Screen shot of new splash screen art

Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3 Update Review

Screen shot of Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3's new splash screen art

Adobe Illustrator CC is still stuck in 2015, but hey, it’s in its third release! (There aren’t any strange date issues that I’m aware of.)  Personally this release comes off as a minor update with lots of under-the-hood bug fixes and a few new features to appease the masses. Let’s take a look shall we?

The Things That I Care About

I’m currently running an older Macbook utilizing 6 Gigs of RAM and Mac OS X 10.9.5. I suppose I should expect slow start-up times for any processor intensive application. This would be no exception. I tend to harken back to that bygone era when dial-up modems were the norm and Netscape Navigator (a  popular web browser during the late 1990’s) took forever to load a webpage. Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit. But I’ll let it slide since I’m running older hardware.

Some Thing Different?

Last I remembered, the screen that Illustrator presents me with used to display a list of previously opened files. (This update has remove the previous release of AI on my Mac. So I can no longer confirm nor deny this) in version 2015.3, Abode Illustrator now shows thumbnails of previously opened files by default. If you happen to feel more efficient with a list, you can fix that by clicking the left icon the sits above the thumbnails. (See image below.)

The other thing that stands out in this screen are the promos for Adobe Stock at the very bottom. As of writing, Adobe is currently offering me free 10 photos and the perfect image, if I’m in need of such.

Opening view within Adobe illustrator CC workspace

Buggy Brush Tools Fixed!

The other things that I care about are the various pressure sensitive tools (brushes). In the previous release, Illustrator struggled to recognize my Wacom Intuos 2 graphics tablet (Yes, I am cheap.). When it did recognize it, I was only able the use the Blob Brush Tool and the Eraser Tool when inking. That’s unless I made the mistake of undoing a stroke, then I was doomed.The Paintbrush Tool had no pressure sensitivity at the time.

With this release, Adobe has done me the kind favor of fixing this issue and blessing my tablet with more life and full use of AI’s pressure sensitive tools. Thank you guys!


New Features for the Masses

Mass Export of Artboards and Assets

One of the latest features that grabbed my attention seems geared towards app and web designers. Illustrator now has a new export feature that allows designers to export elements and art boards to common web based formats. (Jpeg, SVG, etc) You even have the option of exporting by various scales. (Sizes. Think 1x, 2x, etc.)

How the Asset Export in  Adobe Illustrator CC 2015.3 pallet works.You can export art boards and assets using either the Asset Panel or File > Export > Export for Screens. For a more in-depth understanding, check out this outstanding video Adobe just posted.


Spice Up Your Work With Live Shapes

This feature is very similar to how Inkscape already handles shapes. This honestly isn’t a new feature as much as an expanded feature. Like in previous released, in any shape that you draw, you’ll see corner widgets  (Those small blue circles with the dot in the center.), of course when you drag them around, they round your corners.

In this release, Adobe provides you with a more finite control over your radius adjustments. You can make those adjustments within the Transform panel. The panel is also broken up within the Control panel header. Click on Shape to make those live edits. Normal transformations can be done clicking Transform within this same panel.

A Live Shape how to

For a deeper dive, read Adobe’s tutorial on Live Shapes. This is just a rough overview.


Enhanced Libraries in the Creative Cloud

If you happen to work within a group, this might be of interest. Creative Cloud Libraries are groups of assists that can be share across programs and between team members. When an asset is updated, it instantly gets synced to everyone that has access to that library. Please check out Adobe’s article on Collaborating on Creative Cloud Libraries and folders.

If you happen to have a screen with a resolution wider than 1680 pixels, you’re libraries panels opens in a larger form.  What this specifically means, I can only speculate since I lack a screen that wide.

You can now shop for images from Adobe Stock within a CC Library panel. After making the purchase, you can place the new asset within your document.


My Recommendation

I feel pretty good about this new 2015.3 release. The type of good that makes me feel like I have less bull to contend with. None of the heralded new features are enough to get super excited over, but for me the bug fixes, especially for the pressure sensitive tools, make it worth the download. If you don’t happen to have that issue, then I’d download it just to have the ability to fine-tune my live shapes and for the thumbnail view when it first opens.

If you happen to be a huge fan of Adobe Stock or design GUI’s for apps or website, you may have the most to gain from this release. You’ll love the convenience of Adobe Stock’s deeper integration. GUI designers will get some use out the new Mass Export feature.

Wanna give Adobe Illustrator a whirl? Go visit and download a trial copy. I make absolutely nothing off your referral.