Where are premade shapes in Adobe Illustrator?
February 8, 2005 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm new t Adobe Illustrator. Where the heck are all the built in vector shapes in Adobe Illustrator 10? Even PowerPoint has tons of premade shapes ready to go. Why do I only get a rectangle, oval, polygon, and some other freaky looking thing? Help?
posted by punkfloyd to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Double-click the polygon tool and you can choose how many sides it has by default as well as choose a couple more options. Other than that, it's up to you to draw. Remember, this is a professional's illustration program. You won't find all the features that you're used to seeing in PowerPoint here. You will, however, find a lot more.
posted by glyphlet at 10:31 AM on February 8, 2005

For more complicated shapes, the Distort and Transform effects are your friends. For instance, try making a polygon and then applying Pucker/Bloat for a star/cloverleaf-esque object.
posted by fatllama at 10:47 AM on February 8, 2005

Learn how the pen tool works. It ain't easy or intuitive, but you can draw any shape with Bezier curves.
posted by kindall at 10:56 AM on February 8, 2005

Also, "Pathfinder" is your friend. Turn two circles into a donut... Turn a rectangle and a triangle into an arrow...
posted by Robot Johnny at 10:56 AM on February 8, 2005

With the polygon and circle/arc tools, and combined with the pathfinder tool, you can build and compound any complex shape you want.

Illustrator doesn't have a library of clipart shapes because having such a library would just slow it down and increase the install size, and add to the overall complexity of the program.

Adobe assumes that the user is able to build the shapes that they want, and there's no way Adobe could include enough different shapes to make everyone happy. Also, Adobe will assume that if you really want such pre-built shapes, you can import them from a clipart library. In fact, you probably can import PowerPoint clipart into modern Illustrator installs.

(As an aside to the designers in this thread, this is why I use Corel Draw for shape-building. Adobe has lots of nice automation tools, fancy illustration tools and a by-default industry standardization, but Corel has - IMO - far superior technical shape-building tools and workflow. (A bunch of designers reading this just gasped and went "WTF is he talking about?!" but I've been doing design off and on since before Adobe even existed. Chill, I'm not going to filth up your Mac with the dreaded CorelDraw. You're not worthy, anyway. ;) )

Generally you're only concerned with this sort of thing if you're a hardcore logo designer, typography designer, or technical draftsmen or illustrator.

I use Illustrator and Photoshop where it's needed, but for building complex vector curves CorelDraw smokes Illustrator like a turkey. Illustrator just can't handle a hundred-thousand-plus bezier nodes with multiple sub-paths with accuracy levels to 5 decimal places, and it can't handle the enormous layout sizes that Corel does. Illustrator's maximum layout size caps out at something under a hundred feet or so. Corel can do miles at sub-inch scales. (My GF just discovered the Illustrator layout size cap recently when laying out a grand-format job for a vehicle wrap. Bad Illustrator, no donut.))
posted by loquacious at 11:33 AM on February 8, 2005

Illustrator and PowerPoint are targeted at different kinds of users.
posted by grouse at 3:39 PM on February 8, 2005

Loq, can you give some examples of how Corel is superior for shape building? Do you have anything online to look at? I typically do snub Corel, but if I saw some concrete examples of what it can do easily that Illustrator can't, I'd be willing to look at it further for certain projects.

I guess I can understand it being able to handle more complex paths (though I would argue that a good vector illustration uses as few points as possible) but the layout sizes shouldn't matter, since vectors are scalable. Most large-format jobs I've ever worked on (whether tradeshow graphics, billboards or vehicle wraps, bitmap or vector) are built at somewhere around 10th scale.
posted by robbie01 at 4:40 PM on February 8, 2005

There's a bunch of stuff under Window>Symbol Libraries

It's mostly clip art style stuff.
posted by spaghetti at 7:23 PM on February 8, 2005

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