The CAST Method

Create your first flow

Abstract graphic with green circles

So, you want to build your first flow and don’t know where to start? Great! The CAST method is a mental helper to build your first flows.

CAST stands for:

C = Create
A = Arrange
S = Select
T = Transform

How to use it? Go through it step by step.

  • First create objects like rectangles or ellipses
  • Then arrange them (e.g. layout as grid)
  • After that select some objects (e.g. pick from current selection)
  • Then transform (change) properties like opacity or rotation

Note: Omata doesn’t force you to build flows this way. But it helps as a starting point. You can order and build your flows the way you want. Soon you will start to experiment and have flows like CAST, CATS or CATSTTSTTSCASA.

Let’s start

In Illustrator create a new document. We will work in the first (empty) layer. Set the document fill color to something other than white so that we can much better see what we are building.

Change default color

Now open Omata. After installation you will find it in the main menu under Window > Extensions > Omata. Open the tab „Gallery“ and import the first template „CAST method“ into your flows.

Add from gallery

Switch back to „Flows“.
Open the imported „CAST method“ (for this just click the item or „Edit“).

For this tutorial deactivate all commands (uncheck the checkbox next to the title) except the first one.

1. Create

Note: If you are starting with an empty flow add the command „Create ellipse“ from the Commands panel at the bottom (or use the Plus button).

Set these values to the „Create ellipse“ command:
Number: 24
Width and Height: 50

Run a quick test by pressing the play button.
You can only see one ellipse? That is because they are all sitting on top of each other. Open the layers panel. You can see there are 24 sublayers with 24 ellipses.

Delete them (or use Undo) to get a clean layer again.

Add Create Ellipse command

2. Arrange

Add or activate the „Grid Layout“ command.

Adjust values:
Columns: 12
Gutter w / h: 5
x / y: 50 (this is the position where the first item will be placed at)
Anchor: activate the anchor in the center

Test it again. Now we have a nice grid with 24 ellipses.

Add Grid command

3. Select

Now we let Omata pick some objects.
Use the „Pick from selection“ command.
Set this:
Number: 12
(It will choose 12 items from the current selection).

Add Pick from selection

4. Transform

This is one of the best features of Omata: modes.

Add or activate the command „Transparency/Opacity“.
Now open the mode options (click the square with the dot next to „Abs“). This will show you the available modes. Choose „Random„.

Choose random mode

With this mode you can set the min and max values. Omata will choose a random number between min and max.

Mode: Random
Min: 10 (default)
Max: 90

Remove all generated objects from the steps before and press play.

Add Opacity command


I told you that the CAST method is just a helper concept to getting started. Let’s take it further.

Deactivate „Pick from selection“ so that all items stay selected all the time. After it include „Size“ command. Change the mode to „Random“. Now set a min size and a max size by your own (or set the values from the screenshot). Press play and watch what happens.

Add Size command

Where to go from here?

1. Modify the values in this flow. Play, experiment.

2. Import other templates from the gallery.
Try „Particle ring“ or „Soundbars“. Experiment with the values there.

3. Let me know what you are building. I would love to hear from you:

Graphic audios bars