December 30, 2019
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Adobe Illustrator is a powerful vector based program that lets you create and customize vector-based shapes, text, and artwork. Even though it comes with many built-in features there are areas where it falls short. It doesn’t necessarily work with all programs and sometimes lacks the shapes and elements that designers often need. Plugins and add-ons can help add in the functionalities that may be lacking in illustrator. By installing these third-party programs you are able to customize the tool to fit your needs. They not only provide necessary elements but also enables you to work quickly and improve your overall workflow. We have gathered a list of incredibly useful plugins to help customize your illustrator experience. In this article, we will talk about plugins that you can either download or purchase from the third party websites.
This plugin is compatible with different models of Adobe Illustrator. With this plugin, you are able to measure the interlocking area or a singular path using a built-in feature that is embedded in the software. This way you are able to calculate the surface area of the printed graphic. In order to do this, you have to search for relevant content in the grey dialog box and scan for the right information. This is a free plugin that can be downloaded on their site.
2. Select Menu
This plugin lets users access closed paths, open paths, filled paths, stroked paths, unstroked paths, compound paths, groups, dashed paths and undashed paths on an object. It can also be used for flattening images and keeping transparencies. It is compatible with almost all models of Illustrator and is available for download for free.
With vectorscribe you are able to control shapes, points and handles more easily. The reposition point tool lets users maintain the shape of the original path, the extend path tool lengthens or shortens the path, the ghost handles allows more control over a path while dynamic corners allow better control of the corners. You can either download the 14-day trial or pay £69 for the software.
Texturino allows designers to apply natural and artistic effects to an artwork. Instead of having to switch back and forth between different applications and tools, you are able to apply texture effects simply by painting over an image. It comes with an opacity brush that efficiently masks various elements in an artwork providing better control and greater depth for the user. This is not a free tool but can be purchased for £29.00
5. VectorFirst Aid
How many times have you had to clean an image or an artwork after you have imported it into your illustrator file? This plugin can help you clean up your file. It is designed to take out the excess data that you would otherwise have to manually take out. It also has a text handling feature that lets you change the characteristics of an imported text. It also has options to break text apart and remove text transforms. It costs £29 to purchase this plugin.
This tool lets your position shapes and elements accurately on an artboard. It includes rotating to collision tool and space fill feature tool that lets the user distribute the shapes accurately within a container. It is compatible with different models and can be purchased for £15.
7. Eskoartwork Plugin
This plugin is a relevant tool in the packaging industry. It allows users to import artiosCAD files in illustrator and convert and flatten them. Once you have positioned your file on the artboard, you are able to apply swatches and move it around as needed. This is a free plugin and is compatible with all AI models.
8. Cineware for Illustrator
This illustrator plugin is specifically made designers looking to transition into 3D. It lets you import files, adjust the view, adjust textures and highlights to integrate 3D elements to your design. The trial version is available on their site and is compatible with Adobe CC 2017-2018 models.
9. Symmetry works
This is a specialized tool created for repeat graphics and complex patterns. You are able to create repeating graphics and edit the patterns to grow your patterned vector swatch. Once you have created a pattern, it can easily be saved as a swatch. You are able to reverse colors on geometric patterns creating positive and negative spaces that balance the overall pattern. It costs $364 to buy the full version and is compatible with AI 10 to 2017.
10. Fontself Maker
With this plugin, you are able to turn your handwritten fonts into vector fonts. This plugin is perfect for type designers who are looking to create their own lettering styles. When paired with illustrator, you can add colors, edit shapes and format the text to your liking. All you have to do is drag and drop the files into the program and create a version that suits your design project. It costs up to $49 to purchase this font and is available for both Photoshop and illustrator.
You are able to control vector halftones and duotones easily with this tool. The best part about this tool is that you can easily adjust levels, saturation, hue, and curves without having to use Photoshop. This intuitive tool can smooth out your workflow and costs about $89. It is compatible with CS6 and CC
Illustrator plugins can expand the capabilities of the Adobe software. There are a lot of available options to choose from. Finding the right one, although takes time and effort. Not all plugins are worth the expense, so it is important to choose one that is specific to your project and your workflow. We hope that this list helps you in your search. Do you have an Illustrator plugin that you keep using? Let us know in the comments below.