Last week, the guys over at Astute Graphics gave me the opportunity to review a copy of Phantasm CS Studio. For those of you who haven’t heard of Phantasm CS, Phantasm CS is a suite of plugins for Adobe Illustrator that allow you to manipulate colors much like you can in Photoshop. One of the big complaints about the default Live Color feature in Illustrator is how complex and sometimes confusing it can be. Phantasm CS makes color manipulation in Illustrator a cinch. I was very impressed with this suite of plugins and would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to get more out of Adobe Illustrator.
About Phantasm CS
I have to admit, that one of the primary reasons this plugin caught my eye was the addition of the halftone feature. If you’ve ever tried to create halftones in Illustrator, you would probably agree how difficult they can be to do. Phantasm CS makes this process incredibly easy. In fact, with Phantasm CS, you can create halftone patterns with just a few clicks.
After playing with the halftone plugin for a while, I finally started messing around with some of the color adjustment filters. I opened up some old artwork of mine and started making some minor adjustments. I started out adjusting the hue/saturation, and then moved on to brightness/contrast, curves, invert, etc. If any of you guys are Photoshop users, those adjustments might sound a bit familiar. In fact, most of those adjustments are present in Photoshop but for whatever reason are missing from Illustrator. Phantasm CS fills that void and gives you all the control of Photoshop but with all the benefits of Illustrator.
If you would like more information on Phantasm CS, visit their new website at AstuteGraphics.com. They have tons of video tutorials that describe their products in great detail.
Phantasm CS comes in 3 editions; Phantasm CS, Phantasm CS Designer and Phantasm CS Studio. Each edition is very reasonably priced between $37 – $132.
This might be one of the best and most useful Illustrator plugins that I have ever used. If you feel let down by the default color manipulation tools of Illustrator or have been dying to figure out how complex vector halftone patterns are created then I would seriously suggest purchasing this software. It will fundamentally change the way that you work with Illustrator and give you the color control that you’ve always wanted.