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.
Any text in Artboard can be converted into a shape and custom styled to great effect. We show you how to use Artboard’s Core Image Filters applied to a style to create this hauntingly beautiful art text effect.
Program : Artboard 1.7+ for Mac OS X
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Topics Covered: Style Inspector; Core Image Filters; Converting Text to Shape Group
Estimated Completion Time: ~20 minutes
Open a new drawing.
Draw a large text box with the Text Box[t] tool. Return to the Select[s] tool, double-click the text box and type “ARTBOARD”. This is a good place to mention that in Artboard you can automatically change the case of your text. For example, select the text box and choose Text > Change Case > To Lower from the main menu. Note how your text changes instantaneously to all lower-case. We are using “Moltors” font that is only upper-case so it doesn’t matter in our example, but now you know how to do it!
Speaking of fonts, with the text box still selected, open the Font panel and choose a nice fat font (e.g., Moltors) and adjust the size. Our example uses 96pt for a large text block, but you can adjust the text to fit your purpose. As needed, use the Select[s] tool to grab the text box sizing handles and adjust its size. Close the Font panel.
Prefer doing things hands-on? Give it a try…
In the next step we convert our text to a shape so we can style it. We could simply convert the text to a single shape (once you do that the text will no longer be editable) using Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu (or right click and choose Convert To > Shape). However, I want to flip the “R” to make our graphic text extra fancy, so each letter needs to be a separate shape. To do so, choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape Group from the main menu (or right click and choose Convert To > Shape Group). Then, ungroup the shape.
With the Select[s] tool, select the first “R” and choose Graphic > Flip > Horizontally from the main menu. You may want to adjust the letter’s position after flipping to maintain nice spacing between letters. Now, select all the letters and choose Graphic > Combine > Append from the main menu, or click the “Append” icon if you’ve added it to your toolbar. Appending the shapes together allows us to apply a style across the shape as a whole.
Use the Select[s] tool to select the text shape and open the Style Inspector. With the text shape still selected, click “Reset” to create a new style from scratch. Click onto “Fill” in the components list then click the “-” button to remove the component. Repeat to remove the “Stroke” style component. Next, click the “+” button and add “Core Image Filter” style component. The core image filter is a group, so we’ll need to add one or more components under the group (we’re adding an image). Click the “+” and add “Image” to add an image adornment. You may need to click the little triangle next to “Core Image Filter Group” in the components list to expand it and see what’s inside the group.
Click onto the “Image Adornment” to open its properties. Click the “Image File…” button to choose an image that will be used as the fill. You can use any image here – experiment to see what works best for your needs. In this example, we’re using a lovely floral pattern we downloaded from freedesign4.me.
Let’s turn our attention back to the Core Image Filter Group. Click on it in the style components list. From the drop-down, choose the “Gloom” filter. Keep the standard settings – with “Clipping” set to “Inside path”. The effect will automatically be applied to the image in the filter group. If the image is smaller (or undesirably bigger) than the text shape, you can return to the Image Adornment and adjust the scale of the image.
Finally, let’s add a background object to our final image. Use the Rectangle[r] tool with the “Licorice – fill” style from the Basic Strokes & Fills category in the built-in collection. Draw a large rectangle. With the rectangle selected, choose Graphic > Send To Back from the main menu (or right click and choose Arrange > Send To Back). That’s it!
From here, you may want to copy your shape to try different background photos. With the copy selected, click “Clone” in the Style Inspector. Now you can simply go to the Image Adornment style component and choose a new image file. To save any of your styles to the User Library, click “Style” at the top of the Style Components list and name and save the style to your collections. Here is our final image, along with a variation using an old family photo for the image adornment. Do you think it would look good over a patterned background?
Artboard gives you the power to create advanced styles that go way beyond simple fill and stroke. Here we show a simple way to create paths of bubbles for using under water or to float through the air. Read more
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.
