So, let's say we've created some nice pill shapes with Bricks from the Pattern component category, and now we'd like to draw some nice red outlines around them. Playing around with the Mortar color swatch, we can change the color of the area surrounding our pill shapes. Yup, that Mortar area is where our outlines would go, but using the Mortar color swatch alone won't get us there. We'll have to think beyond our little Bricks component here to achieve our goal!
What if we made an exact duplicate (use CTRL-C and CTRL-V) of our Bricks, made the pills a little larger using Mortar Width and set the Bricks color to red? Yup, that looks like
we are already half there! Now we just need to find a way to put those bigger red pills "underneath" our smaller white pills!
This is where Map Inputs come into play! We just need to map our red pills to the Mortar map input of our white pills. Now, the Mortar area around our white pills is no longer a solid color, but it reads its color from our second Tiles component... BOOM! ... instant red outlines! Note how the area around our red outline pills has now become white. This is because - you guessed it - the Mortar color of our second Tiles component is set to white.
The same result can also be achieved in a different way: When you set the Mortar color's alpha value to zero, the Mortar area of both our Bricks components becomes completely transparent. We can now use a Blend component to put the white pills on top of the red pills (using the "Normal" Mode and an Opacity of 100). However, this method is a little less elegant than our first solution, since it uses three components instead of two.
Let's explore another technique. Again, we'll use a Bricks component for our example. Make sure the Bevel Width is set to 100 this time.
Now set the Bevel to Contours and watch what happens. Whoa! Outlines... well, almost! Examine the Bevel dropdown menu once more, go through the different options and notice the results of the different Bevel profile curves.
If we could only make our own profiles, then we could probably get rid of this smooth gradient around our pills that the Contours option gave us. Well, that's exactly what we'll do now... explore some Curve Components!
Go grab an Impulse component from the Curves category and hook it up to the Bevel curve input of the Bricks. Then set all the parameters as shown above. Now we're talking some serious outlines! You can even move them around by using the Position control and tweak their width using the Width control of the Impulse curve.
If you set the Bricks color swatch to red and the Mortar color swatch to white... yup, that's our white pills with red outlines again... Awesome!
So how do these profile curves really work? Remember that we set our Bricks component's Bevel Width to a value of 100, giving it a default Linear bevel profile -- i.e. a linear transition from its black Mortar color to its white Bricks color. Now, by using a custom Curve Component we are effectively tone-mapping this linear black to white transition as if we were using a Tone Curve, as demonstrated above. Note how the Impulse curve pushes all color values down to pure black except those in the small medium grey range, which it pushes up to a pure white. This is why we're getting a crisp white outline positioned exactly in the middle of our transition!
So far we've only dealt with creating outlines for Pattern components, but the same techniques work equally well for all the Noise components. Above you can see a Blocks noise with an Impulse curve as a Profile, resulting in some quick and dirty outlines.
Using the "duplicate and layer on top" technique demonstrated earlier is also feasible to generate outlines for Noise components. In the example above, two Step curves were used to define the red/white color boundaries and the outline thickness. Again, Map Inputs were utilized for efficient blending of the two noises.