HowTo: Add and Edit Custom Fills in Illustrator 7 January, 2007 — Stuart Brown
Or, how to make even prettier pie charts
Following on from the previous pie chart tutorial, in this tutorial we'll cover exactly how to add and manipulate custom pattern fills in Illustrator - a very powerful technique that allows for some very fancy effects. We're only scratching the surface of what this sort of thing can be used for, but it you're after an effect similar to that used in the Demographics of Digg post, then this is all you need to know.
In this tutorial, we'll be starting from the point where we left off with the previous tutorial. Download the illustrator file if you haven't already gone through the previous tutorial. Start Illustrator, load the file, and you should see something like this:
- We're going to add a custom pattern fill to each of the pie segments - in this case, we'll add a flag background to each of the segments. The first thing we need to do is make a custom pattern - and in order to do this we need to import a bitmap image. Wikipedia is a great source for the flags of the world - for the first segment I'll be using the Union Flag (UK). Use File > Place or copy & paste the image into the Illustrator document.
Next, drag the flag directly onto the swatches palette to create a new pattern swatch. You can now delete the flag from the page (select it, press delete). The newly created swatch should look something like this:
- Now, in order to apply the pattern fill to the pie slices, we need to select the pie slice. Double click on the grouped pie chart object to edit the individual slices. (A grey border will appear around the pie chart to indicate that you've isolated it).
Now, click on the pie slice to select it. Note that you need to click between the outside edge and the glossy highlight, otherwise you'll end up just selecting the highlight itself.
Click on the basic fill in the appearance palette and select the flag swatch from the swatch palette. The flag pattern should be applied to the pie slice, albeit at the wrong size and position.