StarCauldron (Andrew's Vector Plug-ins Volume 14) Introduction The plugin creates stars (millions of variant stars). These in turn can be used as symbols, used with other paths, combined, re-colored, and more Andrew
Installation of plug-in / symbols Please place the GX14_StarCauldron.aip file in the c:\program files\adobe\illustrator CS\plug-ins folder [pc Illustrator 速 CS] or c:\program files\adobe\illustrator 10\plug-ins [pc illustrator 10] or CS2 or CS3 or CS4 equivalent for the mac, please place the GX14_StarCauldron file in HD:Applications:Adobe Illustrator CS:plug-ins [mac Illustrator 速CS] or HD:Applications:Adobe Illustrator 10:plug-ins [mac Illustrator 10] or CS2 or CS3 or CS4 equivalent ** Please note for OS X CS2, all the files in the 'plugin for CS2' should be placed in the plug-in path
Possible installation paths PC PC PC PC PC
CS4 C:\program files\adobe\adobe illustrator CS4\plug-ins\graphicxtras CS3 C:\program files\adobe\adobe illustrator CS3\plug-ins\graphicxtras CS2/12 c:\program files\adobe\adobe illustrator CS2\plug-ins\graphicxtras CS/11 c:\program files\adobe\illustrator CS\plug-ins\graphicxtras 10 c:\program files\adobe\illustrator 10\plug-ins\graphicxtras
OS OS OS OS OS
X X X X X
CS4 HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS4:plug-ins:graphicxtras CS3 HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS3:plug-ins:graphicxtras CS2 HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS2:plug-ins:graphicxtras CS HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS:plug-ins:graphicxtras 10 HD:applications:adobe illustrator 10:plug-ins:graphicxtras
(if the 'graphicxtras' folder does not exist, simply create it in the plug-ins folder or use another folder name if you wish. You can also just place the file in the top level plug-ins folder if you wish but putting it in a sub folder makes it easier to find at a later date)
Alternate plug-in installation location Because of recent improvements in security, you may wish to install the plug-in sets in an alternate location such as an user account and not the default plug-in folder. If you are using a basic level account and one without admin features, you might not be able to save the AIP plug-in files to the usual folder. Set up an alternate or secondary plug-in folder in your user account and then copy the files there.
To specify an alternate plug-in for Illustrator 速 1) Go to the edit > preferences > plug-ins 2) Check the additional plug-ins folder option 3) Specify / browse for your required file in your user account (such as 'third party plug-ins' etc)
Installing symbols The symbols files (*.ai files) should be placed in the c:\program files\Adobe\Illustrator...\presets\symbols folder (or mac equivalent). Access the symbols files via the windows\symbols menu (please consult the Illustrator documentation)
Initial use of plug-in Please access via the filters menu of Illustrator 速 via the <AVP Create> menu. (CS3 CS2 CS 10) Please access the plug-in via the object > filters menu (CS4) The plugin is split into 'five' screens, accessed via the buttons along the top of dialog. The basic settings of the plugin can be found in the first page/screen. I would suggest, just creating stars using this dialog, then access the other screens to modify the star. Another start point, use the presets at the bottom of the screen. You can always reset the plugin by selecting the first preset 'reset'
Applications support MAC OS X 10 .2 .3 .4 .5 98 ME NT XP Vista Adobe 速 Illustrator 速 10 CS1 CS2 CS3 CS4
Questions Please contact me on email@example.com. Other plugins are available on the site http://www.graphicxtras.com
Copyright The plugin is copyright of 1997-2008, Abneil Software Ltd (Andrew Buckle). The symbols are royalty-free, feel free to use as required. Symbols are (c) 2004-2007 Andrew Buckle / Abneil Software ltd. This product was released by Abneil Software Ltd (UK based company)
Trademarks Illustrator and Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated. We have no connection whatsoever with Adobe. Adobe product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Plugin use - basic screen This is the basic screen. To create basic stars, you never need to leave this screen. Also sets the core elements for any additional tweaking via the other screens 'Number of points in star group': A star group is made up of a collection of points creating the core and shell (inner and outer part of the star). To create the initial star, 10 such collections are used. A group is the key to the star creation. The more star groups, the more points are added to the path.
'Star core radius': inner core of the star and the distance from the 'center' of the star.
'Star core point offset': The inner points can be shifted or offset from their default position by x and y points. This will create 'leaning' stars or 3D effects.
'Star Shell point slant': The shell or outer star points are angled from their default position.
