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Another great way to enhance your artwork inside of Illustrator is to utilize pattern fills. And in Illustrator CS6, the control that you get over pattern fills is actually even better than it's ever been. I'm going to show you in this movie how to add a basic pattern fill to an object, and then later on I'll show you how to edit that fill as well. Once we've got the basics down, we'll then move forward and I'll show you how to create your own patterns from your own artwork in a future movie. Let's get started by creating a brand-new document. I'll just hit Ctrl+N or Command+N on my keyboard to create a New Document.
I'll select a Print Profile in this case, and I'll make sure I'm in Landscape Orientation and hit OK. So basically I'm working on 8.5x11 sheet of paper, and I'm going to add just a basic shape out to the artboard. So I'll just grab a rectangle and draw it up. I'll target the stroke first and turn that off and then I'll target the fill. By default in Illustrator, you have some pattern fills already in the Swatches panel, right here, like Foliage and Pompadour. You can also access some more of the patterns by going to the Swatch Library and going down to Patterns.
Once you get to patterns, you can go to things like Basic Graphics, Decorative, Nature. I'll go to Basic Graphics and I'll find Textures. Once I find Textures, I can then expand this out to see all of them and I can hover over them to see, like Bird Feet. If I select that, you can see that it gives me this little pattern here, or Burlap, Capsules, Circled Lines, Circles, Concentric Circles, and Crosses. I'm going to go back to the Capsules and I'll zoom in on my artwork, so you can see it.
Once I've got the Capsules pattern applied to my artwork, I'm pretty much stuck with how it is. I can come in and I can actually try to change the color of it and it doesn't work. So how then do I get the ability to change this particular pattern? Maybe I like the way it looks, but I don't like the fact that it's a static pattern that I can't edit. What I'm going to do is actually go in and edit the swatch. In order to do that, I'm going to come over to the Swatches panel and I'm going to find the Capsules pattern that I added. I'm then going to double-click on it. Once I double-click on it, you're going to see that I get access to the pattern itself.
I can switch to my Selection tool and I can come in here and I can actually select each individual piece of the Capsules pattern. If I click and drag a selection around them, I can select all of them at once. Selecting all of them at once, gives me access to those and I can change the color of the pattern. So let's say that I wanted this to be filled with orange for instance. Let's pick that and it changes the entire pattern. I can also come in here to the Pattern Options and make things like Tile Type changes.
So let's say that I wanted to see a Hex by Column or Hex by Row. It just depends on your personal choice. I'll stick with Grid for now, because it looks the best. I can also change the Width and Height, or simply size the tile to the art. When we start to create our own patterns later on, I'll explain these options in more detail. For now, I just wanted to make sure I could change the color of it and get done with it. If I don't want to alter the original swatch, I can choose Save a Copy. When I choose Save a Copy, I can call this Capsules Orange and hit OK.
Hitting OK brings up a dialog box that says, The new pattern has been added to your Swatches panel. Now as a matter of fact, I can come over to my Swatches panel and actually see it right there. It tells me here that any additional changes that I make while I'm inside of Pattern Editing Mode will be applied to the original pattern and not the copy. So that means, if I want to work on the copy, I need to make sure that I exit out of Pattern Editing Mode right now and then go work on the copy instead of the original. I'm going to hit Don't Show Again because I don't need this popping up each and every time I create a pattern, and then I'll hit OK.
From here, I'm going to click Cancel. Now you might think that I just threw away all the changes I made. Not so. I've actually still got the original pattern applied. If I want to utilize the new pattern I created, I need to come over to my swatches and find Capsules Orange. In order to apply it to the artwork, I have to first make sure the artwork is selected. Then we'll go over to the Capsules Orange and click it to apply it. Once I do that, I can click away and take a look at my artwork.
As you can see, it's pretty easy to apply pattern swatches here inside of Illustrator, and in version CS6 it's even easier to get control of the patterns and edit them. Take some time and go through all of the different patterns that are available to you in Illustrator and you'll find more uses than you ever thought you could for them. Then go in and edit those to suit your needs for color, spacing, et cetera, and you'll be amazed that the stuff you're able to create.
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