Illustrator plugins

BEST Illustrator plugins / Plug-ins including perspective, zigzag, stars, hearts, spirals, polygons, gradients etc - also find out more about other plugins from other sites such as MirrorMe and Extend Path and VectorScribe and Drawscribe and Crenelate etc


Our Plugins to buy /Autosaviour Pro / Colliderscribe / Inkscribe/ Rasterino / Stylism / Texturino / Widthscribe / Crenelate / Extend path / MirrorMe / Rosette plugin / Space fill plug-in / Symbol stipplism/ Vectorscribe / Pathscribe / Dynamic measure / Protector / Dynamic shapes/ Dynamic corners/ Smart remove/ Free spiral plugin / Abstract plug-in / Phantasm / halftone plugin / Phantasm and images / Using Phantasm plugin with strokes


Illustrator plugins

These are for CS5 CS4 CS3 etc. Price : $6.49 US Dollars each PC and MAC


Buy Creation plugin set : Stained glass abstract art creation, duplications, circular


Buy Color Path : Grid / Table, Edge, Spiral, Color Effects and more


Buy Two Powerful Gradient tools to manipulate gradients


Buy Multi toolbox: Grid, Mesh, windmill, Paint shapes and more


Buy Zigzag plugin for millions of unique zigzag and border artworks


Buy Perspective Grid plugin 1pt / 2pt guideline creator


Buy Vectorwand: Paint On Effects Toolbox. Toolbox to paint on selected effects


Buy Symbol painting tool : paint with shapes, images, text and symbols etc


Buy Background / extreme textures tool for background and texture generator plugin


Buy Symbols toolkit with many different tools to manipulate symbols in countless ways for the most productive workout of your vector paths


Buy Headline / Banner tool for amazing designs using symbols


Buy Shape FX Creation plugin + warping paths and points plugin


Buy Spiral Tool for millions of unique spiral designs in seconds


Buy Star Cauldron tool / star creation extreme for millions of star themed creations


Buy Heart plugin for 1000s of unique heart and romantic designs


Buy Mesh (and Warp) tool / Paint and gradient mesh effects using selected paths


Buy Pattern / swatch Manipulation tool to create unique pattern artworks for your paths


Buy Scaling / contour-like effects with selected paths


Buy Points Manipulation effects such as warping and distortion of paths and points


Buy Random touch : Spray, Pyramid, noise plugin etc


Buy Layers tools to create interesting 'animations' from layers


Buy Star Burst tool for millions of unique star-bursts and frames


Buy Zoom Lines for manga and effect line generations to create a dramatic touch


Buy Connect tool for grid / lattice / connections / structures


Buy Rain tool / spray and tangles and orbital creations in seconds


Buy Line Toolbox for CS5 CS4 ONLY for the most amazing line segment designs ever


Buy 100 Ring shapes (V86) Ring symbols and shapes


Buy 160 Ripple symbols (V13) Background gallery


Buy 240 Rosettes (V25) Rosette pattern swatches


Buy 220 Rosettes V32 Rosette patterns


Buy 100 Rosette pattern swatches V31 Rosette patterns


Buy 100 Rosette symbols V69 Rosette symbols


Buy 100 Shapes V33 Rosette symbols gallery


Buy 100 Snowflake symbols (V97) Snowflake / festive winter symbols


Buy 595 Snowflake symbols (V24) Snowflake Christmas symbols


Buy 140 3D Sphere / globe / ball symbols (V68) Sphere globe symbols


Buy 270 Spiral symbols (V55) Spiral symbols / shapes


Buy 360 Amazing spirals (V4) Spiral shapes / symbols


Buy 240 Spiral symbols (V48) Spiral symbols and shapes


Buy 100 Triradial swatches (V19) Triradial pattern swatches


Buy 100 Twirl symbols (V88) Twirl symbols and shapes

The Illustrator plug-ins on this site are a mix of tools as well as plugins and include perspective grid, toolboxes, zigzag creation, symbol manipulation, gradient manipulators and many more. The tools all include a vast amount of settings so literally millions of amazing designs can be created with them, They are easy to install, place the AIP files into the Illustrator plugins folder.


testimonial tools for graphicxtras from D J Newman


You can see our plugins on the right but there are a vast amount of plugins around such as the tools from Astute Graphics. You can find more about their wonderful tools on their site. All their plug-ins work in CC 2018 2017 2015 etc (depending on the installer used)


Autosaviour Pro (Astute Graphics ) - A tool to save your work, have to say a useful tool (but luckily for me, the application has never crashed though there are times I felt it was struggling with a lot of artboards) but the tool has a lot more and keeping a nice backup history of previous versions is always useful. It is a feature that I am surprised has not been added into the CC libraries


colliderscribeI like all the tools from Astute Graphics and I could say this or that one is the best, but Colliderscribe is a really decent tool especially for the space fill tool which works on a selected object and fills that in a number of ways such as scaling and rotating items but it can be used for textures and overlays (and of course any of the artworks generated can be exported for use in Photoshop and Affinity Photo etc) but the rotate to collision and snap to collision tools are pretty decent for moving objects around a particular object and spacing options


Inkscribe (Astute) is a neat tool for drawing vector paths and it does include some nice reshape tools, I have certainly found them easier to use than many of the tools (though that has recently has improved in a number of areas such as the curvature tool). The smart remove feature is really super useful. The distance and angle feature is a gem as well and can be used to create some very unusual designs in a few simple clicks, a pleasure to use


