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Astute Graphics plugins for Fashion
By Jason McConnell on May, 21 2014

By now you have probably heard of the amazing spread of Illustrator plugins by Astute Graphics. Their plugins such as VectorScribe, MirrorMe, Stylism and more (11 in total) are both intuitive and powerful tools for designers.

Whether you are a Fashion Designer, Fashion Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Surface and Pattern Designer or even a Production Artist there is surely a plugin or two that can help speed up your day to day work.

In this blog ill be covering a brief overview of Astute Graphic’s offerings and which plugins might be best suited for those in the fashion and surface design industries.

All plugins work in Illustrator versions CS5 thru CC.
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MirrorMe

A very versatile symmetry tool that is great for fashion flat sketching, medallions, geometric patterns, kaleidoscopes and more. As you draw in one sector (or as you drag the symmetry point) your work is automatically updated in symmetry in the other sectors.

No more reflecting and joining for you fashion designers!

Much like the other plugins, MirrorMe is very intuitive and you can jump right in and start using it right away. There are also tons of instructional videos on their website, youtube channel and more in depth videos on Lynda.com for those who want to learn more about its use.

Who should get this?
Everyone. Seriously this is a fantastic tool for Fashion flat sketching, hard home goods, geometric patterns or anything that requires symmetry or for just plain having fun.

Price: $66*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/mirrorme/
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Rasterino

Have you ever wanted to trim or crop images directly in Illustrator, instead of masking images or editing them in Photoshop? Well now you can and it really cant get any simpler.

This is a great tool to help reduce file sizes by getting rid of the extra pixels that you don’t need and it also comes with a couple of other features such as a quicker way to change image resolution and unembedding for those of you in versions before Illustrator CC.

Who should get this?
Production artists stop what you are doing and get this plugin right away! If you deal with images of samples and tech packs then this plugin will pay for itself in the first day. Also great for anyone who prefers to stay out of Photoshop and work exclusively in Illustrator.

Price: $49*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/rasterino/
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VectorScribe

This plugin comes with a plethora of really useful tools for sketching including:

  • Smart Remove Brush tool to remove and simplify excess anchor points from your artwork.
  • Path extend tool to help you reshape existing paths.
  • Super Dynamic corners for precise corner controls. (Illustrator CC introduced Live Corners which is similar but the Super Dynamic controls gives you a little - more control plus it can be used for CS5 and CS6 too.)
  • Dynamic shapes that are interactive and can be adjusted after they are created.
  • PathScribe gives you ridiculous control over your paths and Bezier curve handles.
  • Dynamic measure allows you to easily add precise measurements to your artwork.
  • Protractor gives you quick access to Illustrators Constrain Angle preference and lets you draw shapes on angles.

The tools I find myself using the most from this Plugin set are the Smart remove Brush tool to clean up artwork (making artwork easier to manipulate and files less complex), PathScribe for detailed control over paths and curve handles and the Dynamic Measure tool for measurements and call outs. But the other tools in the set are very useful as well depending on the type of work that you do.

For designers who draw flats or artwork to scale the Dynamic Measure tool is an indispensable tool for quick and accurate measurement callouts.

Who should get this?
Fashion Designers who flat sketch and those in production who do spec’ing and call outs. Also very useful for Graphic and Surface and Pattern designers to help simplify artwork.

Price: $82*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/vectorscribe/
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Stylism

Astute Graphics’ latest plugin gives you amazing control over effects, saving you loads of time over the clunky Illustrator effect interface.

Preview and control effects such as Drop Shadow, Feather, Transform, Inner and Outer Glows and more RIGHT ON THE ARTWORK ITSELF! Sorry to yell but its really cool.

You can even control contours for drop shadows and glows which is not possible with the built in effects (contour control requires Phantasm v3 plugin sold separately).

Another great feature is that all effects created by Stylism remain editable on computers without Stylism (minus contour controls which require the plugin).

Who should get this?
Graphic designers and Surface and Pattern designers will find the control of effects indispensable.