Plug-ins notes 'Star shell radius': the radius of the outer shell point (this is combined with the inner radius setting)
'Star shell point offset': The star points of the star shell are offset by these values creating a distorted star
Points screen This panel adds additional points to the star, either at the core and /or shell. These are added in sub sets up to 16 to each group. The sub sets are applied the same for each group (though this can be randomized via the settings screen). The default star uses 1 star in the core and 2 points for the outer and this is reflected in the initial settings. Note: the additional radius added to these points is set to 0 in the default state. The inner core points can be 0 upwards. The outer star points must have at least 1 point (or there would be no points at all and no star) You can add additional radius (or reduce) to each point. The first subset has been set as factory default. The other sub sets (up to 16) can be modified to create many additional points and positions of points, and thus, many different star point formations. The radius settings can all, if required, be left at 0, but this means the star will just have zillions more points without any real addition to structure (though this can be useful perhaps when used with the punk / bloat plugin) 'set 1': Change the drop down to work on different sub-sets or substructures of the group. You can work on set 1 and 6 and 12 and ignore the set 2 3 .. if you want. Changing the set will update the display settings
'Star core points / radius': add points to this sub structure. Distance the points + or - from the set radius for the core. If the core is set to 40 and the radius setting is set to 0 points, all points will be created at 40 pts from center of the star; if set to 100, then the points will be created at 140 pts; if set to -20, the points will be created at 20pts from the center. 'Star shell points / radius' : add points to the outer shell of the star.
'Alternate core pattern': instead of adding the points all at the same distance, alternate points can be modified by a certain factor. The setting by default is set to 100 for each point. If the radius value is set to 0, the factor can be ignored (as a factor applied to 0 is just going to be 0 pts..) If the radius of a point in a sub set is set to 50 pts and the pattern is set to 50 : 100 then the first point in the sub set will be 25 pts and the second 50pts and the third 25pts etc. This will create an in and out structure to the sub set / grouping. Can be used to create many unusual and interesting designs
'Alternate shell pattern': this is the equivalent, but for the outer shell of the star.
Distort screen This screen is used to 'post' distort the star. No additional points are added at this stage and all the calculations are done on the star points already created (via basic and points and other settings). The points are shifted by various means to create a wide collection of unusual crunched or bloated or warped star shapes. Also now offers interpolation of the points based on an interpolation center 'Distortion center dropdown': a small selection of different centers as the source of the distortion (as well as different types of distortion). The distortion by default is based around the star center (this might or might not have the required effect and generally has more impact on the scale of the star than any real distortion). The distortion center can be set to the center of the document (this might or might not have any effect as the star is initially created at the center of the document) as well as other centers such as corner of the document, random centers, half-powered distortions, and more
'Distortion radius': the distortion will have no effect if set to 0. 'Distortion field factor': the strength of the distortion. The distortion is a result of the combo dropdown / center + distortion radius and the field factor. If set to 0, there is no distortion.
'Random distortion': distortion added to each point randomly
'Point twirl factor': a radial distortion added to the individual points. If set to 0, ignored
'Interpolation dropdown': A selection of options for the center of interpolation. Instead of keeping the points at the calculated position, the points are shifted towards or away from the interpolation center by the interpolation factor. Ignored if the interpolation setting is 0.
'Interpolation': Factor used to shift points
Create screen Used to create additional stars, the start position for the star, additional tweaks to the stars (again, without adding additional points) and limits Also for sketch / hand drawn 'Star center': the start position for a star, either user-defined, or on the edge of the document (to create a frame), or randomly across the user defined horizontal or vertical, anywhere in the document, center of the document.. If number of stars is set to 1, then this has little real use (though it will affect the outcome of any distortions)
'Star center (initial) user defined': by default this is set to the document view center but can be modified by the user. If the star center is set to random or the document or edge, then these settings are ignored.
'Star pattern core / shell' : a factor applied to the core and shell for each grouping. The first setting is applied to 1, 3, 5, ... grouping and the second setting is applied to the 2, 4, 6.. grouping. The factor is applied to the radius setting and will shrink or increase the distance of the points from the center. If set to 50:100 and a radius of 40pts then the first group will have a radius of 20pts and the second etc will have 40pts radius. This can be used to create unusual star patterns.
'Star Boundary Limit': The max angle for the star. Set at 360 (full star) by default, to create a half star, set to 180 (though this is only approx as the star points depend on the grouping). The plugin will attempt to create all the points / groups as a full star but more compressed. If the setting is set to 5 degrees, minimum, the points will be crunched into a very narrow arc. 'Max Shell': by default set to a large value but if you wish the radius of the shell to only be 200pts max from the center (though this ignores any distortions etc and additional modifications), you can limit the radius / shell to a certain value. Particular useful in combo with patterns and sub sets. 'Number of stars generated': by default 1 star is created but if set to 100, 100 stars will be generated. If no randomization has been set, all the stars will be identical. If randomization such as fill as has been set, all the star fills will be different (possibly). If the star center is set to the document center or user defined, then all the stars will be created on top of each other (set to randomization center/anywhere to fill a document or frame). Set the randomization settings for sub structure etc to create 100s of variant stars. 'Sketch weight': Added to the additional sketch lines generated line weight / width
'Sketch shift': Sketchiness applied to the generated sketch lines (via sketch repeats). Ignored if sketch repeats is 0
'Sketch repeats': Number of sketch 'copies' of the star to generate 'Sketch color options': If sketch repeats is 0, ignored. Color effects to apply to the generated sketch lines such as random color, alternate dark / color lines etc
Settings screen All the various checkboxes such as 'random fill' and 'symbolize'. Most of the settings are off by default (except closed path for the star) 'Fill color': randomly fill the star with color (needs an initial fill - if set to no fill, will be ignored) Requires the fill to be the same color type as document (so RGB and CMYK will not work..) The black component of CMYK is set to 0
'Fill swatches': Fill the star with swatches in the current swatches palette. If there are no swatches, will be ignored. Needs a fill to be set so will not work with no fill. Overrides the fill randomization. Works best if you fill the swatches with the required colors or patterns or gradients and then apply (so create a display of subtle reds etc) 'Opacity': Randomize the opacity of the created stars (from 0 to 100 and anything in between). Creates a fuzzy star landscape. 'Stroke color': Randomize the color of the stroke. Requires a stroke setting. Works best with no fills and multiple stars. The randomization (like the fill) requires the stroke color to be the same color type as the document (RGB star in a RGB document) 'Width': Randomize the width of the star stroke. Requires a stroke setting. Randomizes the width between 0 and the current stroke width. So to get a greater range, set the star stroke width to 10 pts etc or more. If set to 0.1 pts, there will be little variation. 'Style': Randomizes styles applied to the stars. If there are no styles in the styles palette, this is ignored. This overrides many of the other settings such as stroke. Can be slow if the styles are complex. Can be used to create randomized blocks of 3D
Plug-ins notes styled stars or sketchy stars. If applied using default set of styles, will create stars with neon settings, sketch etc. Generally requires some initial setup 'Star Settings': Randomizes many of the settings (internally) to create many variant stars. Works best using large settings otherwise there will be little variation.
