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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.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Dekes Techniques! This week I'm going to show you how to create a double wavy line pattern inside of Illustrator. Now if you're a regular viewer of this course then you may look at this and say, hey, wait a second. Just a few weeks ago you showed us how to create a double wavy line pattern around the money design. What gives? Well, this was pretty simple to pull off, right? This thing around the circle here? We just created a couple of strokes and applied the zigzag effect.
However, that approach while it works great for circles and ellipses and other super smooth shapes, it doesn't work well when we have got corners. The reason being Illustrator wants to know what to do with the corners. Then it's got evenly distribute everything that's not corners between the corners so that we don't have any seams which means that we need to create a pattern brush. Creating a pattern brush is a little bit of work. You've got a start with the dual zigzag thing, and then you've got to create a side tile and start and end tiles, and then the dreaded corner tile, and you want everything to line up beautifully as in this case here.
Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here is a looping coiled border pattern. It looks so simple, doesn't it? But it actually takes a fair amount of labor, because we need to make sure that the sides and the corners and everything else look absolutely great. So I'm going to switch over to this document, exactly the same except it has a plain border. If I zoom out here you'll notice that I've set up an artboard next door which will allow me to create my base pattern assets and I'm to go ahead and zoom in on it.
I'll create a new layer as well on the Layers panel by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and clicking that little Page icon at the bottom of the panel. Then I'll change the name to pattern and then I'll change the color from green to light blue. Then I'll click OK. Now I switch over to Line Segment tool and this will allow me to establish a base pattern as you'll see. Now I could just drag with the tool if I wanted to, but your best bet when trying to create a Pattern brush is to work numerically. So I'm going to click with the tool inside of the document window.
I'll set the link to 40 points and the angle to 0 degree so I have horizontal line, and I'll click OK. Now I'll change Line Weight to 2 points and I'll change the color to the Swatch I've created in advance, Red 150, Green 50, and Blue 0. Now I'm going to zoom a little farther in actually and I want to apply a wave pattern here. So I'll switch to the Appearance panel click on the Stroke to make it active. Then go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform and then choose Zig Zag. I'll turn on the Preview check box so I can see what I'm doing.
Obviously, that is not the effect I want. So I'll set the points to smooth in order to smooth things out. That gives me this big wave pattern and it's too much. So I'll reduce Size value to 4 and I'll take you Ridges per segment value down to 1. So I have just one waving line. Then I'll click OK. I want to create a copy of that line in the other direction with the Stroke selected here in the Appearance panel. I will click on little Page icon to make a duplicate. Then I'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and then choose the Transform command, and I'll turn on the Reflect Y check box, and turn on Preview as well so I can make sure I've done the right thing. Click OK.
Now we want to take a duplicate of this. So I'll drag it while pressing the Shift and Alt keys or the Shift and Option keys on the Mac and we want to expand it by going up to the Object menu and choosing Expand Appearance. Now we have two separate strokes. They are grouped together however. So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+G or Command+Shift+G on the Mac in order to ungroup them. Let's zoom in farther still. Now that's going to be our side that will repeat over and over again along the side of the path outline. This is also the pattern Illustrator will use around curves.
However, if Illustrator encounters a corner point then it needs a separate kind of pattern called a corner pattern. I'll make it by grabbing my White Arrow tool and then I'll go ahead and marquee this area right here to select these two segments. Press Ctrl+C or Command+C on the Mac, Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac to paste then in front and then move them into position over here. Now I need create a copy of these guys and I'll do so using the Rotate tool. I'll select the Rotate tool, I can get to it by pressing R key, Alt+Click or Option+Click around here, set the Angle to -90 degrees and click on the Copy button in order to create a copy of those paths.
I want these to be in a very specific position. So I'll return my Direct Selection tool, I'll go ahead and drag these guys up until they snap into alignment like so. Then assuming your keyboard increments are set to 1 pixel, and you can confirm that by pressing Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac. There's the keyboard increment right there. I'll go ahead and cancel out, because mine is already set properly in advance, and then I'll press the down arrow key twice and the left arrow key twice as well to move those path outlines out a couple of points.
I need to know exactly how far it is from this anchor point to this anchor point. If you are ever trying to figure out distances, the easiest way work is to just go ahead and grab an anchor point like so and drag it until it snaps into position with the distance point, and then you double-click on the Selected Arrow tool, and you can see the distance is Horizontal 10 points, Vertical 10 points as well. I will cancel out, press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that move. The thing is I want to connect these two points with a quarter circle and the easiest way to do that is to go ahead and switch from the Line tool to the Arc tool.
