Thursday, December 29, 2011

PatternMaker Squares

I love TeaCup PatternMaker, and so I have decided to regularly explore its pattern possibilities and post my findings here. Some people sketch or doodle. I make patterns. Enjoy!

All of the patterns here use the same three colors:
  1. A grey fill on the frame
  2. A medium blue for the fill of the pattern, and
  3. A dark blue for the stroke of the pattern.
In the first example, by making the element gap and Square size very close, we get squares that stack on top of each other, like fish scales, only square.

In the second example, I increased the Element Gap to 47 and adjusted the Pattern and Shape Angles.

The Shape Angle refers to the orientation of each square. The Pattern Angle refers to the angle of the entire pattern (as a whole) within the frame. So in this example, a Shape Angle of 180 degrees has the same effect as a Shape Angle of 0 degrees. And the entire pattern is rotated by the pattern angle, which is 45 degrees.

By expanding the Element Gap, the squares move farther apart. This next example has a shape angle of 90 degrees, but because the shapes are squares, they look visually the same as if they would have a shape angle of 0 or 180 degrees.

Next, I increased the square size quite a bit, and also increased the element gap by just a little. Now the squares are larger, and close together. Also, because the pattern angle and shape angle are in increments of 90, the squares align straight up and down.

Here is the same pattern, only with "Has Fill" UNchecked. Now, it appears as though each square has a double stroke, but that's because the 50 pt squares overlap one another, because they only have a 40 pt Element Gap.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to Avoid Accidentally Auto-Expanding Your "Live Corners"

I've run into some difficulty when trying to edit the shape of rounded rectangles. Let's say that I want a rounded rectangle that looks like it's in perspective. So I start with a rectangle, add the rounded edges, and then start to move the points and edges around so that my rectangle is in the correct perspective.

So let's start with a plain rounded rectangle, before attempting to reshape it.

Rounded Rectangle with Live corners

My first inclination is to simply drag one side of the rectangle using the white arrow tool. But when I do do this, the corners are no longer live. (See how each corner now has two small points near the corners, but no points actually on the corners?) Hey! That's not what I wanted! Undo, undo...

So next I tried just dragging one of the corners to put just that corner where I want to it to go. But, instead, this moves the entire rectangle, PLUS expands the corners.  Again, this is not what I wanted! Undo, undo, undo...

Dragging a corner moves the entire rectangle AND expands the Live Corners

My corners are now dead!

So after a bit of experimentation, I finally figured out the trick to not accidentally expanding Live Corners:
  1. First, select a corner (or a side) with the white arrow.
  2. Then nudge it a bit using your cursor keys.

Once you've nudged part of the rectangle, you can use the white arrow tool to click on any of the corners and any of the sides and drag them wherever you want them to be. The live corners will still stay live.

You might think (as did I), that the act of clicking-on-and-nudging a corner point would have the same effect and clicking-on-and-dragging a corner point. But alas, no.

Now interestingly, the little yellow square indicating "Live Corners" has disappeared. But you can still edit the corners by going to Object > Corner Options.

This rectangle still has Live Corners even without the little yellow square

I'd like to think that this behavior is a bug, and that Live Corners wouldn't automatically expand on accident. If I were to change the behavior of the feature, I would set Live Corners to NEVER auto-expand without me telling them to expand. There really should be a separate command for that in the menus. 

Edit 8-10-16: 
This bug was finally fixed! Now, There is a trick to make your paths expand, should you want to. You can find the explanation here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Trick to Getting Column Strokes to Be in Front

Yesterday I was working on a table that needed to have red column strokes and white column rows. The column strokes needed to be on top. I thought it would be easy. I went to the Table Options dialog box (or command+Shift+Option+B...similar to the Text Frame Option dialog box, with a couple other modifier keys thrown in.)

The screenshot below shows the dialog box as it was set initially. I thought, "This should be simple. I just nee to change the stroke drawing order." So I then changed the stroke drawing order to Column Strokes in Front.

Row Strokes in Front

But nothing happened. I attempted it several times, but gave up, thinking I could tackle the problem again after a good night's rest. But the next morning, I came back and the problem was still there. Row Strokes were in front, even though I told them not to be.

I thought maybe it a screen issue. For example, sometimes when viewing a page in Acrobat, if the page has a table with all the same stroke weights, sometimes some of the row strokes seem thicker than others. But I've never seen InDesign display stroke weights incorrectly before, so that couldn't be it. I thought maybe by modifying the weight of the column strokes, I could fatten them up enough visually that they would seem like they were in front. Sort of like visual dot gain. 

Column Strokes should be in front, but they are not!

So I changed the column strokes to 2 pt and they were now magically in front. I changed them back to 1 pt just to see what would happen and they were still magically in front. After a little experimenting, it turns out that InDesign doesn't actually change the drawing order unless you go back and modify the strokes (whichever ones you want on top) again. For example, if you change the settings to be Column Strokes in Front, after exiting the dialog box, you'll need to then go back into the table and modify your column strokes somehow. Change the color, change the stroke weight, whatever you want. But somehow, the act of modifying the column stroke tricks InDesign into doing what you had asked it to do in the first place.

Likewise, if you change your settings to be Row Strokes in Front, you'll then need to go in and somehow edit your row strokes for the setting to actually take effect.

Now column strokes are really in front