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Adobe Updates Illustrator

Adobe Systems Inc. Friday shipped Adobe Illustrator 9.0, the latest major upgrade to the vector graphics creation software.

Illustrator 9.0 features a host of improvements over the previous version: It produces compact vector and raster graphics for speedy downloads; includes a reliable preview of how vector art will appear in Web browsers; allows users to apply transparency to everything from raster images to type and spot colors; and includes blending modes, instant feathering, opacity masks and other transparency features.

The software allows users to output compact Flash Shockwave Format (SWF) and SVG (scalable vector format) files as well as optimized GIF, JPEG and PNG files. It has dozens of other new features as well, including support for live object and layer effects to its graphic styles, nested layers with thumbnails and customizable keyboard shortcuts.

"Designers can now create vector graphics in Illustrator and output them for the Web, making it an invaluable addition to our line of professional Web graphics creation tools," said Bruce Chizen, president of Adobe Systems Inc.

The new version has an estimated street price of $399 and is available in the U.S. and Canada. Adobe said current Illustrator users can update for an estimated price of $149 while registered users of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker and competitive software products can purchase the software at an estimated price of $249.

Also, Adobe said the Adobe Collections, which include Adobe Web Collection, Adobe Publishing Collection, Adobe Dynamic Media Collection and Adobe Design Collection, will be updated to include Illustrator 9.0.