FreeHand & InDesign..They Work Together!†
I know some people think that FreeHand MX and InDesign don't work well together. That's not the case with me. I have completed numerous projects with both programs together. It's too bad that FreeHand is not a part of CS as I think it would work well with all the other programs in it.
I often drag and drop graphics from FreeHand with ease onto InDesign. They work better together than FreeHand works with Quark, in my opinion. I'm sure that Ilustrator works with InDesign, but they were designed to work together in the first place. It's amazing how well FreeHand responds considering it hasn't been updated in three years.
Does anyone else use FreeHand and InDesign together? Did you have an easier time learning InDesign because of your knowledge in FreeHand? Do you think that FreeHand and InDesign have some similar features?
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A while ago, a FreeHand user sent me some tips. I thought I would share them with you. If you have some tips for FreeHand users, let me know!
By the way, I didn't credit the person who sent these tips as I wasn't sure if he wanted me to mention him. I will credit your name if you like, just let me know!
1. FreeHand's knife tool has been a crutial tool for how I use FreeHand to create smooth complex curves, or for just being able to get rid of part of an object very easily. For complex curves I generally start with primitive ellipses or circles. I will create a series of ellipses and precisely overlap the strokes where I want the intersections to occur. Then the beauty of FreeHand's knife tool allows me to select multiple objects at once and cut both obects at their intersection point. Then I simply delete the unwanted portions of the ellipses or circles and join the remaining pieces leaving me with my desired curve.
To my knowledge, no other drawing or layout program has the capability and ease of FreeHand's knife too.
2. FreeHand's set of tools: Union, Subtract, Punch, etc. work flawlessly. I use the "Union" tool the most, and it has saved me tons of time in creating more complex objects without having to use the bezigon handles too much... For example, if I'm tracing an image to convert to vector art, I can use as many primitive shapes as possible and trace the image in parts. Use a rectangle for parts that have harder angles instead of having to click down 4 points with the pen or bezigon tool. Then use the method above with the knife tool to create some of the curves, close the objects with the click of a button, overlap them slightly and hit the union button... perfect. No left over parts, no point shift (with snapping off... I don't like snapping at all in any program). Ilustrators set of "pathfinder" tools comes close to FreeHand's functionality, but I've noticed that in Illustrator, it leaves the unwanted parts for whatever reason, and doesn't separate them from the new shape. Very frustrating... because then I have to go back and delete the unwanted parts, and selecting "parts" of an object in Illustrator is an absolute NIGHTMARE.
3. Which brings me to the "Pointer" issue. I'm sure everyone that uses FreeHand knows this already, but what the hell is the need for 2 pointers?? I have NO idea why FreeHand put in an additional pointer... I've never used it. It's completely unwanted. Were they trying to make Illustrator users more comfortable? I have always thought that the way in which Illustrator makes you deal with manipulating and selecting objects is the absolute weakest part of the program hands down. And this is where FreeHand shines. Being able to option-click on an object that is grouped and then being able to select and de-select individual points at will is a HUGE jump in efficiency over Illustrator. I could go on about this, but I think FreeHand users are pretty aware of the selection superiority of FreeHand.
4. Being able to cycle through selecting objects that are on top of one another is key as well. The cntrl-click feature FreeHand has is just wonderful. Then you can also hold SHIFT with the CNTRL key and select multiple levels of objects.
5. I use FreeHand for ALL vector art creation. The ability to copy and paste into Photoshop and Flash is great. Creating a vector object for use in Flash is easy. You can have all of your shapes overlap without having to delete the unwanted segments due to the way Flash handles vector graphics. You can just paste in your art from FreeHand and select and delete the unwanted segments simply in Flash after "breaking apart" the objects pasted in.
6. Here is a tip for people using FreeHand that must have their art end up in Illustrator. Create your LINE ART in FreeHand. (limited amount of fills and NO gradients or blends. You can have fills, but the way Illustrator handles gradients is quite different at the coding level, and you will get unwanted shapes from FreeHand gradients or blends when importing into Illustrator) Simply export your FreeHand document as a "Generic" or "Macintosh" EPS and open it in Illustrator. Don't hassle with drawing in Illustrator, just import and color in Illustrator after drawing the art in FreeHand.
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I Just Had To Do This Project In FreeHand!
We FreeHand users know why certain projects just have to be done in FreeHand. But let's share with Adobe and Illustrator users why FreeHand is great for certain projects from beginning to completion. For example, was there a project that was so much easier to complete right in FreeHand than going into Flash? Was there a project that was better suited for FreeHand instead of using Illustrator and InDesign?
I would love ot hear from others on why sometimes it's best to use FreeHand...a multi-purpose program that does more than draw!
A side note here: someone sent me an email about a week ago (Rocco?) with tips for FreeHand for a future article. If you could resend, that would be great as I lost the email you sent!
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I have two other articles I am posting today...the first is an interview with Mordy Golding (Illustrator expert) and the Adobe Interview I mentioned on Adobe's forum.
Before reading them, just know we still don't have the answer about the maintenance program. But after talking with Adobe, I realized something...we shouldn't be comparing FreeHand to Illustrator, as if Adobe will drop Illustrator in favor of FreeHand. They want to hear why they should keep both programs going at the same time. Adobe does not want two separate programs that do essentially the same thing. FreeHand users have been comparing their product to Illustrator and explaining to Adobe why they think their product is superior. Adobe does not want to hear that FreeHand is the better program...they are going to stick with Illustrator; itís an important product to them. If there's hope in saving FreeHand, users will need to demonstrate to Adobe that FreeHand has enough features that are unique and that it's more than a drawing program. I think Adobe figures they already have a draw program and don't need two.
