Intuitive Tools for Digital Artists

How to Create a Cross-Stitch of a Picture Using Adobe Illustrator and Phantasm CS

Important product change information

Since this article was originally published, Phantasm CS, Phantasm CS Studio and Phantasm CS Publisher have been separated into three individual plug-ins:

Phantasm: color control and vector halftones
Rasterino: the ultimate embedded image solution for Illustrator
InkQuest: control of common pre-press tasks

Existing customers of Phantasm CS / Studio / Publisher can find full details of how this affects their licenses by reading this article.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Cross-stitch is a type of embroidery the art of which is rooted back in the age of primitive culture. Today, we’ll be embroidering in vector using the Phantasm CS – it will be much faster.

Step 1

Paste the picture into the workspace of the document (File > Place). Copy and paste the picture in front two times (Cmd / C + C, Cmd / F twice). We will start our work with the image in the middle, so turn off the visibility of other objects in the Layers panel.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Step 2

Take the Pen Tool (P) and create an oblique segment. Hold down the Shift key during its creation, and it will be located at an angle of 45°.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Keep the object selected, go to Object > Transform > Reflect and click on the Copy button in the dialog box.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Step 3

Select both segments and save them as a new symbol in the Symbols panel (Window > Symbols).

Vector Cross-Stitch

Before proceeding to the next step, make sure that the symbol is selected in the panel.

Step 4

Select the raster image and go to Effect > Phantasm CS > Halftone…. Set the parameters indicated in the figure below.

Vector Cross-Stitch

If you want to reduce detail of your image, decrease the numeric value of DPI parameter. Now the whole image is made up of crosses of different colors and of the same size.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Step 5

Create the background behind the image. Turn on the visibility of the lower image in the Layers panel, select it and go to Object > Create Gradient Mesh…. Set the number of columns and rows in the dialog box. For the record, 50 rows and 50 columns is the maximum value for the gradient mesh in Adobe Illustrator.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Step 6

Create another symbol. Go back to the cross created in step 2. Select it and go to Object > Expand. Now fill the obtained objects with black and white radial gradient.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Save the cross as a new symbol in the Symbols panel.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Before proceeding to the next step the new symbol should be selected.

Step 7

Turn on the visibility of the upper image in the layers panel and select it. Now go to Effect > Phantasm CS > Halftone… and set the effect parameters in the dialog box.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Now, the upper image consists of crosses filled with radial gradient.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Set the Overlay Blending Mode for the upper image in the Transparency panel.

Vector Cross-Stitch

The cross-stitch is ready!

Vector Cross-Stitch

Conclusion

The described technique also suits the creation of a cross-stitch effect based on underlying vector or mixed artwork, as shown below.

Vector Cross-Stitch

Written by Iaroslav

Iaroslav

Iaroslav Lazunov is a graphic designer from Zhytomyr, Ukraine who has found the job that allows him to share his extensive knowledge and experiments with Adobe Illustrator and plug-ins from Astute Graphics. Iaroslav was also a key author over at Vector Tuts+ as well as his own website Vectorboom

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