What Are the New Features in Adobe Illustrator CS6?

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Adobe Illustrator CS6 is the newest in Adobe’s line of high-performance vector image editing programs. This newest member of the Illustrator family provides increased speed, precision and stability when working with complicated or large files. It also makes use of a range of new tools and features to help you make beautiful vector images, whether they’re clean, sharp and traditional-looking, or make use of Illustrator’s wide range of painterly effects.

Adobe Mercury Performance System

The Mercury performance system offers a new, faster, more flexible way to work in Illustrator. It offers native 64-bit support, allowing you to preview and work with complex files without suffering from slowdown or a halting work flow. This engine is designed to make everything in Adobe Illustrator CS6 feel more responsive.

Pattern Creation

The new version of Illustrator also allows for seamlessly tiled vector patterns using the new pattern creation tool. It lets you use a wide range of new repeating pattern types, editing them at any time. That means much less labor and more flexible designs.

Improved Image Trace Tool

Image trace is one of the most useful options for Illustrator, allowing you to easily convert raster images to vector for further editing and resizing. The new image tracing engine in Adobe Illustrator CS6 allows you to get accurate fitting, reliable traces and clean lines without needing to use complicated dialog controls. The whole process has been streamlined.

Gradient Strokes

While gradient fills for shapes have been available in Illustrator for a long time, CS6 brings them to strokes. That makes it easier to apply gradients to text, outlines and a wide range of other graphical elements without tediously converting each stroke to a shape. The gradient stroke dialog allows you to apply gradients across the width, across the length, or inside the stroke, controlling the opacity and placement of the gradient.

Inline Editing

Adobe Illustrator CS5 and past versions required you to edit names and other information in panels via an intermediate dialog. This could be tedious and distracting. Illustrator CS6 puts this task in the panels, where it belongs, reducing the number of visual elements you have to deal with and making the whole process much simpler.

Enhanced Effects

Adobe Illustrator CS6 also brings enhancements to Gaussian blur and other effects. The Mercury engine allows you to apply glows, drop shadows, blurs and many other raster-like effects faster and more efficiently than in past versions of Illustrator. You can also skip previewing in the dialog box: the effects appear right on the art board.

Panel Enhancements

The new design allows for faster, more convenient access to expanded color spectrums, the scale panel, the type panel and many others. Extra steps have been removed and the most frequently used tools are ready to hand.

Dockable Hidden Tools

Previously hidden tools such as the pen and shape tools are now available as dockable options. While they still default to their hidden location, artists who use these tools regularly can "tear" them off the main tool bar, docking them in a convenient location for a more efficient workspace. Docking works both vertically and horizontally, allowing you to adjust your space however you choose.

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Source by Mandi Pralle

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