Adobe Illustrator at MAX 2021: Bringing out the creative best in you and your team

Illustration of two birds with an orange background.

Since the release of Adobe Illustrator for the iPad at last year’s MAX — one of the largest transformations of the industry’s most comprehensive vector graphics tool — we have been refining the experience of designing with Illustrator even further to make it more seamless, more precise, and more collaborative.

This year, we’re introducing some exciting features for both the desktop and iPad versions of Illustrator to provide you and your team with even more flexible ways to illustrate and create, regardless of where you’re working. And to enable you to access Illustrator on just about any device without even having to install the app (yes, that’s right!), we’re thrilled to announce that Illustrator is coming to the web, as well with an invite-only beta opening up at MAX, apply to join today

Let’s take a look at the latest updates to the Adobe Illustrator ecosystem.

What’s new on Illustrator on desktop

Adobe Illustrator gives you the complete power to effortlessly transform any idea into scalable graphics. Thanks to cutting-edge technology made possible by Adobe Sensei, you can now create faster and smarter, while Creative Cloud features ensure more effective and precise collaboration and seamless interoperability with other Creative Cloud apps.

New collaboration features in Illustrator.

New collaboration features

Both the desktop and the iPad version of Illustrator now also support “share for commenting”, so you can share your document with other team members and stakeholders for quick feedback. Simply send an email with a web-generated link from within the app to reviewers, who can then provide feedback online even if they don’t have Illustrator installed.

At MAX 2021, we’ve also announced two new beta features to help you and your team collaborate better, bring others into the creative process, and get aligned on a cohesive creative vision — all in Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud Spaces will give your team a shared place to ensure all your creative work and resources are in one centralized location, available to everyone working together on that project to access and organize. Meanwhile, Creative Cloud Canvas will make it easy for your team to visualize and review creative work with stakeholders and explore ideas together, collaborating together in real-time, right in the browser.

Creative Cloud Spaces and Creative Cloud Canvas are available in a limited private beta — apply to join today and explore how these new capabilities bring your team together and empower everyone to see the whole picture.

Imagine illustration on 3D effects in Illustrator

Improved 3D effects

3D effects in Illustrator have been overhauled with a redesigned interface and the introduction of new features:

With the updated 3D panel, you can now add depth to your work and easily create 3D-objects from paths and set up lighting, rotate, and add textures. This is especially useful when you want to create 3D-like graphics from 2D vector objects but don’t have the expertise to design in 3D.

This new functionality has been made possible by a robust and performant geometry processing engine that provides feedback in real time, including shadows that add a lot of realism to the design. Our 3D team has also integrated a ray-traced rendering engine that ensures high quality output in seconds. Ray-tracing is a very computationally intensive operation and would normally take several minutes to complete; we have managed to speed it up by training and implementing a state-of-the-art denoiser based on deep learning and bleeding edge tech developed by Adobe researchers.

Substance 3D materials screenshot in Illustrator

Substance 3D materials

Now you can access Adobe Substance Materials directly into Illustrator. If you want to add additional realism to projects that feature 3D effects, you can now access a curated collection of professionally designed materials — from metals to fabrics — straight from the 3D panel. Browse thousands of materials on the Substance 3D assets homepage, download the ones you like, and import them into Illustrator to apply realistic textures in different lighting scenarios to both 2D and 3D surfaces.

Changing the direction of the gradient, screenshot

Learn more directly in the app

The new in-app Discover panel gives you instant access to product support and learning resources, so you can find out about new features and explore valuable information to grow your skills.

Font auto-activation

Adobe Illustrator now features font auto-activation, so that missing fonts that are available in the library are seamlessly activated when a document is opened.

What’s new on Illustrator on the iPad

Adobe Illustrator on the iPad is continuing to evolve into a precise design experience on a tablet, and we’re bringing more capabilities to the app all the time.

Adobe Illustrator on the iPad screenshot

Vectorize Technology Preview on iPad

We’re excited to introduce Vectorize, the next evolution of image tracing that enables you to convert any image into a crisp, vector graphic with enhanced precision and control. Vectorize can be especially useful if you use paper sketches as part of your design process: Simply take a photo of the sketch, and Illustrator will draw the graphic automatically. Vectorize is a Technology Preview built on Adobe Sensei machine learning technology and its performance will improve with time.

Screenshot of Vectorize technology preview on iPad.


You can now also create and apply artistic or calligraphic brush strokes to your artwork, giving you even more control over the visual look and feel of your illustrations.

Illustration of brushes being used on iPad.

Object Blend

Also new on the iPad, you can now blend one shape into another across a specified number of steps. Create smooth and curved blends of different shapes or create an illusion of depth by transitioning between several colors and shapes.

Transform as shape

If you need to reorient or resize a multi-point curved or line segment in an object, you can now do so: Transform paths and curves without having to manually manipulate each anchor point.

More new features and improvements

Illustrator on the iPad now also features rulers and guides for precise measurement and placement of design elements; version history to track and revert to previous versions of a document — the option to place linked PSD files from Photoshop or Fresco into a document — and the ability to natively cut and paste text or graphics between Photoshop, Fresco, and Adobe Illustrator.

Screen shot of Adobe Illustrator.

Illustrator is coming to the web

We’re excited to announce another huge transformation of Adobe Illustrator, which means you can access a modern version of the app right in the browser. Illustrator on the web will be available on just about any device and won’t require you to install the app to view files, make basic edits, and collaborate with your team and stakeholders.

Sign up to the invite-only beta today and help us build the future of Illustrator.

Continue the journey with us

Illustrator continues to evolve with you, our community. We take your feedback and feature requests to heart — using them to expand and add features that help you free up more time, enhance your workflow, and focus on creating incredible work with anyone from anywhere. Share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, on our discussion boards, or through Illustrator UserVoice, and let us know what you’d like to see in the next release to unlock even more creative control.