Effect

Stipple Live Effect

Swap Channels Live Effect

Symbol Stipple Live Effect

AG Architect Live Effect

AG Splatter Live Effect

AG Curvature Visualizer Live Effect

Curves

Desaturate

Duotone

Exposure

Halftone

Perturb Live Effect

Hue/Saturation

Invert

Levels

Prepress Correct

Shift to Color

Temperature/Tint

AG Corners Live Effect

Phantasm Controls

Randomino Panel

Halftone

AG Utilities Live Effects

Stipple Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > Stipplism > Stipple...

As with most live effects, Stipple appears in the main menu, at Effect > Stipplism > Stipple. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Stipple Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Stipplism Parameteres Dialog

Stipplism Parameteres Dialog

1. Density

Controls the overall density of the stipple dots (as a percentage of its full-strength value). The default value is 100%, but can vary between 0.01% and 1000%. Lower densities will result in fewer dots. If the Preview option at the bottom is enabled, the number of dots will be displayed.

Stipplism Density Example

Stipplism Density Example

2. Quality

Controls the uniformity of the stipple dots. Values can range between 1 and 11, with a default of 3. Higher values result in more uniform patterns (and take longer to calculate).

Stipplism Quality Example

Stipplism Quality Example

The range is not linear, but is based on a logarithmic scale. Each step up in Quality roughly doubles (or more) the amount of time required to create the dots. For example, 10,000 dots typically take less than 2 seconds to create at qualities of 4 or less, but 5 seconds at quality 6, 30 seconds at quality 9, and about 300 seconds at quality 11. Therefore, for Stipples with large numbers of dots, it’s recommended to start with a low Quality value and increase it later when the design is nearly finalized. If there are many Stipples in the document, creating Graphic Styles may be useful.

3. Underlying Tone Controls Dot Density

When enabled, the default, the lightness (tone) of the selected artwork controls the density of the generated dots, with lighter areas getting fewer dots. This underlying tone must control either the density of the dots or their size (or both), so when this setting is disabled, the Scale Dots By Tone setting will automatically be enabled.

4. Clip to Object

When enabled, the outlines of the selected artwork (including those of strokes and prior effects) are used as a clipping mask for the generated dots, ensuring they do not protrude beyond these outlines.

Stipplism Clip to Object Example

Stipplism Clip to Object Example

5. Size

Controls the size (diameter) of the stipple dots; the default size is 6 pt / 2 mm. If Scale Dots by Tone is enabled, each dot’s size will be further modified by the curve applied.

6. Scale Dots By Tone

Traditionally, stippling is made using dots which are the same size, with only the number of dots in any area (dot density) used to produce different gray levels. However, when this setting is enabled, Stipple will use the lightness (tone) of the artwork to control the size of the dots (relative to the specified Size), with a graph specifying the relationship between size and tone. Underlying Tone Controls Dot Density can enabled as well, in which case the tone will control both dot size and dot density. When this setting is disabled, the Underlying Tone Controls Dot Density setting will automatically be enabled, as the tone must control at least one or the other.

Stipplism Scale by Tone Example

Stipplism Scale by Tone Example

7. Graph Maximum Value

The factor by which the base Size is multiplied (from 0 to 1000%) to calculate the dot size for tone values where the graph curve is at the top.

8. Graph Minimum Value

The factor by which the base Size is multiplied (from 0 to 1000%) to calculate the dot size for tone values where the graph curve is at the bottom. This allows, for example, the ability to keep the dots from becoming too small by forcing them to start at a certain percentage of the base size.

9. Graph

Available when the Scale Dots By Tone setting is enabled. The graph controls the relationship of the scale of the dots (on the vertical axis) to the tone (the horizontal gradient ramp at the bottom of the graph). In its default state, a diagonal line represents a linear relationship. Points can be added along the line and freely moved on the grid. To delete a point, drag it outside of the grid. Clicking the gradient ramp under the graph with Shift held will reset the graph to the default linear type.

Stipplism Curve Examples

Stipplism Curve Examples

10. Roundness

By default, each stipple dot is a perfect circle, but the Roundness value can be lowered (with a minimum of zero) to make them more irregular. The smaller the Roundness value, the larger the displacement of each dot’s path will be from a true circle.

11. Detail

When Roundness is anything other than 100, the Detail dropdown menu is available. It allows a choice of four options: Low (the default), Medium, High, and Very High. Higher Detail creates more anchor points around the dot’s edge.

Stipplism Roundness and Details Example

Stipplism Roundness and Details Example

12. Color

Specifies the color of the stipple dots. By default, this is set to a fixed value: black. Clicking the color chip will bring up the native Color Picker dialog, allowing a different color to be used.

13. Sample Object

When selected, the stipple dots will automatically pick up the underlying colors of the original artwork at each dot location. Because colors are sampled uniformly without regard to their lightness, the base density of the Stipple is calculated as if the object were totally black.

Stipplism Color Examples

Stipplism Color Examples

14. Overprint

Specifies whether the stipple dots should be overprinted — that is, if Illustrator should still print all the non-shared inks behind the dots rather than cut holes under them (knockout). This is useful mainly in CMYK documents destined for print. The default value is enabled. Pure white dots will never be set to overprint, regardless of the setting.

15. Ignore Slow Processing Warning

Using the effect with a small Size value and/or a high Density (i.e., high dot counts), especially combined with higher Quality values, will require long periods of time to calculate. When this is the case, by default a warning dialog will be displayed asking for confirmation to proceed. By enabling this setting, the specific Stipple to which it is applied will never show the warning dialog.

Stipplism Warning Dialog

Stipplism Warning Dialog

16. Reset Warning button

The Slow Processing Warning dialog can be kept from being displayed again by enabling its Don’t show again checkbox. Thereafter, to re-enable the warning, use the Reset Warning button.

17. Preview

By default this option is disabled and not sticky, since the calculation of the Stipple effect can be slow when its settings are high. However, it can be made sticky by clicking with Option/Alt held down.

18. Dot Count

Available when Preview is enabled; shows the number of stipple dots that were generated with the current settings.

Swap Channels Live Effect

Illustrator Location:

Coming soon

Symbol Stipple Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > Stipplism > Symbol Stipple...

As with most live effects, Symbol Stipple appears in the main menu, at Effect > Stipplism > Symbol Stipple. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Symbol Stipple Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Symbol Stipple Parameters Dialog

Symbol Stipple Parameters Dialog

1. Seed

When dealing with symbols instead of simple round dots like the Stipple effect, positioning can matter more for the final look of the artwork. Each seed number leads to a different sequence of random values used to position the dots, some of which may produce nicer-looking results than others.

2. Randomize button

Each press of the Randomize button generates a new seed value, chosen at random.

3. Store/Recall buttons

The Store button records the current seed value; the Recall button will load the stored value back into the Seed field. When the dialog is first opened, the stored value is automatically set to the current seed.

4. Previous/Next Seed buttons

The dialog keeps track of all entered or generated seed values for the current session, and these buttons can be used to step through the history, both forwards and backwards. Once the dialog is OK’d or canceled, this history is cleared.

5. Density

Controls the overall density of the symbol dots (as a percentage of its full-strength value). The default value is 100%, but can vary between 0.01% and 10000%. Lower densities will result in fewer symbol dots. If the Preview option at the bottom is enabled, the number of dots will be displayed.

Symbol Stipple Density Example

Symbol Stipple Density Example

6. Quality

Controls the uniformity of the stipple dots. Values can range between 1 and 11, with a default of 3. Higher values result in more uniform patterns (and take longer to calculate).

Symbol Stipple Quality Example

Symbol Stipple Quality Example

The range is not linear, but is based on a logarithmic scale. Each step up in Quality roughly doubles (or more) the amount of time required to create the dots. For example, 10,000 dots typically take less than 2 seconds to create at qualities of 4 or less, but 5 seconds at quality 6, 30 seconds at quality 9, and about 300 seconds at quality 11. Therefore, for Symbol Stipples with large numbers of dots, it’s recommended to start with a low Quality value and increase it later when the design is nearly finalized. If there are many Symbol Stipples in the document, creating Graphic Styles may be useful.

7. Underlying Tone Controls Dot Density

When enabled, the default, the lightness (tone) of the selected artwork controls the density of the generated dots, with lighter areas getting fewer dots. This underlying tone must control either the density of the dots or their size (or both), so when this setting is disabled, the Scale Dots By Tone setting will automatically be enabled.

8. Clip to Object

When enabled, the outlines of the selected artwork (including those of strokes and prior effects) are used as a clipping mask for the generated dots, ensuring they do not protrude beyond these outlines.

Symbol Stipple Clip to Object

Symbol Stipple Clip to Object

9. Symbol

Specifies the symbol to be used as the stippling dot, from all the symbols available in the native Symbols panel. By default, the first symbol in the panel is used. If a document has no symbols at all, applying the effect won’t produce visible results, so at least one symbol should be created beforehand.

10. Include Variants

If the chosen symbol from the Symbol dropdown list has “variants,” this setting (enabled by default) allows them to be used in addition to the base symbol. The variants must have been created before applying the Symbol Stipple effect to the artwork. See below for information on variants and how to create them. The number of variants found will be displayed in parentheses.

11. Use Registration Point

When creating a symbol, Illustrator allows a registration point to be set for it, using a standard nine-block grid control. It can be treated as a pivot used for rotating a symbol and as the center of its coordinates. When Use Registration Point is disabled, Symbol Stipple assumes the pivot of the symbol is at its geometric center. When enabled, the effect treats the registration point as the pivot.

Symbol Stipple Use Registration Point

Symbol Stipple Use Registration Point

12. Overall Scale

Specifies the scale value for all of the symbol dots, relative to the original size of the chosen symbol (or its variants). The default value is 100%. If Scale Dots by Tone is enabled, each dot’s size will be further modified by the curve applied.

13. Vary Scale

When enabled, the Vary Scale value sets the factor which will be used to randomly scale each symbol dot in either the up or down direction. For example, if it is set to 4, each symbol dot will be randomly scaled in the range of 25% (one-quarter) to 400% (four times) the Overall Scale value.

Symbol Stipple Vary Scale

Symbol Stipple Vary Scale

14. Overall Rotation

Specifies the angle to which all the symbol dots are rotated. The default value is 0° (no rotation).

15. Vary Rotation

When enabled, the Vary Rotation value defines a range through which the symbol dots will be randomly rotated, in addition to the base Overall Rotation value. For example, if set to 90°, each symbol dot will be rotated to the Overall Rotation value, and then randomly rotated an additional amount from –45° to +45°. The default value is 360°, which means symbol dots would be rotated randomly to any angle.

Symbol Stipple Vary Rotation

Symbol Stipple Vary Rotation

16. Rotation Follows Paths

When enabled, the effect rotates each symbol dot to the tangent angle of the nearest spot on the nearest path in the artwork (when possible) before adding the Overall Rotation and Vary Rotation values. The absolute distance from the artwork to the path is not important.

