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Move to Illustrator? - Macromedia Freehand

Yochi, See if there is a trial version of Illustrator (I think there is a 30 day version), and open some of your FH7 files in AI. I am using AI 10, and I just now opened an old FH9 file...Illustrator opened it without a problem. Occasionally some type will shift a bit, and any gradients done in FH will not be gradients in AI (I think AI turns them into blends). I was using FHMX yesterday for some stuff, and tried to make a pdf a few different ways, and could not get it done successfully, so I had ...

  1. #1

    Default Re: Move to Illustrator?

    Yochi,

    See if there is a trial version of Illustrator (I think there is a 30 day
    version), and open some of your FH7 files in AI.

    I am using AI 10, and I just now opened an old FH9 file...Illustrator opened
    it without a problem. Occasionally some type will shift a bit, and any
    gradients done in FH will not be gradients in AI (I think AI turns them into
    blends).

    I was using FHMX yesterday for some stuff, and tried to make a pdf a few
    different ways, and could not get it done successfully, so I had to rebuild
    the file in AI 10.

    I use AI quite a lot now since the FH10 disaster, and still use AI even
    thought I have FHMX. AI will not take you long to get used to if you do make
    the switch.

    Hope that helps,

    Lynn


    "yochi" <webforumsusermacromedia.com> wrote in message
    news:bgrc99$eb1$1forums.macromedia.com...
    > Has anyone contemplated switching to Adobe Illustrator entirely? I am
    seriously considering it. Between the unexpeted quits, the 1-bit tiff file
    shifts, tilled files that are missing, and lack of unicode support, my users
    may run me out of town.


    Lynn Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Move to Illustrator?

    If you're serious about converting 100,000 FH 7 files to more modern AI equivalents, you should consider a third-party macro utility like QuickKeys to batch-convert them... get FH to first of all export the files as AI files, then get whatever version of AI you want to use to open them all and resave them accordingly... essentially a two-step process. You might even be able to cut out the second step if your version of Illustrator is not the most recent available. Set up a test macro and if it works, do the real thing and walk away. Let the a macro or two do all the work for you.

    And yes, be warned that gradients and fonts are two pitfalls that can - and probably will - undermine your efforts towards a straight, elegant conversion. Still, tweaking the fills and fonts of individual files as needed beats the pants off of recreating thousands upon thousands of files from scratch. Good luck.

    Max
    ____________
    Max MacDonald
    Toronto
    maxman23 webforumsuser@macromedia.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Move to Illustrator?

    Yochi:

    I've 'halfway' switched now... anything new I do gets done in AI 10, almost
    anything I need updated gets converted to AI 10.

    I'd echo what Max MacDonald said: fonts and gradient fills are the biggest
    conversion factors to watch. For me, text blocks often need to be
    'stretched' once opened in AI, as they seem to need to be slightly wider
    and/or deeper to accommodate the text (converted files often, for me, show
    text overflow when the file is opened in AI), as the type handling
    characteristics between FH & AI are different. AI seems to me, by default,
    to be "looser" -- i.e. line breaks change and copy with soft returns used in
    copy-fitting often kick down a word & need readjusting.

    AI's gradient fills are different from FH's gradient fill features, so upon
    conversion AI will make a group of elements to mimic the gradient from FH.
    which are set into a clipping mask. Also, 'paste into' is a FH thing,
    whereas AI uses clipping masks. So far I have not had any appreciable
    changes to FH files.

    Another thing to note, if you are a Mac user (maybe PC as well, I don't
    know) is that AI does not support Postscript level 1. If you have a level 1
    printer, you will not be able to print AI directly to it. Then again, if you
    are on OSX it's a moot point, as OSX doesn't support PS level 1 either.

    Other 'negative' things I can think of: AI is a little obtuse esp. given
    nearly 20 years of using FH, so you won't exactly want to leap into it with
    a big job on a tight deadline. The aforementioned AI gradient fills alone
    are worth a day mucking about with, as is investigating the obscurities of
    AI's 'global' swatch settings. The default set tablet of colour swatches,
    styles, symbols and brushes are a pain in the nether regions (and I haven't
    got around to figuring out how to set up a custom set for myself yet). There
    is no multiple page support in AI, so any multiple page doc's in FH will
    require several individual AI files to reproduce. Finally, AI is only
    accurate to 3 decimal places, so positioning or transforming elements or
    objects 'by the numbers' is frustrating for me. FH spoiled me -- if I want
    to put a line at 8.3726", that's where I want it, not at 8.373". This
    becomes an issue for me in step-and-repeat set-ups for printing (try getting
    10-up labels that are 1 7/16" high!).

    Something of possible importance to you: AI works in either cmyk or rgb mode
    only, so you can't mix the two modes in the same file. Upon conversion, AI
    always announces that the FH file it is opening "contains both cmyk and rgb
    values" and makes you select the mode you want. In the same vein, the
    colour swatches it creates after converting often are process mixes of what
    should be stock colours ("0c0y0m100k" instead of "black", for example).

    Good things: works seamlessly along with InDesign & Photoshop. For example,
    a line of text set in any of the three using the same settings matches
    exactly when imported, copied, or placed in the other two. Colour fidelity
    across app's is a joy -- no more colour shifts from vector into PShop. And
    AI's 'save as' to native PDF files saves me a swack of time.