'Structure': Randomizes the structure elements of the star, creating in most cases, simpler less point intensive stars. Modified by the sub points / points setup. This is the randomization of the points
'Sub points': Additional randomization of the sub point structure of each group, useful for creating many variants of stars. This is the randomization of the radius
'Star groups': Randomizes the number of star groups created. Really only useful when creating a large number of stars or experimenting with a single star.
'Core/create': Randomizes the creation or not of points (for core)
'Shell/create': Randomizes the creation or not of points (in the shell). Use to create many unusual variant star shapes
'Polygon mode': Removes the inner/core points and just creates the outer/shell points (polygon) 'Drop shadow': Create a drop shadow
'Shadow angle': Randomize the angle of shadow 'Shadow opacity': Randomize the opacity of the shadow 'Half shadow': Randomize the color to half the fill color 'Shadow scale': Randomize the scaling of the shadow for perspective.
'New layers': Places all the shapes on a new layer (useful for multiple applies) and export to SWF format 'Symbolize': Turns the star into a symbol (it will then appear in the symbol palette on exit - not updated during preview). The symbol can then be used in the symbol tools (native as well as third party symbol plugins). The symbol is created prewarping and will not have the warp shape) 'Closed': Creates a closed path instead of leaving the star shape open 'Scaling': Randomize size of the star (useful really only with multiple stars to create different sized stars from 0 to 100% of the original size) 'Edge scaling': The stars are scaled depending on distance from edge / center (smallest at the edge) - useful for 3D like starscapes
'Rotation (R)': Randomizes the rotation of the stars. Not an immediate obvious use but multi-stars and single center and randomization creates usual star variants and patterns (perhaps save as a symbol)
'Warp (R)': Randomizes the star shape based on the warp standards such as arc and wave as well as settings. Use to create many 100s of different warped shape forms. Not saved during symbolization. Can be slow though. You will need to expand the envelope (on exit) if required via the warp menu
'Jitter fill': Randomizes the fill color by 10% either way. Requires a fill to be set. Works best if set to red or blue (and multi stars), creating 100s of slightly different blue or red filled stars. No use with swatch option and patterns and gradients.
'Jitter stroke': Randomizes the stroke color by 10% either way (works best with a color such as red or blue as the stroke color and not black or white). 'Jitter width': Randomizes the stroke width by a few points either way.
'Jitter scaling': Randomizes the scaling of the stars, creating stars 10% bigger or smaller than the default setting. 'Sketch shift': By default ON, randomizes the sketch. If not, just a basic displacement of points 'Sketch width/weight': By default ON, randomizes the weight of the sketch generated paths 'Interpolate': Randomizes the interpolation value between 0 and current
'Inner distance1': Randomizes internal distance setting for core
'Inner distance 2': Randomizes internal distance setting for core, use to create unusual shape designs based on multiple points 'Outer distance 1': Randomizes shell distance (internal calculation) 'Outer distance 2': Randomizes internal calculation for shell distance creating uneven shell point distances from center
'Shuffle' button Randomizes the calculation of star creation but doesn't change user settings. If there are no randomized elements such as random fills set, the shuffle button will make no difference
'Tumble' button Randomizes the settings. It leaves some such as the random fill alone, but distance / points etc are all randomized to some degree creating millions of possible star designs. Great for trying out the plugin settings.
'Presets' Selection of preset settings, easy instant effects and stars
'Drag buttons' beside some of the entry fields (such as core distance / star groups) there is a little button. Click on this and hold the shift key down and drag across the document, updating the adjacent entry field in a more interactive manner. Release the shift key to stop before releasing the mouse to control any sudden randomizations.