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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In the previous movie, I showed you how to create a hex pattern inside of Illustrator CS6. Now, technically speaking, Illustrator CS5 and earlier don't support hex patterns. However, you can still create a hex pattern in those versions of the program, and in this movie I'll show you how. So I'm starting off with this collection of seven spirals that I created in the previous movie. The first step is to go ahead and draw a rectangle around your shapes, and the rectangle should be about as high, just a little shorter than your collection of shapes, and nearly twice as wide.
So I'll go ahead and grab the Rectangle tool, which I can select by pressing M key, and I'll drag from about here down to say right about there. And you can see that the rectangle is a little shorter than the shapes as a group are, and that way we'll have a nice overlap. It's maybe about 180% as wide as the shapes, someplace in that neighborhood. The next step is to right-click in your rectangle, choose the Arrange command and then choose Send to Back, and that way we'll have easier access to our shapes.
Now, go up to the Select menu and choose the Inverse command and that will deselect the rectangle and select all the spirals. And next go to the Object menu and choose the Group command or press Ctrl+G or Command+G on the Mac. Now we want to move these shapes around a little bit. Go ahead and get your Black Arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the V key, and drag say this anchor point right there on the central spiral until it snaps into alignment with the top left corner of the rectangle.
Now drag that exact same anchor point again until its snaps into alignment with the bottom right corner of the rectangle, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release in order to create a copy of those shapes. Now we need to put a collection of these spirals right smack dab in the middle of that movement there. I'll double-click on the Black Arrow tool to bring up the Move dialog box, and that will go ahead and show us a distance of the previous movement. What you want to do here is you want to change both the Horizontal and the Vertical values to negative versions of whatever they are.
And then go to the end of the values, because they're too big to fit in the fields, and enter /2, and then do the same thing for the bottom one as well, change the end of it to /2, and then click on the Preview check box in order to see what happens. And notice that goes ahead and backs up that movement. So it splits the last movement in half. So negative version divided by 2. Then you click on the Copy button in order to create a copy of those paths. Now go ahead and Shift+Click on this top group of spirals so both of these two collections are selected.
Drag down on that same anchor point we've been dragging around here until it snaps into alignment with the bottom left corner, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to clone those shapes. Then select this group of shapes to the bottom right and this central group of shapes as well, and then go ahead and drag that same anchor point right there on the center of that central spiral upward until it snaps into alignment with the top right corner of the rectangle, and press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to create copies of those shapes.
And now, here's where things get a little confusing. I'm going to click off the shapes to deselect them. We need to change the stacking order of these various groups, because if you recall from the previous movie, we want the right groups to be in front and then we want the top groups to be in front as well. So go ahead and select these two right groups right here, press Ctrl+X or Command+X on the Mac in order to cut them to the clipboard, and then press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to paste them in front. We want to go ahead and click off the shapes to deselect them and select the top shapes, like so, which will be these guys right there, and press Ctrl+X here on the PC or Command+X on the Mac to cut them to the clipboard.
Then press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste those guys in front. Hopefully, I've got everything the way I need it. Now go ahead and twirl open the spirals layer here inside the Layers panel, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the list, and you should see your rectangle way there at the bottom. Go ahead and click on its little circular target there in order to select it, and then we need to set the Fill and Stroke to None. Now, in my case the Stroke already is None, so I'll go ahead and click on the Stroke swatch next door and change it to None.
Then finally, go ahead and press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac in order to select everything and drag any portion of any of the selected shapes and drop them into the Swatches panel. So you'll need to have the Swatches panel up on screen in order to make that work. And you can get to the Swatches panel by going to the Window menu and choosing the Swatches command. I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect everything, so I don't end up filling the spirals with themselves. And then I'll double-click on this pattern in order to bring up the Swatch Options dialog box here inside CS5 and earlier, and I'll change the Name to sea spirals and click OK.
Let's check to make sure we've done a decent job here. I'll go ahead and scroll up the list here inside the Layers panel, turn off that spirals layer. Then I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a new layer and name the layer as I do so. And I'll call this layer pattern and then click OK. And now I'll draw a rectangle as big as the art board. It should come in automatically filled with our tile pattern. It appears we have some problems here.
Notice that this big spiral sticks up into the smaller spirals. So I must have a stacking order mistake. I'll go ahead and press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool. I'll turn off the eye for the pattern layer, and I'll turn on the spirals layer. And this group has to be our culprit. So I'll go ahead and select it, press Ctrl+X or Command+X on the Mac in order to cut it. Then press Ctrl+B or Command+B on the Mac in order to paste it in back. One problem though, we're going to have that rectangle all the way at the back of the stack, so I'm going to go ahead and twirl open my spirals layer once again, scroll to the bottom of the list, grab that rectangle and drag it below the group, so that the rectangle is at the back.
Press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac to select everything, and I'll drag them into the Swatches panel once again. And this time instead of dropping, I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drop them right there onto that same tile, and that will go ahead and replace the definition of sea spirals with this new definition. Let's scroll up the list again, go ahead and twirl this guy close, turn it off, then turn on the pattern layer in order to check it out, and it is now in just great shape.
And the result is something that some folks might tell you, you can't achieve, a seamless hex pattern here inside Illustrator CS5 and earlier.
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