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Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users - Adobe Illustrator Macintosh

Hi guys, I have just switched from Freehand to Illustrator CS and was wondering if there is any useful information/books or manuals for us old Freehand users to help the with transition? I am finding a lot of the Freehand features not possible in Illustrator... Thanks Sharron...

  1. #1

    Default Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Hi guys,

    I have just switched from Freehand to Illustrator CS and was wondering if there is any useful information/books or manuals for us old Freehand users to help the with transition? I am finding a lot of the Freehand features not possible in Illustrator...

    Thanks
    Sharron
    Sharron_Carew-Reid@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    You might actually find that many that you think are not there are simply done differently. However I do understand that many features that each application has are missing in the other application or are done very differently.
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Sharron, as far as I know, there is no written help specifically for the transition from FreeHand to Illustrator beyond

    1) Manuals and books about Illustrator that help you learn the application in its own right (but that offer no comparison to FreeHand);

    2) Lots of experimentation;

    3) Forum exchanges like this with users who have already migrated.

    For what it's worth, there are many things far more elegantly implemented in FreeHand than in Illustrator; it's not that you do them "differently" in the latter, it's that they're downright clumsy in the latter. Furthermore, there are many things that FreeHand enables (being a sort of hybrid illustration/layout program) that are simply not available in Illustrator (which is a more narrow, one-trick pony).

    On the other hand, exactly the reverse can be said about the two programs' features and benefits. This I'm sure you'll come to see the more you use Illustrator.

    The very best way to learn how to do things in AICS that could be done in FH is to come here with specific questions: "I could do this in FH; how do I do it in AICS?" "Why can't I do this in AICS? I could do it in FH!" "FH didn't have this AICS feature; how do I use it?"

    Beware, there will be a minority of forum participants who will be inexplicably annoyed by your regular references and comparisons to FreeHand, NOT because this forum in any way prohibits such references, but for more childish and irrational reasons. They'll say wise things like, "If you like FH so much, why don't you just go use it!" Ignore them. People who have actually converted from FH to AI like you - those who feel your pain... those who know the benefits of making the transition - will happily respond in a helpful way. Of that you can be very confident.
    Doug_Katz@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users



    "I could do this in FH; how do I do it in AICS?" "Why can't I do this
    in AICS? I could do it in FH!" "FH didn't have this AICS feature; how
    do I use it?"




    Well, if you like Freehand so much, why don't you just go use it!

    They'll say wise things like, "If you like FH so much, why don't you just
    go use it!" Ignore them.




    Oh crap…I will not be ignored.

    People who have actually converted from FH to AI like you - those who
    feel your pain... those who know the benefits of making the transition
    - will happily respond in a helpful way




    Also people who have only been on the Illustrator side of the fence (me) can help if you describe the feature in detail and not just name the Freehand feature.

    As previously posted, there are a few users here who are experienced with both Freehand and Illustrator (not me) who will help. Just watch out for a user by the name of Doug. He is a tricky one he is.
    John_Kallios@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    And J. Kallios - despite the impressions one might get from the above post - will be one of your most astute and practical guides across the FH/AI threshold. He's one of those very few who give less of a damn about what program features what and more about how to optimize functionality and elegance so you can do your art. I kid you not.
    Doug_Katz@adobeforums.com Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Couldn't have said it better myself, Doug. Agree on all points.

    I will add these two comments:

    First, As Doug said,
    "...there are many things that FreeHand enables (being a sort of hybrid illustration/layout program) that are simply not available in Illustrator..."

    Things like multiple pages and support for in-line graphics fall into that category. But there are also many purely illustration-centric features which you probably take for granted in FH, and will sorely miss in AI. Larger ones are things like custom ruler scales, a dedicated perspective drawing environment, and far superior graphic find/replace features. Smaller (but just as important) ones include the ability to align/distribute points, join/split/open/close multiple paths/points at once, more capable cutting tools--the list of these small "detail" features is long and together constitute one huge continual frustration for FH users when working in AI. It's the continued focus on big whizbang instant effects and the continued neglect of these modest bread & butter path drawing features which I consider AI's greatest shortcoming. Second would be multiple pages. The majority here mistakenly consider that only a "page layout" feature, when in fact it is just as needed for illustration-only projects.)