17. Ignore

When Rotation Follows Paths is enabled, this setting allows certain paths to be ignored when determining the rotation. The two options are Ignore Largest Path (valid when there is more than one path, and measured using bounding box area) and Ignore Filled/Stroked Paths. The latter is useful when applying Symbol Stipple to a group of multiple paths because the symbols’ rotation can be controlled by putting no-stroke, no-fill paths anywhere in the group.

Symbol Stipple Follows Example 1

Symbol Stipple Follows Example 1

Symbol Stipple Follow Paths Example 2

Symbol Stipple Follow Paths Example 2

18. Colorize

Allows the color of the generated symbol dots to be changed. When enabled and set to the color chip (which can be clicked to bring up the native Color Picker dialog), the specified color is used, replacing those used in all fills and strokes inside the chosen symbol (and, when applicable, its variants). If Sample Object is instead enabled, the symbol dots will automatically pick up the underlying colors of the original artwork at each dot location, again replacing those used in all fills and strokes inside the chosen symbol and variants. Because colors are sampled uniformly without regard to their lightness, when using Sample Object the base density of the Symbol Stipple is calculated as if the object were totally black.

Symbol Stipple Colorize Example

Symbol Stipple Colorize Example

19. Depth Sort

When enabled, changes the stacking order of the generated symbol dots. Dots can be sorted by their X-coordinate, their Y-coordinate, or their distance from a certain point on the artwork bounds. The last option uses the standard nine-point grid control to pick the point location.

20. Strength

Available when Depth Sort is enabled. The lower the Strength value, the less strict is the sorting, and the more randomness is introduced into the stacking order.

21. Reverse Order

Available when Depth Sort is enabled; it reverses the normal stacking order.

Symbol Stipple Available when Depth Sort is enabled

Symbol Stipple Available when Depth Sort is enabled

22. Scale Dots By Tone

Traditionally, stippling is made using dots which are the same size, with only the number of dots in any area (dot density) used to produce different gray levels. However, when this setting is enabled, Symbol Stipple will use the lightness (tone) of the artwork to control the size of the dots (relative to the specified Size), with a graph specifying the relationship between size and tone. Underlying Tone Controls Dot Density can enabled as well, in which case the tone will control both dot size and dot density. When this setting is disabled, the Underlying Tone Controls Dot Density setting will automatically be enabled, as the tone must control at least one or the other.

23. Graph Maximum Value

The factor by which the base Size is multiplied (from 0 to 1000%) to calculate the dot size for tone values where the graph curve is at the top.

24. Graph Minimum Value

The factor by which the base Size is multiplied (from 0 to 1000%) to calculate the dot size for tone values where the graph curve is at the bottom. This allows, for example, the ability to keep the dots from becoming too small by forcing them to start at a certain percentage of the base size.

25. Graph

Available when the Scale Dots By Tone setting is enabled. The graph controls the relationship of the scale of the dots (on the vertical axis) to the tone (the horizontal gradient ramp at the bottom of the graph). In its default state, a diagonal line represents a linear relationship. Points can be added along the line and freely moved on the grid. To delete a point, drag it outside of the grid. Clicking the gradient ramp under the graph with Shift held will reset the graph to the default linear type.

Symbol Stipple Curve Examples

Symbol Stipple Curve Examples

26. Ignore Slow Processing Warning

Using the effect with a small Size value and/or a high Density (i.e., high dot counts), especially combined with higher Quality values, will require long periods of time to calculate. When this is the case, by default a warning dialog will be displayed asking for confirmation to proceed. By enabling this setting, the specific Symbol Stipple to which it is applied will never show the warning dialog.

Symbol Stipple - Ignore Slow Processor Warning

Symbol Stipple - Ignore Slow Processor Warning

27. Reset Warning button

The Slow Processing Warning dialog can be kept from being displayed again by enabling its Don’t show again checkbox. Thereafter, to re-enable the warning, use the Reset Warning button.

28. Preview

By default this option is disabled and not sticky, since the calculation of the Symbol Stipple effect can be slow when its settings are high. However, it can be made sticky by clicking with Option/Alt held down.

29. Dot Count

Available when Preview is enabled; shows the number of symbol dots that were generated with the current settings.

30. Tips Button

Displays a dialog summarizing how to use symbol variants, including an explanation of naming conventions (see Symbol Stipple Symbol Variants).

Common Options (Basic)

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm

Except for Duotone, Halftone, and Prepress Correct, all of the live effects in Phantasm include a common Options section, which can be in either Basic or Advanced mode. In Basic mode the controls are as follows:

Phantasm Common Options Basic

Phantasm Common Options Basic

1. Basic/Advanced Menu

Switches the Options section between Basic mode and Advanced mode.

2. Apply To

Allows the effect to be applied to only certain portions of the artwork or to only certain types of artwork. For example, if the Fill checkbox is unchecked, the effect will not change any fills in the artwork. If the Text checkbox is unchecked, text objects will not be changed.

3. Safe CMYK

Available if the document’s color mode is set to CMYK. When enabled, changed colors will have their ink levels adjusted to conform to the color settings in regards to total ink coverage.

Phantasm Safe CMYK Example

Phantasm Safe CMYK Example

4. Exclude Pure Black

Available if the document’s color mode is set to CMYK and Safe CMYK is enabled. When enabled, and the changed color has only a black component, the Safe CMYK adjustment, which usually has the effect of adding C, M, and Y components, will not be applied to that color.

5. Use CMYK Appearance

Available if the document’s color mode is set to CMYK. When enabled, a color’s grayscale equivalent (which is used when ignoring Rich Black or White in Advanced mode) is derived from its on-screen (RGB) appearance rather than directly from its CMYK value.

6. Ignore Spot Colors

When enabled, spot colors will never be modified by a Phantasm color change, even those that are allowed, such as increasing the brightness.

7. Settings Manager

The popup menu allows a complete set of options (from both the Basic and Advanced sections) to be saved and recalled. Additionally, the default and last used options can be restored.

AG Architect Live Effect

Illustrator Location:

Coming soon

AG Splatter Live Effect

Illustrator Location:

Coming soon

AG Curvature Visualizer Live Effect

Illustrator Location:

Coming soon

Live Effect Parameter Randomization

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Randomino

It is often desirable to have the same live effect applied to a number of objects but with different parameters. For example, you might want to apply an AG Offset to many objects with different distance values:

Different AG Offsets Example

Different AG Offsets Example

Unfortunately, modifying each object one by one is time-consuming and tedious. However, using Randomino, you can instantly assign a random value across multiple objects to many different parameters from a number of common live effects:

  • AG Block Shadow: Position

  • AG Offset: Distance

  • Drop Shadow: Blur, Opacity, Position

  • Feather: Radius

  • InkFlow: Size

  • Inner Glow: Blur, Opacity

  • Outer Glow: Blur, Opacity

  • Phantasm: Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Hue (Colorizing), Saturation, Saturation (Colorizing), Lightness

  • Pucker & Bloat: Strength

  • Roughen: Size (Absolute), Size (Relative), Detail 

When the Randomino panel kind is set to Live Effects, one, and possibly two, additional popup menus will appear on the panel:

Randomino Panel Live Effect Callouts

Randomino Panel Live Effect Callouts

1. Effect menu

Selects the live effect or family of effects to randomize.

2. Parameter menu

Appears if there are multiple parameters available within the live effect or family and allows you to select the parameter.

Tip: Artwork that does not have the specified live effect applied to it will not be changed; i.e., the live effect is not automatically added. 

Curves

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Curves

Phantasm Curves is a live effect/filter that allows color correction of artwork using a curve, similar to Photoshop. As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Curves. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Curves Dialog

Phantasm Curves Dialog

1. Channel Menu

Specifies which channel or channels the current curve applies to. For CMYK documents, this includes the composite four process colors (CMYK) as well as each individual color. For RGB documents, this includes the composite three primary colors (RGB) as well as each individual color. In both cases, individual spot colors will also appear in the list, as well as Image Alpha, which affects the alpha channel in images with transparency.

Modifying the curve of Image Alpha can be useful for adjusting the output of native live effects which produce an embedded image with transparency, such as Drop Shadow, Outer Glow, and Gaussian Blur:

Phantasm Curves Example

Phantasm Curves Example

2. Curve Graph

The horizontal axis of the graph represents the original brightness values (input levels). The vertical axis represents the new brightness levels (output levels). With the default diagonal line, no colors have been mapped to new values, so all colors have the same input and output values. Nodes on the curve may be moved simply by clicking and dragging them (or their input and/or output values may be modified, see below). A new node may be added by clicking at a spot along the curve which does not already have a node. A node (except the one at the beginning and the one end of the curve) may be deleted by dragging it off the graph area.

By default, the graph has a 4×4 grid, but Option/Alt-clicking on the graph will change the grid to 10×10.

3. Tonal Bar

By default, the graph goes from 0% (white) at lower-left to 100% (black) at upper right, but clicking on the tonal bar icon or the tonal bar itself will switch the graph to go from 0 (black) at lower-left to 255 (white) at upper right.

4. Input/Output levels

These values reflect the selected node, and may be edited to re-position the node.

5. Curve/Map Mode Buttons

By default, the graph is shown as a curve running through individual nodes, but by clicking on the Map button (pencil icon), each point along the axis may be freely drawn on the graph, and may contain discontinuities. Drawing across an existing graph will overwrite the previous lines. If a graph has been drawn in Map mode and the Curve mode button is pressed, Phantasm will approximate the lines as best as it can using a continuous curve. If no nodes are edited and the mode is switched back to Map, the original lines will be restored.

Phantasm Map Mode to Curve Mode

Phantasm Map Mode to Curve Mode

Desaturate

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Desaturate

Phantasm Desaturate is a live effect/filter that equalizes color channels. By default, it is the same as using the Hue/Saturation effect with a Saturation value of –100. Note that like Photoshop’s Saturation adjustment, the lightness of the original color is not necessarily preserved. For example, 100% Yellow and 100% Magenta will both be adjusted to a value of 50% Cyan, 50% Magenta, and 50% Yellow.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Desaturate. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Desaturate Dialog

Phantasm Desaturate Dialog

1. Gray Tone

Available only if the document is in CMYK color space. It ensures that the altered color is only composed of Black ink, and it equivalent to using the Hue/Saturation effect in Colorize mode with a Saturation value of 0.

Phantasm Desaturate Example

Phantasm Desaturate Example

Duotone

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Duotone

Phantasm Duotone is a live effect/filter that creates Duotones (or Monotones, Tritones, or Quadtones) from artwork. It is strongly advised that you enable Overprint Preview (in the View menu) before applying the live effect/filter, as it relies on the overprinting of spot colors where applicable.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Duotone. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Duotone Dialog

Phantasm Duotone Dialog

1. Color Tone Graph

Shows the relationships between the original tints (shown on the horizontal axis) and the new tints (on the vertical axis) for each color. The graph for the selected color will show nodes, which can be moved (vertically only, as per Photoshop) by dragging them. New nodes can be added by clicking along the curve, but only at horizontal positions where the original tint is a multiple of 10%, plus 5% and 95%. Except for the end nodes, a node can be deleted by dragging it off the graph area.

