If you’ve been using Graffix plugins for a while, you may have noticed a few of them are missing from the current lineup. I’ll explain why you shouldn’t miss them. The story behind the apparent demise of the Proof Block plugin is explained in this post. There’s actually a much better way to accomplish what this plugin did, so it would actually be a disservice to continue to offer and encourage the use of this plugin (albeit, as Obe Wan said, “from a certain point of view”).
Another is Arrowheads. Again, there’s now a better way to do this, as explained in this Adobe blog. To add the white halo, I just apply a graphic style that adds a white stroke behind the black, offset a bit to the upper right. Rather than offsetting the highlight, you may want to just use a heavier stroke to apply equal white all the way around.
The last to disappear is the Trackplan Tools plugin. I wrote this one specifically for use at my day job, and given it was so specialized, I’ll apologize to its four users for taking it off the list.
Over the past few years, there have been many times I’d wished I had another plugin to do some task. Now that I again have the time and tools to write current-version AI plugins, I’ll be adding them. Those who already bought the Productivity Pack will find new plugins automatically added to their suite of licenses.
Thanks for your support. I promise more plugins are coming soon.
Some of you may recall a plugin called Proof Block. It ranked even below the Alien Palette in popularity, although I’ve used it myself at my day job for over 20 years. For the most part, it was little more than a small form to be initialed by people proofing various drafts of artwork prior to publishing. I was inspired to write it by the recurring problem we had of a copy-and-paste version that would sometimes peek back at us from a QuarkXPress graphic frame. My solution was to create a “proof block” layer, place the form on it, then the plugin set it to printable when opened in Illustrator, but non-printing and not visible when closing the document. Crisis solved!
Perhaps you’d still like something like that. It’s really not that difficult to write a script to draw the lines, boxes, and text, but I’m a staunch advocate of using a script, not a plugin, for that now. My proof block script today does everything that the plugin did, and much more. First, we have a document naming convention so the script can discern the magazine name, date, story code, and even look up the editors on its staff. It handles dates, keeps track of proof iterations, and even stores a record of the revision history in the document. When I save the document to the art server, the script saves a copy to the correct folder on the editorial server. If it’s a first draft, it fetches the illustrator’s name from Outlook, looks up the designer’s email and alerts her that art is available to place in InDesign. When the art is approved, it’s marked as such and the related editors, art director, and designer are notified.
In addition, scripts check for missing fonts, placed art that should be embedded, look for RGB colors in a CMYK document, and more. It’s also much easier to revise than a plugin. Since everybody’s needs and workflow are quite different, it wouldn’t be useful to anybody to share my script, but I will share my enthusiasm for scripting it as one component of a larger process. I promise that once your custom script is used, you won’t look back.
ServerLock is coming.
ServerLock is a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator when used on a shared server that helps to prevent more than one person opening and editing an Illustrator document at the same time. When another user opens a file someone else already has open, they’re presented with a dialog telling them who is currently editing then file and when it was opened. They’ll be given options to cancel the open, view the document, or assume ownership of the lock and its associated Illustrator document.
If you work on a shared server, have a need (or just an interest) in something like this, please let know. Just leave a message on the contact form about your work environment and experience, register as a member on this site, and I’ll email you soon with further details.
As always, your comments, questions, and suggestions are very welcome!
Another free plugin! I really can’t call it new because this one’s been a popular download for years, but it is still free. It does one simple function: it draws straight lines constrained to isometric angles (unless you hold down the shift key for 45-degree constraints or Option/Alt for no constraints), but this time, however, it’s a bit better. It borrows some functions from the Concatenate plugin so new lines are automatically joined if they’re drawn from the endpoint of another.
You probably already know that isometric drawings are easier when you turn on Smart Guides with the 60-degree preset and construction guides checked. Combine this with the free Isometric Actions and isometric clipart, and that was pretty much my toolkit for technical and assembly drawings until I discovered CADtools. Isometric Line Tool, however, is still one of my main tools. I gave it the keyboard shortcut “Y” (naturally) and use it often for simple tasks.
Please feel free to download and try the Isometric Line Tool. I hope it serves you long and well!
Download Isometric Line Tool