Color adjustment plug-in for Adobe Illustrator CS/CS2

phantasmCSPhantasm CS is a plug-in for Illustrator that adds Photoshop-like edits for vector objects, including Brightness/Contrast, Curves, Desaturate, Hue/Saturation, Invert, Levels, and Shift to Color. Although most of the commands will be familiar to Photoshop users, there are a few things worth mentioning: Just like Photoshop, Levels and Curves allows you to edit individual color channels; Desaturate, with the Gray Tone option, can convert CMYK color art to the black channel only; and the Shift to Color lets you add a color tint to the selected art (like a Photoshop color overlay).

Many of the optional settings in each command’s dialog expand the plug-in’s usefulness, such as: A Preview function; settings can work on either Fill or Stroke; colors can be restricted to “safe” CMYK; and spot colors can be affected or ignored. You can even assign keyboard shortcuts to each Filter and Effect in Illustrator’s Keyboard Shortcuts dialog (Edit>Keyboard Shortcuts). Phantasm CS also adds some useful selection options. Under Select>Object, you can now select spot colors or select bitmap art based on its color mode.

There is a minor quirk with how gradients are desaturated. They seem to be desaturated based on color intensity, not tonal value, so strong colors tend to flatten out. A minor point is that there’s no automatic installer, which could confuse some users.

One of the best features is that the edits can be applied as either Filters, which are permanent, or Effects, which can be modified at any time and added to Graphic Styles. Some of the last remaining color Filters and Effects that weren’t available in Illustrator are now resolved with this plug-in.–DAVID CREAMER

PRICE: $37.50
FROM: Astute Graphics

HOT Photoshop-like edits in Illustrator
NOT Desaturated gradients can flatten out