Fun with Pastry – Creating Scalable, Vector Plasticine Textures

Last week, I had the pleasure of designing a logo for a new, creative business in Lancaster – Zoom Creations. Part of this process was making a fully scalable rocket, with a plasticine like appearance.

To make a suitable, vector texture I needed a photograph to work from. I has some pastry left over from baking pies, and realised that this would be the perfect alternative to buying a bunch of plasticine. It’s light colour would make it easy to desaturate and mean the texture could be applied to shapes of any colour. So I rolled out my shortcrust pastry, bashed it about, scraped it with utensils and went about taking some photos. I didn’t even need a high res image for this to work – I just used an old phone.

I upped the exposure and the contrast, desaturating the images so I had stark, black and white images with some grayscale detail.

Pastry ready to trace
Pastry ready to trace.


Then all I had to do was create a live trace of the photo, using Illustrator. There are excellent options within this tool, so you can set how many different colours the trace should include, how big the individual areas should be etc. This means, with a bit of fiddling, you can create a texture that’s just right for your needs. I had to make sure my texture had plenty of detail without it being too complex.

My first attempt had far too many shapes and it was difficult and slow to work with. But persistence paid off, and I’m now much more familiar with the texture creating abilities of the live trace tool. Here’s how I put it to use, creating a fully scalable, vector, plasticine rocket:

Plasticine Rocket

This became the focus of the finished logo design for Zoom Creations, and I now have an excellent plasticine texture I can re-use, to make more fun, plasticine characters or landscapes.

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