PLEASE PLEASE adobe. The new pencil tool has become unusuble to me

Explorer ,
Jan 20, 2014 Jan 20, 2014

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Sorry for the dramatic subject but this is true, for me. but the pencil tool is my most used tool for my work.

I've used it for many many years and its the basis of everything I do in Illustrator which i use 99% of my work. (i havent even touched the pen tool for many years)

When I saw it was updated I was happy it finally got some attention and decided to give it a try.

Now I'm devastated to see the direction it's taken

I've used the pencil tool on the lowest fidelity 0.5px smoothness 0% setting for many many years.

So that when I draw the result I want is almost exactly what my hand draws and not a smoothed/math generated path.

In the new pencil tool settings the lowest "accurate" preset its still very smooth and controling and gives an output that is not at all something i can use.

Actually I cant draw anything in the style desired with it. Its like it has its own life and decides the outcome of what i draw. This is because of the few anchor points and smoothness.

Not all artists wants their drawings to have that smoothed perfect rounded edge with few anchor points.

Im sure many will like it and its good its there for them but this cripples illustrator to a forced style not everybody wants.

Why lock down the pencil tool to such few and controling presets???

The "accurate" needs to be more sensitive to the hand movement or bring back the old settings.

For example the lowest setting in earlier version was fidelity 0.5px smoothing 0%.

This is more accurate to what you actually draw. Why cant this also exist?!?!

For example when im trying to draw the silhouette of an eye or head shape as accurate as I can, when im done drawing and release my wacom pen cursor i get an roundish smooth blob now that doesnt look and feel as i want. Starting to adjust this shape with other tools is very time consuming and doesnt even then produce my desired result and above all doesnt feel like drawing. Feels like im plotting stuff around.

I need to be able to set the presets to finer detail so that i get many anchor points like before which give the possibility to draw in detail and make "turns" with the pencil that make corners, rugged edges etc.

I know I can continue to use my cs4 version but some day that could be too old for the modern technology coming and it feels now that for me illustrator has been given a death sentence, in my case.

Sorry again for being so dramatic and long in my writing but its really a disaster for illustrators who want to draw in illustrator and have it as accurate as possible to the hand.

Finding another way of drawing my illustrations is pretty nuts after all these years invested with illustrator.

Please Adobe can you fix this? save the pencil tool in this regard.

I dont know how but Im willing to help in any way I can as this is very important to me.

PS the removal of the handy smooth tool shortcut is also a very cumbersome remake. There is already and open discussion about this http://forums.adobe.com/message/6032965#6032965

(This is for the illustrator 17.1 update. I use 15" macbook pro retina computer with wacom cintiq 13hd drawing tablet)

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 24, 2014 Jan 24, 2014

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For whatever it's worth, I am in the same boat, and agree with everything you wrote.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 24, 2014 Jan 24, 2014

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Agreed! You are not too dramatic. Adobe needs to realize how serious and debilitating these changes are and how they effect long-time users.

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Guide ,
Jan 24, 2014 Jan 24, 2014

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I think Adobe needs to make the "Accurate" setting for the new pencil FAR more, um, "accurate."  Let "Accurate" be exactly like the original pencil tool. Then allow up to 12 variations (as opposed to TWO) between Accurate and Smooth, in the Pencil Tool Options. Then everyone will LOVE the new Pencil Tool.

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New Here ,
Jan 25, 2014 Jan 25, 2014

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Also it might be useful to make the Pencil Tool Preferences open in a 'Modeless' (non-modal) manner so that it could be invoked with the path selected and any changes made in the dialog would affect the selected path. So if the path is too accurate, I can change it to be smoother and vice-versa.

This would also somewhat alleviate the need for switching to the Smooth Tool, although not fully because the changes made in the dialog would affect the entire path, not just certain sections of the path which I could do in the past.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 27, 2014 Jan 27, 2014

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i agree completely. a terrible "update" to my most used tool.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 27, 2014 Jan 27, 2014

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Couldn't agree more. Where were the beta testers!!?? I cannot believe these concerns were not made known to Adobe.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 27, 2014 Jan 27, 2014

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alright, if anyone is looking for a mean time solution, you can

-visit creative.adobe.com, click on the illustrator page,

-scroll to the version toggle (about halfway down the page)

-select "ILLUSTRATOR CS6" and

-download & install to your creative cloud account.

this allows you to download cs6 on your computer as your illustrator login.  the pen & pencil work from there.

from what i've tested, you can have both open & installed on one cloud account. 

hope this helps.