2. Graph Action Buttons

These five buttons that act to change the selected graph. Flip Vertical and Flip Horizontal flip the graph accordingly; the three lower buttons reset the graph to default linear (0% to 100%), inverse linear (100% to 0%), and full-strength (all 100%), after which it may be edited further as usual.

3. New Tint Input

When a node on a graph is selected, its new tint value (vertical position on the graph) will be displayed here and may be edited numerically.

4. Color Tone List

Shows up to four color tones to use in the effect. Although the color tones are typically spot colors, they may also be process colors (in which case the Multiply transparency effect is used to combine the different tones). The selected color tone in the list is highlighted in a gray-blue; only the selected color tone’s graph is active above and may be edited.

Active Checkbox: Specifies whether a given color tone is part of the effect. If only a single color is active, the result will be a Monotone; if two are active, a Duotone, and so on.

Color Chip: May be clicked to select a new color through the color picker dialog. However, this dialog does not provide for creating new spot colors so these should be created in the normal way on the Swatches panel before applying the Duotone filter or effect. If a new process color is created, it may be renamed by doubleclicking on the color name in the Color Tone List.

Text Checkbox: Specifies whether any editable text present in the selection is rendered in that tone. This can allow users to ensure registration problems are avoided with text by limiting the number of tones in which the text is rendered. Care should be taken when using this option, as various scenarios could mean the text vanishes beneath another color tone.

Phantasm Duotone Example

Phantasm Duotone Example

5. Ignore Objects Containing Spot Colors

When enabled, any objects or groups in the selection which contain objects defined with spot colors will not be rendered as a duotone.

6. Accurate Gradient Adjustment

Acts as per other Phantasm effects (See Phantasm: Common Options (Advanced)).

7. Create Undercoat

When enabled, creates a solid, opaque, “undercoat” color for blocking out any underlying artwork which might normally show through due to overprints being added. White is most commonly used as the undercoat color, but it can be changed by clicking on the color chip to bring up the standard color picker dialog.

Exposure

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Exposure

Phantasm Exposure is a live effect/filter that implements the Photoshop “Exposure” adjustment for artwork. As the tool was originally developed for adjusting the tone of HDR RGB images, results may be slightly different when used in CMYK color mode.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Exposure. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Exposure Dialog

Phantasm Exposure Dialog

1. Exposure

Adjusts the highlights, largely maintaining the deepest shadows. It can range from –20 to 20.

2. Offset

Controls the shadows and midtones, with little effect on the highlights. It can range from –0.5 to 0.5.

3. Gamma

Controls the gamma level. It can range from 9.99 to 0.01; a value of 1 equates to no adjustment.

Halftone

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

Phantasm Halftone is a live effect/filter that converts artwork into a vector halftone pattern. It includes numerous options and adjustments, including full separation control, dot gain adjustment, a range of dot patterns and types, and the ability to save and recall custom halftone effects.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Halftone. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Halftones Dialog

Phantasm Halftones Dialog

1. Type

Specifies the type of halftone:

Monotone: The halftone will be created using one layer of dots, all of the same color. Their sizes are (by default) based on the grayscale equivalent of the underlying artwork. Dot color may be specified by clicking on the color chip to bring up the native color picker dialog.

CMYK: Available when the document is in CMYK color mode. The halftone will be created using four layers of dots, each using one of the process colors (spot colors present in the artwork will add additional dot layers). Their sizes are (by default) based on the CMYK value at each dot’s position in the underlying artwork. By default each dot layer will have its blend mode set to Multiply. If the Sample Tint option is enabled, the grayscale equivalent of the artwork at each dot location is used to set the tint of the dot’s color.

RGB: Available when the document is in RGB color mode. The halftone will be created using three layers of dots, each using one of the primary colors (spot colors present in the artwork will create additional dot layers). Their sizes are (by default) based on the RGB value at each dot’s position in the underlying artwork. By default each dot layer will have its blend mode set to Screen. If the Sample Tint option is enabled, the grayscale equivalent of the artwork at each dot location is used to set the tint of the dot’s color.

Sampled: The halftone will be created using one layer of dots. Each dot’s color will be picked up from the underlying artwork.

Phantasm Halftone Type Examples

Phantasm Halftone Type Examples

2. Pattern

Specifies the pattern of the dots:

Grid: The dots are placed on a square grid. If the pull-down menu is set to Alternating, the grid cells are staggered, like rows of bricks.

FM: A specialized type of pattern (short for Frequency Modulated); it has the subtypes Floyd-Steinberg (a pseudo-random pattern) and Bayer Dither (a fixed pattern).

Radial: The dots are placed in concentric circles. The number of “spokes” is specifiable, from 5 to 7, where spokes refers to the number of dots in the first circle.

Phantasm Halftone Patterns

Phantasm Halftone Patterns

3. DPI

Short for dots per inch; specifies the dot size, measured as the distance between dots in inches. Values can range between 0.01 and 600. Higher DPI settings may create tens or even hundreds of thousands of dots, with potential very long processing times. A warning dialog will appear if this is the case:

Phantasm Halftone Slow Processing Warning Dialog

Phantasm Halftone Slow Processing Warning Dialog

Clicking Abort will keep the halftone from being calculated, but the effect will still be attached to the artwork, and if it or the artwork is edited, the effect will need to be re-calculated and thus the warning will re-appear (unless the Don’t show again setting has been enabled).

4. Grid Angle

Rotates the halftone effect relative to the page. When operating with separations (i.e., the halftone Type is CMYK or RGB), each channel’s angle is set relative to the overall Grid Angle.

Phantasm Halftone Grid Angle Example

Phantasm Halftone Grid Angle Example

5. Create Undercoat

When enabled, creates a solid, opaque, “undercoat” color for blocking out any underlying artwork which might normally show through when the halftone dots are being created using transparency or overprints. White is most commonly used as the undercoat color, but it can be changed by clicking on the color chip to bring up the standard color picker dialog.

6. Clip to Object

When enabled, all halftone dots are placed inside a clipping mask so they will never protrude beyond the edges of the original artwork.

Phantasm Halftone Clip to Object Example

Phantasm Halftone Clip to Object Example

7. Use Legacy Algorithm

With Phantasm version 4.0.0, the algorithm which determines the size of the dots near the edges of the object was changed to better reflect an anti-aliased appearance, and to reduce the number of awkwardly-placed full-sized dots. However, the legacy algorithm may still be used by enabling this option, and it can still be useful for infographics or when used with Clip to Object.

Phantasm Halftone Legacy Algorithm

Phantasm Halftone Legacy Algorithm

8. Origin Position

Each halftone grid has an origin, from which the positions of all the dots are calculated (this is most apparent with Radial pattern halftones). By default, the origin is positioned relative to the selection artwork, but, for example, when halftones on different objects need to align regardless of how the objects are moved, it is more appropriate to align the halftone relative to the artboard.

Phantasm Halftone Origin Position

Phantasm Halftone Origin Position

9. Origin Specification

The position of the origin (relative to either the Selection or the Artboard) can be fine-tuned with the nineblock control (to specify Center, Top Left, Bottom Middle, etc.) as well as the X- and Y-offset values, which can be either positive or negative.

10. Dot Properties

By default, the dots used in the halftones are simple circles. However, the Shape pulldown menu offers a range of alternative options for dot shapes. When the Shape is changed, the upper part of the Dot Properties section of the dialog may re-configure itself with alternate or additional controls, as shown below.

11. Dot Gain Graph

The Dot Gain graph allows for precise control of the halftone’s response to tonal changes by allowing a non-linear relationship between the underlying grayscale tone and the dot scaling. This provides the ability to darken or lighten the overall results and can be invaluable when dealing with alternative dot shapes like characters and symbols.

The horizontal axis represents the underlying grayscale-equivalent tone of the artwork, from 0% to 100%, while the vertical axis represents the scaling of the dots (which is in addition to the overall Scale H and Scale V values), also from 0% to 100%. With the default diagonal line, the relationship is linear; that is, the scaling of each dot is equal to the underlying tone. Nodes on the curve may be moved simply by clicking and dragging them (or their input and/or output values may be modified, see below). A new node may be added by clicking at a spot along the curve which does not already have a node. Nodes (except the ones at the beginning and the end of the curve) may be deleted by dragging them off the graph area.

By default, the graph has a 4×4 grid, but Option/Alt-clicking on the graph will change the grid to 10×10.

Phantasm Halftone Dot Gain Examples

Phantasm Halftone Dot Gain Examples

12. Dot Gain Graph Smooth/Linear Buttons

By default, nodes on the dot gain graph are connected by smooth curves, but by clicking the Linear Segments button, they will instead be connected by straight lines, allowing the curve to change direction abruptly at a node.

13. Input/Output Values

When hovering over the graph, the input and output values corresponding to the cursor location are displayed. When a node of a graph is selected, the values are editable, and may be changed to move the node numerically.

14. Load/Save Buttons

Provide a means to save (or load) all of the current Phantasm Halftone settings to/from an external file, which may be shared with other users. Clicking on either the Load or Save buttons will open the standard operating system’s file load/save dialogue. The file type is of .PHT type.

15. Separations Button

Available when the halftone type is CMYK or RGB. Clicking the button brings up the Separations dialog, in which the visibility, order, angle, origin, and offset of each separation may be edited.

Phantasm Halftone Separations Dialog

Phantasm Halftone Separations Dialog

A. Visibility Checkbox: Disabling the checkbox will hide that separation in the halftone.

B. Angle: The angle of the halftone for each channel (relative to the overall grid angle). When clicked, the Edit Separation dialog is shown, where the value may be changed. Note that the artwork will not update (even with Preview enabled) until the OK button is clicked.

Phantasm Halftone Edit Separations Dialog

Phantasm Halftone Edit Separations Dialog

C. Origin: The origin of the halftone for each channel (relative to the overall grid origin). When clicked, the Edit Separation dialog is shown, where the value may be changed.

D. Offset: The distance that the halftone dots for a specific separation will be shifted after they have been composed using the underlying art. When clicked, the Edit Separation dialog is shown, where the value may be changed. Adding an offset can be useful for simulating printing press misregistration:

Phantasm Halftone Separations Offsets

Phantasm Halftone Separations Offsets

E. Move Up/Move Down Buttons: With a separation selected, clicking one of the buttons will move it up or down in the stacking order. Generally, when the halftone blend mode is set to Transparency or Overprint, this will have no visible effect.

16. Reset Warnings Button

If a warning dialog (such as the long processing time warning) has been hidden through the Don’t show again checkbox, this button will reset all warnings so they appear again.

Perturb Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Perturb

The Perturb Live Effect may be applied both through the main menu (Effect > Randomino > Perturb...) as well as through the Perturb panel, which will appear in the main menu under Windows > Astute Graphics > Perturb:

Randomino's Perturb Panel

Randomino's Perturb Panel

The Perturb panel is used in conjunction with the Perturb live effect, which allows you to independently move anchor points in the selected art in a random manner.

