Just like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator also supports plugins from third-party developers. Adobe Illustrator plugins are basically small extensions developed by third-party developers which add extra functionality to Adobe Illustrator. While Adobe Illustrator is quite functional and complete graphic design tool, these third-party Adobe Illustrator plugins help speed your designing process. These plugins can be used to add new object types to the Illustrator such as paths, guides, groups and so on or they can also be used to do some engineering by calculating the area of a vector path. These Adobe Illustrator plugins can be used even to control the behavior of Bezier curves to draw the shape you need quickly.
Many of these premium Adobe Illustrator plugins also possess options to add professional features like professional CAD tools, Photoshop type color adjustments, free-form path generators, packaging design tools and so on. While most free Adobe Illustrator plugins come with detailed instructions for download and installation, we will include the instruction to download and install these plugins anyway.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR PLUGINS
Note: Close all the Adobe applications such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Bridge, etc. Read the system requirements carefully as some plugins may require a 32-bit operating system while others may require a 64-bit operating system. Check for the latest version of Java Runtime Environment on your computer.
Step 1: Download the Adobe Illustrator plugins to your system and unpack them to a folder on your computer.
Step 2: lookout for the Adobe Illustrator Plugin’s directory and move the unpacked Illustrator plugins files there. Now start the Adobe Illustrator program. Sometimes you may need to reboot your PC before installing the plugin.
Graphix Path Area is a useful Adobe Illustrator plugin which makes the process easier. It gives users the length of a selected path, or area of conjoined shapes & paths, making accurate calculations for printed graphics quite quick to retrieve. Graphix path area is absolutely free to download and is compatible with Adobe Illustrator 7/8/9, CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, and CS6.
Phantasm is a very simple yet every effective Adobe Illustrator plugin. It brings the best of Photoshop to the Illustrator by adding bitmap-editing functions and options to a vector workflow. These functions include Curves, Hue & Saturation, Levels and even Automation functions for all these options. Phantasm is compatible only with CS5, CS6, and CC.
ColliderScribe is a paid Adobe Illustrator plugin that provides you will tools to position shapes precisely. It helps place any object precisely next to another when they touch and enables you to quickly and easily arrange shapes in formations and patterns. In the recent release, the developers have included a new Rotate to Collision Tool, a new Space Fill feature which enables you to fill the container path with selected objects and distribute them evenly within the shape.
Filterit 4.4 holds a good set of functions such as 3D Transform options, in this version the developers have stepped up the game a little further by including new Trace Options which can be used for quick animation work. There are furthermore options added like Live Cut-Out, Emboss, and Border features. There is also a Live Circle feature present that enables users to quickly copy a single object into a circle pattern.
CADtools 9 is the best Adobe Illustrator Plugin to add CAD functionality to Illustrator. CADtools 9 can save you hours using its ability to snap objects and project art onto isometric grids. CAD tools also add a good set of tools to the Illustrator toolbox. There is a free trial available so, you should try that one before buying the plugin.
Stylismism is an amazing Adobe Illustrator plugin that helps make 8 of the native Illustrator live effects interactive giving you complete power over the options. With simple click and drag, you can interactively control your enhancements including drop shadows, transformations, and blurs. It also allows you to create your own styles by stacking several effects. You can also share your personal share with your colleagues to maintain the continuity across multiple workflows.
Multipage 4 is a very simple plugin but it is very effective at what it does and it very usable. It cleverly uses Adobe Illustrator layers in combination with its own palette to produce an effect of having multi-page documents in Illustrator. The plugins are very useful for the longer print jobs. But, you do a lot of longer print projects you must also consider getting your hands on InDesign.
Select Menu Plugin Ver. 11 adds just one object to the Illustrator but this one object grant you access to guides, closed paths, open paths, stroked paths, unstroked paths, dashed paths, undashed paths, unfilled paths, compound paths, groups and many more. It combines these features with additional export options, which, while present illustrator natively, can be combined here in order to save transparencies and to flatten images more quickly.
