Illustrator Alternatives - Adobe has ruined our tool, our livelihood.

Explorer ,
Dec 05, 2018 Dec 05, 2018

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What are you all moving to since Adobe has completely ruined Illustrator? All we need really, is a good drawing program and we can boot Creative Cloud to the curb. They do not deserve $60 a month for this garbage.

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 05, 2018 Dec 05, 2018

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What did Adobe do specifically to "completely ruin" Illustrator?

I personally waited for Adobe's first maintenance release for Illustrator as well as updated plug-ins from Astute Graphics before migrating my CC apps to the 2019 versions. So far I haven't seen any serious issues. I'm not using brand new hardware. YMMV.

As for alternatives, there's a number of vector-based drawing programs out there. But none of them totally replace all the functions found in Adobe Illustrator. That especially goes for integration with other applications, such as Photoshop. Freehand was the closest alternative; it was the only other drawing app that could paste AICB vector paths into Photoshop. Freehand is a dead program. CorelDRAW is still fairly popular, but it only runs on Windows. Open source alternatives like Inkscape are better than nothing, but they lack many features and just feel clunky. It's like going back to the 1990's.

Even if I could live without some of the latest bells and whistles found in Illustrator (and its 3rd party plug-ins) I still need Illustrator to reliably open and edit customer supplied PDFs and AI files. My shop has to handle a lot of corporate logos and other customer supplied materials. Much of that arrives in AI or PDF form. I also use CorelDRAW, but that program (and others) don't open client-supplied PDFs and AI files in 100% reliable manner.

Not many like paying $50+ per month for a Creative Cloud subscription. But that monthly fee actually buys quite a lot. You're getting a lot more than just one or two applications. It's the equivalent of a Creative Suite Master Collection with a number of bonus goodies that didn't come in a Master Collection box, such as the Adobe Fonts service. The type families available through there are worth a fortune.

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New Here ,
Dec 05, 2018 Dec 05, 2018

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I do understand your pain. This latest update has been pretty ordinary – the menu bar seems to have a mind of its own, and what's with the type handling! If I want to do some basic edits to a type-on-a-path type I drop in the text cursor and go get a coffee! So painfully slow to respond.

I'm hoping it is just a bug that will be sorted soon in a new update … because I'm certainly not ready to just ship yet and there's nowhere else really to go. But my frustration levels are up – and I've been a die-hard CS user since the beginning.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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If I were starting fresh, I'd give Affinity Designer a go. But what do you mean by 'completely ruined'?

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 07, 2021 Apr 07, 2021

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Maybe Adobe could start out by now forcing their trapped "subscribers" to be unpaid, unwilling beta-testers.

I just clicked on the help menu and the screen was such a mess I had to force quit. Apparently that's the. only way out of the program.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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As others have noted

Adobe has completely ruined Illustrator

is a very vague complaint.

As for

All we need really, is a good drawing program and we can boot Creative Cloud to the curb.

CC contains programs for image editing, page layout, video editing and more, so one drawing program would hardly be a CC replacement for many users.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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dijonaise  schrieb

All we need really, is a good drawing program

That might have been true 25 years ago, but nowadays I need more. This summer I have taken a deeper look at all the prominent alternatives which strengthened what I was already feeling: Why I'm using Illustrator - Vektorgarten

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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I see you also used to work with Freehand – are you also still pining for Connector Points in Illustrator?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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c.pfaffenbichler  schrieb

I see you also used to work with Freehand – are you also still pining for Connector Points in Illustrator?

Would be nice to have. But I also have VectorScribe.

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Enthusiast ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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The issues of color management and CMYK are critical. They get compounded when you need to send art to other service bureaus to do something you can't do in-house, like print a 48' wide X 14' tall billboard face. It helps to at least be using the same, industry standard applications.

That gets back to why I have to use Adobe Illustrator (and CorelDRAW too). Different drawing programs often don't play nicely with art imported from rival applications. It's akin to using Google's automated functions to translate a web page written in German (or French, Spanish, etc) into English. It sort of works, but it sure isn't perfect. When it comes to handling elements like brand artwork, "perfect" is the standard. Anything less is unacceptable.

It's usually no big deal if a piece of vector art has nothing but bare objects with flat fills, no live effects and all type converted to outlines. That can usually jump from one application to another without anything getting modified. Line strokes and effects applied to those strokes begin to complicate the situation. Live type objects can add more issues. Same goes for clipping masks. Objects with gradient fills can run into big problems hopping from one brand of drawing app to another. The latest version of CorelDRAW is improved at handling Illustrator-style gradients (it even supports transparency now), but it's still not 100% accurate. Some live effects are application dependent; they won't port to other graphics applications at all.

I warn people who only use CorelDRAW to keep Adobe Reader handy to proof those client supplied PDFs and compare what they see in Adobe Reader to the imported results in CorelDRAW. Things often go very wonky in unexpected ways. I've run into trouble opening client supplied PDFs in Adobe Illustrator as well. Many applications can generate PDFs. There's lots of different settings. Un-checking "Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities" when using Illustrator to save a PDF can introduce all sorts of issues. Astute Grahpics' Vector First Aid plug-in can be a tremendous help. It can fix a lot of problems in things like messed up PDF files instantly, saving potentially hours of tedious work.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 06, 2018 Dec 06, 2018

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I love Illustrator.  Granted no application will completely statisfy anyone in today's world.... of course that goes with anything in life. 

But, what I do recommend is sending feedback to Adobe on what you do not like about various appliactions.  What I have learned is you never know, others may also be sharing similar suggestions.  If a developer of software or even a game gets a certain amount of genuine suggestions relating to a particular thing they will probably take notice.  Then they will work towards correcting or changing something.

If the number of suggestions relating to a specific theme are large then I would suspect that Adobe would take it into consideration and make the change or find a compromise.  So make sure you send your feedback in.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 07, 2021 Apr 07, 2021

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Sorry to hear that you are not enjoying Illustrator at the moment. 

 

Illustrator is one of my favorite apps.  In fact, I am doing live streams almost every Sunday with Illustrator on Behance. 

 

I doubt you will ever find a vector program that can compare to Illustrator.  I definitely would steer clear of the free ones... as usually there is a reason they are free.  Either collecting data or other things, and there are a few out there.

 

And to me, if you pay for something less expensive... well you get what you pay for. 

 

So where are you running into issues?  As that would be a good thing to know.  Then maybe we as a community can help solve them. 

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 07, 2021 Apr 07, 2021

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Thank you for your kind reply. Once again, today I spent 6 hours trying and failing to install adobe cloud updates. I turned off my auto updates a month ago after spending many hours over two days, with an Adobe tech, trying to get my CC apps back on track. Today, while doing a simple task with fonts, the screen went grey. There was no way to close the app, not even to force quit. In 34 years, I've never seen anything like it.  But I knew I had. to restart, because Adobe products don't get the message to close after a force quit, so I followed my normal routine of redownloading CC app > installing and opening it and once again clicked the update button. Photoshop repeatedly goes to 84% then quits. Illustrator goes to 88% spins endlessly and then I have to start the process all over again. Another 45-60 minutes wasted. Since the implementation of CC, my productivity has taken a dive. Currently, I spend more time dealing with stability issues than I do designing. Adobe really needs to let this go.  Give it up. We're not happy. We're trapped renting software that works less than 50% of the time for much more money than it's worth. Most of us only use 5-10% of the program, so make something easy for us. Spend less time trying to figure out how to charge us more and more time allowing us to be artists. P.S. I have found many inexpensive apps to fill in some of Adobe's gaps. They are not the only game in town anymore.

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