Adobe released Illustrator 8.0 today, boosting its stalwart drawing program with a number of new features and interoperability enhancements. Further blending the fields of vector-based drawing and simulated natural media, Illustrator’s new Gradient Mesh feature offers the capability to create and edit gradients with several colors and blending directions. Other features are geared toward streamlining Illustrator’s workflow. The Pencil tool enables you to edit paths by drawing the changes (instead of placing and editing path points); the new Actions palette, a feature borrowed from Photoshop, enables you to automate repetitive tasks; and the Eyedropper tool now picks up type attributes, as well as colors. System requirements include a PowerPC-based Macintosh, Mac OS 7.5 or later (Mac OS 8 recommended), and at least 32 MB of RAM (64 MB recommended) with 20 MB available for Illustrator. Illustrator 8.0 retails for $375; upgrades from previous versions cost $129 and owners of other Adobe products or competing programs (such as CorelDRAW or Macromedia FreeHand) can buy Illustrator 8.0 for $199. Canadian and U.S. owners who purchased Illustrator 7.0 after 23-Jul-98 can receive the upgrade for the cost of shipping and handling (a valid proof of purchase is required). Kudos to Adobe for releasing the Macintosh and Windows versions simultaneously.