Tagged: Illustrator

Turn your photos into cool vector-pattern art with Vectoraster

Vectoraster 6
Vectoraster 6 is a fantastic little app for Mac OS X that creates vector-based artwork and patterns based on raster images. Simply put, it turns your photos into patterned vector art that you can then edit further in Adobe Illustrator.

The cool thing about this app is the “discoverability” of the app. Import an image and start playing with sliders and buttons, and you’ll soon find yourself spending a considerable amount of time coming up with ways you can use the app in your design work. That’s because Vectoraster shows you the results of your adjustments in real-time, in a single-window interface that’s quite easy to figure out.

Vectoraster 6 - sample

Vectoraster not only allows you to turn your images into vector halftone and line patterns, but it allows you to adjust the colors, hue, saturation, and density of the patterns as well. A host of other tools are also available that allow you to customize the results in almost any way you could need.

Once you’re done, you can export to vector format as an EPS or PDF, or a JPG, PNG or TIFF file if you prefer. And if you have a group of images you wish to apply the same effects to, there’s batch processing available.

The use case for this app is endless. For instance, I had a rather small 5×7 image of my son that I wanted to enlarge to hang on the wall – but I didn’t want a simple photo enlargement. So I ran it through Vectoraster and used the Character/Text point shape option to have the letters of his name create the entire photo. Not only was it a cool piece of art, but because it was vector, I could size it to whatever I wished.

Here are some more screenshots to give you an idea of how the app can help you:

Vectoraster6_color_gradient

Vectoraster 6 text raster

Vectoraster6 wavy line raster

Vectoraster is a bit difficult to explain, but the video below should give you some idea of what you can do with Vectoraster.

Vectoraster is one of those apps that you won’t use daily, but one that you’re glad you have when you want to spice-up an image in a design piece.

Vectoraster 6 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.7.5 or later, and supports Full Screen mode. The full version costs $32, and upgrades are available for $12. A free demo is available so you can check it out for yourself.

Quickly access Open dialog box in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign

Photoshop tip

If you want to spare every key click you possibly can, you can quickly access the Open Dialog Box in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator with nothing but your mouse – and you don’t even have to make a trip to the File menu!

With no documents open, simply double-click an empty space in the Application Frame (the space normally taken up by a document window. The catch of course, is that you have to have the Application Frame active and no document open.

[zilla_alert style=”yellow”] This is a tip I posted back in 2012, but it’s a great shortcut so I thought I might repost it. [/zilla_alert]

Two handy Adobe Illustrator selection shortcuts

Layer object selectionI love keyboard shortcuts, but I must admit that while I use the heck out of them in InDesign and Photoshop, I’m not as fluent in Illustrator. Here are two handy shortcuts for selecting objects in your Adobe Illustrator document that I do use quite often.

To select all the objects on a layer in Illustrator, you can do one of two things. You can Option + Click on the layer in the layers panel, or click the tiny circle to the right of the layer name in the layers panel (as seen in the screenshot). Either way, only the objects on that layer will be selected.

Quickly find the CMYK equivalent of a Pantone color in Photoshop or Illustrator

Many times you are asked to find the CMYK equivalent of a particular Pantone color. If you don’t have a ridiculously overpriced Pantone to Process conversion guide available, you can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

There are a lot of theories out there as to how you can get the most accurate CMYK values (some area quite complex, such as first converting to LAB color before converting to process colors, etc.). But if you’re a pro you already realize that no Pantone color is going to match 100% in process printing anyway and the Pantone Color Bridge guide is the best and most accurate conversion method.

The Pantone Color Bridge Guide is expensive, so these are the fastest ways that I’ve come across that give the best results. (more…)

Increase/decrease transparency with this Adobe Illustrator keyboard shortcut

Illustrator transparency shortcut

For some odd reason Adobe removed the slider for the Transparency panel some time ago, and replaced it with a mostly useless drop-down menu of 10% increments. While many users certainly aren’t happy about this, they probably don’t know that you can adjust transparency more precisely than the drop-down menu allows using keyboard shortcuts.

With the object(s) you want to adjust selected, click in the Transparency panel’s amount input box and use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Increase/Decrease Transparency by 1% = Up or Down Arrow Keys
  • Increase/Decrease Transparency by 2% = Option + Up or Down Arrow Key
  • Increase/Decrease Transparency by 10% = Shift + Up or Down Arrow Key