Perturb Panel Callouts

Perturb Panel Callouts

1. Distance controls

The maximum distance that each anchor point will be shifted (in a random direction); it may be adjusted with the slider or by typing a value into the input box. In Relative mode, the value is a percentage of the size of the object (as measured by the diagonal of its bounding box). In Absolute mode, it is a value in the current document units that does not depend on the path’s size.

Perturb Panel Distance Settings

Perturb Panel Distance Settings

2. Crinkle Controls

In general, Perturb is best for subtly changing paths; the distance parameter should be set to a value lower than the closest anchor points in the original paths. Otherwise, path segments can cross and the results are generally not desirable. However, the Crinkle parameter attempts to allow for higher distance values. When the Crinkle value is low, the closer each object’s anchor points are to each other, the more similarly they will be moved. This allows distortion of an entire shape without losing fine details within the shape. Regardless of Crinkle value, points that are coincident will be moved identically.

Perturb Panel Crinkle Settings

Perturb Panel Crinkle Settings

3. Seed Button

Changes the random seed. Each seed value creates a specific set of random values which Perturb uses to offset the points. When applying the Perturb effect to multiple copies of one object, they will initially have the same seed and therefore look the same. Clicking the seed button will give each a new seed to each. To view the seed value or to set a specific seed value, Option/Alt-click the button.

Perturb Panel Seed Settings

Perturb Panel Seed Settings

4. Ignore Grouping checkbox

When this preference is enabled, grouped objects will be treated as if they were ungrouped. Coincident points of different paths in the group will no longer be locked together.

Perturb Ignore Grouping Option

Perturb Ignore Grouping Option

5. Apply button

Click to apply the Perturb effect to the selected artwork. To apply multiple Perturb effects to a single piece of artwork, use the main Illustrator menu item Effect > Randomino > Perturb..., or Option/ Alt-drag the Perturb effect in the Appearance panel. For example, the stroke and the fill of a path could be independently Perturbed.

6. Copy popup menu

Chooses which Perturb effect to edit, when the selected artwork has multiple Perturb effects.

7. Flyout menu

Removes all top-level Perturb effects from the selected artwork. Note that if a Perturb effect is applied to an individual member of a group and the entire group is selected, the menu item will not be available.

8. Panel banner

The help button on the right opens the help documentation in the Astute Manager. If this does not automatically appear, please ensure your Astute Manager is running first.

Dot Shape: Circle

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

When the dot shape is set to Circle, the Dot Properties area is configured as follows:

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Circle

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Circle

A. Roundness

Ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 corresponding to perfect circles. Lower values simulate the appearance of real halftone dots printed with ink on paper, with edges that are never perfectly smooth.

B. Detail

For Roundness less than 100, qualitatively specifies the number of anchor points used to describe the shape. Detail can be either Low, Medium, High, or Very High.

Phantasm Halftone Roundness Detail

Phantasm Halftone Roundness Detail

C. Scale

Specifies the maximum size of the dot as a percentage (from 1% to 1000%) of the full coverage size. The full coverage size is set such that the dot leaves no gaps when applied to a 100% Black area. By unlinking the Width and Height inputs, the aspect ratio of the dots may be changed. For example, a circle may be transformed into an ellipse.

D. Tint Adjusts

By default, all dots have both their width and height adjusted based on the sample tint value. This is, after all, the very definition of halftoning. However, for special effects, the pull-down menu can be changed so only the Width is adjusted, or only the Height, or neither. The None setting is often useful when using a Sampled type halftone, since the dot’s color already reflects the underlying tint and therefore doesn’t need to get smaller to become lighter.

Phantasm Halftone Tint Adjusts

Phantasm Halftone Tint Adjusts

E. Angle

The angle with which to rotate the halftone dot. If the Relative checkbox is enabled, then the angle is relative to the angle of the entire halftone grid.

Phantasm Halftone Dot Angle

Phantasm Halftone Dot Angle

If the dot shape is set to Circle, changing the dot angle will not result in any visible change, but the placement of the anchor points on each circle is being affected and would be apparent if the appearance were expanded.

F. Blend

The blend mode to use on the halftone dots. The default for Monotone and Sampled halftone types is Normal (resulting in opaque dots), since there is only one layer of dots. Otherwise, the default mode is Transparency, either as Multiply transparency for CMYK documents or Screen transparency for RGB documents.

CMYK type halftones offer a third blend option: Overprint. To properly view halftones using the Overprint blend mode, Overprint Preview (from the View menu) needs to be enabled. This blend mode is recommended if the resultant artwork is destined to be used in commercial offset printing, as it correctly retains original spot color information.

When the blend mode is set to Transparency or Overprint, it may be desirable to opt for Create Undercoat if there is underlying artwork which has not been changed to a halftone effect. This would block out the underlying artwork from showing through.

Dot Shape: Pseudo-Euclidean

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

A Euclidean dot shape was traditionally produced with analog halftoning methods. It starts out as a circle, but as the tint approaches 50%, it transitions into a square. Therefore, at 50% tint, the halftone pattern is a checkerboard. At higher tint levels, the dots invert, with the gaps between the dots forming circles. Such a dot shape is difficult to implement as vector art as areas of tints greater than 50% would essentially have to form one large compound path. However, Phantasm’s Pseudo-Euclidean dot shape can often be an acceptable approximation when the DPI is set to a fairly high value.

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Pseudo-Euclidean

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Pseudo-Euclidean

Because the Pseudo-Euclidean dots assume many different shapes which must touch to give the illusion of a continuous, inverted field for tints over 50%, dot scaling is not allowed, and the scaling controls are dimmed. While the dot angle may be changed from the default of 0%, it generally leads to undesirable results. Relative Angle should always be enabled, for the same reason. The Blend parameter acts identically to the Circle dot shape (see above).

Phantasm Halftone Pseudo-Euclidean Comparison Example

Phantasm Halftone Pseudo-Euclidean Comparison Example

Pseudo-Euclidean dots generally do a better job representing the tonality of the original artwork, especially in shadow areas, without the need to adjust the Dot Gain curve:

Phantasm Halftone Pseudo-Euclidean CMYK Comparison

Phantasm Halftone Pseudo-Euclidean CMYK Comparison

Dot Shape: Square/Line

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

When the dot shape is set to Square or Line, the Dot Properties area is configured as follows:

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Square/Line

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Square/Line

All of the parameters used for the Circle dot shape (with the exception of Roundness and Detail, which are not applicable) apply to Square and Line. The Line shape option constructs each “dot” out of a single, straight, stroked path. The line’s end caps are always set to rounded; if a different style end cap is required, there are two methods. The first is to add the additional Astute Graphics live effect Stroke Attributes, which can modify the end caps. The second method is to simply use a Square shape type instead, and change the Scale W parameter to be smaller than the Scale H.

Dot Shape: Character

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

The Character dot shape allows the use of text characters as halftone dots. When the dot shape is set to Character, the Dot Properties area is configured as follows:

Phantasm Halftone Character Options Dialog

Phantasm Halftone Character Options Dialog

A. Options

Opens the Halftone Character Options dialog:

Phantasm Halftone Character Options Dialog

Phantasm Halftone Character Options Dialog

The font of the characters may be chosen using the pull-down menu. Generally, heavier typefaces give closer color-matching results as glyphs in the lighter ones do not offer sufficient area. If Pick Random Character is enabled, each dot will use a random character from the characters which appear in the Characters field (by default, the English uppercase alphabet; up to 2047 characters may be entered). Characters may be entered more than once to increase their random frequency. When Repeat Text is enabled, dots will use the characters in their entered order, repeating as necessary.

Phantasm Halftone Character Examples

Phantasm Halftone Character Examples

All of the parameters used for the Circle dot shape (with the exception of Roundness and Detail, which are not applicable) apply to Character.

Dot Shape: Symbol

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

Available when there is at least one symbol in the document, the Symbol dot shape allows symbols to be used as halftone dots. Each symbol that is not a variant (see below) appears in the pull-down menu, in alphabetical order, and can be chosen as the shape to use for the dots. The Dot Properties area is configured as follows:

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Symbol

Phantasm Halftone Dot Properties - Symbol

A. Colorize

By default, symbols remain in their original colors. However, by enabling Colorize, each symbol will have all of its fills and strokes changed to the color that the dot would normally have if it were of Circle shape, say.

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Colorize

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Colorize

B. Include Variants

If the chosen symbol from the Shape pull-down menu has “variants,” this setting (disabled by default) allows them to be used in addition to the base symbol. The variants must have been created before applying the Phantasm Halftone effect to the artwork. For more information on symbol variants, see Phantasm Halftone: Symbol Variants. Additionally, when a symbol is chosen as the dot shape, a Tips button will appear on the dialog; when clicked, it brings up a dialog summarizing symbol variant creation and naming.

All of the parameters used for the Circle dot shape (with the exception of Roundness and Detail, which are not applicable) apply to Symbol.

Halftone Symbol Variants

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Halftone

Halftone can use more than one symbol within a single applied effect by utilizing symbol variants, which are simply additional symbols with special names that enable Halftone to identify them as belonging to one “group”. An advanced naming technique allows further control over the distribution of each variant within the halftone.

There are two ways to create symbol variants: automated and manual.

Halftone Symbol Variants: Automated creation

Note: The automated creation method requires the Astute Graphics Stipplism plugin to be installed.

1. Create the base symbol first. Due to internal limitations, automatically-created variants are always created as Static Type symbols, so it is best to also use the Static Type symbol when creating the base symbol, because otherwise they may react differently to scaling when the general preference Scale Strokes & Effects is disabled.

2. Create other artwork which will be used as the variants. These may be similar to the base symbol (such as just having a different color), but they may also be completely different. If a variant is composed of more than one object, the objects need to be grouped.

3. With the artwork selected, choose Object > Create Symbol Variants... from the main menu to display the Create Symbol Variants dialog.

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Variants Dialog

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Variants Dialog

4. Pick a symbol to use as the base symbol from the pull-down menu.

5. Enable Delete Selected Art After Symbol Creation if you don’t want the original objects to be retained on the artboard. Note that the retained artwork won’t be replaced with their respective newly-created symbols they way Illustrator does when a symbol is created manually.

6. Click OK to finish.

To see the result, open the native Symbols panel. If the symbol names are not visible, from its flyout menu choose either the Small List View or Large List View menu item.

The chosen objects are added as symbols, but with special names assigned. For example, given a base symbol name of Triangle, its symbol variants would have names like these:

Triangle_var_001

Triangle_var_002

Triangle_var_003

Halftone Symbol Variants: Manual creation

The special _var_[string] suffix, added to the base name, is the sole determinant of whether a symbol is considered a variant or not. Therefore, symbols can be named manually using this pattern to turn them into variants. The Tab key can be used to quickly rename symbols in succession. While the automated method of variant creation uses a three-digit number that increments as the string following the _var_ suffix, it need not be a number; it can be any unique identifying name. So the following names would also be equally valid:

Triangle_var_darker

Triangle_var_verydark

Triangle_var_black

Halftone Symbol Variants: Usage

To use symbol variants in addition to the base symbol in Halftone, simply enable the Use Variants checkbox in the parameters dialog. Note that only base symbols will appear in the list of available symbols, so variants can’t be used independently. For each halftone symbol dot, either the base symbol or one of its variants are chosen at random with equal frequency, unless additional naming options have been used to specify the density distribution (see below).

