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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
So of the three types of Fills that you can apply to objects inside of Illustrator, we've discussed solid colors and gradient fills. Now, let's talk about the third type of Fill, something called a Pattern Fill. A Pattern Fill is kind of like wallpaper. You take a certain pattern or certain piece of art, and you just have that piece of art repeated over and over and over again as the fill of an object. In fact, you can see that right here. At the bottom of this document I have a rectangle, and if I move it around, this just one rectangle that I have, yet it is filled with this repeating pattern of different flowers.
The nice thing about working with patterns is that there are several things that you can do to adjust how the patterns themselves fit, or appear, within other objects. I'm actually going to come up over here to this object that has the gradient fill on it, and I'm going to click on this button here and drag it down the handle to resize it. By the way, I have the Bounding Box turned on, and that's why I'm able to scale the object in this way. If you don't see those handles, just go to the View menu and choose Show Bounding Box. I'm going to come over here to the Swatches panel.
And I'll see that in this file, I have three patterns already defined: something called Laguna, something called Flower Power and something here called Willow Branch Color. I'm going to choose this Willow Branch Color to apply that pattern to this object. Now it's important to realize that when I define a pattern, whatever the background of that pattern is also applies to the shape here. So when this pattern was first defined, its Background was set to None. So I'm able to see those flowers right now through this pattern right here.
If I click on this Laguna pattern, for example, the same thing. The white areas are really set to None, so I'm able to see art that appears beneath it. If I would have used the white background when I first defined that pattern, then I would not be able to see the white flowers beneath. However, there are some interesting behaviors that apply when working with patterns. For example, we're going to discuss Transformation tools in another chapter. but for now, if I wanted to rotate this object 45 degrees, I can come over here to the Rotate tool, double-click on it and change the Angle to 45 degrees and click OK.
Notice that while the shape itself did rotate 45 degrees, the pattern itself remained the same. Let me press Undo and show you what that looks like with this other willow pattern, because this has more vertical lines that are easier to see. When I go ahead now and I rotate this object 45 degrees, you'll see that the pattern itself is still vertical, but the shape itself has been rotated. I'm going to press Undo for a moment here, because I want to show you a setting. When I double-click on the Transform tool, you can see that right now, if I type in 45 degrees, where it says Options, by default, only the Objects button is checked.
This means that when I rotate this object, only the object rotates but not the pattern. However, if I would check this box that would mean that the object and the pattern would both rotate. So if I click on Preview button, now you can see that the pattern itself did also rotate with the object. Just want to let you know that there's another option you can do also which is to uncheck the Objects option. And in this case, the path itself, the rectangle, has remained in place, only the pattern inside of that shape has been rotated 45 degrees.
So in Illustrator, once I've applied a pattern, I have the ability to rotate the object and not the pattern, both the object and the pattern together, or just the pattern itself and not the object. This same thing also applies to scaling. I'm going to press Cancel for a moment. I'm going to double-click on the Scale tool. Again, in another chapter, we're going to discuss scaling and rotating in detail, but notice that on the bottom here I also have the same options for Scaling Objects or Patterns. And depending on which check boxes I check, I can scale just the Patterns itself or the Objects as well.
I'll press Cancel one more time, because I want to let you know that there's also a keyboard shortcut that you can use, so that you can make these adjustments on the fly. For example, I have the ability inside of Illustrator to rotate artwork directly on the artboard. If I tap the R key on my keyboard, that selects the Rotate tool. And if I position my cursor just about right over here outside the object, I can click and drag and rotate that object. Notice now that the path rotated, but not the pattern itself. I'm going to press Undo.
And I'm going to start clicking and dragging to perform the same option. But before I release the mouse, I'm going to hold down Tilde key on my keyboard. The Tilde key is the little swirly guy that appears right on top of the Tab key, on the upper left-hand corner of your keyboard. And by doing so, I am only rotating the pattern and not the object itself. So as I make any kind of adjustments inside of Illustrator, even moving, for example, if I take my Selection tool and I click and drag to move, if I hold down the Tilde key while I do that, I'm only moving the position of the pattern inside of the object and not the object itself.
So now you know how to apply the patterns inside of Illustrator and how to manipulate those patterns to make it look just how you want when using them. The only thing we haven't covered yet is how to define your own custom patterns. Well, we'll cover that in the next movie.
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