Custom perforated pattern

Hi Guys,

I’m designing a heater and I’d like to create a custom perforated pattern in the front panel. The pattern will be based on an image of a flower or similar.
I’d like to create the pattern using circular holes of varying position and size.

Does anyone know of a filter or tool in illustrator that can accurately overlay a series of vector cirles over the top of an image? I can do it the slow way but I thought someone may know of a short cut.

I’ve seen some examples on the web where people have done this. The example below is close but I’d like all of the holes to be circular.


here’s a little round about way.

take ur img in ps and change it to a duotone (halftone circles) img. save. open the psd file in illustrator and run live trace. play around with the settings till you get what you want.

it’s funny. i designed a radiator with a floral pattern laser cut a while back. never went to production… too expensive…

OK, Thanks. I’ll give it a go.
The live trace doesnt seem to produce exact circles but it gives me a great layout to then place the circular holes manually over the top.

The panel for this heater will be perforated during the blanking process. Since the manufacturer would put a normal perforated pattern into the tool anyway I’m pretty much getting this pattern for no extra charge. (maybe a slightly higher tooling set up)

Thanks for your help.

try this,

make a grid of circles in illustrator (you can do it manually or make a swatch then fill a rectangle, then expand the shape to get the circle).

then lay your solid flower pattern on top and use pathfinder to chop it out or add it to the solid area.

what you have left should look like your example except that you will have some part circle areas where the intersection of the pattern and the circles meet (also like your example).

if this isnt clear i can make a demo.


Same question posted on the Adobe forum with a solution:

I tried the solution and it worked, but they’re still approximations of circles. I think if you made sure that your rasterized halftone was high enough rez, and looked like perfect circles, you could get what you need. Be sure to play with the Live Trace settings in Illustrator. Keep “path fitting” low.

I think “Vectoraster” will do exactly what you want, but it’s Mac only:

It says it can output ‘six configurable point shapes including random blob, rounded polygon and font character’ (cool!)

Another solution is similar to richard’s. Start by making your dot matrix, then overlay your solid flower pattern on top. Create a clipping mask with your flower pattern (needs to be vector) and your done.

Also if you have flash, you can import your photoshop halftone then make a very accurate vector from that by using the trace bitmap tool. Here’s a link to a nice tutorial-


there is a program out ther called rastebator (great name) that takes any .jpeg, runs it through their filter and outputs a .pdf scaled for A1 size paper,that is all circles of varying diameters. I used it to create stencils of relatively detailed scenes to paint on a wall, but it could probably do what you want. I believe that there is a downloadable application that allows you more control, but it is pc only and I havent had a chance to use it:

website here: