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Designs dekeConstructed, featuring best-selling author Deke McClelland, is a new series in which Deke breaks down the creation of cool designs so you can create them on your own. In this installment, Deke shows you how to make a custom gradient dot pattern with Adobe Illustrator. He begins by showing you how to load, apply, and scale the preset patterns that ship with Illustrator, and then demonstrates how to make your own gradient patterns with round and square dots. Last, he shows how to infuse your designs with energy using dynamic rotations that make your own specialized pattern wave.
In this movie we're going to take our square gradient dot pattern and we're going to give it a little more style by adding some wave. Specifically we're going to create this effect here in which the center squares are now rotated so that they're diamonds. And then notice that the pattern rotates downward so we have squares and then rotates back upward so we have diamonds again. And the effect is symmetrical. So we start with diamonds on the right-hand side, rotate down and then up again to diamonds in the center, and then down and up again to diamonds on the left-hand side.
And we'll be creating this effect entirely using Dynamic Effects. So, I'll switch back over to my document in progress and somewhere around here is the center column of dots. I'll press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, and then I'll go up to the View Menu and chose the Outline command, which has a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on the Mac. And now that I can see exactly where these squares are located. I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click twice on anyone of the squares to select the entire column.
And now I'll switch back to my appearance panel, which of course you can get by choosing the appearance command from the window menu. And I want to be able to access that transform effect, I'm not seeing it because the entire group is targeted. What you have to do to gain access to the independent squares is double-click on contents right there and that will take you to the contents of the group. And now we can see the fill as well as the transform effect. All right. I'll press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on the Mac to switch back to the preview mode so I can see what I'm doing, and I'll click on the word Transform, and the first thing we're going to do is increase the size of these dots by increasing both the horizontal and vertical scales values to 50%, and then I'll turn on the preview check box so we can see what kind of difference that makes.
Not surprisingly, the center dots get bigger. And now I'll change the angle of how you write there to 45 degrees and press that Tab key and you can see that now we got this rotating pattern where we go from squares on the outside to diamonds on the inside. Which is already super cool in my opinion. Now I'll click OK. And now let's do something similar over here on the left hand side or Alt or Option click twice on any one of these squares to select the entire column and then I'll go over to the appearance panel and double-click in the word contents right there and that will give me access to the independent square which is very important because otherwise, this isn't going to work.
And then you want to go up to the Effect menu > Distort & Transform > Transform. And I'm going to change the angle value this time around to negative 45 degrees and turn on the preview check box. So you can see that now we're starting with diamonds rotating to squares. And ending up back at diamonds in the center. But that means we're ending up with a bunch of gaps over here on the left hand side. So I'll increase the horizontal scale value to 115% percent. Now of course that leaves us with a bunch of rectangles because we're stretching the squares.
So I'll increase the vertical scale value to 115% as well and we end up with this effect here. Now I'll click OK. All right, now let's move over to the right-hand column Atl+Click once and then Alt+Click twice. That's an Option+Click and another Option+Click on a Mac. Double-click on Contents here inside the Appearance Panel so that we're applying Transform to the independent squares. Otherwise, what we're going to do is rotate and scale them all together. Which would be a big mess, it wouldn't work. And now, go up to the Effect menu, and choose the second transform command.
And what that will do is bring up the transform effect dialog box, complete with the last settings we applied. If I turn on the preview check box. You can see that we have something opposite to what I was looking for. So over here on the on the left-hand side we have the optical effect of these squares rotating down and then back up to the center. And now on the right-hand side we have the optical effect of the squares rotating upward, and then down. So we're getting more of a true wave across the entire document. That could work for you.
But that's not what I'm looking for. So I'm going to change the rotate value this time to 90 degrees plus 45 degrees. So in other words 135 degrees. So we're rotating 90 degrees the other direction and I'll press the Tab key and you can see that now we have a truly symmetrical effect in which we waive down and up and then back down and up again. And now I'll click OK in order to accept that effect. Now I don't really want it to be all kinds of different colors like this. So I'll press the V key to switch back to my black arrow tool.
And I'll click somewhere around the center here in order to select the entire blend. Now because I have a blend selected, I'm not seeing a fill swatch up here in the Control Panel. So instead I'll go to the Color Panel, just make sure my Fill is selected, which it is. And then I'll switch over to the Swatches Panel and click on black, in order to fill the entirety of this rotating square gradient dot pattern with a uniform color. And now I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on a Mac in order to accept that change.
And that's how you add a symmetrical wave to your square gradient dot pattern. Or for that matter, could be circular, any shape is going to work using a series of dynamic rotations, here inside Illustrator.
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