. Running the full, un-compromised version of Adobe Illustrator on Surface Pro puts all the tools you need for vector artwork in the palm of your hand anytime, anywhere.

Already working with Surface Pro 3 and Adobe Creative Cloud? Head on over to DeviantART and share your works with our community here.

Markus – Manager, Surface Marketing