Price: $49*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/stylism/
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Phantasm

This is the first plugin I ever used from Astute Graphics and I got it for its Vector Halftone effect feature, which is really fantastic. To be able to dynamically create true vector halftone graphics without tedious workarounds was a huge time saver.

Phantasm comes with many other color control features that you will find in Photoshop including Hue and Saturation, Curves, Exposure, Levels and more that can be applied to Raster and Vector artwork.

There are also higher end features for spot colors and overprint controls.

Who should get this?
Graphic Designers and Surface and Pattern designers will find the Phantasm tools extremely useful for their Photoshop like color controls and great vector halftone effects.

Price: $82*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/phantasm/
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InkScribe

Inkscribe is like the Pen tool but it is a bit more intuitive and comes with much more functionality.

You can double click on corners to make curves, clear excess points from paths, drag reshape segments (like the new CC reshape options), auto smooth points, constrain paths to angles and distance and more for precise and intuitive drawing.

There is also extensive preference customization that gives you the flexibility that your workflow requires.

Who should get this?
Fashion designers, Graphic Designers and Surface and Pattern Designers who need precise control over path creation and want more intuitive features than the built in Pen Tool.

Price: $32*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/inkscribe/
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DynamicSketch

The DynamicSketch tool is like a combination of the Pencil, Blob Brush and Shape Builder Tools. It allows you to reshape paths but with more control than the Pencil, smooth shapes with slider controls, apply pressure for variable widths, combine and remove overlapping shapes and more.

Drawing with the DynamicSketch feels much more natural than the Pencil tool and I highly recommend using this tool with a Wacom tablet to get the most use out of it.

Who should get this?
Fashion Illustrators, Graphic Designers and Surface and Pattern Designers who want tools to draw more fluidly and naturally than the Pencil Tool.

Price: $32*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/dynamicsketch/
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WidthScribe

WidthScribe is another tool built width Illustration in mind wink. It allows you to brush across your paths to increase or decrease line width giving your paths a more natural hand drawn look.

The Width Gradient tool allows you to create halftone type effects with varying width paths. Very cool and powerful!

Who should get this?
Fashion Illustrators, Graphic Designers and Surface and Pattern Designers who want to be able to control line weight more easily and naturally with brush strokes.

Price: $49

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/widthscribe/
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ColliderScribe

ColliderScribe allows you to quickly and accurately snap objects together or place objects at a certain distance from each other (think mosaic tiles). This is fantastic for jewelry and accessories designers to help them lay out their designs. Really fun tool!

Who should get this?
Jewelry and Accessories designers, Surface and Pattern designers and anyone who needs to have precise control over the spacing between their vector objects.

Price: $17*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/colliderscribe/
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InkQuest

InkQuest is built for screen printing and prepress. Its high end features allow operators to instantly identify and correct potential printing issues right from inside of Illustrator. Features include Channel swapping, Quick Separations, Overprinted Objects and Ink Coverage.

Who should get this?
Graphic Designers and Production Artists who deal with the printing process and separations.

Price: $83*

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/inkquest/
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SubScribe

SubScribe’s tools allow you to draw very technically with tangents, arcs and perpendiculars. You can also connect separate paths, straighten paths, orient objects and more.

Who should get this?
Everyone should because its free! Toy designers, time piece designers, jewelry and accessories designers or anyone who draws schematics would definitely benefit from this tool for precise technical drawing.

Price: Free

Find out more: http://www.astutegraphics.com/software/subscribe/
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In Conclusion

Astute Graphics has done a fantastic job creating powerful yet intuitive tools for designers and they keep on innovating and pushing the bar for what is possible.

All plugins come with a 14 day trial and tons of instructional videos to get you up to speed and support is very attentive and helpful.

Pricing is very reasonable and you can save even more on multiple plugins by purchasing one of their Pro Bundles (10-25% off) found here: http://www.astutegraphics.com/purchase/

Thats all for now, have fun and please share with friends. -J