Rasterino (Astute) is a nice tool for cropping (along with reduced file sizes instead of just the image clipped or masked), a really useful tool for all kinds of designs (especially for my comic work). The image resolution feature is great as well


stylismStylism (Astute) is a nice but not used as much as perhaps I should but it does allow for instant and responsive live effects such as shadows and transformations and glows. The features are available but manually applying the effect and combining them can be slow, the Stylism combines them all and gives some amazing styles to all kinds of paths. The key panel is the Stylism via the window menu. You can see all the functionality along the top half of the panel. You can have multiple effects applied and you can select them via the current effect dropdown so if you have six effects included on a path then just go to that dropdown and select shadow or inner glow etc and you will see the various controls change on the path. There is a right side or fly-out menu and you add effects via that or remove any of them as well as change the preferences for the controls. Select the drop shadow live effect. shadowChange the strength of the shadow via the graph. Use the sliders on top of the selected path (s) and change the opacity of the shadow as well and blur and offset (change the offset and angle by rotating the controls). Double click the control dots to bring up a dialog to enter the value (though I prefer the interactive sliders). Change the color for the shadow via the little color control. You can add more than a single live effect with Stylism so you can then click on the inner glow or feather or gaussian blur. Click on the gaussian blur and you can then modify the radius of the blur setting. You should note that you can change the order of the applied blurs and shadows etc via the appearance panel. Just select the entry in the panel and drag the blur and shadow up and down the panel. typeThe order of the applied blurs etc does change the overall appearance. You can use the Stylism features with type as well as with strokes and other objects. If you want to apply the styles to more than one path then you may wish to group the artwork. If you have two single paths then the effects are added to both. If you group the paths via the object menu, you will see the drop shadow etc applied to entire group. The free distort is a nice quick distortion of the selected path (it is the same as the free distort found in the application so no new functionality available).The nicest functionality is probably the transform command (obviously it is the same as the standard transform but it does give a lovely interactive feel to creating the multiple paths). Increase the number of copies to more than 1. Scale the design via the red bounding box. Rotate the design via the same bounding box (move outside of the box to see the rotation control). Offset the transform by hovering over the bounding box and dragging left or right etc. transformAs there is no smart object functionality, you can always save the live object to the symbols panel by dragging the entire design into the panel and saving as a dynamic. You can then drag the design back onto the artboard and use as an instance (use with the sprayer tool etc) and then goto the Stylism panel and add shadows and transforms to the instance. You can also go back at any time to the master symbol and double click that design and then edit the underlying Stylism settings for that and any changes to the shadows and transforms are reflected in the new instance on exiting the editing mode. Multiple transforms and shadows can then be added. libraryYou can also add the Stylism design to the CC libraries panel and then restore the artwork at any time and add additional shadows and transforms to that (and probably repeat that many times if you wish). The results of the designs can also be then imported quickly for use in other parts of the Creative cloud such as After Effects and Indesign. The results are also still editable.


Texturino (Astute) is a really lovely tool but one that can be manually recreated but as with all the wonderful Astute Graphics tools, it is just the speed and efficiency and quick ability to change something and keep it all live. Add organic brush strokes and textures to paths in seconds as well as being able to paint on opacity and texture.


contoursWidthscribe (Astute) is a powerful tool set that manipulates the beautiful strokes or width profiles and does it a lot quicker and easier than the width tool itself. You can select multiple lines with strokes and change the width as well as erase width and so much more. Actually really neat for all kinds of textures and backdrops and illustrations as well as more random artwork (which is surprising by the lack of random features in many of the others).


Certain there will be many more wonderful tools to follow, please check them out and they have a neat 14 day trial set for the pc and mac as well as a set of bundles if you don't want to buy any of the tools individually (and cheaper, which is always great).


crenellate filter effect curvius how to use tutorialHow to use crenelate filter / plugin (part of Curvius) in Illustrator to create fascinating stroke effects. Select a path and Effect menu and then Curvius and then Crenelate. Set distance (larger for more spacing between type). Set scaling and slant / skew. Other options such as flip (to create a nice in and out). Varying such as adding a scale along the curve (and skew) for some variation. Type such as square, spike, triangle, semi circle etc. OK. You can use the filter to create all kinds of lovely crenelation stroke effects. You can use closed and open paths with the crenelate. You can use the effect via the effect menu as well as the filters (object). You can apply the effect multiple times to create many unique designs which can be further manipulated in the other tools. You can find the crenelate filter with th superb curvius plugin set on the web.


extend path About Astute Graphics' Extend path plugin for use in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc (part of the Vectorscribe set). To use the extend path plugin, you need a path so go to the Line segment tool and create a very short line. Go to the extend tool path plugin in the toolbar (found beneath the PathScribe tool). Select one of the end points of the line segment (or any other open path). Click and then drag along the displayed preview line to generate the new extended path. Set preferences by double clicking extend path icon


Video tutorial on the subject of extend path by (youtube)


The extend path tool is a powerful tool (from Astute Graphics) to extend paths without the need to manually extend them using other tools such as the join tool to add a spiral etc to a path - you can use it with open paths in 1000s of ways


Double click the extend path tool icon and You will see many options such as

extension mode

radius mode

always use fixed radius




They are all super useful features that can be used even with a single line but they can be used to modify many other types of open paths such spirals or arcs or paths from the curvature tool. It should be noted that some options require others to be set so the extension mode has to be constant radius and spiral for the radius mode to be of use. You can also reverse the paths via the reverse curvature. The spiral option in the extension mode is wonderful for all kinds of spiral designs.


mirrorme panel from window in IllustratorReview / tutorial of MirrorMe Plugin for Illustrator (Plugin from Astute Graphics)CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc. PC and MAC. Select a path for the Mirrorme. Go to the Mirrorme tool in toolbar. Move the origin point of the tool to see the changes / symmetry effects applied to the path. Release


Video tutorial on the Mirrorme subject by (youtube)


You can use the tool with all all kinds of paths (type as well).



Download the installer from Astute Graphics' website - the installer is particularly good as it also includes all the other sets as well and any updates to the sets and it also installs into different versions of the app


Select the plugins you want to install such as mirrorme plugin. Will install to the listed locations for the various versions of the application.


Run the Astute Graphics installer


Once you have installed the set then on startup of the application a dialog appears and gives you the option to run as a trial (a generous couple of weeks) or to activate the plugin (or purchase). Once you have obtained the serial, everything is authenticated via their website and you are off and running.



The plugin appears in the toolbox. Click that and start. OK, that isn't always the case. The plugin works on shapes etc so if there is nothing there and you select the apply to selection option, you will not get anything. You can set up the apply to layer and then add paths. It is that flexible. Double click the toolbox icon (a little butterfly) and a dialog appears with a selection of options.


Additional settings can be found conveniently via the window menu and MM panel (which I found the more useful) as settings


panelThe panel allows for the modification of the position of the center of the axes (though I wish this was a slider instead of a edit field), other options include the number of axes which has a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 72 (I was hoping for 200 or so but I suspect if that was the case, the area for drawing would be minute so 72 is a good maximum) and angle (to change the angle of the axes - again it would be great if this was a slider) and a very useful opacity setting which masks out the area where the paths etc are ignored by the Mirrorme (I set this to 70% but this can range from 0 to 100 % opaque). All the settings are well laid out and useful.


