Stylism Plugin Released for Interactive Adobe Illustrator Live Effects Control

Astute Graphics has made a name for itself with its Phantasm CS plugin, which improves on Illustrator's basic color adjustment capabilities and works with gradients, meshes, tweens, bitmaps, Live Trace and Live Paint, with all color adjustments available as Filters and Live Effects. The firm has also released DrawScribe, which includes the InkScribe and Dynamic Sketch vector artwork creation tools, for saving time during the initial drawing process; SubScribe, which makes it possible to perform such tasks as defining circles and arcs with two or three points; WidthScribe, which allows Illustrator users to complete complex stroke width alterations with the ease of using a brush; ColliderScribe, which adds several tools to provide improved object positioning within Illustrator; MirrorMe, which can mirror artwork on single or multiple reflective axes; and VectorScribe, which focuses on creating and editing the actual vector outlines of an illustration. All these add great value to Illustrator, in fact significantly more than Adobe itself has provided in recent years, despite the much-touted "constant updates" that Creative Cloud was supposed to bring.

Illustrator has long included a wide range of Effects, such as Drop Shadow, Feather or Inner Glow, which can be applied to an object, group or layer. What makes these Effects particularly useful is that they can be modified or removed at any time. This is where Stylism, Acute Graphics' latest plugin, comes in. While Illustrator forces users to enter numerical values in boxes, using trial and error to achieve the desired result, Stylism makes it possible to manipulate Effects directly on the object via click-and-drag. Stylism supports Inner Glow, Transform, Free Distort, Offset, Drop Shadow, Feather, Outer Glow and Blur. Those with Acute's Phantasm plugin can also directly manipulate the contours of the last four of these. Also notable is quick control of Effect resolution; four user-defined styles and contours stored between sessions; optional automatic resolution reduction for more responsive editing; and all standard Effects remain editable on computers without Stylism.

Stylism for Mac and Windows Illustrator CS5-CC can be purchased for $48 on the Astute Graphics site. A trial version is also available for downloading. If you're unfamiliar with Astute's line of plugins, you can get up to speed via the firm's YouTube channel.