Drawing software for everyone

A Graphic Design Primer, 3: Basics of Composition. Noupe Article.

In the first two sections of this primer, the basic elements of design and the basic principles of design were covered. In the third installment of this graphic design primer, author Cameron Chapman covers different composition methods and guides, including: the rule of thirds, Gestalt principles, and grid layouts. Read more

Artboard Giveaway!

Hi there! We’re gearing up for our first Artboard update and are giving away two free licenses to celebrate! We’ll announce the random winners 24 June 2011.
Comment on Twitter or Facebook and SHARE to enter.

THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!
CONGRATS TO OUR WINNERS: @spilth AND @shelleweb

A Graphic Design Primer, 1: The Elements of a Design. Noupe Article.

Whether intro for beginners or as a refresher for those looking to brush up on the basics, this graphic design primer explains the various elements of a design in a clear, digestible way. In this article, author Cameron Chapman reviews the seven basic elements of any design: Line, Form, Shape, Texture, Color, Value, and Space. Read more

Create a Shiny Chrome Text Effect

In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a shiny chrome effect for text shapes. This style can be applied to a variety of graphics, including shapes and symbols. Let’s get started!

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard for Mac OSX 1.0+
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Style Inspector; Gradients
Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes

ATTENTION: As of Artboard 1.7, “shared” styles are no longer part of the default workflow, therefore, references to “New” and “Clone” in this tutorial are no longer current. As of Artboard 1.7, the “New” button in the Format Bar and Style Inspector becomes the “Reset” button. See the Users Guide for more information about shared styles.

Step 1

Add a text box to your drawing canvas using the Text Box [t] tool. With the Select [s] tool, double-click the text box and edit the text.

Step 2

Open the Fonts panel from the Artboard toolbar. Pick a nice bold font that will hold up to the weight of your chrome style. For example, we’re showing the very stylish Velocette font downloaded from dafont.com. Adjust the size of your text accordingly (ours is rather large at 180 pts). Note, adjust the sizing handles of your text box if you’ve made your text very large (if you see the “+” in the lower right on the text box it indicates some text is hidden).

Step 3

This particular font comes with a few nice embellishments. Let’s add an underline to give our graphic some flair (note, this step is unnecessary if you aren’t adding special characters). Double-click the text with the Select [s] tool and position your cursor at the end of the word. Choose Edit > Special Characters… from the main menu to open the Special Characters panel. Navigate to your selected font and click onto the special character of interest. Click the “Insert with Font” button to place the character.

Step 4

Convert your text into a shape object so you can apply the new style. Select the text with the Select [s] tool. Choose Graphic > Convert To… > Shape from the main menu (or right-click and choose Convert To Shape from the contextual menu). You are now working with a shape object, therefore the text can no longer be edited.

Step 5

Now let’s start having some fun creating our chrome effect style. Select the shape and open the Style Inspector from the toolbar. Click onto the Expert pane and c (EDIT: As of Artboard 1.3 the “Simple” and “Expert” buttons have been removed from the Style Inspector (it edits all expert styles by default)) Click the “New” style button. Click the “+” button to add a “Gradient Fill” style component.

Step 6

Click onto the “Fill” style component in the Style Inspector list and add a shadow to the fill.

Click and drag the “Stroke” component name to reorder so the stroke is visually “on top” of the style stack (the stroke will actually be on the bottom in the layer list). Edit the stroke color and stroke width; ours is light gray with .05 cm stroke width (alternatively .02 in or 1.417 pt depending on your document’s drawing units setting).

Step 7

Click onto the “Gradient Fill” style component in the list. You will use a linear gradient with several color stops. Click the “+” button along the gradient slider to add a color stop.

The Colors panel will open automatically each time you click or add a color stop. Slide the color stops along the gradient to position them. The trick to creating a chrome-like effect is to have a light side and dark side, each with their own gradient stops, and position the middle transition from light to dark very close together. To remove a color stop, click and drag it off the slider or click the “-” slider button. Try experimenting with your own combinations. In this example, we’ve added a touch of blue to our darker scheme.

Step 8

Here’s how it looks so far with our background object turned on. Not too shabby :)!

Step 9

This participar font is designed with nice connecting strokes. However, when the style is applied to the shape the breaks between the original individual letters shows. The reason for this is the shape consists of multiple separate paths (from the original letters) within the shape object. The remedy is to break the object apart, then reassemble it as one unified object. Note, this step is unnecessary if you have used a disconnected font. Select the shape and choose Graphic > Combine… > Break Apart from the main menu.

Step 10

For each letter shape that originally had an enclosed circular or curved negative space (white space), that space is now a separate shape that must be subtracted from the primary shape. Select the letter shape and its corresponding counter (the enclosed space) and choose Graphic > Combine… > Difference Boolean operation from the main menu. You might find it convenient to customize your toolbar with buttons for these functions. For example, the “A” letter shape and its counter are selected and subtracted from each other with this command. Repeat as necessary for each affected letter shape. (Note, to keep font shapes true to their original, make sure Graphic > Combine… > Curve Fitting Policy is set to “Never Curve Fit”.)

Step 11

Once the counters have all been combined, select all the letter shapes and choose Graphic > Combine > Union from the main menu. It is now one unified shape object. Here’s how it looks with the background turned on.