An additional selection of commands are available via the right side menu of the mirrorme plugin panel such as removal of the axes - which is a very useful feature as the axes are a little bit of a distraction once you leave the tool and work with other tools such as the move tool.


active areaThis is one thing I would love to see changed in the mirrorme plugin. Perhaps a color ?? instead of small triangles to define the active sector (which are quite hard to see) I would love to see the area for the active axes in a different color or perhaps slightly bigger markers (a preference perhaps?).


Still, the masking means that it is obvious but sometimes the active area really can get quite lost and I think a variable color would make it even more obvious. Hold down the ALT key to select a new active sector. Shift key to constrain center / origin.



The tool works from existing paths as well as adding paths to the active axis. I say active axis, this is the key axis for the tool. When you apply the plugin you see the axes and the masked out axes are only added to as a copy / mirror of the active axes. This action is very quick (quite impressive) even for fairly complex paths.


To test this, I created a selection of paths and then selected the plugin and passed the axes over the paths (if there are no paths beneath the active axis then you will see no paths in the masked areas) and the copies of the underlying paths were rapidly mirrored around the axes. This can be continued until you are happy with the end result and on release you are offered three selections: cancel, selection and layer. The cancel option means no change.


The layer option adds a persistent center to the Mirrorme axes and this can be used as a center for adding additional paths to the Mirrorme plugin active area (though the active option must be checked to set this in motion as I found that moving items and adding items with it off results in a less than plugin experience). The layer option is very useful and can be used to build up a very complex vector graphic in seconds but the only problem with that is the active area, if you add paths to the active area then that is fine, add paths to the non active area and nothing happens.


The first option is the apply to selection option and this results in an ever changing center of the Mirrorme axes and can result in some wonderful experimentation and shape generation. The selection option does also mean that repeated releases of the mouse and 'selection' results in more and more amazing shape decorative graphics generated and I can only say wow. You can also interactively rotate and shift so new artworks are instantly appearing and many amazing designs can be created in seconds. In many ways, I would love to see an animation feature added to this (other than just using a video capture).


The wonderful thing about the generated shapes are the lack of any breaks in the paths - all the paths are continuous and for that alone I would give a 5 out of 5. Another thing to note is that the selection option only uses the selected designs so if you have unselected paths on the artboard, these are ignored. The layer option works with all the paths on the layer.


typeAs mentioned above, using the layer option means you can define a center (which can be changed) for the mirror axes. Adding new paths whether they are standard paths or text etc can create the most amazing kaleidoscope effects in seconds. This is something that Illustrator has needed for years and years.


This process can be continued over and over and it is quite addictive (you really need to know when to stop). If you add paths to the non active area, they will be just ignored. Only add paths to the active area in Mirrorme and they will then appear in all the other axes


How to manipulate the axes in real time ? Click on the center and move the center of the plugin axes. Hit the axes and rotate the axes. Very easy and yet another way of exploring even more shape decorative graphics.


If only most tools were this easy to use and apply.


The default is to display the annotation dialog after each action and personally it did slightly drive me nuts as this kept popping up. You can turn it off via the Mirrorme preferences and then use the buttons on the Mirrorme plugin panel to control the action. This has some advantages as you can just stick with a particular selection and keep creating more and more complex mirrored designs and the center and the angle of the axes can still be controlled as before (though to fix the selection you have to either double click the butterfly icon or press return. Really depends on how you like to create your mirrored paths, I found both approaches equally good and it is yet another nice well thought out addition.


typeI have to say this is another impressive area that seems to work very well. Apply text to an active axes or use the Mirrorme plugin with selected text and wow. This has to be used with a little caution especially if you are using 72 axes and a lot of text but it is still quick and does an amazing job of creating mirrored text. As with normal paths, you can repeat these actions over and over and create multiple selections of text in seconds. This will be a really useful tool for any fans of creating weird and wonderful text designs. You can also, of course, expand the text and then the text will blend as with the normal paths. The touch type tool worked amazingly well with the plugin - excellent.


The handling of images symbols was the only slight area of disappointment with the Mirrorme plugin. To be fair, it would be amazing if the plugin could pull off creating mirrored designs out of placed images, symbols etc. It does mirror them but you just end up with a set of layered designs. Still, all very useful and this can be repeated over and over to create ever complex graphics. Symbols can be also added in seconds to create copies on the other axes. As with symbols normally, you can always replace the generated symbols via the replace command. You can also, of course, live trace an image. As a vector graphic, the Mirrorme plugin can be applied to the design. You should note that unless the image has been cleaned up, the image has a lot of points - the result of applying results in 1000s of points which can be quite slow.


The layers option does mean that you can use the Mirrorme on different layers to create ever more complex artwork over multiple layers (without affecting the earlier layers which may or may not contain Mirrorme modified artwork).


opacityAll the paths have an applied opacity. In most cases, probably 100% but you can always set the opacity to 10% or change the blending mode to difference etc. This works well across the Mirrorme axes and creates some truly weird and wonderful colorful and paint like designs.


The tool works fine with free transform tool and rotations etc though I did find it slightly confusing when the paths passed over into the non active sectors and the transform options were a little confusing especially with the free transform tool and distort etc.


The Mirrorme plugin works with paths with gradients but only the shape is changed. You cannot use the tool to create totally unique gradients in Adobe AI - what a pity but it would be an amazing feature and probably would break gradients as we know them in Adobe AI if it did. AI has only had linear and radial for zillions of years. No fault of Mirrorme.


curvesThe brushes and pencil tool and other brush strokes seem to work very well with the plugin. You can use the Mirrorme to really create a mirror image in seconds. Apply the brush strokes on one side and the exact mirror brushed strokes are applied to the other side. Very effective and saves a lot of work. Of course, you can try and duplicate this manually but this plugin makes it a whole lot easier to create mirrored art. The Mirrorme effect can be over multiple axes (as with the standard paths) not just a single axis. The tool didn't seem to work amazingly well with the width profiles over multiple axes and the art ended up more like the blob brush default (perhaps there was some setting ??). The blob brush worked very well with the plugin. I have to say the Mirrorme single axis and brushes worked very well and was really good fun. Hours and hours of fun could be had from all these features.


blendsYou can use the tool with blends. This definitely creates some very interesting effects but you will need a very fast (and perhaps a lot of memory) machine to use the Mirrorme with blends. It does seem to work fine but it was fairy slow but it was create 100s of paths as I attempted to create a multi-axes blend. The design looked great but it adds a lot of paths to Illustrator. One to use with a little restraint and perhaps with only one or two axes. Of course, as with many features of the application, you can expand the blend and then use those paths to great effect with Mirrorme.