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New Here ,
Jan 27, 2014 Jan 27, 2014

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Huh! That's a mean-time solution, as you said. Thanks.

But for how long? Do you think they are working on bringing back the functionality we were so used to over these many years? Why should I be running two versions, side-by-side & constantly switching between them.

Illustrator has been my most used tool over the last 15 years or so and it has become so ingrained in my whole being. It is the first app I fire up on waking.

With these kind of changes to the Pencil Tool and Direct Selection Tool, I have to dump my expertise & familiarity and re-learn these rotten new ways of working with my everyday tools.

As someone pointed out, where were the beta testers? I believe they've pre-release testers too. Do they really test this out? Why didn't they point out the drawbacks/limitations of these changes to the Pencil Tool and Direct Selection Tool?

The Pencil Tool needs to get back these things, imo:

- Fidelity and Smoothness as separate settings so that we can control them independently of each other (as earlier). I don't understand how Fidelity can vary between Accurate and Smooth.

- Make these settings available in the Control panel when the Pencil Tool is selected so that one can make changes on the fly.

- Somehow bring back the ability to switch to Smooth Tool with some shortcut, like before. Even though the ability to draw straight lines (with Alt/Opt key) is really useful and a welcome addition, it has come at the cost of being able to switch to Smooth Tool.

The Direct Selection Tool needs to get back these things, imo:

- Reshaping with this tool has to go (or at least add a preference). Bring it back to its former glory - remember that it is one of the most used tool for many users. It is the simplest tools to understand, there are no nuances to it - which is also its greatest strength. Adding cumbersome additional functionality (Reshaping, Live Corners) to it has now made it a complex tool. What else can I expect this tool to do in future - Paint with it, Erase with it?

Hope Adobe is listening! Or are they going to say 'unless we hear from ten thousand unique users...'

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 27, 2014 Jan 27, 2014

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illustratorician,

I am in absolute agreement with your post. The 17.1 release of Illustrator has set us back YEARS. I hope you have posted these same words in the Adobe bug/feature page:

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform

I have spoken with an Adobe tech support individual who acknowledge these capabilities are lost in the new version. I am still trying to fathom what Adobe is thinking.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 29, 2014 Jan 29, 2014

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Greetings from the Illustrator team!

Thanks for your feedback around the new Pencil tool. While the tool looks exactly like the old one - the technology behind it is completely new. Like any other new feature, it also has scope of improvement, and this is where your feedback matters.

Allow me to share some thoughts that went behind this.

1. 'Accurate' is not as accurate:

The new Pencil tool with Accurate preset, is no different than the earlier pencil tool with Fidelity at 2.5 pixels and Smoothness at 0%. We understand that it was possible to get below 2.5 pixels earlier but that is not a possibility now. Our aim with this feature was to simplify the controls, improve the fairness of curves, and add the basic missing functionalities. With that in mind, and after consultation with external users, we added functionalities like path-continuation, free and constrained straight-lines, a predictable closing of paths, etc. which make the tool more usable for path creation. Subtle but important pieces, like the closing of a crudely drawn circular path, where the start and end segments are recalculated to give almost perfect circles, are there for the first time in Ai.

For 'Accurate' preset we can make it more precise. We may not be able to bring the two sliders back, but are open to suggestions as to what value (Fidelity+Smoothness) of the old pencil tool may work best for you.

2. With Pencil Tool, Alt/Opt does not bring up the Smooth Tool

I'm sure you would agree that inability to draw straight lines (both new, and in continuation of existing paths) was a big limitation for the old Pencil tool. We wanted to break this limitation. And as we experimented more with the new Pencil tool, we found less and less use of the Smooth tool, simply because the paths from this new tool were naturally smooth on their own. And in benefit of free-form straight lines with Pencil tool, we took a conscious decision of changing the old behavior with Alt/Opt in favor of straight lines. And if we look at the the Smooth Tool in 17.1, it has been completely revamped just like the new Pencil tool. With a new cursor, it does a far better job than its earlier avatar.

3. Pencil Tool is producing bad results

Ai team is keen to take a look at these issues, so that these can be attended. If you haven't already, please report issues via the bug form: https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform with valid email ID so that we can get in touch with you to undertand the issue better.

