Today's question comes from Ken Galli. Actually, there are a few questions that Ken asked, and I'll attempt to answer them in today's segment.
Is there an easy way to create the effect of having say 10% of a space filled with dots at the bottom of a rectangle or other feature and then have the percentage of dots filling the space increase to say 80% at the top? I have tried gradients which don't seem to work.
I am learning a bit about Hatches as well which seem like they might work but so far I have not figured them out if they do!
In geology we often find what is called a fining upward sequence of sediment that was deposited by a decelerating current, say the deposit of a flood. You end up with coarse material (pebbles) at the bottom and then finer and finer materials toward the top: bottom: pebbles > coarse sand > medium sand > fine sand > to perhaps mud at the top. Usually, sand is shown with dots within an area or rectangle in a legend.
Sigh. Hatch Effects.
For those who don't remember them, Hatch Effects (aka The Ink Pen) was a way to create stippling effects and other interesting "random" patterns. However, the user interface for the effect was quite complex and the result often was comprised of thousands of paths that made for files that took hours to print (or often, files that wouldn't print at all).
In Illustrator CS, the Ink Pen filter was removed and "replaced" with the Scribble effect. I use the word replace with care because while the scribble effect on some level can produce effects similar to what Ink Pen could do, there are PLENTY of things that Ink Pen could do that Scribble cannot. If you use Illustrator CS, you can pull the Ink Pen plugin from Illustrator 10 and drop it into your plugins folder to use it in CS -- but the plugin will not work in CS2.
However, there are other ways to simulate some of what Ink Pen did -- and some other interesting variations as well. For example, you could take a regular rectangle, fill it with a black to white gradient, and then choose Effect > Pixelate > Mezzotint.
There was a great thread about creating these kinds of effects on the Illustrator User to User forum a short while back which covered this topic as well.
Finally, if you're looking for some patterns that can represent different building materials, or things like stone or pebbles, you might look into a collection of pre-made Illustrator patterns from HotDoor.
Ken then proceeded to follow up his original question with a doozy:
Do you think that Adobe would ever combine illustrator and photoshop so that you would have a vector and raster package together like Canvas does it?
And what would we call it, Photostrator? :)
Seriously though, I wish I had a nickel for every time I have been asked this question. It's an especially popular question when I'm at trade shows. My instinctive response is usually "I hope Adobe never does that" -- but it begs more definition than that.
First of all, let's look at it from a pure business sense. Adobe makes money by selling Photoshop. Adobe makes money by selling Illustrator. By combining the two applications, you'd have to charge double for Photostrator in order to make back the same money. Adobe already knows that a large percentage of users own both programs -- so rather than shell out for two upgrades, they'd have to charge a large sum for a single upgrade. But that's purely a business decision, and let's instead focus on the technological side.
Photoshop is a mature product. As is Illustrator. Both have very specific uses. Especially when you consider the individual verticals that they serve. Add to that the fact that there's a distinct need for pixel graphics and vector graphics in the world of design. And while there are times when a job calls for both to be used togther, there are equally times when they need to live in their own worlds, with a full set of tools for support. Illustrator has 5 million lines of computer code. I don't know exactly what Photoshop has, but you have to figure it's somewhere in that vicinity as well. It's a minor miracle that a program with that many lines of code actually runs at all (with bugs and all).
Finally, think of this from a personal point of view. Photoshop is so complex, with so many features. Illustrator is likewise, complex and has tons of features. Combining the two would not only strike fear in any new user's heart, it would be extremely difficult to master. And remember also that pixels and vectors are two different paradigms and what works for one might not work for the other.
In closing, I prefer applications that specialize in what they do. And that those applications excel at the things they do. Looking forward, my dream is for these application to work better with eachother rather than join and become one. That means better integration. And when I refer to integration, I don't mean that the apps should share keyboard shortcuts, or similar features. Rather, true integration means the ability to move data between the apps with little or no loss of data. TO some extent, Illustrator and Photshop share that today -- with the ability to pass data back and forth while retaining live editable text, layers, transparency, masks, image maps, web slices, vector shapes, and more. Smart objects in Photoshop help too. Hopefully Adobe will continue down that route and allow additional constructs and attributes to be shared.