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Artboard 2 collection Material color swatches

12 Custom Color Palettes for MacOS

When considering a new color scheme for your next design project, custom color palettes are a great place to start. Using Apple’s Color Picker, you can manually create new color swatch lists, or download and install pre-made custom color palettes from several sources on the web. Here’s how…

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final-image-cartoon-clouds.png

An Easy Trick for Cartoon Clouds

Cartoon clouds are fun to make and use! Sure, you can use the Freehand Path or Bezier Curve tools to draw clouds, and here we show how to use Artboard’s shape tools to get some really awesome (and super easy!) results.

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random_pattern_fills

Randomized Patterns Make Interesting Fills

Randomized patterns add texture and variety. This is an especially good effect for representing features with naturally occurring randomness. Artboard has several tools in the Style Inspector to help you make awesome randomized patterns.

Tutorial Details

Program: Artboard 1.6+ for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: 25 minutes

Start with a Shape

wpid-Start_with_a_Shape.png

Create a shape to be used for your pattern. Here we’ll use the Regular Polygon tool with a nice green fill style to make a shape. You could use the Freehand Path or Bezier Curve tools to make a similar shape that isn’t quite as symmetrical. In the Geometry panel we’ll adjust the shape to have 6-sides, turn on the “Star” shape option and adjust the “Tip” setting to about 70%. We end up with a clover-like shape that we’ll use for our pattern.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…

 

Make a Sandbox for your New Pattern

wpid-Make_a_Sandbox_for_your_New_Pattern.png

Use the Rectangle tool to draw a rectangle for your sandbox. We’ll play in here and you’ll be able to see your pattern as you are creating it. With your sandbox selected, open the Style Inspector and choose ‘Reset’ to reset to the default style. For now your rectangle looks like a dull grey box – but don’t worry, it’s going to get exciting fast!

Add a Pattern Fill

wpid-Add_a_Pattern_Fill.png

Click the “+” button to add a new Style Component. You’re going to add a “Pattern Fill.” Now, click the shape you made earlier and copy it (CMND-C, right-click > Copy, or Edit > Copy in the main menu). Then paste the shape into the image-well for your Pattern Fill by clicking ‘Paste Image’. With the default settings you are going to get a nice evenly spaced pattern like you see here.

Randomize Pattern

wpid-Randomize_Pattern.png

Now, let’s have some fun. You can go ahead and turn off the existing Fill and Stroke by disabling them (un-checking) in the Component list.

We hated to do it, but “Rand” stands for randomized. Why? It’s a long word and we’ve simply run out of room. Okay. So, the best way to get familiar with how these settings work is to play with them. Just keep in mind, very small and closely spaced patterns start using a lot of memory and may slow things down a bit. To get this particular look, we changed the Scale setting to 60%, Spacing to 0, Rand Spacing and Rand Scale to 100%, and Rand Angle to 25%.

Note, in the Inspector you may be seeing units expressed in “cm” or “in” or something rather than “pt” (points) as you see here. You can change your display units by choosing File > Drawing Size & Units in the main menu and selecting drawing units.

Suppress Clipped Images

wpid-Suppress_Clipped_Images.png

But what about those shapes cut in half along the edges of our rectangle? That doesn’t look very natural.

Click to enable the “Suppress clipped images” option to keep most images from getting artificially clipped at the edges of a shape. Here we see how it looks on an irregular shape (right-click to quickly Copy Style and Paste Style onto a new shape). Sweet.

When you’re satisfied with your new style, you can optionally click on Style in the components list to name it and save it to the Library.

Experiment

wpid-Experiment.png

Now that you understand how to make a randomized pattern, go ahead and experiment. For example, you can also use existing images and even Artboard clip art as the basis for your pattern. Clicking “Image file” in the Style Inspector pane will let you select images from a file on your computer rather than pasting your copied graphic. In that case, small images with alpha-transparency (i.e., no white background) work best.

Here we’ve used the Symbol Stamp tool to add a tree symbol to our canvas. We then copy the clip art and paste it into the Style Inspector to create a different pattern. Since we don’t want these upright trees placed at funky randomized angles, we’ve changed the Rand Angle setting to zero. We’ve also upped the Scale back to about 60% since the image is pretty small already and this pattern does start to slow things down a bit. While for a small area like this or simple effect you could as easily use the Symbol Stamp tool and place clip art individually, it’s easy to see how handy randomized patterns can be.

You’re on your way to creating interesting fill styles. Have fun!

Random Map Fills

Randomized Patterns Make Interesting Map Fills

Randomized patterns can add texture and variety to an otherwise flat map. This is an especially good effect for representing features with naturally occurring randomness, such as ground-cover and forests. Ortelius has several tools in the Style Inspector to help you make awesome randomized patterns.

Tutorial Details

Program: Ortelius 1.6+ for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: 25 minutes

Start with a Shape

wpid-Start_with_a_Shape.png

Create a shape to be used for your pattern. Here we’ll use the Regular Polygon tool with a nice green fill style to make a shape. You could use the Freehand Path or Bezier Curve tools to make a similar shape that isn’t quite as symmetrical. In the Geometry panel we’ll adjust the shape to have 6-sides, turn on the “Star” shape option and adjust the “Tip” setting to about 70%. We end up with a clover-like shape that we’ll use to represent a tree.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…

 

Make a Sandbox for your New Pattern

wpid-Make_a_Sandbox_for_your_New_Pattern.png

Use the Rectangle tool to draw a rectangle for your sandbox. We’ll play in here and you’ll be able to see your pattern as you are creating it. With your sandbox selected, open the Style Inspector and choose ‘Reset’ to reset to the default style. For now your rectangle looks like a dull grey box – but don’t worry, it’s going to get exciting fast!

Add a Pattern Fill

wpid-Add_a_Pattern_Fill.png

Click the “+” button to add a new Style Component. You’re going to add a “Pattern Fill.” Now, click the shape you made earlier and copy it (CMND-C, right-click > Copy, or Edit > Copy in the main menu). Then paste the shape into the image-well for your Pattern Fill by clicking ‘Paste Image’. With the default settings you are going to get a nice evenly spaced pattern like you see here.

Randomize Pattern

wpid-Randomize_Pattern.png

Now, let’s have some fun. You can go ahead and turn off the existing Fill and Stroke by disabling them (un-checking) in the Component list.

We hated to do it, but “Rand” stands for randomized. Why? It’s a long word and we’ve simply run out of room. Okay. So, the best way to get familiar with how these settings work is to play with them. Just keep in mind, very small and closely spaced patterns start using a lot of memory and may slow things down a bit. To get this particular look, we changed the Scale setting to 60%, Spacing to 0, Rand Spacing and Rand Scale to 100%, and Rand Angle to 25%.

Note, in the Inspector you may be seeing units expressed in “cm” or “km” or something rather than “pt” (points) as you see here. You can change your display units by choosing View > Display Units > in the main menu and selecting Points, Drawing Units, or Map Units.

Suppress Clipped Images

wpid-Suppress_Clipped_Images.png

But what about those shapes cut in half along the edges of our rectangle? That doesn’t look very natural.

Click to enable the “Suppress clipped images” option to keep most images from getting artificially clipped at the edges of a shape. Here we see how it looks on an irregular shape (right-click to quickly Copy Style and Paste Style onto a new shape). Sweet.

When you’re satisfied with your new style, click on Style in the components list to name it and save it to the Library.

Experiment

wpid-Experiment.png

Now that you understand how to make a randomized pattern, go ahead and experiment. For example, you can also use existing images and even Ortelius symbols as the basis for your pattern. Clicking “Image file” in the Style Inspector pane will let you select images from a file on your computer rather than pasting your copied graphic. In that case, small images with alpha-transparency (i.e., no white background) work best.

Here we’ve used the Symbol Stamp tool to add a tree symbol to our canvas. We then copy the symbol and paste it into the Style Inspector to create a different pattern. Since we don’t want these upright trees placed at funky randomized angles, we’ve changed the Rand Angle setting to zero. We’ve also upped the Scale back to about 60% since the image is pretty small already and this pattern does start to slow things down a bit. While for a small area like this or simple effect you could as easily use the Symbol Stamp tool and place symbols individually, it’s easy to see how handy randomized patterns can be.

You’re on your way to creating interesting map fill styles. Have fun!

ChineseNewYear-SVG-import.png

Import Free SVG Graphics, Like This Awesome Chinese New Year Dragon

Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an open-standard vector image format for two-dimensional graphics. SVG graphics are available from many sources, and here we show how to import and edit a graphic from OpenClipArt.org, a free and public domain source of SVG clip art (Mapdiva is not affiliated with OpenClipArt.org).

Tutorial Details

Program: Artboard 1.7+ graphic design app for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Image Browser
Estimated Completion Time: about 10 minutes

Step 1

Obtain an SVG file to open in Artboard. Here, we visit OpenClipArt.org and download an SVG file to our local computer directory.

The file in this tutorial is “Chinese New Year Icon” by nicubunu and is provided here as a convenience.