    DS
    > From: "yochi" [email]webforumsusermacromedia.com[/email]
    > Newsgroups: macromedia.freehand
    > Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2003 17:01:29 +0000 (UTC)
    > Subject: Move to Illustrator?
    >
    > Has anyone contemplated switching to Adobe Illustrator entirely? I am
    > seriously considering it. Between the unexpeted quits, the 1-bit tiff file
    > shifts, tilled files that are missing, and lack of unicode support, my users
    > may run me out of town.
    >
    > My only hurdle is that we have over 100,000 art files that are Freehand
    > doents. Most of them are version 7. We do a lot of repeat work with
    > changes, like calendar wallet cards.
    >
    > If I were to switch my users to Illustrator, the workflow would be crazy. They
    > would first have to open the old job in Freehand, save it out into a format
    > that Illustrator could open, then open it in Illustrator. Either that or every
    > job would have to be treated as a new order. Either way would really bog down
    > production.
    >
    >
    >
    David Soltess Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Move to Illustrator?

    What would you say are Illustrator's major shortcomings as compared to
    Freehand?

    "James E. Talmage" <JETIllustrationETC.com> wrote in message
    news:3F33CA05.789F3F37IllustrationETC.com...
    > > You can turn it off in the Preferences dialog. (Not sure about the
    english
    > > name of that checkbox, in german it's not so obvious though.)
    >
    > No, you can't. AI's prefs let you turn off the Add/Delete point behavior
    > of the Pen, but not the automerge/join behavior. So far as I know there
    > is no keyboard override for this, either. When you want coincident
    > endpoints of separate paths as you draw them with the pen (the much less
    > often used Brush does allow this behavior to be turned off), you have to
    > place points remotely and drag them into position by switching tools or
    > by pressing the Spacebar during MouseDown to prevent the autojoin
    behavior.
    >
    > > I started to work completely differently than I used to in FH9, often
    > > selecting objects from the Layers palette
    >
    > Yes, you *have* to learn to work somewhat differently when using AI.
    >
    > I consider selecting an object from the layers palette, just because it
    > underlies another opject completely unacceptable, and even slower than
    > the contextual menu. Moreover, the next object below/above in the Layer
    > palette is not necessarily the next object *under the cursor*. The
    > rather inconvenient, but at least serviceable keyboard shortcuts
    > (CommandAlt Square Brackets) was wrecked in AI 10, now selecting then
    > next object in the stacking order (doent), not the next one under the
    cursor.
    >
    > I am as distressed as anyone over the mess that FH has become. But
    > people exploring (or threatening) alternatives need to know (especially
    > when they ask) that they *are* going to be losing quite a handful of
    > workaday advantages which longtime FH users take for granted. I may have
    > lost all faith in MM's handling of FH, and may never purchase another
    > version beyond FH9. But I am not going to pretend to fellow users that
    > nothing significant is lost in abandoning FH, or that the move can be
    > made lightly. If that were true, the ruination of FH would not be the
    > tragedy it is.
    >
    > And I am continually petitioning Adobe to get AI up to snuff in those
    > many areas in which it is still so lacking.
    >
    > JET

    Joel Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Move to Illustrator?

    > What would you say are Illustrator's major shortcomings as compared to
    > Freehand?
    Single page limitation.
    Generally more tedious & bersome path drawing.
    Needlessly bersome multiple Pointer tools required to do what FH does
    with one.
    Nothing even close to Graphic Find & Replace.
    No Name All Colors command.
    Nothing like Perspective Grid.
    No custom ruler scales.
    Practically useless AutoTrace tool.
    No saving as templates.
    Multiple math operators in fields not allowed.
    Cannot evenly space steps of Path Blends.
    No Vertical Skew for Text On Path.
    bersome duplication required for top/bottom circular Text On Path.
    bersome "transparency" workaround necessary to color grayscale TIFFs.
    No DCS 2 support (I think. Corrections welcome).
    VERY archaic printing architecture. Not even a Fit To Page option.
    No proper Clone.
    No proper Split. (can't split multiple selected points at once).
    Can only perform the simplest alignments on sub-selected points.
    Can't align sub-selected points with other objects.
    Can't distribute sub-selected points.
    Inferior re-iteritive transformations.
    Archaic text handling.
    No paragraph styles.
    No font preview.
    No vertically auto-expanding text objects.
    No way to simultaneously retract handles of multiple points.
    No way to simultaneously extend handles of multiple points.
    No way to disable autojoin behavior of Pen.

    No custom setting for Pick Distance. (Points often very difficult to hit).
    No decent select-through key shortcut.
    Propensity for creating stray points (due to silly pretension that a
    segment exists independent of its defining points).
    Inconsistent Undo often fails to restore previous selection state.

    That's off the top of my head. There are others. You may think some of
    the above trivial. I don't consider any of them trivial. Together, they
    comprise a very...uh...different drawing experience from FH.

    AI has a long way to go to catch up in many areas. Of course, a similar
    (although I dare say shorter) list can be built for FH.

    JET
    James E. Talmage Guest

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