Program : Artboard 2.0 for Mac OSX
Topics Covered: Polar Duplicate; Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: ~15 minutes
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…).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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!
Need to make buttons for your website, iOS app, or presentation icons? Thanks to Artboard’s powerful stacked styles, you can make perfect vector buttons every time. Read more
Patterns can add punch to your design, and in Artboard there are several ways you can make a statement. Here we see two simple methods using the Style Inspector to create patterns instantly.
Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Beginner – Intermediate
Topics Covered: Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: 10 minutes
This is a pretty quick and easy tutorial showing how to make pattern fills with Artboard’s Style Inspector. In fact, the longest part may be the time it takes to make your graphic for the pattern. Here we are drawing a target-circle pattern. You can make a repeatable pattern from any graphic – even images. Just keep in mind, very small and closely spaced patterns start using a lot of memory and may slow things down a bit.
With a “New” style and the Oval [o] tool, start by drawing a circle. Hold the SHIFT-key while drawing to maintain its aspect ratio. We sized the circle to 10-cm in the Geometry plane.
With the Select [s] tool, use the quick-copy keyboard shortcut to make several copies pasted in place. Hold the Alt/Option-key and click the circle once to make your first duplicate of it. With the new circle still selected (it won’t look differently from your first circle since it is a copy pasted in place), change the size to 9-cm in the Geometry pane. Click the circle again with the Alt/Option-key and make another duplicate, resizing this one to 8-cm. Repeat this eight times until the inner circle is 3-cm. You now have your objects for your target-circle graphic.
Next we’ll drag and drop some colors onto our graphic. You could apply any new style to the circles. Since we are using basic fill styles, we can drag a color onto each circle and a new ad hoc style is created. We’re making our target “Lead” black and a creamy white.
Although the graphic is ready to-go, in this example I’m making my pattern a bit smaller so I’ve selected the objects, grouped and resized the graphic while holding the SHIFT-key to maintain its aspect ratio. We’ll use this smaller graphic in our patterns. Make a copy of the graphic by selecting the smaller graphic and choose Edit > Copy from the main menu, or use the CMND-C keyboard shortcut.
In the layers panel, click the “+” button to add a new layer. Draw a large rectangle using the Rectangle [r] tool. With the rectangle still selected, open the Style Inspector and click “New” to create a new style.
In the Style Inspector, click onto the “Fill” style component and click “Paste Image”. Your graphic (that you copied to the clipboard in the previous step) will be pasted into the image-well and used as a repeatable pattern in the new style. The underlying image is anchored to the drawing canvas and is tiled seamlessly across the page. When you move the shape around, the image pattern remains stationary. This is the most efficient way to add an image to a style and works particularly well with repeating seamless image pattern tiles.
The fill style component (above) is the most efficient repeating pattern, but lacks the ability to fine tune the pattern design. In this next example, we’ll add a Pattern Fill style component.
First, un-check the “Fill” style component in the list since we are no longer using it. Click the “+” button to select Pattern Fill from the drop-down list. Click “Paste Image” to add your graphic to the image-well. In the Pattern Fill, we can adjust many settings. Type “-1.5cm” into the Spacing dialog box to create a closely spaced overlapping pattern; we’ve kept a 50% alternating offset, and changed the angle of the pattern to 45-degrees.
Several options are available for image scale, spacing, offset, and angle, as well as some very cool options for randomness. Play with your settings based on the effect you are seeking. The underlying image fill is tied to (and will move with) the shape object. Pattern Fill provides the most flexibility for creating regular repeating and random image patterns.
Congratulations! You now know two methods of creating regular repeating patterns using Artboard’s powerful Style Inspector. Now you can add your pattern to your drawing, and optionally name and save it to your user library for future use. To save the style, click onto “Style” at the top of the style components list to return to the style main interface, name your style and click the Enter-key, then click the bottom button to “Add To … Collection.”
We’ve finished our final image by turning off the layer holding our original graphics and adding some additional objects to add the “artboard” banner.