Regards,

Neeraj Nandkeolyar

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Explorer ,
Jan 29, 2014 Jan 29, 2014

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Hello Neeraj

Thank you very much for your respons Im so happy to hear you might be ready to meet us.

1. I understand if the tool is rewritten its rewritten and its hard to bring back sliders. Thats ok as long as we can get the same sensitivity/accuracy back that we used before on lowest setting.

In my tests, as you say, I noticed the new accurate was exactly like the old default. 2.5px fidelity in the old and 0% smoothness. To me its always been unusable on that setting.

I need accurate to be 0.5px fidelity and 0% smoothess.

this was the lowest setting in all the earlier versions of illustrator. without this setting i wont be able to continue using illustrator in the future.

2. The smooth/alt tool is a great companion when youre operating with the pencil tool. Drawing straight lines is somewhat of a different operation for which it is easy to reach for the / shortcut when needed. One would assume that in the moment one would need the smooth tool to slightly adjust some parts of what you just drew more often than draw a straight line. Altho considering how smooth the pencil tool is now i understand what you say there might not be as much use for it but this only holds true for those who like the super smooth setting of the new pencil tool.

Im not saying its not a great feature to be able to draw straight lines with the pencil tool, it is fantastic, but replacing the smooth is maybe not what i would trade for it. is it not possible to keep both? alt for smooth and alt/shift for straight lines and then if people want need to constrained straight lines then they can go to the line tool and operate from there or adjust that afterwards.

1. I want to emphasize again that primarliy for me its important that the accurate setting 0.5px fidelity and 0% smoothess becomes available again.

Thanks Neeraj for communicating with us.

Also thank you to everyone else who has responded with their input on this thread,

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 29, 2014 Jan 29, 2014

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Neeraj,

As for #2 I do NOT agree. Changing Option/Alt function to Straight line tool seems like an arbitrary move. I still see PLENTY of times I'd like to toggle to the Smooth tool while working with the Pencil tool. This change has made that simple process MUCH harder. And swapping to the Straight line tool does NOTHING for me. It's not why I use the Pencil tool in the first place.

Can we have a similar meeting about the Path Segment Reshape tool? I can no longer drag/edit an individual segment without altering adjacent segments. This is just unbelievable.

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Explorer ,
Jan 29, 2014 Jan 29, 2014

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Neeraj

To illustrate further what type of behaviour is now missing in illustrator i will post here some image examples that shows the importance in amount of anchor points and that it cant be controlled by math and smoothing for this type of illustration.

If you analyze the paths of the drawings they are not at all based on the popular but quite technical "point extrema" thinking which the new pencil tool seems to be targeting. They arent meant to be super clean or stylistic typographic logo style illustrations.

What shows is just straight up drawing/illustrating without thinking about the technical aspect of anchor point placement. Usually i even cmd H hide so i dont see the anchor points and paths so that i can just see what i draw.

This type of drawing style needs anchor points generated as you hand makes "twists and turns" while using the pencil tool.

this was possible with 0.5px fidelity and 0% smoothess.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.23.19.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.23.10.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.23.03.png

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.22.00.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.22.10.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.38.37.png

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.21.20.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.21.30.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.34.51.png

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.20.46.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.20.42.pngScreen Shot 2014-01-29 at 19.37.40.png

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 29, 2014 Jan 29, 2014

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hello neeraj, thank you so much for your reply.

I understand all programs have to grow and sometimes functionality is left behind. I appreciate the admission that the pencil tool has changed, and the willingness to change the accuracy preset.

My thought would be to use a larger slider (6 notches, in place of four) that allow the inversely proportional accurate / smooth preset to function on proportions of 20% (instead of 25%). this, in turn would allow for two more adjustments with the pen tools fidelity, (one being a similar to the legacy .5% fidelity/ 0% smoothness) and return control to power users such as myself. 

I am an illustrator and an art director for a screen printing press. I use illustrator every day. the inability to draw tight switchbacks and accurate lines with both the pen / brush tool inhibitive for my style of illustration. I considered buying VectorScribe (an illustrator plugin) just to compensate for the new functionality of illustrator.

I would love an adjustment to the pencil / pen tool "accurate / smooth" preset.

