Dear Adobe: Your Strokes Need Help
Permit me to bitch for a moment about Adobe’s Creative Suite. The stroke feature across the three programs (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) is handled completely differently in each environment, with no good reason beyond pervading inconsistencies from previous generations.
Permit me to bitch for a moment about Adobe’s Creative Suite. Adobe touts the new release as an “integrated design environment for print and Web publishing,” and true enough, the products are closely aligned with similar menu systems, feature sets and keyboard shortcuts.
Unfortunately, the stroke feature across the three programs (Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) is handled completely differently in each environment, with no good reason beyond pervading inconsistencies from previous generations.
In Photoshop’s Layer Styles, we have access to stroke weight and color, plus several key options not present in Illustrator. For instance, I can control the opacity and blending mode of the stroke independent from those attributes in the actual image. More importantly, I have access to one key feature: the position of the stroke. I can set the line inside, outside or centered on the edge of the image.
This last feature is desperately needed in Illustrator. Unless I duplicate the object and place it beneath the original, I cannot control with width of the stroke without affecting the width of the object because the stroke line is irrevocably centered on the edge of the object. This sucks. So for shapes with complex strokes, I have to either render the outline or create a second instance. Both options leave me with one more object than I wanted, for a problem that could be solved with a small dropdown menu in the Stroke palette.
Another option Photoshop and InDesign boast is the ability to color a stroke with a gradient. While I can maybe give up my other beefs, this one just seems deadpan obvious. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to drop a gradient or pattern fill into a stroke? If this feature is available in InDesign, why not Illustrator?
From what I can tell, Illustrator’s stroking options haven’t changed at all in the past three versions or so. It’s time to give a closer look. This is an illustrating program after all, so it should at least possess the fundamental features present in its page-layout brethren. I can live without the independent opacity (although it would be nice …), but let’s have some modicum of consistency across the programs.
Am I crazy here or what?