Phantasm v4 was released earlier in 2018 along with some very welcome features including a new control panel and improved vector halftones. It's been very well received and remains one of our most significant toolsets for Adobe Illustrator following its initial release in 2006!

One change that we also committed to v4 was to finally follow Adobe after a decade and remove the Filter variant of the color and halftone tools. Adobe's live Effects are non-destructive and we recommend their use as they interact perfectly with native Effects and maintain flexibility in the creative process.

With the free upgrade to v4.1 (available to all Phantasm v4 customers), we have listened to customer feedback and re-introduced Filters. You can find these via the Object > Filters > Phantasm … menu.

To install it

  • Existing customers – Please login to your account and download and run our latest Unified Installer v1.3.0 (installation advice at the bottom of this post)
  • New customers – Buy Phantasm

Why Filters?

Phantasm v1 was  released in 2006. At that point, native Illustrator had both [destructive] Filters and [live] Effects. An Effect is very flexible allowing users to adjust settings, hide or remove the applied Effect through the Appearance panel. Filters apply the change destructively; ie. the only way to revert to the original artwork is to undo (if available).

Adobe dropped Filters around 10 years ago saying that Effects are much better. Which they are in many ways. However, one major downside is that they can't be automated with Actions (there is a work-around using Graphic Styles, but this is not user-friendly). Also, you can't expand just one live Effect applied to an object without expanding the entire selection including any other "live" aspect (another Effect applied, dynamic attributes, etc.).

With Phantasm's colour adjustments, you have another workflow issue with live Effects; it's not possible to colour-pick the result unless you first expand the result. You could say this is a generic Illustrator issue, but that doesn't help in getting around it. As an example, if I change the Hue of a solid fill with a Phantasm Hue/Sat live Effect, I need to opt for Object > Expand Appearance before I can discover the resultant RGB or CMYK values. This could also remove any other live Effects that may be applied to that selection.

Now, by using the Filter variant of the Phantasm functions, any colours in the selection are changed permanently. After being applied, a user can instantly access the RGB or CMYK colour values. It's also an "invisible" adjustment… when the document is saved or passed on to another user, there's no evidence of a Phantasm adjustment having taken place.

So, with Phantasm v4.1, we've added all updated and improved Phantasm v4 features back as Filters, including the improvements to the control panels ( such as clearer Advanced option access and Preferences). You can access these via Object > Filters > Phantasm > …

Installing the Phantasm update

Please quit Illustrator, login to your customer account and go to the Downloads section where you will be able to download and run the latest installer (v1.3.0).

  • On the installer step that lists all the plug-ins available to install, tick the box next to Phantasm
  • If you have previously installed Phantasm you will see confirmation text "Upgrade version x.x.x to 4.1.0" or "Install version 4.1.0"
  • Now click on the Install button to continue with the installation process
Learn more about Phantasm

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