Then I'll click inside the illustration in order to bring up the Arc Segment Tool Options dialog box. Now I'll change both of these numerical values to 10 points a piece like so. I'm not sure whether I want concave or convex. I never know that. So I'll just click OK, and it doesn't look right, but you know what, the easiest thing to do is just grab the Rotate tool and double-click on it. -90 degrees happens to work out great. So we'll click OK. Now I can switch back my Direct Selection tool, grab this guy, and drag him in the position so he snaps into alignment.
Now I'll marquee these two points like so and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J, Command+Shift+Option+J on the Mac which forces the display of the good old Join dialog box, switch over to Smooth, and click OK, because I really want these guys to smooth points. I'll marquee these two and do the same thing Mash Your Fist+J and then go ahead and select Smooth and click OK. Now we need to figure out what to do with this guy right there and you may recall, if I switch back to the final version of my illustration, I've got these little loops right there.
I think they are festive. I switch back to my illustration of progress. Here is how I made him. I went ahead and clicked on one of these segments, Shift+Clicked on the other, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+F; that'd be the Command+C and Command+F on the Mac in order to create copies of them. Then I moved them off to different positions as you can see here. Then I'll go up to the Object menu, choose a Path command, and choose Add Anchor Points, and that way we've got new anchor point right there in the center. We don't need these guys anymore. So I marquee these two endpoints and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them, and double-click on the Rotate tool and this time I want this guy to be -45 degrees, and then I'll click OK.
Now I will switch back to my White Arrow tool. Click off the path outlines to deselect them. Then go ahead and drag this guy down here after Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking in order to select that entire path outline. I'm not sure I'm getting a snap. I am not. Smart Guides are in my way now. So I'll go up to the View menu and choose Smart Guides to turn them off. Then I'll go ahead and drag this point into a better position like so and I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on this guy and drag him into position so he aligns as well.
Now at this point I want to join these guys. So I'll marquee these two points, and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J or Command+Shift+Option+J on a Mac in order to bring up the Join dialog box, select the Smooth option, and click OK. With any luck this is what you will get, an exactly horizontal control handle there. Then I'll marquee these two and do the same thing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J or Command+Shift+Option+J on a Mac, turn on Smooth, and click OK. You can see this is a lot of old school stuff. This is the kind of stuff we used to do in Illustrator all the time and it just happens to work out brilliantly when creating pattern brushes.
I'm going to select this anchor point right there and I think I want to move it up a little bit. I'm going to move this guy out a little bit like so. So I nudge this one up using the up arrow key and I nudge this one to the left. Now I want to see the distance between these two guys. So I'll go ahead and drag it into position like so until it snaps and then I'll double-click on White Arrow tool and I can see this is what counts. That distance value right there. Write it down; 6.5857, because you've got to match it. Now I'll click Cancel in order to cancel out there, and I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that move.
I'm going to switch to my Ellipse tool and I'm going to click with the Ellipse tool. The Width I'm looking for is that value I just wrote down. What was it? 6.5857. The Height value I think it wants to be 10 points. Let's try that out. Click OK and see what that ends up looking like. Go ahead and drag this guy over. I'll marquee this bottom point in order to select it and then I'll delete that point. Now I'll double-click on the Rotate tool once again, wrong direction I want it +45 degrees this time.
I'll press the Tab key, sure enough, that's it. Click OK. Go ahead and switch back to the White Arrow tool, drag this guy into position so he snaps into alignment. Marquee these two points and press Ctrl+ Shift+Alt+J, Command+Shift+Option+J on a Mac. I get the Join dialog box. If you don't get the Join dialog box, the two points are not coincident, and you have to move them around. Anyway, I'll turn on Smooth, click OK. Let's marquee these two guys and hope for the best. Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J, Command+ Shift+Option+J on a Mac. See, the numbers did it for me. I'll turn on Smooth, click OK. That's perfect! Now we just need to create an end for this thing.
So I'll go and switch back to my Ellipse tool, and I'll click inside the Illustration window, and I know that the height of these things is 8 points, the distance between this arc and the arc below it happens to be 8 points. You can measure that if you want to. But the width can be anything it wants to be. I came up through trial and error with 14 points for this guy and then I'll click OK in order to create that ellipse, return to my Direct Selection tool, marquee this point right there, delete it by pressing the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac, drag this guy until he snaps into alignment.
Now you don't want to join these two together, because each one to them is independent. These guys are one unit, they're the side, these guys are the other, they are the corner, and this guy is the end. And we have now managed to create all the base elements that we will need to create a Pattern brush in Illustrator.
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