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[Editor's Note: Folks, some time ago we reported on Artlandia's sister product for Adobe Illustrator... now they sweep away the patterns field with Artlandia SymmetryShop for Photoshop! Click images for enlargements...

Artlandia SymmetryShop Intro

spectacular patterns and textures in Photoshop...

SymmetryShop fully automates pattern design in Photoshop. The plug-in creates a pattern in a new layer, called the "SymmetryShop Layer." Your original image is left intact and can be accessed through the Layers palette after you exit SymmetryShop. If you select a part of the original image as a source (motif) of the pattern before launching SymmetryShop, the plug-in will save your selection in an alpha channel called the "SymmetryShop Selection." The channel can be found later in the Channels palette. The plug-in further adds another alpha channel, called the "SymmetryShop Tile." It contains the exact rectangle that you can use to create a Photoshop pattern preset. Finally, the plug-in adds a work path (or modifies the existing work path) to include the control path that defines the repeat size and orientation of your pattern.

Taken together, these features allow you to continue working on your pattern design for a long time after it has been created, throughout many invocations of the plug-in in multiple Photoshop sessions.

Your first pattern

To make your first pattern, open an existing RGB or CMYK image file and choose File > Automate > SymmetryShop.... This brings up the SymmetryShop palette and builds a pattern. The created pattern will remain in the artwork after you return to Photoshop.

Notice that a part of the original image was used as a "seed" (motif) of the pattern. The plug-in replicates the seed and transforms it as necessary to produce a pattern according to symmetry laws.

User Selection
By supporting user selection, Artlandia SymmetryShop creates organic, interlocking patterns.

A pattern typically consists of a number of "tiles." Each tile consists of one or more smaller units of repetition. Each smaller unit is identical to the seed and called an "image" of the seed. How the images are stacked together depends on the chosen symmetry type. Changing the symmetry in the SymmetryShop palette lets you quickly generate a variety of visual effects from the same seed. Preset layouts give you even greater flexibility by allowing you to create different-looking variations within the same symmetry type.

repeating pattern
The user can interactively change the symmetry type, layout, repeat size, and other parameters.

As with many other Photoshop plug-ins, you can select a part of your artwork before launching SymmetryShop. The plug-in then uses only the selected part of the seed layer to build a pattern. If you do not select anything, the plug-in automatically selects a geometric region appropriate for your symmetry type. The automatic selection, which is based on the control path (see below), often brings about patterns that appear "mechanical" or kaleidoscopic. In contrast, by using a selection, you can typically create a more organic look.

Exporting to Photoshop
SymmetryShop exports patterns as Photoshop presets and makes them available to the paint bucket, pattern stamp, healing brush, and other tools, as well as the Layer Style dialog.

SymmetryShop organizes the artwork in such a way that makes it easy for you to rebuild the pattern after editing the seed, or resume your work on the pattern after the file that contains a SymmetryShop pattern was closed and then re-opened, or even continue working on your SymmetryShop pattern in another Photoshop session.

As you already know, the plug-in creates a pattern in a new layer, called the "SymmetryShop Layer." The new layer appears on top of your original seed layer, which becomes invisible, but otherwise remains intact. The plug-in also adds a work path that contains the control path, which determines the repeat size and orientation of your pattern. If you have selected a part of your artwork before launching SymmetryShop, the plug-in also adds an alpha channel that remembers your selection. That channel is called the "SymmetryShop Selection." Finally, the plug-in typically adds another channel, called the "SymmetryShop Tile," which contains the exact rectangle that you can use to define a usual Photoshop pattern (a preset pattern).

The SymmetryShop Tile alpha channel that the plug-in saves with the artwork allows you to create a pattern preset from your SymmetryShop pattern after you exit SymmetryShop (inside SymmetryShop, you can save a pattern preset simply by clicking the Export button).

SymmetryShop saves the control path as a work path in your document. The control path defines the repeat size and orientation of your pattern. Normally, you will edit the control path using the sliders provided in the SymmetryShop palette. However, you may also find it convenient to access the control path through the Paths palette and edit the path using the usual Photoshop tools, such as the Path Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool, and re-run the plug-in by performing the SymmetryShop action.

Patterns that ship with Artlandia
SymmetryShop comes with a wealth of sample patterns that can be used for experimenting and learning by example.

Preset (built-in) layouts available to you in the SymmetryShop palette let you create some of the most commonly used types of patterns with a single click. These include stripe, brick, drop, diamond, gradation, spot, and grid repeats. The Layouts folder inside your SymmetryShop folder contains examples of the built-in layouts. To create a pattern with a particular layout, click a layout of your choice in the Layout list. You can try different layouts in turn or apply a different symmetry setting to the chosen layout.

A basic unit of repetition in many preset layouts consists of several copies of the seed objects that are rotated, reflected, and/or scaled to produce the desired effect. Additional copies of the seed that are included in the basic unit are called "replicas." Each layout has its own definition of the number, size, and orientation of replicas. By first creating a pattern with a preset layout and then applying a different symmetry type, you can capture the replicas and put them in a different repeat. This lets you create an even richer variety of patterns.

By letting the seed objects extend beyond the boundaries of the control path, you can create interconnected (interlocking) patterns or achieve special effects when the objects overlap with their own images in the neighboring units. SymmetryShop always starts by copying the seed image from the seed layer to the pattern layer (the SymmetryShop Layer). Then the plug-in creates replicas, if any. The seed with replicas form a unit of repetition. The plug-in then duplicates that unit and transforms it as necessary to create the first tile. Then it duplicates the tile to create the first row. Finally, the plug-in copies the row to finish the pattern fragment. The tiling size controls in the SymmetryShop palette determine the number of tiles in a row and number of rows in the pattern fragment.

Just as you use the feather effect to blend units clipped by the control path, you can apply the usual Photoshop feather effect to edges of your selection before launching SymmetryShop. The plug-in will then blend overlapping units. Choose Select > Feather... to apply the feather effect to the selection.

While working with the SymmetryShop palette, you can save (export) a snapshot of your pattern as a pattern preset. To save a pattern preset, click the Export button. The exported pattern is based on a rectangular tile that is selected in the middle of the pattern fragment produced by the plug-in. You can preview the exported area by clicking the Tile button in the Show section.

SymmetryShop remembers the rectangular tile selection for your pattern, and lets you define a pattern preset even after you finish working on your pattern and return to Photoshop. The tile selection is saved in the SymmetryShop Tile alpha channel. After setting the selection defined in that channel, you can define a pattern preset exactly as you would define any other pattern preset in Photoshop.

By creating an action, you can run SymmetryShop from the Actions palette or by pressing a keyboard shortcut, which is often more convenient than running from the File > Automate submenu. As with any other Photoshop actions, you can choose to run your action silently, without opening the SymmetryShop palette.

Keep in mind that built-in layouts give you much more than a single sample that you get by simply choosing a layout from the Layout list. By using the same structure of replicas with different symmetry types, you can quickly construct supplemental layouts and considerably expand the repertoire of readily available pattern types.

Artlandia Info
Topic = Image Processing: graphics, illustration, photography


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