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Variants Example

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Variants Example

Halftone Symbol Variants: Density Specification

Additional naming syntax allows control over the distribution of symbol variants used within a Halftone. The following suffix can be added to a variant symbol’s name to make it a density-specified variant (its position in the halftone is restricted to a density range):

=dxxx-xxx (where each xxx is a three-digit number between 000 and 255) means the variant will be only used within the halftone where the underlying grayscale-equivalent tone (as measured from 0–255) is equal to or between the two specified values. The smaller value must come first in the name. If the underlying tone lies inside more than one variant’s density range specifier, then the variant is randomly picked from among the valid variants, thereby creating a mix of symbols in certain areas.

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Variants - Density Specified

Phantasm Halftone Symbol Variants - Density Specified

If any density-specified variants are present, then the base symbol and any normal variants will not be used at all. If a variant name is changed after the Halftone is created, the live effect will not be updated until its parameters dialog is opened.

Hue/Saturation

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Hue/Saturation

Phantasm Hue/Saturation is a live effect/filter that allows hue, saturation, and lightness correction of artwork similar to Photoshop’s. As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Hue/Saturation. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Hue/Saturation Dialog

Phantasm Hue/Saturation Dialog

1. Hue Range Pull-down Menu

When set to Master, the adjustments will apply to all colors in the artwork. However, it can also be changed to one of six independent hue ranges. By default, these are: Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, and Magentas. Each color can have its own adjustment parameters, with variable start, fade-in, end, and fade-out parameters (see item 6 below). These color ranges refer the artwork’s original colors, not the color that results from any Master adjustment. The menu is not available when Colorize is being used.

2. Hue

Adjusts the hue of the art, from –180 to 180. The slider may be dragged, or a numerical value entered directly.

Phantasm Hue Examples

Phantasm Hue Examples

3. Saturation

Adjusts the saturation of the art, from –100 to 100. The slider may be dragged, or a numerical value entered directly.

Phantasm Saturation Examples

Phantasm Saturation Examples

4. Lightness

Adjusts the lightness of the art, from –100 to 100. The slider may be dragged, or a numerical value entered directly.

Phantasm Lightness Examples

Phantasm Lightness Examples

5. Colorize Checkbox

When enabled, the hue/saturation/lightness functionality is changed; the artwork is changed to a single hue, with adjustable saturation and lightness. In Colorize mode, the Hue parameter changes to a range of 0 to 360, and the Lightness parameter changes to a range of 0 to 100. The Hue Range Pull-down Menu is no longer available.

Phantasm HLS with Colorize Examples

Phantasm HLS with Colorize Examples

6. Color Range Stripes

The top stripe represents the original colors, and the bottom stripe shows the corresponding colors after adjustment. Certain adjustments may not be clearly reflected in the stripes, such as increasing the saturation, as the colors shown are already saturated. When adjusting a hue range other than Master, the stripes will also display controls which offer the ability to adjust the start, fade-in, end, and fade-out parameters for that range:

Phantasm HLS with Colorize Examples

Phantasm HLS with Colorize Examples

To edit the hue range controls, drag the inner controls (B and D) to specify the range that will be affected 100% and the outer controls (A and E) for the fade-in/fade-out limits. Dragging the area marked C will move all four controls together. It is also possible to drag the regions between controls A and B, and between D and E, to move the pair of controls together (this also makes it possible to put A or E on the opposite end of the stripe from its corresponding inner control). Numeric values are shown for each control’s position above the upper color stripe (a, b, d, and e).

The Hue Range menu color name entries will adjust automatically to best describe the range that is described by the controls. If there are multiple ranges that describe the same basic color, a number will be appended to the color name (for example, there might be Reds and Reds 2).

Invert

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Invert

Phantasm Invert is a live effect/filter that simply inverts the levels of all color channels. As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Invert. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Invert Dialog

Phantasm Invert Dialog

1. Invert Appearance

Available only if the document is in CMYK color space. Most common CMYK colors do not have large amounts of Black in them, so when that channel is inverted, the Black level becomes high and the colors typically get very dark. When Invert Appearance is enabled, artwork is instead inverted in a visually-similar way to how RGB artwork would be inverted, which is generally more useful:

Phantasm Invert Example

Phantasm Invert Example

Levels

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Levels

Phantasm Levels is a live effect/filter that allows adjustment of the black, white, and mid-point gray input levels and output levels of artwork, similar to Photoshop’s Levels dialog. As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Levels. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Levels Dialog

Phantasm Levels Dialog

1. Channel Menu

Specifies which channel or channels the current levels settings apply to. For CMYK documents, this includes the composite four process colors (CMYK) as well as each individual color. For RGB documents, this includes the composite three primary colors (RGB) as well as each individual color. In both cases, individual spot colors will also appear in the list, as well as Image Alpha, which affects the alpha channel in images with transparency.

2. Input Levels

Sets the levels for the shadows (0 to 253), midtones (0.1 to 9.99), and highlights (2 to 255). The shadow and highlight levels are absolute values, while the midtone value is always relative to them.

3. Histogram

Shows the levels of the tints of the selected channels within the targeted art as a histogram. Due to plugin limitations, if the Levels live effect is applied to multiple targeted art objects, a histogram of only one of them can be displayed (a warning will be shown). Histograms that cannot be displayed, such as for Image Alpha, will show a “Null” symbol (a circle with a slash through it). The slider thumbs under the histogram reflect the current input levels, and can also be dragged to adjust them.

4. Output Levels

Sets the tonal range that the adjusted art will assume. The shadow level can be brought to the right of the highlight level, in which case the levels will be inverted.

5. Output Level Slider

The slider thumbs reflect the current output levels, and can be dragged to adjust them.

6. Warning Area

Displays warnings, such as when the effect is being applied to multiple targeted art objects, or when a spot color is present in the artwork.

Prepress Correct

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Prepress Correct

Phantasm Prepress Correct is a live effect/filter for CMYK documents destined for print that offers the most common ink control operations from the Basic and Advanced Options section present in most of Phantasm’s other live effects.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Prepress Correct. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Prepress Correct Dialog

Phantasm Prepress Correct Dialog

1. Safe CMYK

When enabled, if the document’s color mode is set to CMYK, colors will have their ink levels adjusted to conform to the color setting in regards to total ink coverage. For example, typically offset presses require that the total ink in any one spot on the paper is 300% total coverage or less. See Phantasm: Common Options (Basic).

2. Exclude Pure Black

Available if Safe CMYK is enabled. This option keeps any Safe CMYK adjustment, which usually has the effect of adding C, M, and Y components, from being applied to pure black colors.

3. Remove Overprinted White

Removes the overprint flag from any white art objects, which normally would cause them to disappear completely on separated output for printing.

4. Overprint Pure Black

Adds the overprint flag to art objects which are pure black, which can be beneficial by reducing knockout/alignment issues that can occur on an offset press. The associated slider determines the percentage of Black, and above, that should have the overprint flag added. For example, if the slider is set to 75%, only objects colored with 75% Black (no Cyan, Magenta or Yellow) or 75% grayscale or above would have an overprint setting added (if not already present). The overprint would only apply to the relevant fill or stroke, or both. Enabling the associated Text Only checkbox will limit the flag to pure black editable text objects. Gradient meshes and bitmaps are not affected by Overprint Pure Black.

Shift to Color

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Shift to Color

Phantasm Shift to Color is a live effect/filter that allows moving all of an art object’s colors towards a specified color by a variable amount, simulating transparency without actually using it. This may be useful when exporting to basic vector formats or other situations where using actual transparency might require flattening which can cause other issues.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Shift to Color. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Shift to Color Dialog

Phantasm Shift to Color Dialog

1. Color

The color that the artwork is shifted towards. Clicking the color chip brings up the native color picker. Although spot colors can be used, the resulting colors will always be process CMYK or RGB (depending on document type).

2. Shift

Specifies the amount of shift, from 0% to 100%.

Phantasm Shift to Color Example

Phantasm Shift to Color Example

Temperature/Tint

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Window > Astute Graphics > Phantasm > Temperature/Tint

Phantasm Temperature/Tint is a photography-oriented live effect/filter that allows subtle adjustment of color temperature and tint.

As a live effect, it is accessible through the main menu, under Effect > Phantasm > Temperature/Tint. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel, or through the Phantasm panel (see Phantasm: Panel).

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

Phantasm Temperature/Tint Example

Phantasm Temperature/Tint Example

1. Temperature

Changes the “coldness” or “warmth” of artwork by adjusting the orange and blue tones. Ranges between –100 (more blue) and 100 (less blue/more orange).

2. Tint

Adjusts the red and green tones, which can be helpful for compensating for fluorescent lighting or improving natural tone such as skin and greenery. Ranges between –100 (less green) and 100 (more green).

Phantasm Temperature/Tint Example

Phantasm Temperature/Tint Example

AG Corners Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > VectorScribe > AG Corners...

AG Corners is an Astute Graphics live effect for paths that improves the native “Round Corners” effect, by allowing for the rounding of points adjacent to curved segments without distorting them and by implementing the different corner types and methods found in the Dynamic Corners panel. It is part of the VectorScribe plugin.

As with most live effects, AG Corners appears in the main menu, under Effect > VectorScribe. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

AG Corners Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Corners Parameters Dialog

AG Corners Parameters Dialog

1. Radius

The radius of each corner. If a corner cannot accommodate the specified radius, its radius will be made as large as possible. Corners cannot extend past the next anchor point along the path in either direction, so sometimes placing a Smart Remove Points live effect before the AG Corners effect can fix issues where additional anchor points have been inadvertently added by effects such as AG Offset.

AG Corners Blocked Corners Example

AG Corners Blocked Corners Example

2. Type

Specifies the type of corners, either Regular (curve facing outwards), Negative (curve facing inwards), or Chamfered (a straight line cutting across the corner).

3. Method

For curved corners (Regular and Negative), specifies the method used to draw the corner.

AG Corners Method Example

AG Corners Method Example

True Radius method corners are created with one or two circular segments and maintain a constant radius as closely as is possible using the cubic bezier curves with which all Illustrator paths are constructed.

Standard method corners are the type that the native “Round Corners” live effect creates. When placed on a right angle, they are identical to True Radius corners, but at other angles they are of non-constant radii, the values of which vary substantially from the nominal radius value. They are useful for certain shapes which tend to look incorrect with True Radius corners:

AG Corners Standard corner example

AG Corners Standard corner example

Squircular method corners approximate the “Squircle” curve popularized by Apple. A squircle is a blend between a square and a circle. These non-constant-radius corners feature a smoother transition between the curved section and the straight section of path, and are most useful on the right angles of squares and rectangles. A Squircular corner of the same radius as a True Radius corner will look smaller due to its changing curvature.

4. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Add Points Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Add Points is an Astute Graphics live effect for paths that adds anchor points to paths, similar to the functionality of the “Add Points” function of the PathScribe panel. By itself, adding points is not particularly useful, as the look of the art won’t change; the real power comes by stacking the live effect with other live effects that operate on or depend on anchor point placement.

As with most live effects, Add Points appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Add Points Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Add Points Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Add Points Parameters Dialog

1. Targeted Segments

By default, all segments in the path have points added to them, but this can be changed to First, Last, Even Only, Odd Only, Curved Only, or Straight Only segments. Even and odd refer to the index number of the segment, which starts at zero for the first segment in the path.

2. Equal Spacing Mode

In this mode, points are added such that the space between them (as measured along the path) is equal.

3. Bezier Spacing Mode

In this mode, points are added such that the cubic bezier t parameter is equally spaced. Generally, this adds more points to areas along the segment which are more tightly curved.

4. Number of Points

For Equal Spacing and Bezier Spacing modes, specifies the number of points to add along each segment.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Add Points Equal or Bezier Spacing

AG Utilities Live Effects - Add Points Equal or Bezier Spacing

5. Distance Spacing Mode

In this mode, points are added equally spaced along the path with the distance specified, adding as many as will fit along the segment unless Limit Number of Points is also enabled.

6. Distance Value

The distance between the added points when using Distance Spacing mode. If the distance value is greater than the segment’s length, no points will be added to the segment.

7. Center Within Segment

In Distance Spacing mode, causes the added points to be centered within the segment, so the distances from the segment’s ends to the first or last added point will be equal (but may not match the specified distance).

8. Limit Number of Points

In Distance Spacing mode, specifies the maximum number of points to add along each segment.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Add Points Distance Spacing

AG Utilities Live Effects - Add Points Distance Spacing

9. Retain Straight Segment Handles

Normally, when anchor points are added to a handleless straight segment, the new points have their handles removed. However, enabling this setting causes the handles to be retained, which can be useful when the new anchor points are subsequently moved and a smooth curve is desired.

10. New Points Are Corner Type

Forces the added points to have corner type rather than smooth. This does not change any handles that the point might have, only the point type.

11. Randomize

Allows for random variation in the count and/or position of the new points.

12. Distribution Curves

Specifies either a linear distribution in random values (all values in the range are equally likely to be chosen) or a Gaussian distribution (central values in the range are more likely to be chosen).

13. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

14. Count Variation

Specifies the random variation in the added point count (valid for Equal Spacing and Bezier Spacing modes only). For example, if the count is set to 20, then a variation value of 25% would produce count values that vary by as much as 20 × 25% = 5, that is, between 16 and 20; a variation value of 100% would produce count values between 1 and 20.

15. Position Variation

Specifies the random variation in the final positions of the added points.

16. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

17. Annotate New Point Positions

When enabled, the positions of the added points will be temporarily displayed using magenta dot annotations, which is useful if subsequent live effects have not been added to the artwork yet, because by itself, Add Points will produce no visual change to the art.

Convert to Smooth Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Convert to Smooth is an Astute Graphics live effect for paths that changes the anchor points in the artwork to smooth type, automatically adding and adjusting handles where needed.

As with most live effects, Convert to Smooth appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Convert to Smooth Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Convert to Smooth Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Convert to Smooth Parameters Dialog

1. Smoothing Ratio

Controls the lengths of any newly-generated handles. The smoothing ratio can range from 0.01 to 0.5, with values between 0.3 and 0.4 generally give the smoothest looking curves; a value of 0.3905 will convert a square to a circle.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Convert to Smooth Ratios

AG Utilities Live Effects - Convert to Smooth Ratios

2. Handleless Points Only

When enabled, only anchor points that have no handles will be converted to smooth points with new handles.

3. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Dashify Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Dashify is an Astute Graphics live effect for paths that breaks them into multiple segments that, if stroked, have the same look as native dashes. But unlike native dashes, when a path with Dashify is expanded, each dash is converted to a short, open section of a compound path rather than an outlined, filled and closed path. Additionally, Dashify supports five independent lengths for pairs of dashes and gaps, an additional alignment mode for open paths, and randomization options.

As with most live effects, Dashify appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Dashify Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Parameters Dialog

1. Align Dashes to Corners and Path Ends

When enabled, dashes are aligned in the same manner as the native dashes are aligned using the native Stroke panel’s “Align” button. This may cause the absolute size of each dash and gap to be changed slightly.

2. Use Alternate Algorithm for Open Paths

Available when Align Dashes to Corners and Path Ends is enabled. When enabled, dashes are aligned such that each end of the open path gets a full dash rather than the half-dash that the native algorithm produces. Interior corners will be ignored for alignment purposes.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Alignment

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Alignment

3. Always End on First Dash

Available when the Alternate Algorithm for Open Paths is being used. When enabled, the dashed path will not only start with the first dash in the pattern but will also end with it:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Alignment (Always end on first dash)

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Alignment (Always end on first dash)

4. Dash Offset

Shifts the starting position of the dash pattern along the path. Positive values move the pattern in the path’s direction while negative values move it in the opposite direction. Dash Offset is not available when Align Dashes to Corners and Path Ends is enabled.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Dash Offset

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Dash Offset

5. Dashes and Gaps

As per the native Stroke panel, specifies the length of the dashes and gaps. Supports up to five pairs of values, (compared to three for the native panel). When using zero as a gap length, the path will still be broken into dashes; each will touch its neighbours. Zero can be useful as a dash length when combined with round end caps: it produces circular dots.

6. Randomize

Allows randomization of the lengths of the dashes and/or the gaps. Randomization is not available when Align Dashes to Corners and Path Ends is enabled.

7. Distribution Curves

Specifies either a linear distribution in random values (all values in the range are equally likely to be chosen) or a Gaussian distribution (central values in the range are more likely to be chosen).

8. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

9. Dash Length Variation

Specifies the random variation in the length of each dash. For example, if a dash’s length is set to 20 pt, then a variation value of 25% would produce lengths that vary by as much as 20 pt × 25% = 5 pt, that is, between 15 pt and 20 pt; a variation value of 90% would produce lengths between 2 pt and 20 pt.

10. Gap Length Variation

As per Dash Length Variation, but for gaps.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Randomization

AG Utilities Live Effects - Dashify Randomization

11. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Extend Path Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Extend Path is an Astute Graphics live effect for open paths that allows them to be extended (lengthened) or shortened. Extension can be made using four different methods, and randomization options are available.

As with most live effects, Extend Path appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Extend Path Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Extend Path Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Extend Path Parameters Dialog

1. Extend Start of Path

Each end of the open path can be independently affected. The top section of the dialog pertains to the start of the path.

2. Absolute/Relative

Specifies whether the extension length is an absolutely-specified value (for example, 24 pt) or a value relative to the path length (for example, 50%, which would make the path 1.5 times as long as it was originally).

3. Copy Value button

Allows you to pick up all the parameters from the section of the dialog for the opposite end of the path, in cases where both ends of the path must be extended in the same manner.

4. Length

The amount that the path will be extended or shortened. In Relative mode, the value is interpreted as a percentage of the original path length. Negative values will result in the path being shortened instead of extended.

5. Extend As

The type of extension (ignored when shortening a path).

Bezier Extension

In Bezier extension mode, no additional anchor points are added to the path. Instead, the cubic bezier curve that comprises the path segment being extended is simply expanded. Due to the mathematics of cubic beziers, this may lead to situations where the curve turns in unexpected directions or even reverses direction at a cusp point if the original bezier had only a single handle.

Constant Radius Extension

In Constant Radius extension mode, the path is continued as a circular arc of constant radius. The radius value itself depends on which radius mode is active (see Radius Mode).

Straight Extension

In Straight extension mode (the default), the path is continued as a simple straight line.

Spiral Extension

In Spiral extension mode, the path is continued as a logarithmic spiral with the specified winding constant. Lower winding constants make the spiral’s radii become smaller more quickly.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Extension Types

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Extension Types

6. Specify Angle

Applicable with Straight extensions only; when enabled, the straight extension of the path will not be made at the original angle of the end of the path, but at the specified angle.

7. Specify Angle Mode

When specifying the straight extension angle, you can choose between an absolute angle or an angle that represents the change in angle (“Difference”) between the end of the path and the extension.

8. Specify Angle Value

The final angle, either as an absolute value or as a difference in angles.

9. Flip by 180 Degrees

The final angle is flipped by 180 degrees.

10. Extend End of Path

All controls are identical to the “Start of Path” section, but control the other end of the path.

11. Plus Value

For Relative mode extensions, allows an absolute value to be added to the relative value.

12. Limit Curvature

For Constant Radius and Spiral extensions, limits the length of the extension based on the amount of path bend.

13. Limit Curvature Value

The maximum amount of path bend (in degrees), regardless of length.

14. Radius Mode

For Constant Radius and Spiral extensions, one of the following: Match Radius Mode (the radius value will match the existing radius at the end of the path); Scaled Radius Mode (the radius value will be taken from the existing radius multiplied by the scale value); or Fixed Radius Mode (the radius value will be equal to the specified fixed value).

AG Utilities Live Effects - Extend Path Radius Modes

AG Utilities Live Effects - Extend Path Radius Modes

15. Radius Value

For Scaled and Fixed modes, the scale factor or fixed value.

16. Reverse Curvature

Normally the curvature of the extension is in the same direction as the existing path; Reverse Curvature makes the extension curve in the opposite direction.

17. Randomize

Allows randomization of several parameters, including length, radius, and the probablity of reverse curvature. Randomization is most useful when applying the Extend Path effect to a group of many paths, or in an effect stack in which a previous effect breaks a single path into multiple pieces, like Dashify.

18. Distribution Curves

Specifies either a linear distribution in random values (all values in the range are equally likely to be chosen) or a Gaussian distribution (central values in the range are more likely to be chosen).

19. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

20. Length Variation

Specifies the random variation in the length of the extension. For example, if the length is set to 20 pt, then a variation value of 25% would produce lengths that vary by as much as 20 pt × 25% = 5 pt, that is, between 15 pt and 20 pt; a variation value of 90% would produce lengths between 2 pt and 20 pt.

21. Length Step

Constrains each final extension length (after randomization) to multiples of the specified step value while still remaining in the original range. For example, if the extension length is set to 24 pt with a random variation of 50%, then normally values of 12 to 24 pt would be produced. But enabling Step with a value of 5 pt would result in only values of 15 pt and 20 pt.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Extend Path Randomization

AG Utilities Live Effects - Extend Path Randomization

22. Radius Variation

For Constant Radius and Spiral extensions, similar to Length Variation but affects the final radius value.

23. Reverse Curvature Inversion Probability

For Constant Radius and Spiral extensions, specifies the probability that the reverse curvature setting (when enabled) will be inverted to the opposite value.

24. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Make Compound Path Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Make Compound Path is an Astute Graphics live effect with one simple function: to turn multiple paths into a single compound path. It has no parameters.

