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#16
David Medeiros

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Good list Charles,

The graphic styles in Illy are definitely a pain to work with at times. There's no group drag and drop function for multiple styles or, as far as I can tell, a way to effect a universal change to a group of styles. Both things I often find myself trying to do as I work through styles for feature groups like soils or habitat areas.

For line joins it's [command] - J and adding points is as easy as selecting the line and hitting it with the pen tool. I think those are examples of where some users are frustrated with Illy not because it doesn't do what FH does but because they haven't figured out the work flow or short cuts yet and why I keep asking about these complaints.

I didn't mean to compare Illy's drawing ability to Arc's as an apple to apples thing, just highlighting the range of "UI intuitiveness" we run into in our profession with GIS on one side and FH on the other. On that spectrum I'd probably put FH and Illy very near each other and far far away from GIS software. It would be great if Illy did a user interface upgrade. In the end I don't see that Illy is missing functionality just ease of workflow, something Mac suers are more sensitive to than others I'd speculate.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#17
Charles Syrett

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I just tried joining two lines. A warning note popped up saying I have to select the two endpoints first. That's a time killer right there. I'm used to selecting multiple lines from imported GIS lines, moving them to another layer, and then joining them, instantly.

Point in a line: I tried to move the point after adding it, and it wouldn't budge unless I changed tools. Another time-killer. Altogether, I'd say Illy has too many tools, too many palettes.

Another plus for FreeHand: Cloning. Select an object, command-=. Instantly creates a duplicate object right on top of the original. To move it to another layer, simply click on the layer.

The time interval on some of these things may seem incremental, but it all adds up.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

#18
David Medeiros

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I just tried joining two lines. A warning note popped up saying I have to select the two endpoints first. That's a time killer right there. I'm used to selecting multiple lines from imported GIS lines, moving them to another layer, and then joining them, instantly.

Point in a line: I tried to move the point after adding it, and it wouldn't budge unless I changed tools. Another time-killer. Altogether, I'd say Illy has too many tools, too many palettes.

Another plus for FreeHand: Cloning. Select an object, command-=. Instantly creates a duplicate object right on top of the original. To move it to another layer, simply click on the layer.

The time interval on some of these things may seem incremental, but it all adds up.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com


Ahh, see these are slightly different complaints than as described in the previous post. No Illy will not join without you first selecting the endpoints and that does seem odd. I use MAPub for this function so don't miss it but I would be pissed too if I was on Illy alone. Can FH join an entire layer of lines at once or do you have to select in pairs?

The point on a line thing... I dunno, it's easy enough for me to do but could be irritating. Cloning in Illy is done with [command] -c then [command] - f (copy and paste in front). It's twice as many steps as FH but it is not twice as long, in fact you never take your thumb off the [command] button and hit the c and f almost together.

These things are irritating, and more so to the FH users I'm sure. I don't want to be an Illustrator apologist, but I don't see that it makes Illy not up to professional requirements for cartography. But you know, I don't use Illy by itself for map work and a lot of of the heavy lifting for some of these tasks is done by MAPub for me so I'm not the best person to comment I suppose.

I'll say this, I hate the type engine Illustrator uses (up CS4 anyway). It does a terrible job of type on a curved path and I always have to go back and tweak the settings, a big time waster on maps with lots of curvy roads or rivers.

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#19
Charles Syrett

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I don't want to be an Illustrator apologist, but I don't see that it makes Illy not up to professional requirements for cartography.


I made the statement about Illy not being up to professional requirements, but it was a qualified statement -- it has to do with the kind of mapping you do, what your sources are, etc. For that matter, I'm sure that there are thousands of maps made every day entirely within Arc, and that are quite acceptable from even a staunchly traditional cartographic point of view.

But if I need to draw and join a lot of lines (graphically, not based on GIS attributes), and I need to meet the fast-lane deadlines of, say, commercial real estate (I once had such a client call me at 1AM in her time zone and ask for an entire map to be done the following morning), then only the most efficient drawing tools are acceptable. Why drive a car that has two steering wheels (one to turn left, the other to turn right), and a brake pedal that won't work unless you pull this lever and push that button first? :rolleyes:

Charles Syrett
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#20
Hans van der Maarel

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1. Joining lines. I do this all the time in FH, especially after importing from GIS. Select two or more lines, Apple-J. Bang, done. I still haven't figured out how to do this fundamental, basic operation in Illy.


Select lines, Apple-J... *If* the lines share endpoints of course. If not, there's a MAPublisher tool to help out.

2. Drop a point into an existing line. In FH, select the line, use the pen tool to add the point. Bang, done. I still haven't figured out how to do this fundamental, basic operation in Illy.


Works exactly the same way.

4. Count all objects. Now, this is just hearsay, but a colleague told me that in Illy you can't just select all objects and see a display of how many there are. I do this all the time in FH.


In the Document Info window you can specify "Selected Objects Only" and "Objects" to get an overview.

Hope this helps. Your other points are quite valid though.
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#21
oldtoby

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I pretty much agree with what other folks have said... the Join line function is much simpler in Freehand, I hate that text is broken up into a single text block for each letter when i import from GIS, seems like there are fewer steps to do stuff in FH, Fh seems to handle large files with lots of text blocks better, etc. I guess my main reason for prefering Freehand comes from my experience at my job. When I started there I had never used Freehand or Illustrator....I got the hang of using Freehand in just a couple of days. I'm still fighting Illustrator. Freehand just seems much more intuitive to me.