How to use with effects / live effects / appearance / style. Again, the tool surprises. Select a path inside the active sector of the Mirrorme plugin and then go to the effects menu and apply a filter such as zigzag and the zigzag is repeated in all the axes. The effect is still live so you can move and change the zigzag etc and this is reflected in the axes. You can also expand the appearance and the paths are still mirrored and you then continue to work with the newly zigzag etc path to create ever more complex zigzags. Multiple effects can be applied. Also this can be extended further with the appearance panel and the addition of multiple strokes and multiple fills etc to the active sector paths. Very impressive. I am certain this can get a little out of hand and some effects probably cannot be mirrored well (raster images etc). This can be extended even further with the application of graphic styles to the active sector selected path (s) and these also can be mirrored. It also works well with 3D effects in Adobe AI in that it adds and modifies the underlying design and then the 3D effect is applied on top. Wow.


Pattern swatches are not mirrored (like gradients) across the axes but then the graphic would no longer be a pattern. You can also use the tool in the pattern editor either during the creation of new patterns or the editing of existing ones but be careful as some of the default patterns have a lot of paths and a lot of paths and Mirrorme can create 100s of new paths. Still, the Mirrorme plugin is a powerful tool to create ever more wonderful pattern tiles.


warpThe Mirrorme plugin axes work well with the warping features of the application. Create a set of axes and then create a path or two and apply either the envelope or the warp tools and the you can use the tool to create amazingly warped and curved shapes. The result of twirls etc are not instantly reflected in all the axes (that would be nice but unlikely as many tools take some time to update the screen and generally change the artwork after the release of the mouse). Again, totally impressive. The only trouble with the Mirrorme plugin and warping is that you can sometimes confuse the active sector and I occasionally tried to warp the masked area with to no effect. Guess that is one of those things that come with practice.


MirrorMe can be used with clipping masks. The clipping mask also is duplicated and can be used to great effect to create even more amazing shapes.


MirrorMe is Astute Graphic's best plugin yet. I don't know how they do it but they regularly come up with amazing new tools and ideas that should be in the application itself. This is one amazingly impressive software company and I can warmly recommend this as well as others from the company. Five stars out of five.


rosette tool in Illustrator plugin kimbo how toHow to use the rosette plugin / filter (part of the Kimbo set of Illustrator tools) in CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc. Create a path for the rosette tool. Go to the toolbar. Select the rosette tool (found beneath mirror tool). Select origin point on artboard for the rosette. Rotate rosette tool. Double click the rosette tool to modify settings such as cut to OFF. Set number of lobes. Apply


iconYou don't have to use the tool just once. You can use the tool multiple times with the same path and build a very complex path design in AI.


You can also combine the plugin with other tools in Kimbo as well as other effects in AI. Sadly the tool is not recorded in the actions panel.


Use with single paths

multiple paths

expanded type

expanded symbols



typeYou can place the origin point for the tool anywhere. You can then rotate the divider lobes in anyway and you will see the paths updated.


One issue with the tool is that often leaves splits in the path but this should be avoided by using the cut to OFF


If you wish to use it with type then you have to use the object menu to expand the type and then use it with the tool. If you use the tool with normal type, it is just ignored. To use it with type does require a little trial and error and I have found it works best with setting the origin point at the far left middle of the type


panelThe settings for the powerful plugin tool for AI

The cut option is for clipping

The mirror option is for a mirror effect (quite nice)

Lobes - you can modify the number of lobes also via the arrow keys


space fillThe space fill plugin is a plugin in Astute Graphics ColliderScribe plugin set for use in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015.


Create a path such as rectangle (this is the path to be filled) as a container for the 'space fill' plugin. Create a path or multiple paths and these are the paths that are used to fill the first path using the space fill plugin. Select all of them. Go to the window menu and colliderscribe and select the space fill plugin panel. Set the various settings (to be explained) and then click "make"


The effect is a super powerful tool for filling paths with other paths. To use, simply select a large path (the fill) and select a smaller path or paths and then use the tool's panel. It is a live effect so the any results can be modified at any point unless you click the release.


Video tutorial on the subject of space fill by (youtube)


The plugin works with all kinds of paths such as type and also normal paths. It can be filled with different colorful paths. You can fill the paths with type. You can fill the paths with all kinds of stroked open lines and curved paths to create amazing sketch artworks, grid designs, line artworks and more. The key thing is that the main path is 'bigger' than the filler paths. The tool fills paths with paths (it does work with symbols etc but it works best with paths and type). It is part of the ColliderScribe set from Astute Graphics and works in CC 2018 2017 2015 etc


The space fill has a limited set of features but as the sources for the paths and the fill paths can be unlimited then the results are equally unlimited as well even with a small selection of commands. While you are using the effect, you can also use other tools such as the color guide to re-color the artwork. You can do this afterwards or during the process of the tool. You can also use the adjust colors and others. You can also use other filters such as warps etc and continue to randomize the effect. You can also randomize the effect if you are using tools such as extrude filter though you cannot do it while the filter is active and the modal panel is displayed. Once you have applied the extrude, you can still randomize and change the effect with the extruded filter applied so the 3D box will change as you click the randomize (note that it will be slow). If you change your mind during the creation of the path generation, you can always click the release and you can then access the original paths again and change them and re-start the make. You can also expand the result and use them as normal paths and use tools such as pathfinder etc to create new paths using the results of the effect.


