What's new in Illustrator? Adobe® Illustrator® CS6 software is powered by the new Adobe Mercury Performance System so you can work with speed and stability on large, complex files. A modern, updated interface streamlines daily tasks. Advanced creative tools enable you to capture your vision better than ever. You can see all new features in this article.
Work fast and with rock-solid stability
Handle the most complex artwork with speed and stability. Adobe® Illustrator® CS6 software includes the new Adobe Mercury Performance System, with native 64-bit support for Mac OS and Windows® to power such tasks as opening, saving, and exporting large files and previewing elaborate designs.
Adobe Mercury Performance System
True 64-bit support on Mac OS and Windows®, with access to all of the RAM on your computer system, translates into comprehensive performance improvements. Along with the capacity to handle extremely intricate artwork and complex effects, just about everything feels faster and more responsive.
Gorgeous, sophisticated designs and large files are not a problem in Illustrator CS6. The Mercury Performance System enables work that was simply impossible before, and you’ll be pleased by what you don’t experience — you won’t miss those out-of-memory error messages or long delays in opening, saving, and exporting your most ambitious artwork.
Prior to introduction of the Mercury Performance System, working with artwork that had many instances of effects such as Gaussian blur and drop shadows could be grindingly slow. As the technology behind one of the most popular effects in Illustrator, Gaussian blur received special attention and has been specifically optimized in CS6. As a result, other effects with operations that depend on Gaussian blur have also been enhanced, so you’ll see performance improvements in both drop shadows and inner glows.
Interaction in general is more responsive thanks to the Mercury Performance System, so you can keep your flow going and freely experiment in new and creative ways. Moving around and among tools, panels, options, and layers is super smooth and provides a freedom in your everyday work not possible before. You’ll notice a nimble, lively touch when you work with multiple artboards and threaded text. Creative tools such as the Bristle Brush have been optimized for both speed and efficiency so you can work fluidly, even when you generate immensely complex designs composed of hundreds of overlapping transparent paths.
Integration with other Adobe solutions
Move projects smoothly from design to print or digital output, thanks to tight integration with industry-leading Adobe Photoshop®, InDesign®, After Effects®, Acrobat®, and more.
Industry-standard graphic file formats
Work with almost any type of graphic file — including PDF, EPS, FXG, Photoshop (PSD), TIFF, GIF, JPEG, SWF, SVG, DWG, DXF, and more.
Adobe PDF file creation tools
Create more secure, multipage, graphic-rich PDF files with Illustrator layers retained. Share files confidently with service providers knowing that Illustrator supports PDF/X standards.
Save for web
Easily view, optimize, and save graphics for the web, with choices for format color, quality, and more.
Avoid color output surprises such as unexpected spot colors, unwanted or white overprinting, overprints that don't overprint, and CMYK blacks in text and placed files.
See effects such as drop shadows, blurs, and textures maintain their appearance across media. Raster effects look the same no matter how your resolution settings change.
Apply live effects without affecting the underlying artwork, so you can edit at any time without starting over.
Photoshop layer comp support
Control the visibility of layer comps in linked, embedded, or opened Photoshop files from within Illustrator CS6.
Place duotone or separated images, preserving native colorspace, with DeviceN support. Confidently print multicomponent and Hi-Fi color, raster effects, transparency, and more.
Efficiently drive daily tasks and favorite features
Work more efficiently and intuitively with a modern user interface. Familiar tasks are now streamlined, from inline editing of layer names to precise color sampling. UI brightness is smoothly adjustable to match other Adobe applications or your personal preference.
Efficient, customizable interface
Take fewer steps to accomplish daily tasks with a streamlined interface. Enjoy inline editing of layer names, precise color sampling, and UI brightness that's smoothly adjustable to match other Adobe tools.
Organize and view up to 100 artboards of varying sizes overlapping or on a grid. Quickly add, delete, reorder, and name. Save, export, and print independently or together.
Crisp graphics and text for web and mobile
Create and align vector objects precisely on the file's pixel grid for clean, sharp raster graphics. Use text anti-aliasing options for individual text frames.
Inline editing in panels
Efficiently edit names in layers, swatches, brushes, artboards, and other panels directly in the panels themselves without using intermediate dialog boxes.
Type panel convenience
Use arrow keys to change fonts in context for selected text. Glyphs for caps, superscripts, subscripts, and more can be accessed in one place — from the Character panel.
Dockable hidden tools
Tear off and dock previously hidden tools, such as the Shape and Pen tools. Dock tools horizontally or vertically for a more efficient workspace.
Workspaces with rooms
Move fluidly from workspace to workspace with support for rooms. Achieve consistency across your work areas and maintain layout changes until you actively reset them.
Control panel efficiency
Quickly find what you need in the Control panel — consistency across options, anchor point controls, clipping masks, envelope distortions, and more.
In-panel appearance editing
Edit object characteristics directly in the Appearance panel, eliminating the need to open fill, stroke, or effects panels.
Color panel flexibility
Sample colors quickly and precisely using an expandable color spectrum in the Color panel. Copy and paste hex values into other applications to help ensure color consistency.
Transparency panel highlight
Easily create and work with opacity masks thanks to a Make Mask/Release button that displays the masking functionality in the Transparency panel.
True white canvas color
Set your Illustrator CS6 workspace canvas to white for fast color sampling when you need to quickly grab a pure white.
New Document Profiles for web and devices
Set up new documents with pixel-grid alignment from web and mobile device profiles, which also include relevant dimensions, color groups, and more.
Refined graphic styles
Combine styles for unique effects and increased efficiency. Apply styles without disturbing appearances. Enjoy thumbnail previews and an expanded library of prebuilt styles.
Practical Smart Guides
Stay oriented with intuitive, practical Smart Guides. Unobtrusive appearance and behavior keep your view uncluttered. Try aligning to objects on artboards rather than the cursor.
Support for bleeds
Quickly set up artboards for bleeds. Work with bleeds when you open a new document, or add them later in the Document Setup dialog box.
Versatile slicing tools
Create vector-based slices from objects, groups of objects, or layers that are preserved when exporting your artwork as a SWF or PSD file.
Design intuitively and with precise control
Express your vision fully and more easily with refined creative features. Designing and editing seamless patterns, once difficult, is now direct and intuitive. A new image-tracing engine delivers clean, accurate vectors with easy-to-use controls. You can even apply gradients to strokes.
Sophisticated vector drawing tools
Create distinctive designs with precise shape-building tools, fluid and painterly brushes, and advanced path controls.
Gradients and transparency
Interact with gradients directly on your object — defining the dimension of elliptical gradients, editing colors, and adjusting opacity. Even create gradients on strokes and meshes.
Easily create seamlessly tiled vector patterns. Experiment freely with different types of repeating patterns that can be edited at any time for maximum design flexibility.
Confidently convert raster images to editable vectors with a powerful tracing engine. Get clean lines, accurate fitting, and reliable results using simple, intuitive controls.
Gradients on strokes
Apply gradients to your strokes — along the length, across the width, or within the stroke itself — all with complete control over gradient placement and opacity.
Use perspective grids to draw shapes and scenes in accurate 1-, 2-, or 3-point linear perspective, creating the look of realistic depth and distance.
Design beautiful text for virtually any media with professional controls for paragraph and character styles, support for OpenType®, transparent effects, and more.
Dashed line control
Control alignment of dashes on a stroke. Define symmetrical dashes around corners and at the ends of open paths, with lengths adjusted automatically to fit.
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