#22
Hans van der Maarel

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the Join line function is much simpler in Freehand


Unless I'm missing something, it's Apple-J in Freehand and Apple-J in Illustrator.

As for text being broken up, that might be the case but it depends on your input.
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#23
frax

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I actually rarely join lines, in most cases it works just as fine to have them in one layer or group, and apply e.g. styles and appearances on the whole set. For joining lines without selecting endpoints I use a handy script from JET: http://www.illustrat...PathScripts.htm. It has the added advantage of working on a bunch of lines.

For cloning things, I often just duplicate layers/groups/sub-layers too, by manipulations in the layers panel (I am a big user of that panel).

I haven't played much with Freehand, and I haven't watched those videos - but for speed/convenience, I think it is just a matter of getting used to it and adapting the workflow to the software. I am sure that there are plenty of features in Illy that are convenient that are not in FH.
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#24
oldtoby

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the Join line function is much simpler in Freehand


Unless I'm missing something, it's Apple-J in Freehand and Apple-J in Illustrator.


But its not that simple. like Charles said earlier:
"A warning note popped up saying I have to select the two endpoints first."

In FH if I have multiple line segments to join (A county or state boundary for instance) I hit Apple-A to select all and then Apple-J to join. In Illy I had to zoom in to each line, drag select each pair of adjacent endpoints and then Apple-J

#25
Andrew Patterson

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But its not that simple. like Charles said earlier:
"A warning note popped up saying I have to select the two endpoints first."


Not anymore -- just tried it in CS5. I noticed that they'd greatly improved the join lines in CS5 a little while ago, though since we have our own Join Lines functionality in MAPublisher I'd never had occasion to try the built-in one.

It was pretty clear during the CS5 pre-release that streamlining & improving workflows is on the Adobe radar. I forget what they were tweaking this time around (gradients I think?) but maybe they can improve some of the more basic stuff in the next round -- FH definitely had some nice stuff in that department (though for the record I always hated the way it displayed selections).
Andrew Patterson
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#26
Charles Syrett

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If this is true, I may be soon approaching the "tipping point" of migrating to Illy -- that join-lines thing was the single greatest obstacle to using it as a practical drawing tool. Still, it seems like Illy will only work properly for mapmaking if one also uses MAPublisher (which has now incorporated a lot of FH tools) as well as Kelso's plug-ins. Now, if they would only merge the two pointer tools into one and change the selection display.....how about it, Andrew? Can you do that for us? Change Illy's selection display so that it's more like Freehand's? :P

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com

But its not that simple. like Charles said earlier:
"A warning note popped up saying I have to select the two endpoints first."


Not anymore -- just tried it in CS5. I noticed that they'd greatly improved the join lines in CS5 a little while ago, though since we have our own Join Lines functionality in MAPublisher I'd never had occasion to try the built-in one.

It was pretty clear during the CS5 pre-release that streamlining & improving workflows is on the Adobe radar. I forget what they were tweaking this time around (gradients I think?) but maybe they can improve some of the more basic stuff in the next round -- FH definitely had some nice stuff in that department (though for the record I always hated the way it displayed selections).



#27
David Medeiros

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Still, it seems like Illy will only work properly for mapmaking if one also uses MAPublisher (which has now incorporated a lot of FH tools) as well as Kelso's plug-ins.


Depending on the type of mapping your doing, MAPublisher can be a great help. But I made maps with Illustrator alone for 10 years and I know a lot of others continue to use AI with no plugins for cartography.

As an aside, CS4 has an "Essentials" menu that has a "like Free Hand" selection... I haven't played with this feature but perhaps it helps with some of the familiarity issues? Anybody have any experience using this menu option? What is it doing?

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#28
Andrew Patterson

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If this is true, I may be soon approaching the "tipping point" of migrating to Illy -- that join-lines thing was the single greatest obstacle to using it as a practical drawing tool. Still, it seems like Illy will only work properly for mapmaking if one also uses MAPublisher (which has now incorporated a lot of FH tools) as well as Kelso's plug-ins. Now, if they would only merge the two pointer tools into one and change the selection display.....how about it, Andrew? Can you do that for us? Change Illy's selection display so that it's more like Freehand's? :P


I"m afraid that's beyond the scope of the the AI SDK :) The SDK is pretty powerful, but it only lets me add to, not alter built-in behaviours.

And I have to ask -- what do you mean MAPublisher incorporated a lot of FH tools? I'm curious (not arguing, just wondering!).
Andrew Patterson
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#29
Andrew Patterson

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As an aside, CS4 has an "Essentials" menu that has a "like Free Hand" selection... I haven't played with this feature but perhaps it helps with some of the familiarity issues? Anybody have any experience using this menu option? What is it doing?


I never looked at that before, but I just tried it and I'm not sure it would help much :P Its basically just a shortcut for some workspaces I think. Selecting that just makes it open up some stuff on the side in the FH MX manner. That's one thing I appreciated that they moved over from FH -- the panels & docking style really improved in CS3, and that was lifted almost 100% from FH.
Andrew Patterson
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#30
Charles Syrett

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And I have to ask -- what do you mean MAPublisher incorporated a lot of FH tools? I'm curious (not arguing, just wondering!).


I'm thinking Stylesheets and Line Tools. Although I haven't tested these myself, anything to improve AI styles and line tools is welcome. Vector crop tool looks good, too. And the Point plotter! (Not in FH.)

Charles Syrett
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