As with most live effects, Make Compound Path appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

The Make Compound Path effect is mainly useful when followed by a native PathFinder effect such as “Intersect”. For example, if a group of four circles has an “Intersect” effect applied, normally nothing happens. But if it is preceded by Make Compound Path, then the Boolean operation works as expected:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Compound Path

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Compound Path

Make Shape Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Make Shape is an Astute Graphics live effect that creates paths which are basic geometric shapes from the artwork to which it is applied. In its basic form it is similar to the native “Convert to Shape” effect, but it includes many more parameters and options, such as the ability to place the shapes above or under the original artwork, the ability to change the alignment, and angle of the shape, and the ability to place multiple copies of shapes along paths. Randomization options are also included.

As with most live effects, Make Shape appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Make Shape Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Parameters Dialog

1. Shape Type

The type of shape to create, from among: Arc, Circle, Ellipse, Half-Circle, Line, Polygon, Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Square, Star, and Triangle. Depending on the type of shape selected, other parameter controls in the dialog may be hidden or changed.

2. Positioning

The position of the shape relative to the original artwork. It can replace the original (the default), or go above or below it.

3. Sides

Some of the shape types (Arc, Circle, Ellipse, Half-Circle, Polygon, and Star) allow the number of sides (anchor points for rounded shapes; points for stars) to be specified, from 3 to 1000. For Stars, an additional control will appear that lets you force the star to be “Regular” (this locks the ratio of its inner diameter to its outer diameter).

4. Location

Where to place the shape(s). The default, similar to the native “Convert to Shape” effect, is relative to the bounding box of the original artwork (note that Make Shape uses the outlines of live text to directly determine its bounding box). Other options (each will add parameter-specific controls alongside the popup menu) include:

Along Path (Once)

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path Once

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path Once

The shape is placed once along each path at the specified path length fraction (0 to 100%), where 0% indicates the start of the path and 100% indicates the end of the path; for closed paths, 0% and 100% refer to the same spot.

Along Path (By Count)

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Count

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Count

The shape is placed the specified number of times along each path, equally spaced. For open paths, a shape is placed at each end except when Center is enabled: then the endpoints do not receive shapes and instead the shapes are placed along the interior of the path such that equal spacing would be maintained if multiple copies of the path were placed end-to-end. For closed paths, Center shifts the shapes such that they appear centered between the spots where they would be placed if Center were not enabled.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Count Center

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Count Center

Along Path (By Distance)

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Distance

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Distance

Shapes are placed along each path, starting at the first anchor point, with the specified distance between shapes. When Adjust is enabled, the spacing is modified in one of two different ways. In Center mode, the shapes are moved to be centered within the path. In Fit mode, the distance value is changed to the closest value which produces an integral number of shapes along the path.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Distance Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Path by Distance Example

If the distance exceeds the path length, then no shapes are created unless Adjust is enabled.

Along Each Segment

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Each Segment

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Along Each Segment

Shapes are placed along segments of each path at the specified length fraction (0 to 100%), where 0% indicates the start of the segment and 100% indicates the end of the segment. By default, all segments are included, but this can be changed to First, Last, Even Only, Odd Only, Curved Only, or Straight Only to affect only a subset of the segments.

At Anchor Points

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape at Anchor Points

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape at Anchor Points

Shapes are placed at the positions of the anchor points of each path. By default, all anchor points are included, but this can be changed to First, Last, Even Only, Odd Only, Corner Only, or Smooth Only to affect only a subset of the anchor points.

5. Nine-block Control

When using a Location of Relative to Bounds, allows the picking of one of the nine standard positions (upper-left, upper-center, etc.) to which the shape can be oriented relative to the bounding box.

6. Ignore Groups

When using a Location of Relative to Bounds, when enabled, bounds are calculated separately for each member of any group in the original art (including groups created internally by the live effect mechanism), thereby resulting in multiple shapes if the group has more than one object (such as live text).

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Ignore Groups

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Ignore Groups

7. Rotation

Specifies the rotation of the shape. This rotation value may be in addition to path tangent-matching rotation (see below).

8. After Matching Path Tangent Angle

This option is available when the location is set to anything other than Relative to Bounds. When enabled, the shape is first rotated to match the tangent angle at its spot along the path, and then any additional rotation specified by the rotation option is added to that value. Angles at corner points are determined by averaging the angles on either side of the point.

9. Alignment

Specifies the alignment of the shape to its nominal center point. This alignment is calculated with the shape in an unrotated state and any rotation is then carried out around the alignment point.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Alignment

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Alignment

10. Size

When set to Absolute, the dimensions of the shape are set directly. When Relative, each dimension is based on another dimension, specified using the menu.

11. Dimensional Values

Sets the dimension(s) of the shape (shape types of Arc, Circle, Half-Circle, Line, Polygon, and Square have only a single dimension; Rounded Rectangle has three dimensions).

12. Dimensional Relative

For size Relative, specifies what the dimension is based on. For example, a circle’s diameter can be set to 50% of the original width of the art. For shape types with two or more dimensions, one dimension can be based on the other to determine its aspect ratio (for example, an ellipse’s width can be set to 200% of its height).

13. Plus Value

For size mode Relative, specifies an additional value that is added to the relatively-derived dimension, essentially giving it a minimum value.

14. Randomize

Allows randomization of the rotation and dimensions of the shapes.

15. Distribution Curves

Specifies either a linear distribution in random values (all values in the range are equally likely to be chosen) or a Gaussian distribution (central values in the range are more likely to be chosen).

16. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

17. Rotation Variation

Specifies the maximum amount of variation in the final rotation of the shapes (in either clockwise or counter-clockwise directions), in degrees. For example, if the rotation value is set to 90° and the variation is set to 15°, possible values would be between 75 and 105°.

18. Rotation Step

Constrains each final rotation value (after randomization) to multiples of the specified step value while still remaining in the original range. In the example above, where possible values range continuously between 75 and 105°, setting the step value to 10° would instead only result in values of 80°, 90° or 100°.

19. Dimensional Variations

Specifies the random variation in the first dimension of the shape. For example, using a Line shape, if the length is set to 20 pt, then a variation value of 25% would produce lengths that vary by as much as 20 pt × 25% = 5 pt, that is, between 15 pt and 20 pt; a variation value of 90% would produce lengths between 2 pt and 20 pt.

20. Dimensional Steps

Constrains each final shape dimension (after randomization) to multiples of the specified step value while still remaining in the original range. For example, using a Line shape, if the length is set to 24 pt with a random variation of 50%, then normally values of 12 to 24 pt would be produced. But enabling Step with a value of 5 pt would result in only values of 15 pt and 20 pt.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Randomization

AG Utilities Live Effects - Make Shape Randomization

21. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Path Removal Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Path Removal is an Astute Graphics live effect that removes paths from the object it is applied to, based on criteria such as path length, type (open/closed), or index. It is most useful when applied to a group of many paths, or is preceded by another live effect which breaks one path into many, such as Astute’s Dashify or Split Path to Segments.

As with most live effects, Path Removal appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Path Removal Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Parameters Dialog

1. Criteria Popup

By default, paths will be removed only if they match all of the enabled options (the first six checkboxes below). However you can change this to When They Match Any Enabled Options, Unless They Match All Enabled Options, or Unless They Match Any Enabled Options.

2. Point Count

Paths match when they have an anchor point count from the minimum to the maximum values specified. The defaults are both 1, meaning paths will match if they are single points. When compound paths are treated as a whole, the anchor point count is the sum of all the anchor points in all subpaths.

3. Length

Paths match when they have a length from the minimum to the maximum values specified. When compound paths are treated as a whole, the length is the sum of the lengths of all subpaths.

4. Type

Paths match when their type is the same as specified. When compound paths are treated as a whole, they match if all of the subpaths match.

5. Subpaths of a Compound Path

Paths match as specified.

6. Segments With Handles

When set to Yes, paths match if any of their segments have handles; when set to No, paths match if none of their segments have handles.

7. Index

Paths match if their index matches the specified indices. Paths are assigned indices starting at zero, increasing in the order in which they are encountered within the live effect. The default type of index match is Odd, i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. Other options are First, Last, First or Last, Even, and Pattern. Pattern type creates a repeating pattern of matching indices based on the three subsequent parameters.

8. Initial Skip

For Pattern index matching, the initial number of indices to skip over.

9. Match

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to match after skipping some.

10. Skip

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to skip over after matching some.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Pattern

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Pattern

11. Randomize

Allows randomization of the removal.

12. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

13. Retention Probability

The probability that a path that would normally be removed under the previous criteria will instead be retained. This value can be fixed (the default) or based on the index.

14. Retention Probability Value

For Fixed probability, the fixed value that applies to all removed paths. When the probability is set to Indexed, it consists of a starting probability value and an ending probability value, which linearly changes based on the index of the path.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Randomization Retention

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Randomization Retention

15. Keep Same Geometry Paths Together

When the Path Removal effect is positioned under an artwork’s strokes and fills in the Appearance panel, the stroked and filled paths are passed to it separately, and would therefore normally be randomly affected independently, leading to some paths being stroked but not filled and vice versa. Sometimes this can be solved by simply moving the Path Removal effect above them in the Appearance panel, but depending on the other effects that are present, this may not always be possible. In that case, enabling this setting allows paths with the exact same underlying geometry (such as fills and strokes of the same path) to be retained or removed in a unified manner.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Keep Same Geometry Together

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Removal Keep Same Geometry Together

16. Treat Compound Paths As a Whole

Normally each subpath of a compound path is examined for possible removal independently. When this setting is enabled, compound paths are either removed in their entirety or retained in their entirety. Some of the match parameters are interpreted slightly differently (for example, Point Count is interpreted to mean the total number of anchor points in all of the compound path’s subpaths).

17. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Path Visualizer Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Path Visualizer is an Astute Graphics live effect that provides the visualization of anchor points, handles, and redundant points on a path or live text by rendering them as art elements. These art elements remain visible even if the path is not selected. Path Visualizer can be useful when evaluating various fonts (no need to create outlines), and when building large effect stacks; by temporarily inserting it at a certain location in the stack (and hiding effects below it), the state of the path(s) at that point in the effect chain can be visualized without having to expand the effect.

As with most live effects, Path Visualizer appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Path Visualizer Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Parameters Dialog

1. Visualize Anchor Points

Creates a filled square at each anchor point on the path. At default 100% scaling, the squares have a side length of 5 pt.

2. Visualize Handles

Creates a filled circle at each bezier handle on the path. At default 100% scaling, the circles have a diameter of 5 pt.

