Vector Studio 2.0 : Sampler Tools

(1) Color (2) Transparency (3) Weight (4) Weighted Transform Tools

The basic idea behind Sampler Tools is to set up simple rules for editing multiple objects. For example, if you want to lighten all of the colors in a particular part of your drawing, all you do is select those objects, choose the Color Tool, and adjust a single lightness slider. This type of adjustment is referred to as Tuning (). Sampler Tools also includes the notion of sampling, or using one object to control the appearance of other objects. For example, with Image Sampling (), you can use a scan or painted image to re-color a collection of objects. (Note that image sampling is not confined to using a raster; any Illustrator object will work as an image source). Once again, the interaction is very simple: select the objects that you want to re-colorize and then an object to use as a sample. For each object selected, the color at that position in the image is sampled and used to change the fill and stroke of the selection. Another sampling option in Sampler Tools is Gradient Sampling (), which works like image sampling. You simply drag out a gradient, and the colors of the gradient are used to re-color the current selections.

In the following examples we will show you the various Sampler Tools and how to use them.

Here's an animation of an artistic rendering of a mango. The three basic steps are:
Step 1)
Place an object in the document for reference. The mango shown was created in Illustrator using the Retouch Brushes, but you can use any object you desire.
Step 2) Draw out the strokes with Paintbrush tool in Illustrator. Note that to avoid modifying the selected brush strokes, turn the "Keep Selected" option off in the Paintbrush preferences. (Double-click on the paintbrush tool icon to access the options).
Step 3) With the Color Tool, use the Image Sampling method to colorize the strokes.

This example shows how you can create illustrations that have a painterly feel to them by using the Paintbrush with an Art brush applied. Like the mango animation above, the strokes are drawn out (middle picture below) and the original image (left picture) is sampled to re-colorize the strokes in the finished drawing (right picture).

Since the resulting flower remains vector-based, you can easily modify any attributes of the strokes. Changing the path's brush, transparency or stroke thickness lets you create an unlimited variety of drawings rich in color and detail. Also, since you layout the brush strokes, you have complete control over the character and contours of paths, something impossible with simple filters.

The following designs were all created with the same set of strokes with various brush styles applied.

This is another example done using the same technique as shown above. Once again, the only difference between these different drawings is the brush style - a single click on the brush palette!

In addition to strokes, you can also apply image sampling to filled paths. In this example Illustrator's Hatch Effects filter (Filter>Pen & Ink>Hatch Effect) was used to create a collection of paths. (Note that you must unmask and ungroup the result of the Hatch Effects filter). The second picture was made from the first picture by distorting the paths with Liquify's Wrinkle Tool, and changing the mix mode in the transparency palette to multiply.

Not only does this tool work well on paths, but it also works beautifully with gradient mesh objects! In this example, we create a bunch of grapes by making multiple copies of a gradient mesh and using Image Sampling to copy the colors from the scan of the grapes to the gradient mesh vertex colors.

After performing the image sampling, you can vary all the colors of the mesh with the Tuning variation of the Color Tool. The Tuning mode supports adjustment in the HSB, CMYK, and RGB color spaces. In this example, a Hue shift is used. The Tuning mode features an interactive slider that shows up directly on the artboard, rather than in a dialog, allowing you to focus on your design. However, if you need them, dialogs with all the options are a mouse click away. Colors can be randomized in all three interaction methods as an option in the dialogs.

So far we have only explained two variations of the Color tool: Tuning () and Image sampling (). We will now describe the third method called Gradient Sampling (). The following animation shows how you can sample () the gradient from the document (holding Shift with Color Tool) and easily re-color the collection of circles. You can also see that Gradient sampling comes with two different interactions: Linear and Radial.

Similar to the Color Tool, the Transparency Tool comes packed with three different interactions: Tuning, Image, and Gradient methods. Like the color image sampling, you can use an image to define opacity values. The Tuning variation comes in handy when you want to change many objects at the same time: just make a selection and then drag with the Transparency Tool. The Gradient sampling method, as shown below, works beautifully when you want to control various objects at the same time!

Sampler Tools (as well as Retouch Brushes) allows you to assign weights to objects, which can attenuate or accentuate the application of a tool. Assigning weights to objects is a very simple task, but can be a very powerful tool. Take a lightening example: Suppose you do not want to uniformly lighten colors in the selections (with the Color tool), but rather you want them to get progressively lighter from left to right. With Sampler Tools, you can assign lower weights to the left and higher weights to the right. The objects with the higher weights will be affected more dramatically by the lightening. Just like the Color and Transparency Tools, the Weight Tool allows assignment of weights in three different interactions: Tuning, Image, and Gradient sampling. Weights can be randomized in all three interaction methods as an option in the dialogs.

The Weighted Transform Tool also utilizes the weight values. The default behavior, called global transform, of the weighted transform tool is to scale, rotate, or translate all selected objects relative to the same position on the page, while honoring whatever weights have been assigned to them. A variant of the tool, called local transform, allows transformations to be done relative to the position of each selected object. To access this variant, Shift-click on any of the currently selected objects. You can then manipulate the transform handles of that object and all of the other objects will follow suit. .

In the following animation we are performing a local rotation with weights distributed from the center of the selection. In the first frame, you can see the transform handles drawn at the center. This represents a local transformation. Scale and translation can also be done.

Sampler Tools is tightly integrated into Illustrator's working environment. As with all of Vector Studio 2.0 tools, Sampler Tools integrates Smart Guides and Snap to Grid features, giving you better control and precision in editing your designs. To make the tools even more useful, all of our tools come with shortcut keys so you can spend more time with your design and less time changing controls.

For additional convenience, Sampler Tools does not require a selection. If there is no selection on mouse down, all the objects on the current layer are used. It's a handy feature not only because you don't have to make a selection, but also because the "blue" selection outlines can distort the perception of colors.

Sampler Tool is a complete package that lets you create illustrations that are stunning in subtlety and detail while retaining the all important editability of vector drawing systems!

[ Main ] [ Palette Shepherd ] [ Direction Handler ] [ Zoom Lens ] [ Sampler Tools ]
[ Retouch Brushes ] [ Wrinkle Remover ] [ Gradient Factory ] [ Gradient Texture ]

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