There are two ways to use SVG graphics in Artboard. Add an SVG graphic to an existing Artboard drawing or open an SVG graphic file directly. Both options will open the SVG in the native Artboard file format.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…

 

Step 2

Option 1: Add an SVG graphic to an existing Artboard drawing

Step_2___Option_1_Add_an_SVG_graphic_to_an_existing_Artbo.png

Click the Image Browser icon in the Artboard toolbar to open it. As needed, click the “+” in the lower left corner of the Image Browser window to add the directory in which the SVG file is located. Drag and drop the graphic from the Image Browser onto your drawing canvas.

Artboard implements the SVG 1.1 standard, and ignores any and all non-standard comments that other applications frequently use to “help out” when parsing SVG. Occasionally, results may differ from what is expected. See Working With SVG for more information.

Option 2: Open an SVG graphic file directly from Finder
Step_3_Option_2_Open_an_SVG_graphic_file_directly_from_Fi.png

In Apple’s Finder, right-click the SVG file and choose “Open With > Artboard.” A new Artboard file will be created containing the vector graphic.

Step 3

Step_4.png

Often SVG graphics contain many grouped objects, and sometimes groups within groups. As needed Select and Ungroup the imported graphic, then edit as desired.

letterpress effect drawing tutorial with Artboard

Create Letterpress Vector Style

Use the Style Editor, along with Artboard’s transform group settings, to create a popular letterpress graphic style treatment. It’s super easy to save the style and apply to other shapes.

Tutorial Details

Program: Artboard 2.0+ graphic design app for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector– Groups
Estimated Completion Time: 20 minutes

Step 1

Step_1.png

Open a new drawing and choose File > Drawing Size & Units from the main menu and set ‘points’ as the units of measure. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a rectangle the size of your drawing canvas and fill it with a light color (use a light, medium, and dark of any color). Having a background color from the beginning will make it easier to see the changes we will be making to the text.

Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…

 

Step 2

Step_2.png

Add a new layer by clicking the “+” at the lower left corner of the Layers panel. Drawing on a new layer keeps your drawing objects separate from the background will help prevent accidentally selecting the background. With the Text Box [t] tool, drag out a large text box; type to edit the text, clicking the Esc-key to end editing. With the text selected, use the Font panel to choose a font family, typeface, and adjust the size. Our example uses a bold font at 144pt for big header text, but you can adjust the text to fit your needs. After you get it just how you want it, choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu (or right click, Convert To > Shape) to convert the text to a shape (once you do that the text will no longer be editable).

Step 3

Step_3.png

Open the Style Inspector. Click onto “Color Fill” in the components list and click the color-well to choose your medium color (for example, medium purple).

Step 4

Step_4.png

With the text shape still selected, from the Style Inspector click the “+” button to add a new “Transform” group from the style components drop-down list. Because Transform is a “group” property, you won’t see anything under the group until you add it, so click the “+” and choose Color Fill. Click the little arrow icon in front of “Transform” in the list to expand the transform group and click onto the color-well in the fill to choose a dark color (e.g., dark purple). In the transform dialog, change the Y Offset to -1.5pt and ‘Number of additional copies’  to 1. Drag the transform component to the top of the components list (so it is visually below the first fill).

Step 5

Step_5.png

Repeat Step 4 to add another transform group from the style components drop-down list. Add a color fill to the transform group and choose white from the Colors panel. In the transform dialog, change the Y Offset to 1.5pt and ‘Number of additional copies’  to 1. Drag the transform component to the top of the components list (so it is visually below the first fill).

Step 6

Step_6.png

With the text still selected, from the Style Inspector click the “+” button to add a new “Core Image Filter” from the style components drop-down list. Click the little arrow icon in front of “Core Image Filter” in the list to expand the image filter group. Similar to Transform groups, you won’t see anything under the effect group until you add it, so click the “+” and add a Color Fill. Click onto the color-well in the fill and pick the light color matching your background color. Now, click again on “Core Image Filter” in the style component list. Choose “Gaussian Blur” from the Filters drop-down list, use the settings ‘Inside clipping path’ and 10-radius. That’s it!

Step 7

You’ve created a great ad-hoc style with popular letterpress treatment. Optionally, you can save the style to easily apply to other vector objects in this and other drawings. Simply click onto “Style” in the components list to return to the main window. Add a name for your new style and press enter. Click “Add To ‘Collection’…” to add it to an available My Library user collection. Pretty cool!

Final Image

Final_Image.png

At this point you can make the treatment better by jazzing up the background with some texture, different colors, and simple offsets to other text.