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Artlandia SymmetryShop

Artlandia SymmetryShop is an automatic pattern creator.



Creating patterns in Adobe Photoshop is not as inspiring a task as I would have liked it to be -- you need to use the Edit | Define Pattern option and that merely gives you a copy of the defined area. Photoshop by itself has few options to create repeating symmetrical patterns -- and those options can be time-consuming as well. Artlandia SymmetryShop aims to fulfill that void -- and once you understand how it works, it's everything you could have wanted in an automatic pattern creator.


About Symmetry Shop

SymmetryShop is a Adobe Photoshop plug-in from Artlandia that works from within Photoshop's Automate submenu. Artlandia, an Illinois, USA based company creates graphic design software to create patterns -- they also sell patterns.

Other than SymmetryShop, Artlandia also creates SymmetryWorks, a similar add-in that works from within Adobe Illustrator. You can learn more about Artlandia at their site.


Download and Installation

You can download the plug-in file for SymmetryShop from the Artlandia website. It's actually a zip file that you need to unarchive and place in Photoshop's plug-in folder -- make sure that you quit Photoshop before copying the plug-in -- the plug-in will be available inside Photoshop's File | Automate submenu the next time you run Photoshop.

The steps detailed work identically for both the Windows or Mac versions of SymmetryShop -- for this tutorial, we are using the Windows version.

By default, the plug-in runs in a demo mode that limits which configuration options you can change and apply -- the full, registered version has no such limitations. Registration provides you with an Artlandia online account and an unlock key -- the unlock key is tied to your Photoshop serial number so if you upgrade or change your version of Photoshop, you'll have to get in touch with Artlandia's support department.


How To Use

Here's how you can create symmetrical patterns using this Photoshop plug-in.

  1. Open a new document in Photoshop and create a shape on it -- apply a solid color or gradient, for this tutorial we are using a gradient overlay as you can see in Figure 1. Alternatively, just open any image -- the SymmetryShop plug-in folder also includes some sample images.

    Figure 1: A sample image to start with

  2. Now, choose File | Automate | Artlandia SymmetryShop as shown in Figure 2.

    Figure 2: The Artlandia SymmetryShop menu option

    SymmetryShop works only with raster images -- since a vector shape have been created in the layer, SymmetryShop shows a warning message that asks you to rasterize the shape layer -- accept this option by clicking the OK button.

    Note: Patterns in SymmetryShop are created on the basis of a found selection or workpath. If SymmetryShop is not able to find selection or the workpath it will select it on its own and proceed to create a pattern out of it.

  3. You will now see the SymmetryShop interface as shown in Figure 3.

    symmetryshop interface
    Figure 3: The SymmetryShop interface

    The interface is divided in six parts -- these are quite easy to use, as explained below:

    1. Symmetry Control has all the different default pattern algorithms -- for example mirror, kaleidoscope, etc., which can be applied by choosing any of them.

    2. Layouts are presets that let you create some of the most commonly used types of patterns with a single click -- examples include brick, diamond, gradation, etc.

    3. Clip at Control Path allows you to change the required gap parameter between the repeating patterns by using the Overlap slider, and can make softer edges by using the Feather slider.

    4. Tiling: Use this option to create number of repetition on the X and Y axes -- this is only really useful if you are applying the pattern to the existing image -- for all practical reasons, it's so much more easier to create a reusable pattern in Photoshop. Show is for previewing the path or the selection found to create pattern.

    5. Preferences opens a new dialog box that you can see in Figure 4 and Undo is to revert to the previous state.

      Figure 4: Preferences

    6. Control Path allows you to choose an area of the image from where the the path or the selection for the pattern is procured -- I feel this is not as intuitive as it should have been -- entering pixel coordinates can be a process of trial and error and there should have been arrow keys that allowed you to nudge the selection. SymmetryShop also allows to scale, skew, and rotate the selection.

    Note: Let the Preview check box be activated to see the changes being applied to the shape and ensuing pattern.

  4. After making the changes click OK to apply the pattern to active Photoshop document or choose Export to add the created pattern into your current Photoshop patterns, so that it can be used in the future as well.

Figure 5 below shows a shape and the sample pattern created from a shape using SymmetryShop in Adobe Photoshop. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

Figure 5: A shape and a pattern

SymmetryShop really shines when you select something in the artwork rather than letting the plug-in to select a simple geometric region for you as we did in this review for reasons of simplicity. Then, you can create patterns like what you can see in Figure 6.

pattern with artlandia symmetryshop
Figure 6: A more intricate pattern



Photoshop Versions: PhotoShop 6.0 or higher versions
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Site: Artlandia
Price: $291.00 (CD-ROM with printed user guide) $265.00 (download only)
Trial Version: Available


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