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Chapter 15. Brushes > Creating and modifying brushes

Creating and modifying brushes

Scatter objects are placed evenly or randomly along the contour of a path. You can create a scatter brush from an open or closed path, text object, text outline, blend, or compound path, but not from a gradient, bitmap image (placed or rasterized), mesh, or clipping mask.

To create or modify a scatter brush:

1.
To create a new brush, select an object(s) or a blend, click the New Brush button on the Brushes palette , click New Scatter Brush, then click OK.

Figure 3. The original objects


or

To modify an existing brush, deselect, then double-click the brush on the Brushes palette. Or click a brush, then choose Brush Options from the palette menu.

2.
Enter a new name or modify the existing name (, next page).

Figure 1. The Scatter Brush Options dialog box


3.
For an existing brush, check Preview to preview changes on any selected paths to which the brush is currently applied.

4.
Each of the four brush properties (Size, Spacing, Scatter, and Rotation) can be set to the Fixed, Random, or Pressure variation via the pop-up menu next to each option. Choose Fixed to use a single, fixed value.

Choose Random, then move the sliders (or enter different values in the left and right fields) to define a range within which that property value can vary.

Choose Pressure and move the sliders (or enter different values in the left and right fields) to define a range within which that property can respond to stylus pressure. A light pressure will produce a brush property based on the minimum property value (left field); a heavy pressure will produce a brush property based on the maximum property value (right field). Pressure will be available only if you're using a graphics tablet.

Size controls the size of the scatter objects.

Spacing controls the spacing between the scatter objects.

Scatter controls the distance the objects are from either side of the path. When Scatter is set to Fixed, a positive value places all the objects on one side of the path, a negative value places all the objects on the opposite side of the path. The further the Scatter value is from 0%, the greater will be the distance from the path, and the less prominent will be the path shape.

Rotation adjusts the amount objects rotate relative to the page or the path. Choose Page or Path from the Rotation relative to pop-up menu for the axis the rotation will be based on.

5.
For the Colorization options, see the sidebar on page 271.

6.
Click OK . If the brush was already applied to existing objects in the document, an alert box will appear. Click Apply to Strokes to update those objects with the revised brush or click Leave Strokes to leave the existing objects unchanged .

Figure 2. The new scatter brush applied to a path


Figure 3. The same scatter brush after moving the Size sliders apart (Random setting)


Figure 4. This prompt will appear if you modify a brush that is currently applied to objects in the file.


  • You'll find scatter brushes in the Animal Sample, Arrow Sample, Floral Sample, and Object Sample libraries.

  • Shift-drag a slider to move its counterpart gradually along with it. Option-drag/Alt-drag a slider to move its counterpart apart or together the same distance from the center.

  • To make the scatter objects' orientation along a path uniform, set Scatter and Rotation to Fixed, set Scatter to 0°, and choose Rotation relative to: Path .

    Figure 1. Illustrator's default “Fish” scatter brush applied to a path

    Figure 2. After choosing the Fixed option for Scatter and Rotation and setting Scatter to 0%


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