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Patterns have been a part of cultures around the globe for centuries. From fashion and branding to interior design and signage, patterns blanket and beautify our world. Designers are often asked to create new patterns from scratch, and although digital tools make the process easier than ever, it can still be a perplexing task.
In this installment of Drawing Vector Graphics, Von Glitschka demystifies the pattern design process, explaining tessellations (mathematical tiles that lie at the heart of patterns) and visiting the various methods of creating new patterns. He shows how to build repeating patterns with Illustrator's pattern tools and pattern brushes, and incorporate patterns into your design. The course also features patterns from some of the industry's most inspiring designers.
Patterns aren't just limited to filling a surface area. They also work well as brushes in Illustrator, but before we can start using a brush pattern, I need to show you how to properly create and set one up first. Pattern brushes are a lot of fun to use in Illustrator and like a surface pattern, it all starts off at the same place, at the refine sketch stage. Once you have that, building it out is a lot easier.
And, one thing you have to keep in mind when you create a pattern brush is your replication, the way the pattern repeats will only be from side to side. So, the right side will have to align with the left side, the top and bottom doesn't matter on a pattern brush, it's just the sides that need to repeat, so once you have your base factors done. You can create your final piece of artwork which would be, like this. And to create the actual working pattern brush, you just drag your artwork in this case these thorns, we'll drag em into the brushes palette over here.
And immediately this window will pop up, and you'll want to select pattern brush click okay, and this is where your options to control your pattern brush will come up. By default illustrator will try to create art for you for the corner, and I don't like letting an algorithm make my art direction decision, so, I always turn that off and select None. We just want this segment showing here, in this case, we going to go ahead and name it. We'll name it Thorns, and we're going to keep stretch to fit.
We don't need to worry about flip, the default setting of those being off is fine. But we are going to change the colorization method to tense, and this will allow us to colorize it once we apply it. And with those settings in place we can click OK now. And you can see how it's created our pattern brush over there. Now to use it, you just select any shape, any stroke, in this case the circle, and you want to make sure that your on stroke on your coloring. And we're going to apply this brush to this stroke now, by clicking it in the brushes pallet and you can see how it applies it to that shape.
And to adjust this sizing if you thought this was like too big of a repeat, and you wanted it smaller, you can adjust that by going to stroke and selecting a smaller size. In this case, we'll go to .75 point and you can see how it adjusts the brush pattern to the stroke, and you can also adjust the coloring of it. Right now it's black, but because we selected tints we can, If you wanted to color it a red color let's say, you could click red, and it would color your pattern brush that way.
It applies to any type of stroke, so we can apply it to a frame, such as that. So, that's how easy it is to create one and use one, I want to show one that's a bit more complex and more realistic actually and not so graphic. And this is the same principle applies, it has to repeat from left to right, top and bottom doesn't matter and this is a barb wire. So, we'll do the same thing, drag it to the brushes palette, select pattern brush and turn off the auto generation, and we just want the segment, stretch to fit, in this case we're not going to select tints because the color we've set up is already how we want it to look.
And in this case we'll go ahead and name this one simply Barbed Wire and click OK. Once that's created, once again you can take a relatively hard thing to pull off, if you tried to create this from scratch and make something very complex looking, but in all actuality, it was easy to create. Now on this specific project that I created this barbed wire for, I was working on a subset for a trading card company and the subset was called rebels and they wanted barbwire in it.
They wanted it kind of hardcore and it's all the player who kind of have that persona. And this is where I used the barbed wire to pull it off. I just applied it to this and that's too small, so, once again, you can go to your Strokes, and we can select a larger size. And that was more in line with the look I was going for, so, that's how easy you can use this, to pull off what would be very complex to try to build from scratch, but using a brush pattern makes it a relatively easy process.
Now, your brush patterns don't need to stay as simple black and white graphics. You can go full color with it. So we're going to create one that's a pencil here. These are all the assets we'll need to do that. And it starts off I always start with the segment, drag it over to the brush pallet, select pattern brush. And you can see how it auto populates the segment here. Once again we'll turn off the auto generate, cause we're going to create our own assets, for these other 4 areas showing here.
We're going to go ahead and name this Pencil, and stretch to fit is fine, won't have to worry about Flip, and the coloring, since we're using a color brush already that we've created, we don't need to mess with the color. So we're just going to have None and click OK. And you can see how it shows us our segments here, these other areas for the other parts of the pencil that's what we need to fill in, and to do that we just take our segments. All of these if you notice are built using the exact same dimensional proportions side to side so they're going to align with one another.
So this will be the corner, the outside corner so holding Option down we'll select this. Hold Option down. Drag it and drop it right into its space. It'll open up. You see how it populates into that position. And we'll click OK. And we'll do that for each of these segments. So we'll take the inner corner now, drag it, hold Option, and drop it into place. You can see how it aligns. And click OK. We'll take the eraser at the end of the pencil drag it, hold option, and drop.
It applies to the end here, we'll click OK, and the end of the pencil is the lead part, and that will be the last one we drop in, and we'll click OK there. So, now we have a complete, all the assets needed for a pattern brush on this pencil. And that will allow us to take any kind of path like this, click the pattern brush. And you can see how it creates a very complex type of pattern brush, illustration actually, that would take a lot of time to build from scratch but once you have it built you can apply it, to any type of path and have a lot of fun with it.
And you can once again, just like any other type of pattern brush, you can apply it in this case it's a little skewed, because of the size of the art. So we're going to go to the strokes palate, and we're going to go ahead and adjust it, so you can see how going down in size in this case actually looks good, and I think a .5 is what we'd want there. So that's how you can use a more complex full color pattern brush. Now, one thing I need to point out because as you create these assets, there's one principle you should keep in mind.
But once you have an asset like this, it's really great for purposes of branding. So, a writers' conference, let's say, and you can apply it, an easy way to get a logo, without building it point by point from scratch. It take a long time to get these proportions, but with a pattern brush like this, it's relatively easy. Now you want to make sure when you build it, when you set up the art work, you do it correctly, and what I mean by that, here is assets of the pencil brush that I created.
And pretend this is the path that it's been applied to, it applies to the paths centering itself on the path. Let's say you decided you wanted to add some eraser marks coming of the end, so what we're going to do, is we're going to replace this eraser part with this new eraser part, by holding Option, dropping it in. You can see how it's placed it there and we'll go okay. Now the problem with this, we'll go ahead and apply it to strokes, is if we apply it to a path now, you'll see that it's offset and it doesn't align with the end.
That's because all the artwork, has to align with the other artwork in terms of it's centering. So, if I select this, you see how these two objects are centred with this path. But, if I select this one, and do this, you can see that it's actually off-center, so if I align it with this path, it's going to shift it down and that's why it's offset. So you want to pay attention when you're creating your artwork, to align it properly. But, when it's all said and done, you're going to be able to use it in some very creative ways.
This shows you how it's messed up because of that. Let's go ahead and fix that really quick, because that kind of bugs me. We'll go OK, and we'll all apply it to strokes, and that's how you can use pattern brushes to really create some allusion and complexity when in reality it's a fairly simple process to perfect.
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