Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm really excited to announce this one. A couple weeks ago, John Kelly contacted me with this cool little script he wrote. He wanted to give something back to the scripting community, so he asked me if I wanted to do anything with it. We played around with the interface a little bit, and for your Illustrating pleasure, we now present a fun new script that will fractalize any single path object.

It uses an LSystems function (which I don't claim to understand), to duplicate the shapes. Check it out, and post here if you use it in anything cool. Cheers,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A short review of Keyboard Shortcuts

Instead of using the mouse, I use the keyboard shortcuts Alt+F and then R to open the scripts menu, then I type the first letter of the script I want, and it just runs, no mouse required. If you are using scripts a lot, this is a huge time saver. (Be sure to check that your "CapsLock" key is off, otherwise it won't work.)

That's all there is to it . . . unless there are two scripts with the same name. Then illustrator highlights the first one, and sits stupidly waiting for you to make a decision. You can hit enter to select the currently highlighted script, or you can repeat the letter to highlight the next script in the list and then hit return to select that one, but I find this "choice" moment to be distracting.

I have found two ways to avoid such collisions. The first is to create sub-folders for related scripts; for instance if I put a sub-folder called "wundes" inside my scripts folder, and put my scripts there, then they would not collide with others scripts that began with the same letters. If I wanted to access my "Zoom and Center" script, I would now Type Alt-F, then R, then W for the wundes folder, then Z for "Zoom." This is a good solution, but it adds an extra letter. Sometimes the organization is worth it, but if not, read on...

The second way, (which I learned today by accident, and which inspired me to write this post,) is to rename your scripts and define the seek letter of the script by the letter that follows the "&" symbol.

Simply put, if I change "Zoom and Center" to "Zoom and &Center", The script will now look like this in the list: "Zoom and Center" Note the underline below the "C". Now when you type your shortcut key sequence, "Zoom and Center can be accessed by Alt-F, R,C which would end the collision with any scripts such as "Zombify.js" or "Zoomogrify.js"...

I won't be changing my existing script names to ensure backwards compatibility, but from now on, I will be using this second trick to avoid collisions. I hope you'll find it useful too.