Step 12

Once complete, you have the option to save the style in your user “My Library” (alternatively you can continue to use it as an ad hoc style). To add a style to your library make sure your shape is selected then click “Style” at the top of the style component list. Click into the Name text box and type a name for your style, then click the Enter-key on the keyboard. Alternatively, add a description. Click the Add To “Collection” button to add it to your library.

Final Image

Have fun experimenting with different gradient combinations to get your desired look. For example, see how it looks when you apply an angle to your gradient. Here is our finished product with a nice simple gradient used to great effect.

Vector vs. Raster Drawing

Computer graphics can usually be divided into two distinct categories: vector graphics and raster (or bitmap) images. Artboard is vector-based illustration software for Mac OSX. Find out what the differences are between vector graphics and raster images.

There are instances when working with vector tools and formats is the best practice, and instances when working with raster tools and formats is the best practice. There are times when both formats come together. Understanding the advantages and limitations of each technology and the relationship between them will help you choose the appropriate tools and plan your drawing strategies.

Understanding Vector Art and Raster Graphics

Example showing effect of vector graphics versus raster graphics. The original vector-based illustration is at the left. The upper-right image illustrates magnification of 7x as a vector image. The lower-right image illustrates the same magnification as a bitmap image. (source Wikipedia)

Raster images are based on pixels and thus lose clarity when scaled, while vector-based images can be scaled indefinitely without degrading quality.

Raster images are made up of a grid of dots, or pixels, with each pixel containing color information. Computer displays are made up from grids of small rectangular cells called pixels. The picture is built up from these cells. The smaller and closer the cells are together, the better the quality of the image. When magnified, the pixels are magnified and the image can become grainy, or pixelated.

Vector graphics use points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s) that are mathematically defined to represent images in computer graphics. A vector graphics program uses these mathematical formulae to build the best quality image possible given the screen resolution. Vector graphics are scalable to any size and detail, and the file size of vector data generating the image stays the same. The quality of a vector graphic is limited only by the resolution of the output or display. Read more

Our Thoughts on the Mac App Store

The Mac App Store launched Jan. 6 and promises to be a great thing for Mac users. That the Mac App Store makes software license installation all but disappear, offers convenient multi-Mac licenses, and effortless one-click installation and updates is hard to ignore. Then there is discoverability. Here is a tweet that pretty much sums it up for us… “From the Mac App Store: Artboard – a vector drawing app I never would have seen otherwise.” Read more

Artboard Trial Version Now Available

Mapdiva, LLC now provides a try-before-you-buy Artboard trial version to assure our products meet your needs. Download the Artboard software from our website and try it out before making your purchase. The 31-day trial version is full featured except:

  • A watermark is displayed on screen and printed output
  • Export is disabled
  • A reminder screen is displayed

We’ve also added some great resources to quickly learn Artboard, including video shorts and hands-on exercises. If you have questions or concerns that are not addressed by the freely downloadable version, please feel free to contact us before purchasing so that you can make an informed buying decision.

To install the Artboard Trial, download and unzip the file as needed. In case you want to deinstall, simply select the Artboard Trial.app in Finder and drag it onto the Trash bin – that’s it.

Mapdiva Releases Artboard Drawing Software on the Mac App Store

11.02.08 Indianapolis, Indiana – Today Mapdiva released Artboard 1.0, vector drawing software for Mac OS X. Design logos, posters, floor plans, technical drawings, fun fashions, Web graphics, and more. Use pre-designed templates to create fliers, invitations, signs, and business cards. Artboard is drawing software for everyone. Available exclusively on the Mac App Store.

Artboard delivers with over 1600 awesome styles and fully editable clip art, including speech bubbles, shiny buttons, maps and flags, people factory, and home planning; plus a Library to store your own. Artboard features a powerful style generator and stacked styles that go way beyond simple fill and stroke, providing a wide range of spectacular effects. Artboard is simple, powerful and fun graphic design software that will make school reports and business presentations shine.

Artboard has everything to create your own graphics and illustrations, including:

  • Interface designed to work with vector graphics
  • Simple and direct drawing controls
  • Over 20 tools for drawing rectangles, stars, circles, lines, curves, text and navigating
  • Perfectly crisp anti-aliased graphics
  • Layers-based drawing
  • Smooth Bezier curves
  • Beautifully rendered text available with outline, mask, and text on path
  • Page and poster-tiled printing
  • Automatic graph paper
  • Pen tablet support
  • Export for web and print the most popular graphics formats PNG, JPG, PDF, and TIFF supporting resolutions from 72 to 600-dpi
  • Quick access to iPhoto, Pictures folder, and Smart folders via Image Browser
  • Drag-and-drop between popular productivity apps such as iWork(TM) Pages, Number, and Keynote
  • Deep Mac OS X integration via technologies such as ColorSync, Quick Look, Spotlight, Apple Fonts palette, Apple Colors palette, drag-and-drop and many other
System Requirements
  • Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
  • Core Image supported graphics card
  • 38.5 MB
Pricing and Availability

Artboard is Mapdiva’s second vector-based software application for Mac OSX. Artboard 1.0 is only $19.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Graphics & Design category.

About Mapdiva

Founded in 2008, Mapdiva is dedicated to making powerfully easy vector software so you can focus your creative energy on content and design. Mapdiva’s flagship product, Ortelius, is the cartography software for map design. Artboard is their latest product. Mapdiva, LLC has offices in Indianapolis, IN USA and Armidale, NSW Australia. Artboard and Ortelius are trademark of Mapdiva, LLC. Apple and Mac OS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

via prMac