3. Visualize Handle Lines

Creates a straight line from each handle to its associated anchor point on the path. At default 100% scaling, the lines have a stroke weight of 0.75 pt.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Example

4. Visualize Redundant Points

Draws a semi-transparent red, triangular shape similar to the Astute Graphics PathScribe tool redundant point indicator over redundant points. A redundant point, also known as a doubled point, is defined as the latter of two consecutive anchor points on a path that have exactly the same X and Y coordinates and don’t have handles in the (zero-length) segment between them. They are often created after using the PathFinder functions or after using Object > Path > Outline Stroke, and despite not changing the shape of the path, can cause problems when performing additional functions such as offsetting.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Redundant Points

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Redundant Points

5. Include Unpainted Paths

When enabled, paths that have no fill or stroke are included when generating the visualization art. This is generally only necessary when placing the Path Visualizer effect above the fills and strokes in the Appearance panel.

6. Scale

Makes all the visualization art smaller or larger by the specified amount. The annotations that typically show anchor points and handles are independent of the zoom value, but since the live effect visualizations create actual art, they will get larger when the art is zoomed in on. This can make it difficult to see points that are very close to each other, very short handles, etc. The Scale factor can vary from 0.1% to 10000%.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Scale Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Path Visualizer Scale Example

7. Positioning

The position of the visualization art relative to the original artwork. It can replace the original, go above it (the default), or go below it.

8. Color

The color of the visualization art for anchor points, handles, and handle lines. The default color is black, but it can be changed by clicking on the color chip to bring up the standard color picker.

9. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Point Removal Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Point Removal is an Astute Graphics live effect that removes anchor points from the paths in the artwork to which it is applied, based on criteria such as their distance from the previous point, the change in path angle at the point, or index. In contrast to the Smart Remove Points live effect, the handles of non-removed points are not adjusted to try to maintain path geometry.

As with most live effects, Point Removal appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Point Removal Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Parameters Dialog

1. Criteria Popup

By default, points will be removed only if they match all of the enabled options (the first four checkboxes below). However you can change this to When They Match Any Enabled Options, Unless They Match All Enabled Options, or Unless They Match Any Enabled Options.

2. Distance From Previous

Points match when their distance (measured along the path) to the previous anchor point is between the minimum and the maximum values specified. The first point on an open path will never be matched.

3. Change In Path Angle

Points match when the change in the tangent angle of the path at the point is between the minimum and maximum values specified. Smooth points (unless malformed) will always have a 0° change in angle. The endpoints of an open path will never be matched.

4. Handles

Points match when their number of handles match the specified value: None, Any, Exactly One, or Exactly Two.

5. Index

Points match if their index matches the specified indices. Points are assigned indices starting at zero, increasing in the order in which they are encountered within the live effect. The default type of index match is Odd, i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. Other options are First, Last, First or Last, Even, and Pattern. Pattern type creates a repeating pattern of matching indices based on the three subsequent parameters.

6. Initial Skip

For Pattern index matching, the initial number of indices to skip over.

7. Match

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to match after skipping some.

8. Skip

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to skip over after matching some.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Pattern

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Pattern

9. Randomize

Allows randomization of the removal.

10. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

11. Retention Probability

The probability that a point that would normally be removed under the previous criteria will instead be retained.

12. Keep Same Geometry Paths Together

When the Point Removal effect is positioned under an artwork’s strokes and fills in the Appearance panel, the stroked and filled paths are passed to it separately, and their points would therefore normally be randomly affected independently, leading to some paths having different points removed when Randomize is enabled. Sometimes this can be solved by simply moving the Point Removal effect above them in the Appearance panel, but depending on the other effects that are present, this may not always be possible. In that case, enabling this setting allows paths with the exact same underlying geometry (such as fills and strokes of the same path) have the same points removed or retained.

13. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Release Compound Path Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Release Compound Path is an Astute Graphics live effect with one simple function: to break compound paths into their individual subpaths. It has no parameters.

As with most live effects, Release Compound Path appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

The Release Compound Path effect is useful mainly in cases where subsequent live effects act differently when applied to a compound path than from a group of normal paths. For example, applying an Astute Graphics Dashify live effect to a path (which breaks it into a compound path of many subpaths representing the dashes) and subsequently applying a native “Roughen” effect produces dashes that all have the same roughened profile. But if Release Compound Path is added after the Dashify, then each dash receives a different random roughened profile:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Release Compound Path Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Release Compound Path Example

Retract Handles Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Retract Handles is an Astute Graphics live effect with one simple function: to retract the handles of all anchor points. It has no parameters.

As with most live effects, Retract Handles appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

The Retract Handles effect ensures that all segments in the paths to which it is applied become straight:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Retract Handles Live Effect

AG Utilities Live Effects - Retract Handles Live Effect

Reverse Path Direction Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Reverse Path Direction is an Astute Graphics live effect with one simple function: to reverse the directions of all paths. It has no parameters.

As with most live effects, Reverse Path Direction appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

For paths that are not subsequently brushed, have arrowheads, or are affected by another live effect that depends on path direction (such as Make Shape), Reverse Path Direction will generally not show any visible changes.

Segment Removal Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Segment Removal is an Astute Graphics live effect that removes segments from the paths in the artwork to which it is applied, based on criteria such as their length, handle status, or index. When segments are removed, the path is split into multiple paths (unless the segments are contiguous in a closed path, in which case the path becomes an open path).

As with most live effects, Segment Removal appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Segment Removal Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Segment Removal Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Segment Removal Parameters Dialog

1. Criteria Popup

By default, segments will be removed only if they match all of the enabled options (the first four checkboxes below). However you can change this to When They Match Any Enabled Options, Unless They Match All Enabled Options, or Unless They Match Any Enabled Options.

2. Length

Segments match when they have a length (as measured along the path) from the minimum to the maximum values specified.

3. At Least One Handle

When set to Yes, segments match if they have one or two handles; when set to No, segments match if they have no handles (thus are straight).

4. Index

Segments match if their index matches the specified indices. Segments are assigned indices starting at zero, increasing in the order in which they are encountered within the live effect across multiple paths or subpaths. The default type of index match is Odd, i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. Other options are First, Last, First or Last, Even, and Pattern. Pattern type creates a repeating pattern of matching indices based on the three subsequent parameters.

5. Initial Skip

For Pattern index matching, the initial number of indices to skip over.

6. Match

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to match after skipping some.

7. Skip

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to skip over after matching some.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Segment Removal Pattern

AG Utilities Live Effects - Segment Removal Pattern

8. Randomize

Allows randomization of the removal.

9. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

10. Retention Probability

The probability that a segment that would normally be removed under the previous criteria will instead be retained.

11. Keep Same Geometry Paths Together

When the Segment Removal effect is positioned under an artwork’s strokes and fills in the Appearance panel, the stroked and filled paths are passed to it separately, and their segments would therefore normally be randomly affected independently, leading to some paths having different segments removed when Randomize is enabled. Sometimes this can be solved by simply moving the Segment Removal effect above them in the Appearance panel, but depending on the other effects that are present, this may not always be possible. In that case, enabling this setting allows paths with the exact same underlying geometry (such as fills and strokes of the same path) have the same segments removed or retained.

12. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Smart Remove Points Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Smart Remove Points is an Astute Graphics live effect that removes anchor points from a path (like the Point Removal effect) but while trying to maintain the geometry of the path. This is achieved by adjusting the lengths (but not angles) of the handles on either side of the removed points.

As with most live effects, Smart Remove Points appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Smart Remove Points Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Parameters Dialog

1. Tolerance

Specifies how much the geometry of the path can change when removing a point. The value can range between 0 and 200, with a default of 10. Low values remove fewer points (prioritizing the path’s geometry) while high values remove more points (at the likely cost of some distortion).

2. Protect Sharp Corners

When enabled, corner points along the path where the path angle changes by more than 6° are never removed, regardless of the tolerance setting. This allows simplifying smooth sections of a path by using a large tolerance without having to worry that sharp corners will be lost.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Example

3. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Split Path to Segments Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Split Path to Segments is an Astute Graphics live effect that breaks a path at its anchor points into multiple segments. Paths can be split at corner points, sharp points, or all points.

As with most live effects, Split Path to Segments appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Split Path to Segments Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Split Path to Segments Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Split Path to Segments Parameters Dialog

1. Split At

Specifies which types of anchor points at which splits should occur: corner, smooth, or both.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Split Path to Segments Examples

AG Utilities Live Effects - Split Path to Segments Examples

2. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Stroke Attributes Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Stroke Attributes is an Astute Graphics live effect that allows changing a path’s stroke parameters (weight, end caps, and corner joins). It also allows forcing a stroke onto a fill-only path, and (optionally) removing that fill.

As with most live effects, Stroke Attributes appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Stroke Attributes Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Stroke Attributes Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Stroke Attributes Parameters Dialog

1. Alter Weight

When enabled, the stroke weight of the path(s) will be changed.

2. Base Value Mode

Specifies what to use for the base value of the stroke weight, which may be subsequently modified by the limit values or through randomization:

Set Absolute: The default; the stroke weight will be set to the specified value.

Set Relative to Path Length: The stroke weight will be set to the length of the path times the specified factor. The default factor is 1%, meaning a path with a length of 120 pt would be given a stroke weight of 1.2 pt.

Set Relative to Original: The stroke weight will be set to the original stroke weight times the specified factor. The default factor is 200%, which doubles the existing stroke weight.

Use Original: Does not change the base weight.

3. Weight Value

For Set Absolute mode, specifies the base weight of the stroke. For Set Relative to Path Length mode, specifies the factor (as a percentage) by which the path’s length is multiplied to get the base weight. For Set Relative to Original mode, specifies the factor (as a percentage) by which the original stroke weight is multiplied to get the base weight.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Stroke Attributes Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Stroke Attributes Example

4. Limit, Minimum Value

Any base weights smaller than this will be changed to this value.

5. Limit, Maximum Value

Any base weights larger than this will be changed to this value.

6. Alter End Caps

When enabled, the end cap type of the stroke is changed to the specified type.

7. End Cap Type

As per the native stroke panel, the type of end cap to use: Butt, Round, or Projecting.

8. Alter Corner Joins

When enabled, the corner join type of the stroke is changed to the specified type.

9. Corner Join Type

As per the native stroke panel, the type of corner join to use: Miter, Round, or Bevel.

10. Miter Limit

For Miter type joins, per the native stroke panel, the miter limit to use.

11. Randomize

Allows randomization of the final stroke weight. This option is only available when Alter Weight is enabled.

12. Distribution Curves

Specifies either a linear distribution in random values (all values in the range are equally likely to be chosen) or a Gaussian distribution (central values in the range are more likely to be chosen).

13. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

14. Weight Variation

Specifies the maximum amount of variation in the final stroke weight. For example, if the weight is set to 20 pt, then a variation value of 25% would produce weights that vary by as much as 20pt × 25% = 5 pt, that is, between 15 pt and 20 pt; a variation value of 90% would produce weights between 2 pt and 20 pt.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Stroke Attributes Randomization Examples

AG Utilities Live Effects - Stroke Attributes Randomization Examples

15. Force Stroke On Fill-Only Paths

When enabled, a stroke will be added to any paths which are fill-only, if at least one attribute (weight, caps, or joins) is specified. For non-specified attributes, default values will be used. The color of the stroke will be the same as the fill color.

16. And Remove Fill

When enabled, the fill of the path will be removed when the new stroke is added.

17. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.