I actually don't mind the smooth tool becoming it's own tool (i use the hotkey anyway), but as some have suggested, perhaps a toggle to select WHAT the option key does when using the pencil tool would be a feasible solution to that issue.

Regardless, it seems like we only need to wait for an update, and i appreciate the candor your reply contains. Thank you for replying and I look forward to seeing a change in the program.

Daniel Evan Garza

A Small Print Shop

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2014 Apr 28, 2014

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I've refined my illustration style over a number of years using the smooth tool on the fly with ALT. It's most irrirating to say the least, do you have plans to re-introduce this function or do you recommend I cancel my CC membership and re-install CS5?


Regards

Peter

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 28, 2014 Apr 28, 2014

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Hello everyone,

As I mentioned in my  post earlier, what you see in Ai CC 17.1 is a new Pencil Tool, which only 'looks' like the old tool but is completely new under the hood. We in the Adobe Illustrator team are working towards addressing the concerns raised here which hopefully should be available in the next update.

Thanks!

- Neeraj

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2014 Apr 28, 2014

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are working towards addressing the concerns raised here which hopefully should be available in the next update.

Yea lol, sure. Adobe is addressing its customers concerns. If they'd do the suites software would get better and better. The contrary is the case for nearly all products.

I've had to buy a plugin to get my work done. This plugin is awesome. I'm wondering why a tiny software company is doing better work than Adobe with quadrillion employees and pockets full of money. Because Adobe doesn't give a ****. The cash flow is constant and there are no competitors.

By the way: please fix the smart guides. They far away from beeing "smart". It's pure luck if they hit the right position. Maybe ask the ID team, they have real smart guides.

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Explorer ,
Apr 28, 2014 Apr 28, 2014

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das-jo wrote:

I've had to buy a plugin to get my work done.

Would you mind sharing the name of the plugin or sending me a private message with the name of it?

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New Here ,
Apr 28, 2014 Apr 28, 2014

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das-jo wrote:

I've had to buy a plugin to get my work done. This plugin is awesome.

I'd also really like to know what plugin this is, thanks.

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Community Beginner ,
May 23, 2014 May 23, 2014

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Hi Neeraj

Are you going to return the pencil tool back to it's original state? As mentioned I need the smooth tool to work on the fly and illustrate in my own style instead of being 'assisted'. I've been saving all my latest work in legacy so I now have the option to cancel my CC subscription if this is not the case and go back to using CS5

Regards

Peter

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Explorer ,
May 22, 2014 May 22, 2014

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It is nice to hear the Neeraj of adobe is actually listening to us. The CC brush tool is similarly cruder now ( the one I most use im my work) - same reduced number of steps for fidelity and smoothness controls. I think you should be able to draw as you draw with a pencil or pen- as accurate as possible. This seems obvious (to me), and it is people who draw for a living, illustrators like myself, who will be most affected by this strange decision to remove the fineness of control that the CS6 brush and pencil tools allowed.

I literally can't work on CC now, and am using CS6 with my Cintiq tablet. With CC you would draw the line you wanted, and it would rubberise itself into something quite different, even on the finest setting. As to drawing straight lines - I don't use that tool for that. Lots of other ways to do it. If Illustrator can't give Illustrators an accurate freehand tool, then all is lost.;) Full steam ahead with your update, Neeraj!

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Explorer ,
Aug 11, 2015 Aug 11, 2015

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Adobe have the most naf keyshortcut system I've ever dealt with.  I use a number of different 3d apps with great solutions for shortcuts. I think c4d sequence approach is the best system I've used. Modo and Maya have good solutions too. Adobe are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to shortcuts. At least I found how to toggle smooth back now.

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 12, 2015 Aug 12, 2015

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Double-click the Pencil tool, or select the Pencil tool and hit Enter to bring up the Options dialog. There, check "Option Key Toggles to Smooth Tool". Click OK.Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 1.35.17 PM.png

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New Here ,
Jan 28, 2014 Jan 28, 2014

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I agree 100% on the pencil tool, but the direction tool I think is an improvement. Live Corner is a good feature to have as well as reshape. Most of everything else in the direction tool operate the same. Exactly what are the annoying characteristics of the tool that bother you? So, what do think about the PathScribe plug-in, it has reshape and Round Corner feature and it seems very popular these days, maybe that is why Adobe added reshape and live corner to its Direct Selection tool. 

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