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Adobe Illustrator – An Industry Standard Vector Graphics Software


Hello friends… I am back with something more regarding vector graphics. Up till now we have seen what are vector graphics & how they are used. Then we saw that where vector graphics are used & what are their different uses. Now we will see how vector graphics are created & edited. What are vector graphic file formats & other things related to vector. Lets enter into a new dimension of vector graphics.

The Software

There are many vector graphics editing & creating software in the market nowadays. For example Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Macromedia Free-hand etc. Today we will discuss & know about a leading vector graphics software called Adobe Illustrator.


Adobe Illustrator  is a vector graphics software developed & marketed by Adobe Systems Inc. USA. This was a complimentary software of Adobe Photoshop series of raster graphic software. Illustrator was first developed for the Apple Macintosh Inc. in year 1986. Then the software became popular & it kept on developing resulting into its fourteenth edition out today.

In year 1988 Adobe Illustrator’s first version was commercially launched which was called Adobe Illustrator88. This was its basic version but still had a lot of features & tools. This version typically made to support Macintosh platform. Following this Adobe also developed Illustrator to support platforms like sun solaris, NeXT, Silicon Graphics IRIX etc but they were discontinued as a result of poor sales.


In early 1990 Adobe launched the second edition of Adobe illustrator in Macintosh platform named Illustrator  1.1 followed by another version called Illustrator 3.0.  Then Adobe took a leap & went ahead to launch a Windows platform based version of Illustrator & launched Illustrator 2.0 for Windows. Then next version for windows came which was version 4.0, but it got highly criticized because of similarities with Macintosh versions 7 Illustrator’s biggest market competitor The Corel Draw Graphics Suite. Adobe was pretty successful with Macintosh versions of Illustrator thus it launched version 5.0 for Macintosh in 1933.

After a big failure with the windows version Adobe worked upon the UI (User Interface) & functionality & came up with Illustrator 6.0 in 1996.  This version also failed in making something for the company. Still the 6.0 version was updated to a great extent. The biggest leap Adobe got in 1997 with launch of Illustrator version 7.0. This was a lot better 7 professional version of illustrator. Users were now being able to standardize themselves on Illustrator. From this period itself Adobe Illustrator was a standard software for vector illustrations.

Later adobe created history by acquiring Free-hand, an another vector tool, & initializing on Adobe Pagemaker. Although free-hand was sold to Macromedia after sometime. Adobe added some more extraordinary feature like web publishing, Raster previewing, PDF (Portable Document Format) & SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) compatibility etc & launched Illustrator 9.0. This version also include some features like tracing.


Adobe now wanted something to boost up its sales & popularity of Illustrator & Adobe got it int the form of the Creative Suite (CS) series of Illustrator. Its 11th version The Adobe illustrator CS was launched in 2003 followed by CS2, CS3 & CS4. The creative suite series was technically advanced & well configured to match the needs of the illustrators. Today the latest version of Adobe Illustrator is CS4. This is its fourteenth version & still the software is growing.

For me as a vector artist & Adobe Illustrator user, this is the best software in terms of use, UI, tools, functionality & Quality up till now amongst the vector editing software i have used. I hope this article will help you know the software well & respect the art in you.

File Format(s)

Adobe Illustrator supports almost every file format associated with images. The official Illustrator file format is .AI. This is the standard file format invented by Adobe for Illustrators users. This file format saves the whole project as it as & it is supported by all versions of this software.

Vector Graphics Overview


When working with graphics we often hear a word i.e. Vector. Sometimes we  just take vectors or vector graphics as something else than taking it as important it is. It might happen as we don’t know the meaning of the words vector graphics or because of some other reason.. So what are vector graphics & where are they used? Come on now to explore the world of Vector graphics with me…

Introduction to Vector

Vector is a type of image. The usual photographs we see on the internet or in our computer are Raster or Bitmap images. These are also image types. These image types work on pixels & represent the images in the form of pixels. These images are resolution dependent & their quality is affected depending on the viewing size.

Vector images are those which are in form of logos on any website. This image type works on basic geometrical forms like lines & curves & represent the images in the form of lines & curves. This allows this type of images to be resolution independent which means their quality doesn’t affect depending on the viewing size or their image size. Vector graphics are  2d & based on CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black) color type basically. This is because vector graphics are widely used in printing & print media industries. A printer is set to work with only CMYK color type, thus vector images are created using CMYK color type only. It can also be created using RGB (Red Green Blue) or HSB (Hue Saturation Brightness) color types.

Why Vector?

Vector graphics are very flexible in use as they are resolution independent. You can create an image large in size & can rescale it at a size you want. These images are not affected when rescaled. While raster images, when extended to a large size, lack its quality. We can see pixels in the image. Below image will make it much clear.


As you can see in the image above, the main image of a tennis ball is magnified up to 1200% or at 12x in the small square below. You can see the pixels or small squares making the image. This is the biggest disadvantage of raster images. While working with images which would need rescaling many times, vector images are preferable.