    The trade off is a similar list of AI superiorities. Big ones are the Actions palette, far superior Brushes, SmartGuides, and those afore-mentioned whizbang live effects (Warp, Symbolism, 3D Extrude). Small (but just as important) ones include the ability to define a line in terms of length and direction; to [somewhat] pre-set the aspect ratio of an ellipse; to perform a simple translation (move) in terms of direction and distance. FH can't do these things.

    And of course, AI's trump card is always that it is a full-n PostScript interpreter, and its vendor owns and controls PostScript and PDF.

    Second--and I'll bet better addressing your original question--there is a handful of CONCEPTUAL differences which underlay much of the initial frustration FH users feel when adapting to AI. These have to do with things like AI's pretense that a segment exists independently of its defining points, and AI's "backward" (relative to FH) behaviors of the selection tools. I could enumerate their ramifications, but that would constitute a large portion of that non-existent book you mentioned. So as Doug said, just come back here for help before you pull your hair out over a specific problem.

    Take heart. You'll end up knowing both programs--and probably appreciating both more, too.

    JET
    James_E._Talmage@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    I am curious, why are you changing to Illustrator from FreeHand?

    That question is directed to Sharron not Doug or James!
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    I always liked the Classroom In a Book. Although, I haven't seen the recent ones, the one I originally learned from was great.
    Dee Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    I'm curious about that too, Wade. Sharron? Where are you?
    Doug_Katz@adobeforums.com Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    I am in the same boat in that I'm making the switch from Freehand to Illustrator. I'm slowly, but surely, coming to grips with it by using the search feature in help to find comparable ways to do things. I've used Illustrator in the past for a few rudimentary things but Freehand has been my main tool for about 10 years.

    In my case, I'm being dragged somewhat kicking and screaming into the Illustrator world because our largest client (a swedish-based, multinational corporation) says that everyone who does work for them from now on has to use Illustrator because that's all anyone uses in Europe. In addition, the main pre-press house and printers that we use (the client also dictates those) have informed us that they now no longer have anyone in-house who even knows how to use Freehand. So, my hand is being forced. It's kind of sad, really.

    A couple of things: In Freehand I can grab a text box and, while holding down various combinations of the Shift/Control/Option/Apple keys I can stretch, squash, condense, etc. the text without having to convert to outlines first or do it by the numbers in the text box. In Illustrator I haven't been able to figure out how to do this. Can it be done without converting to outlines?

    Another thing I've found frustrating is that Freehand has a handy collection feature that let's you compile all your linked files and fonts to a folder, similar to Quark (or even Indesign's Package feature) but Illustrator doesn't seem to have this.

    On the other hand, the ease with which you can make PDF files is big plus. Almost makes it worth it all!
    Peter_Glaze@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    If you are using a text frame you really don't usually want to do that as you more than likely want to resize the frame to add more visible text. So in that case use the scale tool and probably the same keyboard shortcuts as in FH. If it is point text then you would select the selection or scale tool and again use those keyboard command keys.

    Text frames can be threaded and the like so there is good reason to make it this way
    you want text to flow as text and not display art although there maybe occasion where you want it to be both.

    It is a good thing to be able to do both.
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    As an art director and IT I have "forced" many designers through the years to work in Illustrator at my work. The main reason is that it is not good to mix those two in a workgroup and conversions between the programs has not always been reliable. More reasons are too that I am not mentioning here.
    There are few differences between the programs that former FH users have hardest time to adopt but in the end everyone here loves AI. I think it's best to reply only to the questions asked here rather than going through it all in advance. It would fill a book to explain it all and for that the manuals are great. Also very nice is the much overlooked Help in the menubar.

