Happy Birthday, Adobe Illustrator!

Today, Adobe Illustrator---in practical terms the last vector-graphics drawing application standing (on its feet, anyway)---turns 25 years old. Even tho it now turns out to be the oldest, Illustrator wasn't the first. MacDraw, Cricket Draw, and a host of others had stakes in the ground before it came along. But Illustrator was the first to print reliably to PostScript RIPs, which meant that nothing dropped out and strokes aligned just as you had hoped. And it included a GUI for laying down Bézier curves, known forevermore with love and loathing as the Pen tool.

At the time of its release (1987), the only other program with a Pen was Fontographer, an excellent typeface-creation program from the folks who would a few months later give Illustrator a run for its money with Aldus FreeHand.

Just for fun, here's the first vector illustration I drew (also c. 1987) in the black and white-only and Macintosh-only Illustrator 1.0.

My first drawing in a young Adobe Illustrator

Just for larfs, here's how that same image appeared on a Mac 512K screen, which is what we all were using in those dim days. On the plus side, you could enjoy this splendid preview only when you hard-switched to the Preview mode. Which didn't let you draw, btw. You had to just sit there in awe of your creation. Oh, wait, on second thought, that actually sucked!

That same vector-drawing displayed on a Mac 512K screen

Lest anyone forget, 512K is roughly enough RAM to hold a full-color image that measures 418 x 418 pixels. (In the name of all that's holy, how in the world did we manage?) And yet Illustrator worked without a hiccup.

(Warning: cursing ahead.) Read more » 

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dekeAdvice: Getting Your dekeLove On

It's that time of year, dekeIntines, For some reason, our culture is convinced that sometime in mid-February, when the holiday madness is just behind us and spring fever is on the horizon, that it's suddenly and somewhat randomly the best time to think about love. So to get you in the mood for this arguably arbitrarily designated Day of Adoration, I've gathered together a collection of dekeAdvice gems, all of which are centered thematically around romantic love. Or love in general. Or arguably unnatural love for a software application. No matter. Go with me here. I'm working a theme. To get you in the mood, here is the most tasteful Valentine image in this post:
A tasteful simple heart-shaped declaration of love

Want to know how to draw that perfect heart in Illustrator and other sundry Photoshop-based acts of love? Read on: Read more » 

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A couple of videos on Photoshop CS6

As of this moment, Adobe has released at least two sneak peeks on the topic of Photoshop CS6. The above is from Bryan O'Neil Hughes, who appeared on many of my audio podcasts, Martini Hours. Next, here's a link to a video from Zorana Gee, an undeniably sexier (but, you know, I'm a guy) product manager for Photoshop.

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Photoshop's Most Amazing Self-Party, Ever

So I came across this:

Photoshop's Most Amazing Orchestra

Made by someone, not sure who. This is my best attempt to link. (Perhaps I'm lame, but if you know or are who made it, clue the rest of us in.)

If the above image doesn't look totally amazing to you---admittedly, it's kinda small---click on it! But remember, after you're done, take a moment to come back here.

My questions to you (and I have a few): Read more » 

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Top Twelve Toolkit for 2012

OK, it's 2012, and rather than weigh you down with tedious resolutions (no, we're not giving up martinis), I thought I'd make a list of a dozen useful things that Deke has shared over the past year. Some are about life, most are about Photoshop, and one just helps you to keep track of your damn phone. Links to relevant stuff accompany each entry:

Become the hair masking genius

Deke's most recent entry in the Photoshop Masking & Compositing series focuses on one critically important skill: masking hair. In particular, Chapter 2 presents you with the scenario you're most likely to encounter: masking Dark hair. Check out this movie to see how establishing a strong Calculation between channels gives you a head start (heh) on this masking challenge; it's free to all. Members of should watch the whole chapter; it's a Photoshop mastery course in a nutshell. Want proof? Check out the before and after of this Chapter's project:

Masking dark hair in Photoshop before

Masking dark hair in Photoshop after Read more » 

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