OT: How I hate Adobe, let me count the ways (was Re: [OS X TeX] OT: log from Acrobat 7.0)

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Mon Jul 24 13:18:36 EDT 2006

On Jul 24, 2006, at 11:01 AM, George Gratzer wrote:

> Why is there so much hostility to Adobe? I consider Illustrator the  
> best software I have ever used, except for Photoshop. Az an  
> academic, I buy them really cheaply, and they provide the best user  
> interface I have ever seen.

Apparently you've never used Freehand or Altsys Virtuoso? AI's  
interface is so needlessly Byzantine in its intricacies and special  
cases that it can be tortuous to use if one is accustomed to a  
program which works in a sensible fashion. I'm posting a description  
below this message of a set of tasks which I need to accomplish for a  
large set of graphics on a regular basis --- some of them are really  
difficult in Adobe Illustrator, others can't be accomplished in a  
single step and require extensive user intervention and effort).

More reasons to dislike Adobe:

  - locked away Display PostScript forcing Apple to delay Rhapsody  
(which was eventually killed as a concept and instead became Mac OS X  
--- this also cost us nxHosting)

  - put forward the use of ``Adobe Graphics Manager'' (nee Bravo) as  
the appropriate way to present high-end graphics on-screen --- except  
that this is only available in Adobe products

  - bought out Aldus which pushed FreeHand v4 out to Macromedia which  
resulted in it getting bogged down with web-oriented features ---  
sued Macromedia over tabbed palettes resulting in a crippled  
implementation of that in a later update.

  - killed off Aldus Intellidraw and Aldus Persuasion

  - bought out Ares and killed off FontMinder

  - locked up the HZ algorithm in InDesign instead of building it  
into Display PostScript where all applications could have access to it.

  - lost the source code to the nifty NeXTstep app TouchType.app and  
no updates are available (though it'd probably take only a re-compile  
to get a version which'd run on Intel)

I could go on, but instead will segue to this set of steps which're  
trivial, quick and efficient in Macromedia Freehand or Altsys  
Virtuoso, but painful and tedious in the extreme in Adobe  
Illustrator. The things which aren't working well or don't seem to  
have direct equivelants are starred:
   - convert from RGB to CMYK using an Action in Illustrator
   - save out as AI v3 using an Action
   - open in Freehand
   - set document width to 206pts (or 404pts for Clinical Trials).
   - select all in document
   - group
   * align to bottom left-hand corner
   * zoom out to selection
   * click-drag at upper-right corner holding down shift key to scale
down to fit to the page edge
   - check type size, if too small (less than 5pts), go up in size to
338pts. (364pts. total at end)
   - set document width to 230pts (or 368 for 2 col. or 428 for CT),
height to group size rounded up plus 24 pts.
   * center document on page
   - ungroup
   * extras colours name all colours
   - replace colours as needed, fix colours which appear on too many
   * use Graphics Find and Replace to select all black strokes
between .01 and 2pts. in width
   - set to .5pts width and to overprint
   - check for rules w/ fill (esp. tick marks at the bottom of graphs)
set to none
   * fix all mis-aligned boxes and rules by alt-dragging to select
each edge set and aligning the nodes
   - check text kerning / placement
   - delete any .notdef characters which might appear in processing
   * draw a rectangle to match the page size
   - set its stroke to none
   - inset it by 1.25pts.
   - save as Freehand
   - export as Quark XPress eps

I'll grant that Adobe Illustrator has a decent UI for something other  
than creative drawing when someone can show me how to achieve the  
afore-mentioned production techniques quickly and efficiently in it.


(Who actually likes the type team at Adobe and the folks who do  
PostScript and the core .pdf functionality and on days when I have to  
use Quark, the InDesign team --- it's everyone else who irks me)

William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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