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Create Colorful Kaleidoscope Patterns with Artboard’s Polar Duplicate

This geometric pattern looks like mosaic tiles blooming into an intricate flower pattern. Better yet, it is deceptively simple to create using Artboard’s Polar Duplicate function. Inspired by the hip textiles of Verner Panton, this awesome design is made up of squares, increasing in size as they move outwards and creating an abstract, kaleidoscope-like form. Here’s how.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 2.0 for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Polar Duplicate; Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: ~15 minutes

Step 1

Choose File > New from the main menu. Turn on Graphic > Snap To > Graph Paper in the main menu.

In the Styles & Symbols palette, choose a stroke style (any color) from the “Basic Strokes & Fills” category. Using the Straight Line [l] tool, hold the SHIFT-key and draw a vertical line down the center of your drawing canvas. When you hold the SHIFT-key it constrains the angle of the line making it easier to get the line perfectly vertical. Hold SHIFT-key and draw another line horizontally across the center of the drawing canvas. We’ll use these lines as reference to center our pattern (alternatively, you could use Guide lines…).

Step 2

Choose a solid color fill from the “Basic Strokes & Fills” category in the Styles & Symbols palette (we’re using Maraschino red). Use the Rectangle [r] tool and hold the SHIFT-key to draw a small square – about 1-cm square (if you are using different drawing units this will be different) – aligned along the right side of your reference line. With the square still selected, double-click onto the “Angle” setting in the Geometry panel and type “45” to rotate the square 45-degrees. Click onto your drawing canvas to return the focus back to to your drawing.

Step 3

In this step you’ll create several copies of the square positioned around in a circle. Use the Select [s] tool to select the square. Choose Edit > Duplicate > Polar Duplicate… from the main menu. You have the option to enter X,Y coordinates for the center point of the circle, or to set the center by clicking the drawing at your desired position – we’ll use the point-and-click method. First click the “target” button in the Polar Duplicate dialog, then click onto your drawing at the center point where your reference lines cross. The X,Y coordinates at your click position will automatically be entered for you.

Next, type  to make “11” copies of your selection (there will be 12 total). Click into the “Angular Increment” box and it will be calculated for you based on how many copies you are making.Make sure “Rotate copies around center” is still checked. Click “Duplicate.”

If your squares are too close together, try making the starting square smaller or position it a bit further from the center.

Step 4

Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw another square, slightly larger than your first – approximately 1.5-cm square. In the Geometry panel, set the rotation angle of the square to 30-degrees. Use the Select tool to move the square so it sits above and to the right of the first square.

Step 5

With the new square still selected, choose Edit > Duplicate > Polar Duplicate… from the main menu. This time, Artboard remembers the previous center point, so only enter “11” copies, click into the “Angular Increment” box to calculate 30-degrees. Make sure “Rotate copies around center” is still checked. Click “Duplicate.”

Step 6

Repeat steps 2 and 3 using a slightly larger square (about .5-cm larger each time) positioned slightly further to the right of the first square. Repeat step 5 to polar duplicate.

Step 7

It’s really starting to take shape now. Repeat steps 4 and 5 using again a slightly larger square than the previous. In this screenshot we’ve made the original four squares blue to help you visualize their final arrangement. Delete the reference lines.

Step 8

Congratulations! You have finished making an awesome geometric pattern!

Now you can spice up the pattern by changing the colors and styles of the squares that make up the pattern. It’s a playful pattern so experiment and have fun. Once you’re ready, you can select-all and group the mosaic to save as a clip art for future use. You can even combine several groups into interesting new formations.

For our final image, we made an new fill style. We selected and copied the pattern, then pasted it as an image in the Style Inspector- Expert pane for a Fill style component. We also added a Gradient Fill style component as a background. We could name and save this completely new style to apply to any shape – spectacular!

Final Image

This colorful kaleidoscope design shows how you can create interesting patterns quickly with Artboard’s Polar Duplicate function. We hope you have fun experimenting with your own designs. We’d love to see what you come up with!

