Not to be outdone, Adobe's Illustrator team worked with its customers to add many new features in the latest version of Illustrator. In addition to new effects, Illustrator features new type capabilities, better PDF support, tighter integration with Photoshop, improved performance and expanded print capabilities.

Previous users of Adobe Dimensions will recognize Illustrator's new 3D Effect - in fact, Illustrator CS adds most of the functionality found in Adobe Dimensions. Although Dimensions is still available from Adobe, the company said they have no plans to update the product.

The 3D Effect is implemented as a "live effect," so changes you make to the original object apply to the 3D shape. Using the 3D Effect, you can transform type and other shapes you draw into 3D objects, and then rotate them and customize their lighting. The effect window provides a preview option that lets you immediately see any changes you make to an object.

Illustrator CS has also added the Scribble Effect, which is not new to some Adobe users, but this is the first time it makes it way to Illustrator users. The Scribble Effect basically takes a formal piece of artwork and gives it a more casual look and feel.

Adobe included 200 professionally designed, royalty-free templates, professional swatch and symbols libraries and more than 100 free OpenType fonts with Illustrator CS to make getting started with a project easier for users.

Adobe will introduce a redesigned type engine with Illustrator CS, inspired by innovations made with Adobe InDesign. Character and paragraph styles, support for the advanced layout features built into OpenType fonts, automatic ligatures, optical kerning and a whole new text composition engine are a few of the changes users will see with Illustrator CS.

Adobe included advanced support for PDF in Illustrator CS, including compatibility with Acrobat 6.0 and the Adobe PDF 1.5 format. This support will allow users to utilize the same compression options available in Adobe Acrobat, include printer's marks and bleeds in Adobe PDF files for proofing and more.

Tighter integration between Photoshop CS and Illustrator CS means users can now move layered files between the two applications and have the text remain editable, multiple spot channels can be imported and 16-bit colour data can be converted to 8-bit on import.

Photoshop isn't the only application that Adobe focused on for better integration - Illustrator CS also includes a "Save For Microsoft Office command," to save your graphics for PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and other Office files.

Adobe said that one of their top priorities was to improve the print experience for its users, making print jobs more reliable. Illustrator CS will include a streamlined interface and "next-generation support for fast and reliable printing, so you can easily produce consistent results every time you print."

Improved print support allows users to specify print-related options, from custom page sizes and printer’s marks to colour management output profiles and transparency flattener presets, in a new Print dialog box, which consolidates functionality from the Page Setup and Separations Setup dialog boxes in earlier versions. You can also see a thumbnail view of your artwork in a new Print Preview pane and print oversized artwork on standard paper sizes with the new Fit to Page option.

Other changes in Illustrator CS allow users to save files as templates, which contain everything in the original file, including layers, styles and libraries; transparency flattener presets that ensure consistency when printing or exporting; support for SVG primitives; and richer scripting support that includes the ability to write scripts that control any aspect of printing.

A standalone version of Illustrator CS is priced at £435 (£511 inc. VAT); upgrade £139 (£163 inc. VAT).

Read the December 2003 issue of Macworld (on-sale October 23) for full reviews of the Adobe Creative Suite applications.

Adobe Creative Suite bundle details

Adobe Photoshop CS new features

Adobe InDesign CS new features

Adobe GoLive CS new features