2 Replies Latest reply on May 5, 2010 12:11 AM by Interstellar Icon

    Use of swatches in Illustrator

    Interstellar Icon Level 1

      Hi All,

      A few questions about a logo project I'm working on: My client wants an  image of a hot air balloon, made of stone, in his logo. He wants the  stone to appear like a stone wall, i.e. many small stones put together  to make the wall. I know this is ridiculously complicated for a logo,  but I want to have a go at it and see if it works - if not, I'll  encourage him to simplify.

      So, what I've managed to do so far is to place an image of a stone wall  and use the Live Trace feature to convert it to vectors. I then dragged  the image to the Swatches palette to create a new swatch, after which  I'll fill the various part of the balloon with the swatch.

      My first question: Will this still be a vector image using this process?

      My second question: Is there an easier way to accomplish this?

      My third question: Does anyone know of a resource where I might find a  free, simple vector image of stones or rocks?

      Thanks in advance for any input provided.

      Sam

        • 1. Re: Use of swatches in Illustrator
          JETalmage-71mYin Level 3
          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          My client wants an  image of a hot air balloon, made of stone, in his logo.

           

          First, tell your client: 'Wow. That's original. Ever heard of Led Zepplin? Iron Butterfly?"

           

          ;-)

           

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          He wants the  stone to appear like a stone wall, i.e. many small stones put together  to make the wall. I know this is ridiculously complicated for a logo,  but I want to have a go at it and see if it works - if not, I'll  encourage him to simplify.

           

          Not really ridiculously complicated. Your job as a logo designer is to simplify a concept visually.

           

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          So, what I've managed to do so far is to place an image of a stone wall  and use the Live Trace feature to convert it to vectors.

           

          No way I would do that for a logo. A proper logo is succinct, boiled-down to its essence; not only in terms of design, but also in terms of its construction. That makes it robust in all its eventual uses. Auto-tracing is a very amateurish last resort. Don't autotrace to create an original logo. Draw it properly.

           

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          I then dragged  the image to the Swatches palette to create a new swatch.

           

          If you dragged the autotrace results to the Swatches palette, you just created a Pattern Swatch.

           

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          ...after which  I'll fill the various part of the balloon with the swatch.

           

          That will only work if you're just going for a very flat, non-dimensional treatment (potentially boring). Moreover, though, you specified stone, not bricks. That's antithetical to a Pattern Swatch, which merely repeats the same graphic.

           

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          My first question: Will this still be a vector image using this process?

           

          If the content that you used to define the Pattern Swatch is only vector artwork, then yes, the resulting Pattern Swatch will be only vector artwork. When you use the autotrace feature, you have the choice whether to retain the original raster image. But again; this is not best practice either way, and I don't know why you would want a Pattern Swatch for this.

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          My second question: Is there an easier way to accomplish this?

           

          Don't look for "easy"; look for best practice. If you're going to draw a proper logo, you need to know how to use a program like Illustrator. One of many possible ways to proceed would be:

           

          1. Draw a pattern of rocks, arranged like a rock wall, as purely vector line art. Store it as a Symbol.

          2. Use 3D Effect to create the geometry of the balloon's surface (or one of its gore sections). Map the Symbol to the surface, using the invisible geometry option.

          3. If using multiple objects, "assemble" them to look like the finished baloon.

          4. The result is NOT the final. It's just a "sketch" to help you impart convincing geometry. Use that as something to trace manually. Make the artwork artful. Then make its paths as simple and clean as possible. (This implies knowing how to draw efficient, tidy paths.)

           

          function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

          My third question: Does anyone know of a resource where I might find a  free, simple vector image of stones or rocks?

           

          One of the foremost goals of a logo is uniqueness. There is no way your client can truly own his logo if it is built from clipart. A proper logo must be original.

           

          JET

          • 2. Re: Use of swatches in Illustrator
            Interstellar Icon Level 1

            Good stuff, JET. Thanks. A couple of comments and questions on your comments:

             

            First, tell your client: 'Wow. That's original. Ever heard of Led Zepplin? Iron Butterfly?" ;-)

             

            They're a Zeppelin cover band, actually, so originality doesn't appear to be one of their priorities.

             

            Not really ridiculously complicated. Your job as a logo designer is to simplify a concept visually.

             

            I'm surprised you think that. Most of the feedback on logo design I've received in forums could be paraphrased as "Make your logos look like the FedEx logo. Anything more is too much." I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on logo-design proper, because I like your perspective.

            1. Draw a pattern of rocks, arranged like a rock wall, as purely vector line art. Store it as a Symbol.

            2. Use 3D Effect to create the geometry of the balloon's surface (or one of its gore sections). Map the Symbol to the surface, using the invisible geometry option.

            3. If using multiple objects, "assemble" them to look like the finished baloon.

            4. The result is NOT the final. It's just a "sketch" to help you impart convincing geometry. Use that as something to trace manually. Make the artwork artful. Then make its paths as simple and clean as possible. (This implies knowing how to draw efficient, tidy paths.)

             

            I've managed to complete steps 1-3, and step 4 shouldn't be a problem. One quick question related to step 2: Do you recommend using the 'shade artwork' option? The image still looks flat without it, even though the rocks have been mapped to the shape of the balloon - but using the 'shade artwork' option creates a vector image that's really, really complex.

             

            Thanks again for your help, and thanks in advance for any additional input.

             

            Sam