    Question one: "In Freehand I can grab a text box and, while holding down various combinations of the Shift/Control/Option/Apple keys I can stretch, squash, condense, etc. the text without having to convert to outlines first or do it by the numbers in the text box. In Illustrator I haven't been able to figure out how to do this. Can it be done without converting to outlines? "

    Have Show Bounding Box (shift+cmd+B) on. It will give you same options and similar look and feel as FH and more. Check out different keyboard combinations for more options. Use Shift to constrain, Option to go from center.
    No need to outline fonts in AI - ever

    Question two: "Freehand has a handy collection feature that let's you compile all your linked files and fonts to a folder, similar to Quark (or even Indesign's Package feature) but Illustrator doesn't seem to have this. "

    Unfortunately AI does not have this feature but if you badly need this feature there is a great little app that does this nicely: Art Files from Code Line ($30)
    <http://www.code-line.com/software/artfiles.html>

    Hope this helps a little.
    Sigurdur_Armannsson@adobeforums.com Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Having read all this heavyweight advice, Sharron decided to switch to Deneba Canvas :-)
    Kurt_Gold@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Area type can NOT be manipulated in AI as it can in FH. Those who are mentioning scaling and resizing here may not understand all that one can do in FH. In that program, one can KERN and TRACK and WORD SPACE with modifier keys and the control handles of the type block. One can also change a block from (what AI calls) Point to Area type and vice versa. One can ALSO automatically extend a block vertically to display all overrun type in an Area type block with the click of a control handle. These are very useful conveniences not found in AI. Scaling the type or type block is the least of it.
    Doug_Katz@adobeforums.com Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Thank you for the help. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as they pop up!!
    Peter_Glaze@adobeforums.com Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    "In [FH], one can KERN and TRACK and WORD SPACE with modifier keys and the control handles of the type block."

    AI's keyboard shortcut for tracking/kerning happens to be the same as FH's: insert the I-beam between two characters, or select a range of characters and use Ctrl/Alt (Windows; I assume Cmd/Opt on Mac) or Ctrl/Shift/Alt with arrow keys. These work on both Area and Point text. You can see a list of other useful default text adjustment shortcuts in Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts>Menu Commands>Other Text. However, these adjustments are not incorporated into text object frame handles as some of them are in FH.

    Fit Headline can be used to automatically create exaggerated spacing across the width of an areaText object, but it's not as elegant as FH ability to drag the right or left side handle for that, because you have to re-apply it if you change the object's width (I assign Ctrl/Alt F as a custom shortcut).

    However, as Doug points out, FH's text object handles are more feature-rich, intuitive, and convenient. There is no confused distinction between "pointText" and "areaText." Any text object can, with a doubleClick on a side handle, be set to auto-expand or not, and --this is key--in EITHER direction. A simple double-click on any text object's link box will auto-fit the text object frame to tightly contain the text in EITHER or BOTH directions--even while you type.

    So it is very easy to ensure you don't accidentally overset text in layouts (such as ILLUSTRATIONS) which have alot of small, but still paragraphical, text objects scattered about the page, while still avoiding "tripping over" over-extended text frames.

    I encounter the frustration frequently. For one example, my template for those step-by-step PDFs I occasionally post here has a separate areaType object into which I type brief instructions for each step. These need to be freely positonable, so they are independent objects. Because of these comparitive shortcomings, creating the instructions is significantly more tedious and time consuming than it would be in FH, where I could simple set the objects to auto-fit vertically. (AI's performance also drops like a rock when editing those modest text objects, and worsens over time. This was improved in CS over AI10, but still exists.)

    I think even conventional-wisdom "page layout" programs would do well to emulate a similar vertically-fitting functionality.

    Someone is going to jump in about here and tout the virtues of AI's Type Object Selection By Path Only pref. Trust me; by comparison this is merely a crude workaround (parallel to comparing AI's various Select Same... options to FH's far more capable GF&R).

    Text frames can be threaded and the like so there is good reason to make
    it this way...




    Irrelevant. FH's text threading is just as capable, and has existed for many versions. FH has also long supported in-line graphics, which are in no way prohibited by text object threading. In fact, the ability to put graphics, including Symbols, inside text frames--with or without actual text--occasionally affords handly illustrative tricks. Paste artwork objects into a text frame, attach the "text" to a path. Adjust the spacing/size/position/alignment of the art objects along the path using text commands kerning/tracking/size/alignment/baseline shift,etc.

