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Artlandia SymmetryShop 2

Artlandia SymmetryShop 2 is Photoshop plug-in that creates symmetrical patterns in no time.


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Introduction

Adobe Photoshop is no specialized application to create symmetrical patterns unless you want to slave hours creating repetitive layers, and aligning them carefully with the skill of a mathematician. And even then, you might create something that needs to be edited -- and you need to start all over again!

Artlandia SymmetryShop 2 is a cool Photoshop plug-in that creates symmetrical patterns in no time.

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About Symmetry Shop 2

SymmetryShop 2 is from Artlandia -- and it works from within Photoshop's File | Automate submenu (not the Filters menu). Artlandia is an Illinois, USA based company that creates graphic design software to create patterns -- they also sell the actual patterns.

SymmetryShop 2 is a new version of the same plug-in that we reviewed in the past -- the updated version has several new and improved features.

Other than SymmetryShop 2, Artlandia's other product is SymmetryWorks, a similar add-in for Adobe Illustrator. You can learn more about Artlandia at their site.

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New Features

The new features in SymmetryShop 2 are:

  1. Supports Smart Objects: With SymmetryShop 2, Smart Objects (available in Photoshop CS2 and later versions) can be used to create patterns. You can create complex vector art in Adobe Illustrator CS2, place those objects in Adobe Photoshop, and apply the SymmetryShop 2 plug-in to create great patterns.

  2. Multiple source layers: You can combine as many image layers as you like in a Smart Object, and use the object as the seed layer of your SymmetryShop patterns. The source layers remain completely independent, and you will still be able to replace, edit, transform, or otherwise rearrange the elements, then rebuild the pattern with a single click.

  3. Tossed repeats: You can use Smart Objects to create patterns from elements that are scattered over the repeat area and keep similar elements linked to each other. Later, you can rotate, flip, and scale copies to achieve a more organic and natural look.

  4. Composite repeats: Now you can combine elements of two or more symmetry types to create a composite repeat. First create a SymmetryShop pattern using a Smart Object. This pattern will consist of a few tiles or just a single tile. Add other design elements if you wish and use the Smart Object as a seed for another SymmetryShop pattern. By nesting patterns this way, you can generate virtually any type of patterns, while keeping all components separately editable.

  5. Support for text, fill, and shape layers: You can create patterns from text or other vector shapes and fill layers (filled with a solid color, gradient, or pattern). Text can be edited as well.

  6. Layer and vector masks: With SymmetryShop 2, you can apply Photoshop's layer and vector masks to isolate (mask) parts of the seed layer that you do not want to use. SymmetryShop will then build a pattern from the remaining (unmasked) areas. Edit your masks with the familiar Photoshop tools and rebuild at any time.

  7. New autorun feature: You could have always run SymmetryShop as a Photoshop Action. With the new version, you can play the action automatically and keep editing the source image in one window while viewing the updated pattern in another window.

  8. Automatic canvas extension: SymmetryShop 2 automatically adjusts the image canvas as required according to the pattern created.

  9. Productivity enhancements: Other conveniences in SymmetryShop 2 include the automatic selection of non-transparent pixels in the seed layer, the ability to lock (fully or partially) the seed layer, and convenient zoom buttons in the SymmetryShop palette.

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How To Use

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

  1. Create a vector art in Adobe Illustrator and save it, or use an existing Illustrator file.

  2. Create a new document in Photoshop and choose File | Place, this will open a dialog box that allows you to choose the file which you want to place inside Photoshop. Choose the file you want to use as the basis for a pattern.

  3. Next, you'll see the Place PDF dialog box, as shown in Figure 1. Preview your graphic file, and click OK.


    Figure 1: Place

  4. The vector art will be placed on the Photoshop image area as shown in Figure 2.


    Figure 2: Smart Object

    In the Layer palette you can see the placed object represented with a Smart Object icon.

  5. Now choose File | Automate | Artlandia SymmetryShop, as shown in Figure 3.


    Figure 3: The Artlandia SymmetryShop menu option

  6. You will now see the SymmetryShop 2 interface as shown in Figure 4.

    symmetryshop interface
    Figure 4: The SymmetryShop 2 interface

  7. SymmetryShop 2 will automatically select the vector art and create a pattern out of it.

  8. Experiment with the various pattern algorithms or Layouts -- for example mirror, kaleidoscope, diamond, brick, etc., which can applied by choosing any of them.

  9. Once done you can edit the pattern by using options such as Clip at control path which changes the required gap parameter between the repeating patterns by using the Overlap slider, and can make softer edges by using the Feather slider. And use Tiling to create number of repetition on the X and Y axes.

  10. For advance editing use options under Control Path, which allows you to choose an area of the Smart Object from where the the path or the selection for the pattern is procured. You can even 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 created.


  11. 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 shows a smart object and the sample pattern created from a shape using SymmetryShop 2 in Adobe Photoshop.

  
Figure 5: A shape and a pattern

The figures below show some more patterns created with SymmetryShop 2:

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Specifications

Photoshop Versions: PhotoShop 7 or CS through CS3 (CS2 or later recommended)
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Site: Artlandia
Price: $321.00 (CD-ROM with printed user guide) $295.00 (download only)
Trial Version: Available

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