The tool includes many different settings as well as randomization features such as scale and rotation. One really nice feature is the re-size and rotation features (something that would be useful in 99% of the tools in AI). Resize all filling art (set the 'default' size for the fill paths). Vary size (set to 2 to randomize the size of the fill paths between 100% and 200% of the 'default' size). Vary rotation (randomize from 0 to 360 degrees) If you want to create a more grid like design, it is probably best to avoid that setting. Multiply filling art (basically the number of copies of the fill paths to be created). Auto update - keep it on unless things are super slow. The multiply filling art setting works for all art selected individually so if you select three artworks to use in the fill and the setting is 50 then 150 different pieces of artwork will be generated by the tool. Uniformity takes up quite a bit of the panel but the differences between the minimum and maximum are (personally) minimal in most examples I have created. You can see subtle changes if you change the - to the + as the paths seem to line up in an internal grid. The centers and outlines methods are much the same, perhaps one showing a better result than the other though I generally keep it on centers. Outlines is definitely slower (and supposedly more accurate though I am not sure what that means with a random spread). The seed is useful if you wish to get consistent results such as enter 1 or 2 etc and then you can always enter that the next time. I generally just click the randomize and wish there was auto randomize. Click randomize over and over and you can see a randomization of the position of the filling paths so the size / rotation / color (if they are in different colors) will change.


You can also use it with normal type. Unfortunately you cannot select type and type together but you can expand the type (for the fill) and also then use the normal type with that (and still release it and change the type as required)


You can use individual paths but you can also just select two or more and then use the grouping via the object menu and group and then the paths will be joined as an individual path and will be re-sized and rotated together. So if you want to apply a path with a shadow path below then you can group them and the tool will spread that set of paths throughout the selected artwork. You can also create multiple groups of paths and use those with the tool


symbol stipplismHow to use the Astute Graphic's Symbol Stipplism plugin for Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc. Effects menu (for the stipplism plugin from Astute Graphics). Select a normal path for the symbol stipplism to work with. Stipplism. Symbol stipple (symbol stipplism plugin). Set symbol from the symbols list. Set density. Set overall scale. Set preview on for the plugin panel. OK


Video tutorial on the stipplism subject by (youtube)


The SSP uses symbols as source material. The presets for the tool can be made of all kinds of paths and designs. The presets can be type, brush strokes, images, compound paths, multiple paths, distorted paths, colorful paths and more.


panelYou can see the dialog when you select a path or paths and you go to the effects menu and SSP.


The dialog comes with a large number of options such as a seed (which randomizes the whole thing but usefully you can store the random seed and return it via the store and recall as well as skip through the various stored random seeds which is very useful).


The density controls how many or how few of the objects that are generated within the space of the selected path. There is also a quality section which reduces or increases the quality of the generated result but I have not noticed much difference (it is subtle). Actually the quality is probably my least used slider in the plugin. I am certain that many others will find the quality slider of a lot of use.


symbol stipplism varying scaleYou have a dot section but you can select the required preset from a list which sadly is not visual so you better name your shapes / presets in a sensible manner. There is a variants feature which is useful but that requires you to use a naming convention for the presets and that can be found on the Astute website as there are many interesting features you can add simply by naming them in different ways but it is a fairly obscure language setup.


You can change the overall scale of the selected preset though you could do that at the actual creation of the preset as well as setting the angle / rotation.


The image on the right has the vary scale set to 2 so you have small and big spots (they are the same spot). You can also vary the scale and rotation which is useful so you can make all the presets between twice the size and the actual size (not totally flexible if you wish to have them range between 1/2 and 2 but I guess you can set the item up and then scale between 1 and 4 instead to get the same ratio). You can set the rotation to follow the path which is quite useful to create interesting frames etc


colorize images in symbol stipplism using linesYou can colorize the presets as well based on the color of the selected object or to an actual color (though sadly not randomized). You can also preview the result which is quite useful. That is the basic setup of the tool but you can use the tool in 1000s of ways with different paths and presets to create a near infinite range of artworks. There is an option to use the registration point and that appears at first to have no use but you can change the result of the plugin by editing the preset's registration point (you can see that when you edit a preset and move the object away from the center of the initial position). Changing the registration radically re-positions the artwork if the artwork is still live.


You could use the default setup of the panel but if you want to create some interesting artwork then perhaps you might like to check out the many artworks on this site as well as creating your own.


You can add really basic shapes to the panel such as a line or perhaps an image or perhaps use multiple colorful lines or perhaps circles or triangles and even with very basic shapes you can create all kinds of interesting artwork but you can also add very complex artwork to the presets panel as well and then use that with the plugin tool. The key thing is to setup the panel in the best way for the best results for the tool and that is a clean (without the default items) and well named set as the dropdown of the presets does not display the image of the preset so you have only the name to go by.


symbol stipplism with graphicxtras symbolsTo use, you can select multiple objects and then use the SSP. To work, you must have at least one preset to be able to select from the presets list. Set the preview to be on otherwise you will see nothing but if you have a complex imagery then perhaps it is best to leave the preview off.


Once you have finished, click OK and then to use the item as a set of actual paths that can be used in AI, use the object menu and expand appearance and then expand command. You can also use the artworks as live effects and you can modify the result via the appearance panel. If you select the artwork, go to the appearance panel and you will see the SSP line. You can edit the effect by clicking on that line. You can also add additional fills and strokes to the artwork but do this, move the stipplism line to the fill or move it to the stroke section on the appearance panel.


circular designYou can use the SSP with fills as well as strokes. You can fill artworks with many paths, you can fill stroke paths with lots of generated paths as well


With the appearance panel, you can add the effect multiple times to multiple strokes attached to a single path to create all kinds of complex path designs.


You can also combine the effect with width profiles as dash styles - this means that some parts of the path will have generated SSP paths and other parts will be empty depending on the width profile and the dash style.


You can select an image and use the plugin with that so you can turn any image into a vector made up of lines or dots or triangles or rings or etc any kind of item that can be stored as a preset. You can add all the other options such as varying the size of the preset as well as rotation as well as changing the density and the higher and better the quality, the better the image will look. You can then again expand the result and appearance. If you wish to combine the image and the effect then the only way would be to duplicate the original artwork and add the effect to the duplicated result. You can then blend the image and the vector using blending modes.


