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#28 Creating Scatter Brushes

Scatter brushes are intuitively named. They scatter a pattern along a path. Thinking of a leaf-blower being pushed across a lawn gives you a sense of the chaos you can generate by using a scatter brush stroke to create a path of objects.

You might use a scatter brush, for instance, to populate a field of stars in an illustration tool ( Figure 28a ).


Figure 28a A star field being drawn using an art brush.

You can draw interactively with a scatter brush, or you can apply a scatter brush pattern to an existing path.

To define a scatter brush, start by creating artwork to use as a brush. Small patterns work well. With the artwork selected, follow these steps to create and use a scatter brush:

  1. Drag the artwork onto the Brushes palette. The New Brush dialog appears. Choose the New Scatter Brush option, and click OK ( Figure 28b ).

    Figure 28b Defining a scatter brush from a group of stars.

  2. The Scatter Brush Options dialog appears. Enter a name for the brush in the Name area.
  3. Use the sliders and lists in the dialog box to modify the pattern. Size defines the size of the pattern in relation to the size of the original drawing. Spacing controls the spacing between instances of the artwork. Use the Scatter slider to define how far apart the scatter brush art will scatter away from the path to which the brush is applied. Use the Rotation setting to define how much objects will rotate as the brush is applied to a curved path.
  4. Use the Colorization Method pop-up list in the Scatter Brush Options dialog to define how coloring is added (or not added) to the original stroke color. You'll see a preview of each option if you click the Tips button ( Figure 28c ).

    Figure 28c Previewing tints for a scatter brush.

  5. After you define scatter brush options, click OK to generate the brush. Apply the brush by clicking on a selected path with the Selection tool, and then clicking on the art brush in the Brushes palette. Or select the art brush first, and then use the Paintbrush tool to draw interactively ( Figure 28d ).

    Figure 28d Drawing a path of flowers with an art brush using the Paintbrush tool.

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