I think of FreeHand as a swiss army knife. It can do so much and I know many FreeHand users will agree. If we want a small page layout (such as a newsletter), we'll use FreeHand. If we need to do some Flash animation quickly, we'll use FreeHand. If we are working on a corporate logo, we'll use FreeHand to store the logo, along with a cover letter, envelope, etc., all in one file. Maybe we should let Adobe know that FreeHand is more than a draw program, but rather a GRAPHIC DESIGN TOOL. FreeHand doesn't need a bundle, but could remain a stand-alone, perfect for people who bring their work home, and yet powerful enough for work in the studio.
Share your ideas here for Adobe on why they should have both programs and why you think FreeHand should live on with Illustrator. This is what they want to know about.
This is off topic, but check out some fonts
I am selling that I did in FreeHand. It could help pay for the hosting of my site!
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Here It Is...My Interview With Adobe!
I recorded the conversation but the recorder unfortunately cut it off. I had to type this by memory. I spoke with Terry Hemphill, the Senior Marketing Manager of Illustrator and Phil Guindi, the Senior Product Manager of Illustrator at Adobe. They offered a lot of insight, but unfortunately stopped short of whether there will be a maintenance release to FreeHand or not.
I started by asking their opinion about why Macromedia would abruptly stop development of FreeHand. Both Terry and Phil stressed that it is very costly to develop a program. Even though the teams seem small, it still costs a lot of money. If a program will be a big seller, then the software companies are more than happy to develop it. In the case of FreeHand, I was surprised to hear that it was not making much money. That is why MX had problems, apparently, Macromedia simply didn't put the resources into it because of the low return.
My next question was if Adobe recognized FreeHand as a separate program, unique from Illustrator. Adobe was not really concerned over competition before the merger as FreeHand users have been asking questions about migrating to Illustrator at various trade shows. FreeHand users at these shows wanted better quality output and increased PDF support, something Illustrator had. The migration guide, as many of you are aware, was in development long before the merger came about.
Terry and Phil described the FreeHand users as a passionate group of people that care about their work. They stressed that Adobe is fully aware of us and want to give us the best product out there, whether itís FreeHand or another program. They listen to what we FreeHand users say, and they do frequently check the petition page. There is a lot of research and study into virtually everything Adobe does, so they know what us FreeHand users want.
As far as the comparisons between InDesign and FreeHand, Terry commented that he feels Illustrator and InDesign have more similarities, with the color palette, the UI, etc. He was curious about why I thought FreeHand and InDesign were so much alike. I mentioned the Paste Inside feature and the multiple pages as the obvious similarities. Eventually Adobe would like to have all applications in the CS to work flawlessly together, so much so that a user would think Illustrator feels like InDesign or like Photoshop.
I don't think we'll be seeing the ability to substitute certain programs in CS for others, such as FreeHand instead of Illustrator, as some have speculated on the FreeHand forum. Again, they want all programs to work well together in CS. By substituting programs, the CS programs wonít run as well together unless they were all developed at the same time.
When I asked about the maintenance release, Terry and Phil could not answer the question, which I do understand. They do know that FreeHand and Illustrator need to work better together, and that there is a need for Illustrator to be able to open FreeHand files without problems. So while I didn't find out about the much talked about maintenance release, I do know that they are working on ways to have FreeHand users happy...it just may or may not include a maintenance release.
I also couldn't find out about the FreeHand team, if there is one or not. They informed me that the answer is rather complicated. But they do monitor the FreeHand forum. Even though they don't always answer, they are fully aware of the bugs. I don't think they know exactly what they will do with FreeHand yet, but I do know that Illustrator is their flagship program. Nothing is written in stone as far as what features go into Illustrator. They are more than willing to include some features of FreeHand, but it's more about whether there is a need for it. They know that FreeHand users like multiple pages, but they feel that Illustrator should focus more on the illustration side of things, than with page layout. They donít want to turn Illustrator into another page layout program. Not to say that it wonít happen, itís just not a priority for the program.
They explained that the Illustrator is a humble team, and they are proud of the product they are working on. My feeling is that this next release will attempt to please both FreeHand and Illustrator customers.
They do recognize that there are some of the better features in FreeHand that Illustrator doesnít have. They know about the Find and Replace, and they did acknowledge the superior Paste Inside feature of FreeHand, something I hope makes it to Illustrator CS3. Phil noted that FreeHand had an advantage for many years, in that it was always on Illustratorís heels. Everything Illustrator did, FreeHand had the opportunity to see and find ways to do things easier. They acknowledged that FreeHand in the past was easier to use, but they feel that started to change with the first CS release.
Are there features in Illustrator that FreeHand users have overlooked? The Live Paint feature, the Live Trace features stand out as Terryís favorite features, something which I found difficult to use. I have no idea why Live Trace was so hard for me, but I explained how easy it is to trace in FreeHand, just click and drag. After talking with Terry, Iíll have to look at those features of Illustrator again.
Are there features in FreeHand that Illustrator users have overlooked? Well, maybe not overlooked, but the most often requested features have been the Find and Replace, Paste Inside and Multiple Pages features.
Where does Adobe see drawing programs in the future? Vector tools will play a significant role in the work that web designers and graphic designers do. Vector tools will also be important for mobile devices. If anything, drawing programs will only increase in popularity.
I feel more confident with Adobe after the conversation. They realize that FreeHand users felt abandoned by Macromedia. Although the main question of the maintenance release remains unanswered, Adobe does know Illustratorís weaknesses and are acknowledging them.
However, if FreeHand users want to save their program, they are going to have to show Adobe that it's a different type of program, not a direct competition with Illustrator. They do know about all of our requests. I feel that many of the features we like in FreeHand will make it into Illustrator. This will be the first major upgrade of Illustrator since the merger, so we may find it works more like FreeHand!
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