Adobe Illustrator Basics: Actions

Sep 11
2009

AI

 

The greatest opportunity to increase speed in anything is by approaching the most common/repeated tasks and looking for ways to reduce the amount of steps involved/energy expended. I’ve decided to start creating some brief screencasts to document some of my own approaches to these types of process enhancements, starting with Adobe Illustrator. I’m going to start with very simple procedures. I should start with my implementation of keyboard shortcuts, but that’s quite bland, so we’ll begin some actions mapped to hotkeys (just slightly less bland).

 

These actions are certainly not flashy. At the same time, please consider their implications. Due to the frequency with which these processes are implemented (often in sequence), their capacity for speed enhancement is great. Procedures covered are aligning, pathfinding, and mirroring.

 

View Alignment Screencast

1:01 / 2.4mb
The primary action, X and Y centering, is by far the most universal. The individual axis commands are quite useful, however, and mapping them as an F-key variant (shift/cmnd) allows them to be implemented quite naturally.

 

View Mirroring Screencast

1:42 / 4.1mb
If it’s not completely obvious, two actions are created to allow for a mirror with welded or unwelded anchors as needed. In addition to the MirrorY actions covered here, I also use a MirrorX action (mirroring across the horizontal axis). I still do the lions share of mirroring manually, using the reflect tool, as it’s commonly necessary to select an arbitrary axis.

 

View Pathfinding Screencast

2:32 / 6.1mb
Extremely basic, but that’s what makes them simply indispensable.

 

In the end it’s prudent for everyone to keep a channel of observation open to what tasks are performed with the most frequency, and to scrutinize all practical measures by which those processes can be optimized.