You can select type (live type) and then use that with the presets and the SSP. You can use all the same tools such as rotation and random rotation and density and scaling etc. You can also add into the mix all the other effects as well via the appearance panel and other fills etc. You can also use type as a preset and then add the same type or different type to the currently selected text. All number of combinations of text and text can be generated and expanded though the more complex the text, the slower the render of the final result. You can have a whole page of text as a preset and then use that in the SSP. The tool is yet another wow tool from Astute Graphics and the number of features and possible creative solutions are virtually unlimited. You can find more about the plugin set via the graphicxtras channel on as well as, of course, the Astute Graphics site


how to use vectorscribe plugin astute graphics tutorialVectorScribe plugin / filter for use with Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc. Start the application to access the VectorScribe plugin. Go to the toolbar, Select the vectorscribe : pathscribe tool, extend path tool, smart remove tool etc, Apply to paths etc. Overall.. 9.5/10 effects tool. I found most of the tools very useful and will use in many different projects such as creating custom shapes, brush designs and more.


Video tutorial on the subject of Vectorscribe by (youtube)


Vectorscribe plugin is a powerful plugin set from Astute Graphics - check out their website for the super trial plugin set



The new version add many new features to the existing tools as well as the introduction of some new tools such as the Smart Remove brush and extend path plugin tool. They generally work on paths but some such as the dynamic shapes create new and unique shapes in CC CS6 etc. The VectorScribe filter also has proved very useful - this time in the manipulation of paths.


Manipulation of paths is key to the application and the vector Scribe filter path manipulation is achievable with the standard tools 'but' (and it is a big but) the VectorScribe tools are super easy to use and much faster (and instinctive) than the main application's cumbersome point tools.



The set adds a few new tools to the tool box as well as some new panels to the window panel. To get the full tool you need the toolbox and the panels, and there are an awful lot of settings available on those panels but they are generally all well laid out and fairly obvious in their use.



Pathscribe - It is a powerful tool to manipulate segments, you can drag segments and re-shape a path in 1000s of different ways. Instead of the standard technique of working from the points, this filter works on paths so you can click anywhere along the path and manipulate the path - in most cases this works really well and you can pull and push the paths to create some truly unique shape decorative graphics without adding any additional points. All very effective and very useful. I have already used the filter to create many weird and wonderful shape decorative graphics. You can also manipulate the path / points using the numerical input. The only thing I would love to see there is an up-down control so I can shift the points 1pt at a time. Just entering numbers is such a cold way to approach path editing. You can also smooth points, split paths - all very useful features. If you select a symbol and then expand via the object menu, you can then use the plugin to manipulate all kinds of symbols. Select a path and Go to the pathscribe plugin (vectorscribe) in toolbar and Select a segment or anchor point / corner point on the path or select multiple points and then Drag using the pathscribe up / down and left / right etc and you can then Manipulate the entire path by repeating


measure tool

Dynamic measure - Interesting tool, certain there are many great uses for it. Great for showing distances between certain parts of a path, as well as angle. Neat. The generated measurements can also be converted to standard paths which are then locked. The preferences dialog alone comes with more options than you find in many filters. For example, Select dynamic measure tool in toolbar. Click anywhere in the document. Drag the tool to another position (you will see a display giving details of distance etc) When you pass over a path, you will see an indicator saying how many points etc and then Click to endprotector


Protector - A quick way to modify the constraining angles used by the main application. Not exactly certain I will ever use this but I am certain there might be times. I use smart guides but generally only in 45 degrees but perhaps I would like them to be in 30 degrees (why not 10 degrees?)


Dynamic shapes pie slice- Have to say this was the least useful tool for me. Allows the creation of a donut, rectangular which is fine but I can create those easily enough with the tools at hand. There also a number of other shapes such as stars etc. Still, the tools allow for the dynamic manipulation of the design which is certainly a step beyond the existing tools - I guess there are times when I might want to re-size the outer diameter / inner diameter / number of points of a design. Begs the questions with CC etc, why are these features not in the standard tools - what with smart objects / live effects, all the toolbox tools seem to be very much stuck in the old pre-effects world (though there are now a few live shapes such as live line segment tool). Anyway, the results were OK but I did struggle with the tool to generate various designs (not that the tool was difficult to use, it just found it a lot harder to generate a path with the tool than using the default tools) though perhaps with more time spent on the tool I would have a greater understanding and instinctive feel to what the tool will generate. This tool definitely does require the panel before any use. It offers the shape, size, corner settings as well as the option to pie slice the shape (which was quite a useful feature). Most of the inputs were numeric but as you can interactively modify the control points of the dynamic shapes an up/down option is probably not so useful - the sides did allow for the dynamic modification via an up / down control. I would love to see more shapes, as the shapes selection is basic and matches the ones that come with main application (other than the donut / ring) - but then again, the application has always had a limited range of shapes and that has barely changed since whenever. I would love to see more basic core shapes such as L-shaped designs, T-shape decorative graphics, connectors. All of these surely are possible and could be dynamic, would be an even better addition to the toolbox. The end results were good but it was for me like working with treacle but perhaps with time and familiarity with the tool I might be able to create some truly awesome masterpiece made out of the dynamic donuts - at the moment, I just couldn't see it. With VS 2, there is also shape recognition - which works really well with circles, stars etc and is a quick way of converting standard shapes into dynamic shapes


dynamic cornersDynamic corners - At first, this tool looked the least useful.. sorry, corners! OK, totally unfair - I love this tool. Curved corners added to points is a really useful feature for me as I often generate designs using a rectangle and then work from that into a more complex graphic. Now I can add (at any point of the process) rounding to the corners - creating some truly beautiful curved forms in second. Add and modify corners in seconds - stunning. Offers three options of corners as well: regular, negative and chamfered. The tool did crash but that was with a fairly complex path and one with a mix of other dynamic corners - perhaps the tool was pushed a little too far. One feature that did disturb was when I created a shape and applied the corners, then creating a new shape and then applying the corners again - the previous shape jumps into life with the corners appearing to be re-modified as I change the new shape (even though the shape hasn't been selected). The recent update allows for the remove of the dynamic status - which is quite useful to remove the error but it is also useful when using the path in other parts of the application. I love the dynamic nature but at the same time I like a quick and easy way to remove it when I no longer need the path to be dynamic. So I love the 'remove dynamic status'. Dynamic corners with VS 2 is now even more powerful with far more interactive corners (hold down the ALT / option key to activate) and the path becomes alive - great for creating even more amazing shapes using the dynamic corners. For example - goto the Window menu and then Vectorscribe and Dynamic corners panel. Select the dynamic corners tool and Hover over a corner in a path. Click and change the corner / round the corner. Repeat with other corners


