How to use symbol stipplism plugin for Illustrator tutorial

How to use the Astute Graphic's Symbol Stipplism plugin for Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc

Symbol stipplism plugin for Illustrator

symbol stipplism plugin from astute graphics for Illustrator to create all kinds of backgrounds squares
  1. Illustrator Effects menu (for the stipplism plugin from Astute Graphics)

  2. Select a normal path for the symbol stipplism to work with

  3. Stipplism

  4. Symbol stipple (symbol stipplism plugin)

  5. Set symbol from the symbols list

  6. Set density

  7. Set overall scale

  8. Set preview on for the Illustrator plugin panel

  9. OK


Video tutorial on the 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.


Buy Price :$6.49 US Dollars 100 Flower shapes for use in the plugin (V87) gallery


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.


You 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 thea 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


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