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Automatic "Word Cloud" but with random vector icons in Illustrator or InDesign

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  • Automatic "Word Cloud" but with random vector icons in Illustrator or InDesign

    Don't know if there is a better term of describing it, basically what I'm looking for is creating something like this more easily:
    , or something even more complex as for the background shape (eg. the items filling up a cross or something).

    The few times I needed something similar I went on with a 100% manual way of arranging each vector group by hand, a real pain in the !@$@#.

    I was wondering if there is some kind of script (or another way embedded in any of the 2 software that I'm unaware of), or even another software, preferably free to automatically arrange vector groups, auto-adjusting the spaces in between and so on.

  • #2
    You could do something like that with most of the sign softwares using the "nest" function where you can specify the offset of the nearest next object within any given rectangle. I don't believe Illustrator has anything that handy. The trouble with Nest though is it either orients right-reading (upright) or it rotates for best-fit. There isn't any artistic eye behind any of it. It's simply a material saving method of plopping shapes onto a board for cutting. There may be a plug-in out there, but you'll still have to give stuff a tweek here and there.


    • #3
      First of all, I've never used this product. I just did some web searching and found it. This is not an endorsement.

      With that being said, you might want to look at ColliderScribe. At first glance it might not look exactly like what you want to do, but I found this youtube video.(jump to the 10:30 part and watch for about a minute or so) showing somewhat what you want, you just may need to tweak to your liking.

      I will say, even if you use that plugin, you still may want to manually tweak the results to get a better result.
      I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

      N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."


      • #4
        Very useful information. I've played around with the ColliderScribe plugin (demo), it does work quite well, doesn't seem to respect boundaries though, if you're going for a bit dense pattern you end up with overlapping very soon. That was more apparent with a word cloud I tried to create (after converting the text to shapes). I think it might help with other cases though.

        I tried nesting software too but the ones I used don't work as well as I expected. They produce a bit more "linear" result (I guess that's what you meant with the "lack of an artistic eye".






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