I generate most of my figures in R. What do you guys use? I suppose it changes from field to field. However, no matter what your field is, there comes a time when you have to "beautify" through Adobe Illustrator.
I have a love/hate relationship with AI.
I love it because it lets me do so many things.
I hate it because it won't let me do so many things.
So, the other day I was having one of my AI fits when everything around me got blurry, a heavy fog lifted in my office, and I was propelled back to
many, ahem, some years back when I was in elementary school and my dad was preparing his paper figures...
Okay, the blurring and the fog I added for special effects, but going back to my dad: he is a developmental biologist, and back in the days when Apples only came in black screens with fixed menus in a green font, my dad would start by developing his pictures in the camera obscura. He would then trim the pictures and mount them on a paper board -- one board for each figure, and each figure had different panels.
Now, for the labeling, this is what he'd use:
Remember those? (I'm dating myself, aren't I? Well, I can always say that this was in Italy, and we've always been a few years behind in Italy 😉 ) As a kid, I loved them! We'd get comic books where you could add your characters to a scene -- it was fun! But those tiny letters my dad would use to label his photos -- man, they were a pain in the ***! And the letters were a piece of cake compared to the thin lines and geometrical shapes he'd use for the graphs. You'd have to press very delicately. If you pressed too hard you'd ruin the photo, or the lines would break, and you'd have to start over. If you'd press too lightly they'd come off and you'd find them all over your hand, the lines especially, sticking out like misplaced hairs.
So, on second thoughts... I love AI. I really, really love AI.