    Because AI's text objects were largely re-worked in CS, I doubt we're going to see a similarly elegant (or even better) treatment anytime soon. Meanwhile, though, a keyboard command to auto-fit the frame vertically--at least after-the-fact, but hopefully also while one types--would be very welcomed.

    To appease those with certain sensitivities, I'll throw in here that while FH's handling of text OBJECTS is superior, its handling of TEXT is now outdated and problematic regarding OpenType.

    JET
    James_Talmage@adobeforums.com Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    Doug you can use modifier keys to kern and track and change the leading and text size. Word spacing I don't think so. That last point you mention might be useful.

    Are you sure you can't do the same things in AI CS.

    I really now have to ask that question again but now of you! Why are you using AI CS instead of Freehand, I believe that the stability problems that originally brought you here are not issues anymore?
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    I'll ask my question another way exactly what is it that has compelled you or James to use AI in the first place and which program do you find more often? AI or FH?

    I tried FH and liked it but since I had AI and so saw no reason to change as AI worked for me for my needs that is but if I had owned FH I might be still using it. So I don't understand why you changed?

    Lots of people who contribute to the Forum use both and some only use AI. For the latter it is hard as from my own experience since I did not try everything in FH and since it was quite awhile ago that I tried it…well we don't know what you are talking about when you compare the two programs and it is impossible to relate.

    You see when you write…"like in FreeHand"…it is totally meaningless that is why I keep wondering why you use that ogy? What point does it serve?
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

  19. #19

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    "I tried FH and liked it but since I had AI and so saw no reason to change as AI worked for me for my needs that is but if I had owned FH I might be still using it. So I don't understand why you changed?"

    Wade. Old buddy. That-is-but-if Master of the run-on sentence. Please read the above and see if you can make sense of it. The period key, Wade...the period key. Sheesh, and you call my posts "meaningless."

    ;-)

    "Why are you using AI CS instead of Freehand..."

    Why do you assume anyone who uses Illustrator uses it *instead of* FreeHand?

    I love ya, Wade. I really do. But you've asked and I've answered your question before. Perhaps you should write it down.

    This thread, if you'll look, is *expressly about* comparison between FH and AI. The fact that I DO use FH is why I actually know something about it. I also use AI--and probably every bit as much as you do.

    Since you admittedly have only cursory experience with FH, why do you feel compelled to attack the discussion itself, rather than its points of substance?

    You do not need to defensively fear FH (or any other program) being better at some particular thing than AI. It happens. It's okay. The inverse happens too. AI can (and does) stand upon its own merits. That doesn't mean it shouldn't respond competively to beneficial innovations in other programs. Nor does it mean AI users shouldn't speak plainly when referring to features they like in other programs.

    I do not come here to worship. I come here to discuss AI -its good and its not-so-good-- with FELLOW Illustrator users (like you). That discussion includes tips, tricks, praises, complaints and comparisons--just like it does in FH, CV, and CD forums I visit.

    "You see when you write…"like in FreeHand"…it is totally meaningless..."

    Nonsense. How meaningless? I think my posts in this thread are quite understandable, even by users not familiar with FH. Even by you. If there is a functionality I described that you didn't understand, specify it and I'll be glad to explain it for you.

    But please stop asking me this question. I will speak plainly. I do use AI. I do use FH. I will not tediously avoid saying "FH" when that is what I'm refering to. I'm sorry that threatens you. If it helps, rest assured similar comparitve threads occur frequently in the FH forum. There is no irrational fear or reaction against mentioning of the "AI word."

    JET
    James_Talmage@adobeforums.com Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: Any illustrator CS books for Freehand users

    I make it as clear as I can. Since many people on this forum do not have any real experience with FH then when you compare AI to FH it is meaningless for them
    as they have no point of reference.

    However you are correct this particular thread is not a good thread to question this
    as the relationship of features of AI and Freehand are the issue.

    I was curious in a less profound manner as to why you were are originally compelled to use AI. That is for instance, it was because the place you worked at decided on an AI workflow, or you needed a feature or some other support you could not get with FH or it was a present or some clients sent you a bunch of AI files and it was easier to just open them in AI. I meant something like that.

    Wade
    Wade_Zimmerman@adobeforums.com Guest

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