Night scenes with dark foreground elements and wide sky backgrounds are easy to create in Artboard. Find out how to use radial gradients to create a waxing crescent moon, and Core Image Filter effects to create stars that really shine. Read more
This magnificent Blue Jay makes a great study for our tutorial on sketching in Artboard. Learn how to draw this beautiful Blue Jay using freehand lines and expert fills. Read more
When we were featured on Apple’s ‘Apps for Education’ promotion, we got inspired to create a slick chalkboard banner like the “Back To School” page on the Mac App Store. Artboard 1.1 make these effects possible. Find out how.
Here’s our inspiration:
Program : Artboard 1.1+ for Mac OSX
Topics Covered: Style Inspector Core Image Filters
Estimated Completion Time: approximately 30 minutes
Open a new drawing and choose File > Drawing Size & Units from the main menu and set “pixels/points” as the units of measure. We’ve set our drawing size to 1024 x 350 to make a banner for our website – set the drawing size to suit your purpose. We’ve also turned off all Graphic > Snap To settings in the main menu. Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw a rectangle the size of your drawing canvas. We are going to add several layers to our drawing, so we’ll name them to keep track of what’s what. Double-click onto the “Drawing Layer” text in the layer list and type “background” and click the Enter-key to end.
Return to the Select [s] tool and make sure your rectangle is selected. Open the Style Inspector
– Expert pane. With the rectangle selected, click “New” to create a new style. Click onto “Fill” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. From the Style Inspector, click the “+” button and choose “Gradient Fill” from the drop-down list of components. Click onto the first color-stop in the gradient slider to open the Colors panel. Choose a dark green color (we’ve use RGB 33,52,34). Click the “+” in the gradient slider to add a new color-stop and choose a medium green color (we’ve used RGB 61,100,62). Click onto the last color-stop and choose a dark green color (we’ve used RGB 58,78,60). Keep the style Inspector open; close the Colors panel.
Drawing on a new layer keeps your drawing objects separate from the background. Add a new layer by clicking the “+” at the lower left corner of the Layers panel. The layer name will immediately be ready for editing; type “eraser marks” and click Enter.
Next we’ll create a fairly subtle style to make some eraser marks on the chalkboard. Choose the Freehand Path tool and click “New” in the Style Inspector to apply a new style. Draw a squiggly line across the board. In the Style Inspector, click onto “Fill” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. From the Style Inspector, click the “+” button and choose “Core Image Filter” from the drop-down list of components. A core image filter is a group that applies the filter effect to which ever style components are in the group. Drag the stroke component from the top of the list into (visually nested under) the Core Image Filter Group in the components list (as needed, click the little arrow in front of “Core Image Filter Group” to expand the group). Click onto the stroke color-well to open the Colors panel and choose a white color and slide the Opacity slider to about 50%. Close the Colors panel. Change the stroke width to about 3.5-pt. Click onto “Core Image Filter Group” in the style component list. Choose “Gaussian Blur” from the drop-down list. Slide the Radius slider to about 30% and make sure “Clipping” is set to “None.” Don’t worry that your line is barely visible (though it should still be selected) – subtle is what we are going for!
Now we want to continue drawing with this style to make more eraser marks. Picture how you’d swipe back and forth to erase on a chalkboard. Draw some more squiggly lines with the Freehand Path tool. Note that due to the line’s style, it will be nearly impossible to click on a line to select it. As needed, use the Select[s] tool and drag a rectangle over to select lines or choose Edit > Select All from the main menu. Use a bit of patience and experimentation.
We’ll use core image filters again to create a chalk style to draw on the chalkboard. Add a new layer and name it “chalk”.
