Astute Graphics Phantasm CS Designer/Studio
A plug-in that's worth a look
- Easy to use, competitively priced, vector Halftone filter, compatible with Illustrator Actions and Live Effects, familiar Photoshop adjustment tools, advanced pre-flight and separation toolset
- Can be slow when working with larger images
Any designer who uses Illustrator should check it out.
Price$ 175.00 (AUD)
With such a range of Illustrator plug-ins on the market, it's rare to come across one that excels to this extent. Phantasm CS adds Photoshop-style adjustment tools and functionality that seamlessly integrates with Illustrator's native features, including standard gradients, meshes, filters and effects.
Furthermore, Phantasm CS is fully compatible with Illustrator's Actions and Live Effects, which can potentially speed up your workflow.
We first reviewed Phantasm CS 1.5 back in March 2007, when it received our 'Best Buy' award. With the release of Phantasm CS, Astute Graphics has made a great product even better — it's available in two new variations: Phantasm CS Designer and Phantasm CS Studio, each progressively adding hugely to the popular original toolset.
Phantasm CS Designer is aimed at professional freelance designers and publishers who are looking for greater control of their colours. All the filter effects, such as Brightness/Contrast, Curves, Duotone, Hue/Saturation, Levels, Temperature/Tint, can quickly be applied to adjust both vector and embedded raster images.
Phantasm enables you to save these settings for future use, and for loading Photoshop Curves (.ACV), HSL (.AHU), and Levels (.ALV). These edits can be applied as either permanent filters or Live Effects, which can be modified at any time and saved as Graphic Styles.
Without a doubt, the feature that will attract most attention is the Halftone filter/effect that, again, works on both vector and embedded raster images. This opens a world of creative possibilities: designers can experiment with infinite variations, ranging from conventional dot types to custom symbols, which remain faithful to the original artwork mode and preserve any spot colours.
Larger images require some patience, but for such complex effects this is to be expected.
Phantasm CS Studio has all the goodies of the Designer edition, but with advanced pre-flight features. It's aimed at studios of all sizes, and at publishers and printers whose work must comply to specific rules for output devices.
The Studio edition makes light work of pre-flight checks with the help of sought-after colour control and checking tools — including separations, ink coverage and in-line embedded image editing.
It also has the ability to ignore white, rich and pure black, remove white overprint and add overprint to pure black. It's here that the plug-in really succeeds in making these sometimes daunting technical issues user friendly.
Phantasm CS is available for Illustrator CS, CS2 and CS3, although users of CS and CS2 will find outputting Full Separations with spot colours limited, as is selecting spot colour swatches with the Duotone filter using Illustrator CS. However, this is due to the technical limitations of Illustrator's previous releases.
To have all these features available in Illustrator (Adobe take note) and at such a modest price tag puts this product in a class of its own. We wholeheartedly recommend that any designer or studio adds it to their software arsenal.
Join the newsletter!
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Apple iMac Pro
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Smart Security Premium
ESET Internet Security
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Technology is revolutionising the way we do things and that includes in the kitchen where a wealth of must-have gadgets and appliances are the making life easier for home cooks.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 3 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 4 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
- 5 Huawei Nova 3i review: All Sell, No Soul
Latest News Articles
- Intel unveils the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2
- Fetch TV expands with Aussie Broadband
- Adobe announces next generation of Creative Cloud
- Logitech announces Logitech Rally
- Access thousands of movies for free thanks to Telstra TV Kanopy App
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?