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FreeHand

Glad to be new here

Philosophical, ethical, political and legal discussion about FreeHand.

Glad to be new here

Postby Intheshop » Fri Oct 07, 2016 7:02 pm

I just wanted to say thanks for being here. I have used Freehand since 1989. I am a newspaper graphic artist and I have created about 8,000 graphics using Freehand. I don't think of it as a program, more like where I live.

You can see some of my work at scottbrowngraphics.com

I thought I was the only one not going to give Freehand up. But I am even stranger, I feel Freehand 9 was the best version and I have stuck with it for these last 17 years. I have used FH 10, MX and Illustrator for years, but I love how FH9 has the speed and ease of use.

To function in my world I need to use Illustrator everyday (for the last 10 years). But when I can, I use Freehand to create my artwork. Long live Freehand!
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Re: Glad to be new here

Postby FFH Mark » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:43 pm

Great story and fascinating you use FH9, how are you doing this? Mac or WIN?

Illustrator is a necessary tool for most of us FreeHand users as well. With Affinity and Gravit making advances -hopefully- that will be changing. For me, most of my vector base work is FreeHand with effects and output in AI.

Your infographics are EXCELLENT!
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Re: Glad to be new here

Postby Intheshop » Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:32 pm

I use both Win7 and MacOS. I have both machines in my home office and have used both at work. Lots of newspapers went Windows in the early 2000s but I kept my Mac at home. Then when the Mac OS no longer ran Freehand 9, I switched to a Windows7 machine at home.

As for production, I do the drawing and layout in Freehand 9. Then I export the artwork as a jpeg -- do as needed in Photoshop. Then export the text as a Illustrator 3 file. Import text into Illustrator CS6 and update. The text does not shatter. Then bring in the jpeg to put in the back of the text. Make final adjustments in Illustrator and good to go.

As long as people can edit the text they are happy. It also makes it less likely that someone will take the vector art since it is flattened into a jpeg -- lots of guys won't bother trying to change the jpeg around. A decade ago when my vector work was being sent to clients via newspaper syndicates, I had people take my vector work apart, re-arrange it and put their name on it. Nice.

Why do I like Freehand 9 the best? It is the ideal combination of features and ease of use (IMHO). The feature set was strong (it had 15 things that Illustrator did not have in 2000)... I liked customizing keyboard shortcuts, transparency fills, auto trace, etc. But it still retained a directness I liked. One or two clicks and an operation was done. To do the same thing in Illustrator took 5 clicks. The way Illustrator needlessly complicated layering and selection... how Illustrator tried so hard to integrate with its Adobe cousins -- all made it more laborious to use. What I do is more straight up vector work -- not a lot of need to integrate with pixels or filters.

Now let me say Illustrator has come a long way in the last 10 years... it does not annoy me quite as much as it did long ago. But with thousands of Freehand files in my archives and only another 5+ years of work to go before retiring to the beach, my Freehand love affair is strong.

I will keep checking on the updates to other vector programs so hope springs eternal.
Cheers,
SCOTT
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Re: Glad to be new here

Postby FFH Mark » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:49 am

Your workflow is unique and I see the predicament of shutting off vectors on output so they aren't ripped off. You have some great work there.

I don't know if this is helpful but for importing FreeHand files "cleanly" into Illustrator and retaining the text formatting, I use this Ai plugin: https://www.tensai.co.uk/ai/index.php
It imports FreeHand 7 files (and above) accurately. Even the live text is 95% perfect.

—Mark
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Re: Glad to be new here

Postby Intheshop » Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:29 pm

Thanks Mark for the kind words and the plug in link.

It is interesting to see how trends in graphic illustration change... for awhile I thought vector infographics would die out -- replaced by 3D or pixel drawing. I have done some 3D work, but I think it lacks a little individual style -- they tende to look very simiar to me.

My style is certainly dated looking and I thought I would not be viable on the market. But a few years back I saw a resurgence of interest in using vector drawings. It gives me hope that there will remain a small dedicated segment of graphic artists willing to click away in a vector environment.
Cheers,
SCOTT
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Re: Glad to be new here

Postby FFH Mark » Sat Oct 15, 2016 4:01 pm

Scott, the axometric perspective of icons and illustrations these days is popular so I'm guessing it may be why your work is coming back. You have been in the graphics field as long as I have and it is amazing how styles return. I started in the pre-computer days of drawing tables, airbrush and rapidographs and yet I'm seeing styles I did in the late 70's and 80's coming back digitally. With massive storage available, I can see how pixel art can be popular but vector is so clean and exact it is hard to imagine it fading. New and impressive vector apps are emerging and doing quite well. If we can continue making them more FreeHand-like, I'd be thrilled.

—Mark
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