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Love Using Artboard’s Smooth Gradients

Fill any shape with smooth multiple-color blends called gradients. A simple gradient is usually made of two colors fading into each other, but there can be more advanced gradients consisting of many colors, including linear and radial gradients. Find out how to love working with gradients, from Artboard’s preloaded styles to creating your very own.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Beginner
Topics Covered: Style Inspector – Gradient Fill
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

Create a new drawing at your preferred size in Artboard. From the Styles & Clip Art palette, click onto the Library icon and choose “Backgrounds & Fancy Fills > Gradients” category from the drop-down list. There are 36 pre-loaded gradient styles in the Mapdiva Library.

Step 2

Click onto the first gradient “Evening Sky”. Use the Regular Polygon [g] tool to draw a star. It is drawn using the “Evening Sky” gradient fill.

Step 3

Next, find the “Full Spectrum Rainbow Gradient” style in the Styles & Clip Art palette (HINT: you can start typing the style name in the search bar and it will search the currently active category for a match). Note how when you choose a different style, the Tools palette Preview changes with it – that’s how to tell which style is currently active. Draw another star. Notice that this new gradient is made up of several colors, where the first star’s gradient was a blend of two colors. Let’s look at these in the Style Inspector.

Step 4

With the second (rainbow) star still selected, open the Style Inspector – Expert pane (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).). Here we can look at the nuts and bolts of the style. Click the “Clone” button to work with a copy of the style, then click onto “Gradient Fill” in the Style Components list. We can see that the gradient is comprised of six different colors along a linear gradient.

Step 5

The big circle in the gradient-well has an handle you can turn to rotate the angle of the gradient. Go ahead and give it a try. If you hold the SHIFT-key down while you rotate the knob it will move in 15-degree increments. Notice how as you rotate the knob the angle changes, both in the style and in the star object that has the style applied. Remember, you’re working with a clone (copy) of the style so you aren’t changing the original.

Step 6

Let’s draw another shape. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a square (HINT: hold the SHIFT-key while drawing to maintain the aspect ratio and draw a perfect square). The same style is still active and is used with your square. In the Style Inspector – Expert pane, click “Clone” again to work with another copy, and click back onto the Gradient Fill style component to edit its properties. You see the six color-stops along the gradient bar. To remove a color, click on the color-stop and drag it off the gradient bar. Alternatively, click the color-stop then click the little “-” at the left end of the gradient bar. Do this for all the middle colors. You should end up with a gradient with light blue on the left and dark blue on the right.

Step 7

Let’s explore radial gradients. Click onto the “Radial” button. The perspective of the gradient changes. However, in this example we want the middle to be lighter than the edges. Drag the color-stops in the gradient bar to reverse their positions. We also want the center of the gradient to be positioned a bit high to the right. Grab the inner circle (the one with the light blue knob) in the gradient-well and move it slightly up and to the right. Cool! You’ve just created a great radial gradient that looks like light is coming in from above. Applied to a circle it would look like a ball with a bit of depth.

Step 8

Now that you’re familiar with applying gradients from the Mapdiva library, and with creating your own, let’s experiment! Click “New” in the Style Inspector to create a new style from scratch. Choose a drawing tool and draw a shape. I’ve drawn a very quick heart using the Freehand Line [f] tool. In the Style Inspector, click the “+” button and add a gradient fill style component. Click a color-stop along the gradient bar to open the Colors palette and change colors. Click the little “+” on the left side of the gradient bar to add color-stops. Artboard stands apart with its expert stacked styles – here I’ve added a thick Rough Stroke on top of my gradient for added visual weight and a comic effect.

*Note, transparencies within a gradient are not recommended due to a known issue with the external PDF generator used in printing and exporting graphics. EDIT: as of Artboard 1.5, transparencies within gradients are fully supported.

Final Image

Have fun creating your own gradient styles. What would it look like if you moved the gradient-stops closer together? How would a gradient help you add depth to your graphics? Here we’ve added a background in the same gradient style as the foreground shapes… bask in the gradient love!