Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based drawing and graphic design tool. It is popular with graphic artists, web designers, etc.
Illustrator is often confused with Adobe Photoshop, or thought to be a different version of the same thing. It is not. Photoshop is a bitmap editor, Illustrator is a vector drawing program. For more information see Photoshop vs Illustrator.
Illustrator works by generating curved paths (AKA Bezier curves) connected by anchor points. Shapes, anchor points and other information are stored as part of the file and can be modified at any time. Vector images can be resized without losing quality. These attributes are what make vector-based programs different to bitmap-based programs that store data as individual pixels only.
Illustrator has a long and varied history dating back to 1987. Originally released for the Macintosh, it has intermittently been available on other platforms. It is currently available for Windows and Mac.
The following list shows the major version releases. Note that some versions were released at other times for different platforms.
- Illustrator 1.0 (January 1987)
- Illustrator 2.0 (January 1989)
- Illustrator 3.0 (October 1990)
- Illustrator 3.5 (1991)
- Illustrator 4.0 (May 1992)
- Illustrator 5.0 (June 1993)
- Illustrator 5.5 (June 1994)
- Illustrator 6.0 (February 1996)
- Illustrator 7.0 (May 1997)
- Illustrator 8.0 (September 1998)
- Illustrator 9.0 (June 2000)
- Illustrator 10.0 (November 2001)
- Illustrator CS (October 2003)
- Illustrator CS2 (April 2005)
- Illustrator CS3 (April 2007)
- Illustrator CS4 (October 2008)