Xtream path Adds a great value and functionality to the Adobe Illustrator’s path-editing. It allows you the freedom to grab anywhere on a path and edit it from that position opposed to adding more control points to the path.
It may look a bit complicated at first, but once you get familiar with how to use it, you will find it an efficient way to construct artwork. A feature that excites me more is the beauty of its Symmetric Edit tool and Smart Rounding.
Magic Exporter is an amazing and quite handy Adobe Illustrator plugin that simplifies exporting objects from Adobe Illustrator documents to web-ready PNG files. It saves you the struggle of manually slicing or hiding layers to export the object. With the help of Magic Exporter you just have to mark the object, you need and export it using the dedicated menu.
To make your life easier, it can automatically create several PNG copies of the same object with different sizes for different screen sizes. If you are a UI designer using Illustrator to design your UI elements, Magic Exporter is a great tool to save you a lot of your precious time.
VectorScribe 2 is a great Adobe Illustrator Plugin that comes with great functionality. With its Smart Remove Brush Tool, it let you clean your artwork by easily removing excess points. Its clever Path Extend Tool suggests you where to go. Its Dynamic Corners Tool brings you the amazing ability to add and detect rounded corners to one or more points on a path dynamically. There are many other cool features which we don’t have the liberty to discuss all of them here. Click on the Title VectorScribe 2 above and study what else can it do.
Artoptimizer plugin works as a workflow automation tool for Adobe Illustrator. It reduces the size of the image linked to Adobe Illustrator by removing excess image data. Artoptimizer also performs standard image adjustments such as color conversion and sharpening. By reducing the size of illustrator document it dramatically reduces processing time and also reduces production costs. Artoptimizer also works with Photoshop.
Creation is not a single Adobe Illustrator plugin but a collection of 5 different plugins that are compatible with AI version up to CS5. If you are using the latest version, I would advise not to buy this plugin. Creation set of plugins include a duplication plugin for tabular work, round duplication plugin for stunning windmill duplications; windmill and duplicator plugin for the variant table (row/column) & windmill and circular paths; plugin for stained glass effects. These plugins also include many color features; randomization settings; transformation features.
Origami is an Adobe Illustrator plugin that lets you fold up your drawings in Illustrator. It connects you directly to the Adobe Illustrator and let you see your layout immediately in 3D without the need to export anything. It lets you save your folded layout as a 3D shape.
SymmetryWorks 6 is a very useful plugin that lets you quickly generate repeating graphics or patterns using Illustrator’s drawing tools. Once you have created a pattern, you can then save it a swatch. It also allows you to update and edit these pattern swatches and symbols through a “live edit’ function. In the latest version, there is a new way of automatically creating patterns by adding color referrals to simple geometric transformations.
Fold Up 3D is a free illustrator plugin for creating packaging design. It is very simple to use, just import a template (or design your own) then fold it up to see what the final shape looks like. Rotate the shape to see how it looks from different perspectives and save it.
ControlFreak is productivity plugin for Adobe Illustrator that gives you new levels of control, organization, and labeling, thus, making your design work more efficient. It also allows you to log time worked on documents with auto-login and logout settings. The ControlFreak’s tools give increased precision, letting you create layer groups, find and select artwork with custom search criteria and presets, move art by fractions of a point and much more.
TileMill is a free Adobe Illustrator plugin that lets you create stunning interactive maps. TileMill let you load data from various sources such as ESRI Shapefile, KML, GeoJSON, GeoTIFF, PostGIS, CSV, and SQLite to build complex maps. TileMill has support for RGBA color, True Type fonts, rasters, patterns and even SVG transforms. You can style your maps with Carto that gives you full control over design.
ArtBlue Gold 2.5 is a sophisticated shape-creation plugin. It comes with a rich set of tools and a custom shape feature that lets you easily import and export formations between ArtBlue and Photoshop. Among other features is a new Shape Transform Matrix tool that let you convert a simple shape into common shape formations or complex geometric sculptures, and objects placed in 3D space can be edited and tracked.