How to create Dotted Image/Mosaic effect in Illustrator

A detailed tutorial guide to show how to create dotted image or mosaic effect in Adobe Illustrator. Ideal technique for creating patterned artworks.

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to create dotted image or mosaic effect in Adobe Illustrator within few easy steps. This tutorial involves breaking down the vector objects into mosaic tiles, removing unwanted tiles and changing the shape of mosaic tiles.

With the help of this technique you can convert your creations into cool looking patterned artwork. Let’s get into it.

Step 1

Scene Setup

Here, I have a world map vector object that I am going to use in this tutorial. However, you don’t have to use a vector graphic as this technique works with raster graphics but in case you are using a vector graphic like me you have to convert it into raster first.

Step 2

Rasterizing the Vector Graphic

To convert a vector graphic into a raster graphic, first select the vector object, in this case the map, go to Object menu and select Rasterize…. In Rasterize dialog, set the resolution to High and click OK to commit the conversion.

Step 3

Now, our map object has been converted into a raster. With the map object selected, go to Object and select Create Object Mosaic….

Creating the Mosaic

In Create Object Mosaic dialog, set the Tile Spacing to 1px for both Width and Height parameters.

Inside Number of Tiles group, I have Width set to 100 px. For Height, we can’t just use any number else we will end up with an effect with wrong scale.

We don’t have to do any calculation to obtain a correct Height value. Clicking the Use Ratio button will automatically set the Height value according to the ratio of our image. Hit OK button to create the mosaic.

Step 4

Unwanted Mosaic Tiles

Now, we can see that our map object has been converted into a cool looking mosaic art. However, some unwanted white colored tiles are also there. This is due to the background of the raster image we used in the process.

Step 5

Removing the Unwanted Tiles

Select one of the white tiles, go to Select > Same and select Appearance from the list to get all the similar tiles as selection. Hit Delete key on your keyboard to get rid of the selected tiles.

Note: You can also use ‘Select Similar’ button on the Control Palette to select the similar tiles.

Step 6

All the unwanted tiles are gone now. Select all the tiles and assign a fill color of your choice. You can also change the shape of the tiles pretty easily. To change the shape of the mosaic tiles, select the tiles, go to Effect > Convert to Shape and select Ellipse… from the list.

Reshaping the Tiles

Inside Shape Options dialog, set the Extra Width and Extra Height parameters to 0 px and hit OK button to convert the tiles into a circle/ellipse.

Final Patterned Map

You can use Illustrator’s powerful tools to make your tiles look more interesting and unique.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new from it. I will see you soon with another useful tutorial. Thanks!