smart removeSmart remove - Weird that this is called a brush but then again, I just think of brushes as tools anyway - it is a smart cleanup tool that removes excessive points from paths. This tool can be modified to change the size of influence as well as the tolerance (remove more or less points from the path though this sometimes can make minor changes to the path's curve - you have to decide how far to go with the point removal). The tool can only go so far and some points cannot be removed (I suppose they could but then the path would be radically changed). Found the smart remove tool worked very well with my projects and proved very useful in removing a lot of points from expanded width profiles, twirl effects, blobs, etc. The smart remove works, supposedly, with very large complex paths but I never tested it with really complex paths as I found it slightly too slow on my old machine - certain it handles complex paths perfectly well on more powerful machines. A very useful addition to the toolkit. The image on the right has two paths, the top path created using the blob tool has about 300 points. The bottom path after using smart remove brush has about 10 points (sadly, I cannot snapshot that as the points de-select on taking a screen capture). For example : Draw a line or two with the blob brush in Illustrator toolbar (beneath paintbrush) and then Select the blob design. Go to the toolbar and select the smart remove brush (beneath the pathscribe tool). Click and 'paint' over the blob brush path to remove points from the brush


free spiralSpiral plugin tool for Illustrator CC 2018 2017 Mac - use it as a tool via the toolbar for 1000s and 1000s of amazing paths. Download free spiral plugin and unzip. Add AIP free spiral plugin to the plugins path and re-start the application. Go to the line segment tool in the toolbox. Select one of the spiral tools in the group (abstract etc). Set the color of the fill and stroke. Apply on the artboard. It is a powerful tool that appears in the toolbar beneath the line segment tool. It can be used to create all kinds of unusual as well as basic and useful artworks that you can combine with your own paths


Video tutorial about the subject of spiral plugin by (youtube)



It works via the toolbox. It includes 5 tools with millions of great ways to create unique paths. It is a free tool as well and at the present, more an experimental form and will be extended with new tools as well at some point. It is also only for the mac at the moment and at some point, the PC. Anyway, the key thing is for you to download the set if you wish to use it and you can find it via our updates section


FREE download of the spiral set for CC 2018 2017 etc


The tool creates paths in 1000s of different forms via five tools included in the set (all in a single AIP plugin). The tool can be found beneath the line segment tool. It is an experimental tool and will have its odd quirks and ways of doing things but I think you will find it can generate quite a lot of different and unusual as well as basic paths.


archimedeanTo install : Please place the AIP file in Go the finder on the mac and Go to folder command and type ~/Library then Application Support > Adobe > Adobe Illustrator 21 > en_GB (or US etc) > Plug-ins. Start the application and then go to the toolbar and find the tool there


Select the tool in the toolbar - select the first entry of the new tool set added to the toolbar. Set the colors to fill = nil and stroke = black. Drag left to right on the artboard to create the path and change the size. Release mouse to create final result. Hold down the shift and drag the cursor across the artboard. You will notice that as you move leftwards that the number of arms will vanish, the more you go right and you will see more arms. Again, just release the mouse once you are happy (as on the right). Hold down the cmd to change the decay so you will get closer arms. Hold down the space to squeeze the center. Hold down the option for a more square as well as creased design


There are other combinations as well as these will be listed in other tutorials (as well as probably a video or two). You can also modify the generated path (after releasing the mouse) but you can modify it as you create it by holding down modifier keys such as shift, option key, cmd etc. The modification only lasts as long as you hold down the mouse and release and generate the new path. Once you re-select the tool, it will go back to the default state (that may change at some point)


scratchy abstractThe other tools included in the set create even stranger designs. The abstract tool which creates abstract lines / paths - it would be tricky to do this manually and the results will be unique each and every time. You can also modify the abstract tool using the shift / cmd etc keys and they work in much the same way with the abstract tool as the main tool. Perhaps with the abstract, the modifiers will be of less use. You can create countless abstract designs simply by clicking the artboard and each generated path will be different from the last. Of course, you can always use tools such as the join tool to join them together. Or click on the color tools to re-color the lines (the examples show them in black but you can have them in green etc or perhaps use them as a symbol or use them as a brush source or perhaps add a width profile or brush stroke to the lines. The right image shows a number of applies of the tool to create doodles and sketched designs.


doodleThere is a 'curved ' tool which creates subtle random jittered designs.


The create tool which basically creates vector arms or not - this can be used to create all kinds of abstract and scratchy designs in your projects


The last tool is gap tool and create art with a constant gap between the arms.


All the tools are modified in much the same way as the first tool with the modifiers such as space, cmd key etc. You can apply the tool once or multiple times to create any number of paths as well as change the color of the paths, add effects to the lines and much more. They are just standard paths that can be modified by tools such as live effects to add blurs or zigzags etc to the path


phantasmAstute Graphics' Phantasm plugin collection is an amazing set of tools to manipulate color and more for any selected paths. Phantasm includes a wide range such as brightness, curves, desaturate, duotone, exposure, halftone, hue / saturation, invert, levels, Prepress correct, Shift to color and Temperature / tint. They are available in three ways via the Phantasm panel and the filters (object menu) and effect menu (as well as via the appearance panel once you have added the individual effects). They are basically Photoshop inside the application for color controls. Probably the easiest way to use Phantasm is the panel as it neatly combines all the functionality in one nice panel with access to all the live effects such as color controls and curves and halftone. Find the Phantasm panel via the window menu. Once you have that and selected your paths, you can then manipulate the color by moving the sliders such as brightness, hue / saturation etc. The levels, duotone, halftone and curves are all accessible in the panel by clicking the button along the top of the panel for the respective controls. You will then see a panel displayed for that control such as levels panel and halftone panel. When you have accessed the effect, you will see a little cross beside the control indicating that you can remove the effect (as well as showing you that something has been changed from the defaults). Some of the settings are really easy to use such as invert and desaturate as they do just one action and invert etc the current color. All the controls are accumulative so no one control takes the lead though if you go for the halftone, basically the results of any color change are fairly lost if you go for monochrome (will discuss halftone in more detail below). You can apply all the color settings to the fill as well as stroke as well as text and even embedded images.


hueHow to use the different controls, well you can just move the sliders so in hue / saturation you will see the hue change for the selected paths and the saturation changes for the selected paths. If you want even more control, click on the left side control for the sliders (little thumbnail) and the panel will appear and more options will be available that could possibly added to a single overall panel. You can colorize the paths (as you would in Photoshop) to set everything to reds or greens etc. You can then control the reds and greens etc as well as the master settings and the different apply settings. You can also go from the basic mode to advanced via the options section (this is the same with all the plugins and nothing special to hue / saturation) and a load more options are available such as ignore white, rich black, overprint pure black, accurate gradient adjustment, auto rasterize etc. The Phantasm has a large range of presets to choose from as well such as pre-press corrections etc. You can tweak the colors in numerous ways.


