Adobe Illustrator is considered the premium product for those who love drawing, illustrating and making vector images from scratch. While Illustrator has significantly fewer plugins than its counterpart Photoshop, there are still plenty to choose from. These additions make your workflow much easier while also adding new tools and functionality. These 10 plugins stand above the rest and deserve a spot in your artist arsenal.
Metallic foil effects are the perfect touch to wedding invitations, classy designs and glamorous spreads, but they can be hard to make by hand. The Gold Rush plugin gives you over 200 raster effects in gold, silver, copper and metallic paint in a variety of styles and patterns. There are also 35 vector brush elements to give your designs a painterly look. If you need some sparkle and bling, then give this plugin a look.
This is a plugin that sounds like it’s not a big deal, but it proves its worth when you consider the possibilities. Collider Scribe gives you significantly more control over moving objects. You can now move objects so that they accurately collide with each other, give objects exact spacing and rotate to collision based on the vector’s path. This is the ideal accompaniment to designs with many small elements that must be moved perfectly and simultaneously.
VectorPress: Illustrator Letterpress
Applying vintage and distressed textures to objects is easy enough on Photoshop, but it can be a nightmare in Illustrator. Few like going through the masks and other tools needed to make this happen in Illustrator, but VectorPress makes it so much easier. Just one click and you can choose to apply halftone, rough ink or distressed texture to your image. This can be used on both vector and raster images.
Vintage Comic Press
This plugin should excite every Illustrator user. You can now produce vintage comic effects and speech bubbles with ease. This overlays a cyan, yellow and magenta layer to give text that classic, offset look. You’ll receive 25 actions and 63 color swatches to create a variety of effects. All text and colors can be easily altered even after running the action, making it easier to correct mistakes or change designs as needed. You also get several text effects, such as halftone, 3D shadows and text outlines.
300 Real Markers for Illustrator
Markers can be used to make interesting aesthetics, but mimicking them in Illustrator can take forever. This huge plugin gives you over 300 marker brush effects that are incredibly realistic and very high resolution. Despite the large number of brushes, they are organized so that it’s easy to choose the right one. According to the creator, 250 of these brushes have intentionally been left as raster files. This ensures they have pixel-perfect clarity. If you do need vector effects, the remaining brushes have been made in a variety of sizes to accommodate your needs.
This is a huge plugin that adds the full breadth of CAD tools and functionality to your Illustrator software. This includes projecting designs onto an isometric grid, drawing objects to scale, scale calculators and so much more. You also get hundreds of vector images to help you start new projects, and you gain access to CADaxonometric tools to help you draw 3D objects. While this is an expensive plugin, it gives you the best of both worlds by helping you illustrate images and create detailed product and engineering designs.
This premium plugin is meant for professional artists in the textile, stationery and interior design industries. Anyone who works with complex and repeating patterns will be able to appreciate how this plugin allows you to literally grow large designs with just a small amount of input. Just build or insert your initial pattern and then insert it within a motif. You can then select a color swap to make the pattern repeat endlessly to fill the space.
If you happen to change the design or motif, the entire document will update to reflect this change. Specializing in quick materialization and easy-on-the-eye patterns, this plugin will literally save you hours of time when it comes to producing or editing any large and repeating pattern.
Learning to manage paths and points is essential to Illustrator success, but the vanilla version of the software only gives you so much control. If you’re yearning for more, then check out VectorScribe. This plugin gives you the ability to edit vector shapes, move areas even if there aren’t any points, reshape paths without having to manually change points and so much more. There’s also a measuring tool to ensure that all angles, paths and lines are the exact measurement needed for your design.
While Photoshop is known for its extensive list of filters, Illustrator falls a little behind in this regard. If you want some premium filters, then consider FILTERiT. The features here allow you to wrap words around specific shapes and paths, create live tiling and neon borders or make trails behind specific objects. You’ll find that these filters make it much easier to move objects and words in artistic ways so that you can move on and create the rest of your design.
No one can argue that Photoshop is clearly the superior program when it comes to texturing, but now you can use almost all the same texture effects without leaving Illustrator. Texturino brings you effects such as an opacity brush to create dynamic effects throughout your design, texture tools to add raster layers along a path, a texture brush to add the effect to only specific areas and numerous repeating textures to give your design that edge it needs to stand out. Whether you don’t have Photoshop or simply want to stay in one program, Texturino allows your art to be contained within Illustrator without exporting it for texture work.