Last week, Astute Graphics released beta plugins for the recent Adobe Illustrator CC2019 update.

We're happy to say that there were no issues with the Beta installer and our customers were able to use it for early compatibility with CC2019. Today however, we're very pleased to announce that the official CC2019 compatible unified installer (v1.3.3) is now available.

How to download

  1. Login to your Astute Graphics account
  2. Navigate to the Downloads section
  3. Click on the Mac or Windows download buttons

Once downloaded, ensure you have quit all instances of Adobe Illustrator and run the installer as normal.

This new installer will automatically detect any instance of Illustrator CC2019 that has been installed as well as other compatible versions of Illustrator.

We recommend all customers who installed the previous CC2019 beta update download and install this new release which contains UI fixes and more.


New feature: The 'A' key may now be pressed (with mouse button down) to add anchor points at spots where paths have been moved into collision.


An informational message will now be shown the first time the user attempts to apply a color-shifting Live Effect to an object which requires "Auto Rasterize" to be enabled (such as a path with a Freeform Gradient [CC2019 only]).


Textures are now compatible with CC2019's Freeform Gradient fill style.


  • Bug fix: Gradient swatches used inside a pattern are no longer erroneously marked as unused.
  • Bug fix: The Axis-Align Paths operation no longer uses incorrect parameters when recorded and played back as an action.
  • Bug fix: The "Modify Point Types" operation now correctly plays back as an action.
  • Bug fix: The "Remove Duplicate Art (Path Geometry Only)" operation now works correctly on a selection.

New UI Scaling

Beyond a new gradient fill type (see below), the core change is Illustrator’s new approach to a separate UI Scale control for the application’s user interface. This change came about after some users on very high resolution displays stated that the panels and controls were too small, especially on mobile devices such as the Microsoft Surface Pro and Wacom Cintiqs.

This change required major internal work for Astute Graphics, compounded by the fact that our 16 plugins have very high quality and involved panels, preferences and other windows. Our intention is to always make our tools as seamless as possible, so matching the new variable UI scale was a priority and something we believe we’ve achieved to a very high standard.

Unfortunately, a known issue in Illustrator CC2019 means that on some systems, the Astute Graphics panels do not scale correctly when first installed/launched or the display DPI setting on Windows is altered. This is illustrated below with the red hatch areas highlighting the scaling problem of the panel content not fitting to the panel in the current Illustrator UI Scale:



To remedy this, take the following steps:

  1. Open [Illustrator CC2019] Preferences > User Interface > …
  2. Change the UI Scaling slider setting
  3. Click on OK
  4. [Restart Illustrator as instructed]
  5. If the new UI scale is not comfortable after this change, simply change it back and the panels will continue to scale correctly.

This fix should now continue to work unless Illustrator CC2019’s Ai Prefs file is deleted/reset or the Windows display DPI is adjusted. If this is the case, simply repeat the previous steps.

Adobe have stated that they are working on a fix. Astute Graphics’ panels will instantly benefit from this fix for future installations.


Improved custom Toolbox

Illustrator CC2019 also brings an improved level of customisation for the Toolbox. It’s a good advance on the first attempt at a customisable Toolbox by Adobe some releases ago and we very much support this move as it can ensure users aren’t distracted by unwanted tools.

However, Adobe didn’t fully consider plugins for this improved functionality. Therefore, by default, users may be presented with a new minimal Toolbox, where many tools are removed, including any plugin tools intentionally installed.

To highlight this oversight and how to quickly overcome it, upon their first load in CC2019, the Astute Graphics plug-ins present a single warning dialogue:

It provides the simple instructions on how to bring back the full Toolbox along with all Astute Graphics tools; select Window > Toolbars > Advanced.

Once this dialogue is OK’d, it will not be shown again unless Illustrator CC2019’s Ai Prefs file is deleted/reset.


Freeform Gradients

This new gradient fill type – to accompany the Linear and Radial gradients – is now controllable via Phantasm Filters (Object > Filters > Phantasm > …).

Due to how Adobe implemented these new fills, it will never be possible to adjust Freeform Gradients using Phantasm or InkQuest live Effect controls as the fills are a new artwork type. Neither are Freeform fills controllable through the native Recolor Artwork mechanism, nor the Appearance panel and Graphic Styles (as traditional gradients are).

InkQuest’s Output Preview does handle Freeform Gradients correctly, but we advise that a user avoids the use of InkQuest’s Swap Channels Filter with Freeform Gradients as they are ignored. To Swap Channels for artwork containing Freeform Gradients, first rasterize (Object > Rasterize…) the gradient objects.

We hope this is helpful and we look forward to rolling out the public final build shortly.

Compatibility update

With this release, we are once again extending compatibility with the latest iteration of the Adobe Creative Cloud. However, some adjustments to levels of support have to be made and are detailed below.

Illustrator v17.0

Due to the practicality of maintaining an ever-growing number of Illustrator releases, we've found it necessary to now drop support for the first version of Illustrator CC (v17.0) released June 2013. This was quickly superseded by Illustrator CC v17.1 which was released January 2014 and continues to be supported in this Astute Graphics Unified Installer.

We are also continuing to support Adobe Illustrator CS6, the last non-subscription release of Illustrator before the introduction of the Creative Cloud. We recognise that there are many users who are sticking to this version. However, support for CS6 can not be indefinite as operating systems evolve making CS6 impractical to run and test for. There is no current date for cessation of support for CS6 and we will attempt to provide as much forewarning as is practical.

macOS and Windows

Also in this release, we are upgrading the minimum macOS support to 10.10, released in 2014. Whereas there aren't any technical reasons the new Unified Installer will not run on macOS 10.7 to 10.9, we are no longer able to offer support for these operating systems for practical reasons.

Astute Graphics continues to support Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. Again, there is not a technical reason for the new Unified Installer not running on Windows 8.0, but we are no longer able to offer support for this operating system for practical reasons. It is anticipated that support will cease for Windows 7 and 8.1 in the next couple of years.

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