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I'm trying to add detail and grunge to my vector based designs through the use of procedural textures.

Currently, I'm using the noise filter, and the sponge filter on a grey rectangle as multiply or soft-light layers to generate effects that are similar to what I'm after but the level of control leaves much to be desired (specifically, I can't control the size of the effect, nor can I control the colour range without more work which is a hindrance when I need to test multiple times to achieve a specific effect).

In 3DsMax or Maya there's a plethora of procedural texture options available which are not only processed much quicker then using the photoshop effects in Ai, but also allow a greater amount of control.

Is there a method in Ai, whether it be native or through the use of a plugin, where I can achieve the effect I'm after?

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Illy doesn't really work like that, as you've discovered, but there's an excellent tutorial on creating vector grunge that you can use and reuse in your projects here on, which I think will get you where you're trying to go.

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Cheers. It's very similar to what I'm doing at the moment with the Photoshop filters, where the main problem I have is because it's not procedurally generated I can't control a noise frequency or define a noise size which remains constant regardless of the object size (imagine stylize -> round corners if you are unfamiliar with procedural textures). I'll keep looking around in the hopes of finding something a little more reusable, but appreciate the link. I'd upvote, but don't have 15 rep here :( – djlumley May 11 '11 at 0:30
Yes, it's definitely not as straightforward. Illustrator was never intended for that kind of thing. It started life as a way to allow people to generate PostScript without having to code it by hand. (Yes, really. How far we've come since the 1980s, eh?) – Alan Gilbertson May 11 '11 at 4:48

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