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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 bittbox.com, 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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