Update Roundup for May 2017

Google, Adobe, and Techsmith release some pretty neat updates and new products.

The Illustrator Crop Options and handles are highlighted and the new Colour themes panel is shown
Cropping and a new Colour Themes panel are the latest additions to Adobe Illustrator CC.

The big news this month is from Macphun.

For the past year or so we have been talking about Luminar and Aurora HDR. As we have pointed out in an earlier article,  Luminar is for all levels of imaging expertise from novice to professional.  As we wrote:

“Luminar is a Mac-only imaging application that will appeal to skill levels ranging from novice to expert.  For the novice Luminar provides an extensive range of fully adjustable Presets tailored to a wide variety of needs. For the hard core user, Luminar provides well over 35 high-end filters that provide granular image correction controls for practically any imaging situation.”

We were similarly impressed with Aurora HDR 2017 :

“For the pros, Aurora’s range of tools matches those of Lightroom and Photoshop including some new features they don’t have. For the rest of us, there is a full complement of filters and presets that can provide you some pretty amazing results.”

The downside to both applications is they cut out a sizeable portion of the market due to the fact they were Mac-only. That has all changed because, in July 2017, Macphun will be launching a public beta of both of these powerhouses on the Windows platform. If you are interested in kicking the tires for both Luminar and Aurora in July, keep an eye on the Macphun homepage.

If you already have installed Luminar on your Mac you are in for a treat. Expect a major update in June 2017 and Macphun will also be releasing the 2018 versions of Luminar and Aurora HDR this autumn.

Image Cropping Finally Arrives in Adobe Illustrator CC

For years, Illustrator has had the ability to add bitmap images to your Illustrator documents. For just as long, the graphics community has grappled with the fact the images can’t be cropped. That required a separate trip to Photoshop. No longer.

When you place an image in Illustrator there is now a Crop Image button in the Options bar. Click it and the image will sport crop handles. This is not a masking tool. When you crop out the areas you no longer need, the file size for that image is reduced in the Illustrator document.

Adobe Illustrator CC Gets a New Color Themes Panel

One of the neatest features of Adobe Creative Cloud is the CC Library. Anything created in Photoshop, Illustrator or one of the Mobile apps can be saved to a Creative Cloud Library and used in a variety of the Creative Cloud applications. One of the mobile apps – Adobe Capture CC – can be used to capture colors and create color palettes which can be saved to your Creative Cloud library and accessed in Illustrator’s Library panel. The main issue with Themes you have created is they really can’t be edited. This has all changed with the introduction of the new Color Themes panel in Illustrator. Not only can your themes be edited, but you also have access to an online community of designers, you can filter your themes and you can create new themes with the help of a color picker based on color theory mixing and combination guides. To learn more about this new feature, Adobe has posted a  “How To...” regarding the new Colour Themes panel.

Bohemian Coding Releases Sketch Version 44

Sketch has rapidly become a “Go To” application for UX designers and this major release should make them very happy.  The improvements include:

  • A redesigned Artboard picker which now includes a new option in the Inspector that tells an artboard to change the size of its contents when the artboard is resized. This is going to be especially useful when creating the artboards for iOS and Android versions of an app. It will also be a great help to those designing responsive web pages.
  • Improved Round Corner handling on vector paths. UX designers are a rather picky lot when it comes to pixel-perfection and Sketch’s inability to correctly handle rounded corners was an irritant. This update removes it.
  • Replacing missing fonts. UX design is a collaborative effort and it is inevitable that a Sketch document you receive will contain fonts you don’t have. This is now handled by a modal window that not only notifies you which fonts are missing but also suggest replacements.
  • Scaling and Resizing improvement. The resizing tools in this update have undergone a significant improvement. When you select an object in a group or on an artboard, the Inspector now contains a Resizing strip that lets you determine whether the selection’s height or width (or both) will change as the selection is resized.

    Those four features are the big news. There are a few dozen more improvement and Bohemian Coding has provided a full rundown.