* Prices may differ from that shown
I first learned to use Adobe Illustrator at university, then I used it in my job for several years and now I only use it for personal and home uses which is why I am still using an old version, CS3. There have been several updates to the software since this version was released but as the new releases can be very pricey, if you can get hold of a copy of an older version it can be good value for money if you don't need the very latest features.
Illustrator is basically a vector drawing programme. You can use it to create 'simple' non-photorealistic images that can be saved as small files and maintain their image quality no matter how much they are scaled up or down. You can use Illustrator to manipulate photographic images but this isn't really the best tool for that job, Photoshop is what you'd be better off using.
People who are interested in this product professionally will probably want to go for the most recent incarnation so my review is aimed at people who, like me, plan to use it for hobby and home uses. In the last few years I've used it to make party invitations, posters for gigs, pictures for children's rooms, greetings cards and I've done a lot of favours for friends!
Illustrator seems quite complex at first, but if you spend a few hours playing around with the various tools and experimenting then you can get the hang of it quite quickly, thankfully they all have pretty user friendly names and icons so its not too hard to figure out what everything does. If you do get stuck, or you want to do something very specific, or you just want to get a more in-depth feel for the programme then the 'help' menu is really detailed and useful.
This software allows you to create professioanl looking artwork, mainly used in the fashion and graphics industry. The package can cost anything upwards of 300 pounds however there are some sites which will do it at cut price for around 100 pounds. Although this sounds a lot, this software is extremely sophistictaed, and clever and once learnt can produce professional,accurate,creative illustrations.
The programme is unlike many others on the market as this is a vector programme, rather than a bitmap programme. Basically this means the image is not made up of small pixels like most artwork software, so however much you zoom in on the image it will not pixelate and will look clear and precise what ever way you look at it.
The main feature of the this package is the industry standard drawing tools, which include a pen to draw accurately and precisely, flexible colour standards which refer to pantones, so perfect for using in the fashion industry when comparing fabric colours to pantone numbers, and a variety of effects and manipulations you can create to your work. You can also manipulate text around any shape you want, and create professional looking logo designs and graphical images.
This package is only for the professionals as it can be hard to master and does need a lot of patience, but once this is mastered the outcomes are amazing. I use this on a daily basis as part of my job as a buyer/designer, you can create accurate print designs, and add them as a swatch to apply to any shape or garment you have drawn, and is perfect to create technical clothing drawings which you can send to factories/suppliers so they understand what you mean. One of the best artwork programmes on the market