Design amazing mosaic effects in Illustrator and Photoshop

This tutorial shows how to create a cool look using Illustrator’s Symbols and Global Colors.


05. Launch Illustrator and open the Preferences panel (Illustrator > Preferences). Set the General Units to pixels, then under Grids & Guides, set a gridline every 12 pixels, with a subdivision of 1. Also enable Snap To Grid in the View menu. Now ensure that the rules are visible (R), then zoom in and drag and snap the rule origin point to the top right of the artboard. Next, create a new landscape RGB document measuring 888-x-650 pixels and go File > Place to place your filtered image. Snap it centrally and lock the layer.


06. Clear your existing swatches by using the fly-out menu and choosing Select All Unused, then drag them to the bin icon. Now load your exchange swatches by selecting Open Swatch Library, choosing Other Library, then navigate to their location. Shift + click the top and bottom thumbnail in the new palette and use the fly-out menu to add them to your Swatches. Your swatches are now Global — this gives you an enhanced workflow.


07. Temporarily disable the visibility of the placed image, then add a new layer to make your shapes. Use the Rectangle and Rounded Rectangle tools to draw a selection of square abstract designs. Use your swatches to add colour, remembering that you need some for the background, hair and face. Also, create a series of Radial Gradients and apply them to other shapes. Select each shape in turn and add them to the Symbol library by clicking on the Place Instance icon in the Symbols palette.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags graphics softwarephotoshopadobe illustrator

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Mayers

Digital Arts Magazine
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?