You can also use the Phantasm with type though this is for the entire selected type (if you use the tool with the filters then the type can be changed on a character by character basis). You can tweak the color of the text in generally the same ways as any other fill / stroke etc for other paths.


phantasm gradientYou can also use the tool with paths with gradients. Select a path with a gradient and then just manipulate the hue / saturation etc for the gradient stops and you will see your blue and green gradient change into a red and yellow etc. One feature that does not appear to be in the Phantasm is any randomness. You cannot say apply the tool and get a selection of random reds and random greens etc as you change the slider, a between a minimum and maximum setting so when you change the color stops of the gradients, all the changes are uniform and expected. The Phantasm also works well with patterns so if you have a path with a pattern fill then that is also tweaked by the hue / saturation and levels as well as halftone (which does create some interesting spotted designs).


appearanceYou can also use the tool combined with the fills and strokes in the appearance panel. To use it with strokes, just de-select the fill setting. If you have no strokes then it will be ignored. The appearance panel though does mean you can color the selected item in the appearance panel. The key thing is that they are applied to correct fill so drag the Phantasm entries to the correct fill or stroke and then combine multiple fills with multiple plugins applied. You can always duplicate the Phantasm entries and then drag into the other fills and again they will be combined depending on the blending modes. You can also have the entries associated with no entries and therefore working for all the fills at the same time.


halftoneDiscussed the wonderful color features of Phantasm but one of my favorites in the plugin set has to be the halftone. It is similar to a few other tools from Astute but it is still a really great tool for all kinds of wonderful dot themed designs. Access it via the filters and effect as well as panel. The panel is the easiest and just click the halftone button along the top bar of the panel. You will then get a pretty comprehensive panel of controls (not all will be explained here). This tool can require a little setup as it enables the use of characters and symbols. The characters are easy as they are just the fonts installed but it does mean that you can use the font designs such as those available on this site and they can be installed for use with the tool. The preset symbols can be added before you use the halftone via the libraries functionality and you can find a whole heap of preset libraries to use with the tool via this site and, of course, you can always create your own designs for the halftone presets and add them with names to the presets panel. Once you have added them, they will be available to the dropdown in the panel. The selected path is turned into a halftone and by default, a set of dots. You can select a number of presets via the settings panel such as abstract etc to create a whole range of unique designs from any selected path. You have different types such as monochrome (you can change the color used from white to red etc) and RGB and sampled. You have different patterns such as grid and radial etc as well as different spokes. You can change the dpi (the lower, the bigger the dots) as well as the grid angle. You can change the undercoat from black to red or green etc. You can also change the angle of the grid relative to the artboard etc and change the origin etc of the center of rotation. The dot properties allow for even more creative options as you can change it from a dot to square to lines and characters (where you can use the options to change the font and characters etc) as well as selecting from the presets panel for 1000s of possible designs (sadly there is no random or ordered selection feature). You can scale the dots or lines etc vertically and horizontally and change the size by the tints (great with gradients and patterns). There are a few more interesting options such as dot gain to modify how the characters etc are shown. All the current settings can be saved as a preset via the settings manager. The halftone is a really useful tool to use with paths as well as gradients and patterns.


typeThe halftone can also be used with type to create all kinds of lovely type effects with standard fonts as well as fonts with designs so you can create type with type included (the same font or not). It is all live so the type can be changed and the effect will be updated.


imageYou can also use it with images so any image can be converted into a selection of dots and lines and characters as well as presets. As images can also be used as a preset, you can then fill the image with a halftone based on itself.


You can imagesuse the Phantasm plugins for Illustrator with images. You can use images with all the tools such as halftone as well as hue / saturation, basically as you would in Photoshop. Select any image via the file open command or place the image and then go to the Phantasm panel in the window menu and then select the functionality required to recolor the artwork such as clicking the duotone. Set the active tones and colors and change tint as required. Click OK. You can change the images changes at any point via the appearance panel by clicking the entry such as duotone or hue / saturation. You can use the desaturate with images (just click ON to use that entry) to create all kinds of amazing grayscale / black and white artworks by combining the desaturate with hue / saturation as well as duotone etc, generating really wonder deep blacks with images which can be modified and tweaked endlessly depending on the project.


You strokecan use the Phantasm plugin with brushes as well to create super wow strokes in seconds. The key thing is to import a library of strokes and select them to add them to the preset's panel. Once in the panel, go to the paint tool and apply some strokes to the artwork (set the stroke weight etc as required and tweak the preset via the preset panel. Go to the Phantasm panel and then tweak the hue / saturation as well as the brightness / contrast for the selected stroke and you will see the live changes. You can also see the entries for the stroke appear in the appearance panel and that is the easiest way of editing the stroke and effect by clicking on that entry. You can also click the halftone and that will then bring a whole range of dots and lines and squares and other presets and characters to the stroke and they can all be applied in real time. you can set the dpi, scale etc for the halftone. Once you have your stroke effect, you can apply it again and again and change the settings via the appearance / Phantasm panel. You can also save the effect to the styles panel if you wish. You can use this amazing plugin from Astute Graphics to bring a new dimensions to your strokes. You can also use the effects to create new and unique presets that can be saved to the preset library and used in future projects simply by using the effect with a standard path and then dragging that design into the preset library and setting it as a scatter or art stroke.


You can find more about the Astute Graphics plugins here


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