Choose the Freehand Path tool. Click “New” in the Style Inspector to apply a new style and draw a line (the line is so you can see your style changes as you make them). In the Style Inspector, click onto “Fill” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. Click onto “Stroke” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. Click the “+” button and choose “Core Image Filter” from the drop-down list of components. Choose “Bloom” from the drop-down list and make sure “Clipping” is set to “None” (click the little arrow in front of “Core Image Filter Group” to expand the group). Click the “+” button and choose “Roughened Stroke” from the drop-down list of components – it will be added to the core image filter group. Click onto the Rough Stroke color-well to open the Colors panel and choose a whitecolor and slide the Opacity slider to about 55%. Close the Colors panel. Change the stroke width to about 1.5-pt and a roughness of 85%. This is your new chalk style! Optionally, return to Style in the components list to name and save your style.
Use any path or shape tool to draw on the chalkboard. We’ve drawn an “XOXO” with the Freehand Path tool.
The above chalk style was a pretty advanced application of Artboard’s Style Inspector. Now we want to make a couple other chalk styles. Draw a new line. One of the beauties of Artboard is the ability to clone existing styles. Chalk is still our active style, so in the Style Inspector click “Clone.” You now have a copy of the chalk style that you can modify without affecting the original.
Click onto Rough Stroke in the style components list and click onto the color-well. Pick a pink color and slide the Opacity slider to about 55%. You now have pink chalk. Draw other shapes and strokes as desired. We added a Heart shape from the Artboard built-in collection and applied the style to it using the Style Dropper.
Experiment with different colors and settings to vary the effect.
Next we will add our banner text. This involves placing text, then converting it to a shape to apply a cool new style. Add a new layer and name it “banner text”.
Use the Text Box tool to drag a large text box onto your drawing canvas. Double-click the text with the Select [s] tool and type to edit, clicking the esc-key to finish. With the text still selected, open the Fonts panel to choose a nice fat looking font and increate your text size. We are using Myriad Pro, semi-bold, 36-pt. We’ve also increased the spacing between letters (kerning) just a bit using the Option Key-Command- → keyboard shortcut.
When you have your text just how you want it, right-click and choose Convert To > Shape from the contextual menu (note you cannot edit the text once it is converted to a shape). Open the Style Inspector – Expert pane and click “New” to create a new style. Click onto “Stroke” in the components list and click the “–” to remove it. Click the “+” button and choose “Core Image Filter” from the drop-down list of components. Choose “Crystalize” from the drop-down list. Set the “Radius” to 1 and make sure “Clipping” is set to “Inside Path.” Click onto “Fill” in the style components list and drag it into (visually nested under) the Core Image Filter Group. Click onto the Fill color-well and change the color to white and set the opacity to about 95%.
To add a subtitle, follow the above step to add and edit your text. We used Myriad Pro, regular, 24-pt. When you are satisfied with your text convert it to a shape.
Use the Style Dropper tool to pick up the style from your title text in the previous step and drop it onto your subtitle. In the Style Inspector – Expert pane click “Clone” to duplicate the style. Adjust the radius of the Crystalize effect to 2. Click onto the Fill color-well and choose a yellow color. Since the text is a bit small, we’ll make it crisper by adding another Fill the same yellow with about 30% opacity. Drag the new Fill component to the top of the component list so it is not part of the filter group.
You now have a chalkboard banner with chalk drawings and banner text. Pretty cool!
At this point you can customize your banner by it jazzing up with an image. We added a new layer and placed the Macbook image with our Mac App Store screenshot. Use guides to help get your layout just right. To export for a web banner, choose File > Export… from the main menu and choose PNG at 72-dpi resolution. Tip: We like to run our images though a PNG compressor before uploading to the web and really love PunyPNG.com (free web app) and PNG Compressor (from the Mac App Store).
Use the Style Inspector along with Artboard’s new transform settings to create a polished raised type treatment. It is super easy to apply the style to other shape objects. Read more
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!
Program : Artboard for Mac OSX 1.0+
Topics Covered: Style Inspector; Gradients
Estimated Completion Time: 15-20 minutes
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Here’s how it looks so far with our background object turned on. Not too shabby :)!
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.
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”.)
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.
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.
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.