Posts

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).

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How to Use Artboard’s Social Media Templates

Creating social media headers and graphics can be a real pain. We’ve incorporated the latest specs into Artboard’s social media templates so you can focus your energy on content and design.

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Layer Transparency

Changing the opacity of all features on an Ortelius’ Drawing Layer is now easy as pie. Unlike the master opacity of individual styles, changing a Drawing Layer’s master opacity affects all features and respects the object stack order within the layer.

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Artboard Blend fill stroke styles freehand

Create Custom Blended Styles

Gradient fills are often used to shade objects for a realistic look. Using a gradient fill is limited because the gradient steps don’t always run in the same direction as the shape of the object. Here we show how to create blended stroke and fill styles for the desired effect. Read more

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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Artboard 2 Add Perspective with Skew

Add Perspective with Skew

Artboard’s new ‘Skew’ function makes it easy to distort objects and add perspective. Here we combine multiple objects and apply ‘Skew’ to quickly add great looking windows to a tall building.

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map draw rivers with tapered strokes

Designing Tapered Rivers with Flowing Styles

Ortelius has always had great tools to create smooth meandering rivers & streams. Now they can look even better with naturally tapering ends. We’ve added an expert Tapered Stroke component to the Style Inspector – you can use it to design your own creative map styles. Here’s how…

Tutorial Details

Program: Ortelius 1.7+ for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: 15 minutes

Draw a Line To Preview Your New Style As It Is Built

Draw a line on the Ortelius drawing canvas so you can preview your changes as you build a new style. Open the Style Inspector. Keep your line selected for the next step.

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

 

Create New Style and Add a Tapered Stroke

Create_New_Style_and_Add_a_Tapered_Stroke.png

Choose ‘Reset’ to create a new ad-hoc style ready for your use.

Add a Tapered Stroke Style Component from the drop-down list by clicking the “+” button. You won’t be using the Fill and Stroke Style Components so they can be removed from the list by clicking the “–” button. Next, we’ll adjust the settings on your new style.

Make Adjustments

Make_Adjustments.png

Adjust the line width of your river style. From upstream to downstream your river widths will become wider (or thicker). Plan on creating a set of 2 or 3+ stroke styles of varying widths that can be “nested” in your river hierarchy, the upper-most being your tapered stroke.

For example, this tapered style will represent the upper-most river segments that will flow into other down-stream river segments. We’ll create a 3-pt width tapered stroke to flow into a 3-pt width (non-tapered) segment, and then a 4-pt width (non-tapered) segment.

Click the color well to open the Colors panel and choose a new color. You can also adjust the percent and type of taper – we’ll keep the default settings as they work really nicely for rivers. Then uncheck the “Right” setting so your stroke is only tapered on one end.

HINT: When you draw your rivers in the direction from upstream to downstream the taper will be the upstream end. You can always choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Reverse if you need to flip the direction of the taper.

Add Style To Library

Add_Style_To_Library.png

As desired, click at the top of the Style Components list to return to the main Style Inspector window. Type in a name for your new style and click the “Add Style To Library” button. You’ll be prompted to assign the style to an appropriate category and the style will be saved to the Library.

Your new styles are ready for use. Choose a tool, such as the Freehand Track, pick your style from the Styles & Symbols palette, and draw.

Joining Tracks for Smooth Transitions

Joining_Tracks_for_Smooth_Transitions.png

HINT: To make a smooth transition between two tracks of varying line widths or styles, select the tracks and choose Edit > Paths & Tracks > Join or use the CMND-J keyboard shortcut. A smooth transition will be automatically created between line styles. Smooth transitions apply to connectable tracks, not regular paths.

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!

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!