SymmetryWorks 5 and LP are important upgrades to Artlandia's product portfolio for creating patterns in Adobe Illustrator CS3 and CS4. The products guarantee Artlandia's market leadership --there's no denying. The first and most obvious new feature is insertion mode. When the SymmetryWorks plug-in is in insertion mode, you can add lines, bezier curves, rectangles, etc to the pattern art and have the pattern automatically update with the new objects.This feature by itself is worth the upgrade. I tested this by adding pen curves, text snippets, squares, rectangles and even brush strokes, and it works like a charm. You can even take up from where you left off in-between sessions. All you need to do, is select the whole pattern and click the Insertion mode pencil, and you’re back in business.
If pattern building is your business, my guess is that Insertion mode will save you lots of time.
A pattern can now be saved as pattern swatch quickly. There’s a button for the purpose, which immediately creates an Illustrator pattern swatch from your SymmetryWorks pattern. A savesd swatch can still be edited by using LivePresets which is part of the SymmetryWorks LP product. It’s important that you remember to paint or apply the swatch, not to just drag it onto the artboard, though. If you do the latter, nothing happens. If you do the former and select the pattern-painted artwork, LivePresets automatically recognises the pattern used as an edit-able SymmetryWorks pattern.
Again, a time saving feature if ever there was one. And it becomes even better, because the same applies to Symbols.
Creating patterns to make a border for example has also just become much more efficient. By combining symbols with SymmetryWorks replicas, you can now coordinate rotation, growth, etc, in a branch, so that border-like repetitions become possible (e.g. for use in a scarf design).
Reflection and rotation can also be combined to create symmetrical designs that are much more sophisticated and complex than what was possible with previous versions. Nested patterns belong to the same area of functionality.
One comment that I have is that it all becomes very complicated to the eye, although you can get some relief by zooming in.
SymmetryWorks 5 or LP now also supports blends, and compound shapes. Combined with nesting, rotation and multi-replicas you can make guilloche patterns, optical art and moire designs.
It’s a dazzling array of new features and capabilities Artlandia included with the new SymmetryWorks, and even if you only create patterns for use in web design—for which you normally would not need the complexity SymmetryWorks now effortlessly supports—this plug in is worth every penny because it gives you endless creative possibilities.