One of the Illustrator skills that many designers avoid is the ability to create rather complicated patterns using very simple shapes and objects. That all changed when we sat in Illustrator’s online presentation showing how to create complex Illustrator patterns using the Illustrator plugin called MirrorMe from Astute Graphics out of the UK.
1. How to Find MirrorMe
Although we find the plug-in rather interesting, we have never considered it as a substitute for creativity and mastery of tools. On the other hand, we strongly believe that playing the game “What If …” can cause a happy accident. In the case of MirrorMe, Astute Graphics has found a sweet spot by providing creative tools that allow you to play “What If …” games with some rather surprising “Happy Accidents”.
In this how-to, we will start with the form of simple compounds that we will reflect. This will help you experience this tool. Then we start playing the “What if …” game and we’ll see where it’s going. Let’s get started.
2. How to Use MirrorMe Interface
When you open Illustrator – We will use Illustrator CC 2014 – MirrorMe appears as a tool in the toolbar and, if you choose Window> MirrorMe, the MirrorMe panel will open. The two buttons at the top allow you to choose Mirror or Layer. The numbers X and Y indicate the location of the origin for the effect.
The next line is where the magic happens. You can adjust the angle and number of mirror objects when you use the tool. The bottom control adjusts the opacity of the objects that intersect. We usually leave this unselected.
3. How to Make MirrorMe Reflections
You have several choices here. You can select a tool and click and drag across the object or enter a value in the panel. We will start with the tools. To use it simply select and drag across the object to be mirrored. When you approach the opposite side of the object, the described copy appears. If you click the mouse, a menu asks whether you want to apply the effect to the layer or cancel the effect. Click Apply to Layer and the selected copy is added to the artboard. If you click Cancel, the outline will still be there. To switch from the tool just press the V button.
4. How to use MirrorMe Panel
With the Layer button selected, we change the angle to 145 degrees and the number of axes to 10. We choose the MirrorMe tool and drag the origin point across the image to the lower left corner. When we drag, we pay attention to how patterns change. After we are satisfied we press the Return / Enter button and a pattern appears on the Artboard.
If you want to increase or decrease the number of axes of the reflection you press the  button (Add) or [decrease] button and you can make the resulting pattern more complex or less complex.
MirrorMe also allows you to change your preferences by clicking on the Menu Panel button that opens the Context menu. When you choose MirrorMe Preferences you are faced with 4 choices ranging from showing where you started dragging to removing unneeded points on various axes.
5. How to Make Complex Patterns Using MirrorMe Options
So far we have an agreement with all objects but you can also make some interesting patterns based on the choices inside the object. In this example, we have a teardrop shape filled with gradients in a larger version of the shape filled with solids. What if we apply MirorMe to solid form? In the MirrorMe panel, we choose Selected Artwork, not the Layer option.
Then we choose the MirrorMe tool and drag. We see a number of axes and shapes. To see what we have created, we press the Command (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) button. Once satisfied, we press the Return / Enter button and select the Apply To Selection option. we then reselect the artwork, drag the Tool across the image and when we are satisfied with what we see, we apply changes to the Layer.
6. How to Learn More What You Can Do with Mirror Me.
One software trend that has emerged is manufacturers including access to tutorials that help you understand and use their software. Astute Graphics has a complete complement of MirrorMe Tutorials that can be accessed from within Illustrator. To access it, select Help> Astute Graphics> MirrorMe> Film Tutorial. When you do this, your browser opens and takes you to the Tutorial area on the MirrorMe webpage and from there you can choose to learn the basics of MirrorMe and some cool things you can do that are not covered in this case. How to.