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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.
Once you have your pattern art finalized in vector form, it's time to turn it into a pattern swatch, so you can start utilizing your seamless design. So let's take a look at how you create a pattern swatch, and a pattern swatch library. Patterns swatches in Adobe Illlustartor are about as easy to create as anything. I am going to show you how we are going to create these three pattern swatches. Now throughout this course, I showed you how to establish a bounding box, draw out your design and then build your design based off that drawn form and that's how all four of these patterns were created, and each of these are standalone pattern tiles.
Meaning it's a singular tile that can be stacked side by side, either going upwards, downwards or side to side and it's going to seamlessly repeat,once you have your art established in a pattern tile like this. To create a pattern swatch, you simply drag it into the swatches palette. So we'll drag this first one and we'll drag the second one. We'll go ahead and drag the third and the final one into the swatches palette.
Now that they're in the swatches palette, these are considered pattern swatches, not color swatches. You can see the colors that are used within each of these patterns designs are in our swatches palette,but it also contains the patterns swatches themselves. Now, the more elaborate you have a design or a layout, the more colors you're going to have and so to manage finding these easier ,you can simply go down to the bottom of the swatches palette and click on this and you can change what it shows you, so right now it's showing you every kind of swatch whether it's a color swatch or a pattern swatch and we're going to go down just to show the pattern swatches only, and when you do that you can see that the only swatches that will now appear will be your pattern ones and that makes using them sometimes easier, to isolate them like that.
So we've changed to the pattern swatch view, and the next thing I want to do is just to demo once you have a pattern swatch created how easy it is to use. On each of these, I should point out, I like to take some creative liberties in terms of naming them. So before we fill them, let's go ahead and name these and right now, they have no names, so you're going to have to double-click them and this will take you into the pattern tool,which, automatically, establishes the repeat for you, since you've already created it, based of an abounding box.
So, you've done all the creative heavy lifting, and it's just replicating it and you can see how it gives you a preview of what that pattern tile is going to look like, tiled out,so, this is an easy way to preview it in that respect as well,but here is where you'll name it, right on the Pattern Options palette. In this case this one's called Thorn,so we'll go ahead and name it, double click the background or you can click Done and it'll take you back to the art board. We're going to go ahead and name the next one here and this one since it's kind of funky, I'd like to give my pattern names kind of unique names, so we'll call this Funkus for lack of a better term.
I believe that's what I named it. It can be anything, oop, actually I look at my layer and it's Funkodelic, well there you go,so, whatever you want to name it, doesn't really matter. This isn't going to affect how well it works, this is just basically so you can remember it,so we'll name this one Portals and the last one Is Thistle,so, once you have these named, you can just click any shape,click the pattern swatch, and you can fill it.
Now, what you're going to see show up here, is that, on some of these patterns, you'll see these lines show up,now that doesn't mean your pattern isn't working,that is what's called a preview bug in Adobe Illustrator. You're going to see that pop up here and there as we go through various parts of this course and, don't worry about it. If you printed this out, those lines shouldn't show and I say shouldn't because if they do that means you have a problem in your tiling,so, but, they will always show on screen, almost always, not all the time,but at times when you fill a shape with a pattern, usually lighter patterns such as this one, portals, it's less obvious where these lines show up, you can see it kind of showing up here with these faint white lines and if I zoom in you can see them a little more but as you see as soon as I click to a higher zoom ratio they disappear,so as a preview bug in illustrator be aware of it but don't be too concerned by it ,go ahead and fill the next one we'll do this with the Funkodelic.
So patterns are a lot of fun, you can figure out a lot of different usages, you're going to see a lot of different usages in this course. Here's the thistle pattern. Now you can do all these or simple fills. I've taken an existing vector shape, in this case a gray rectangle,filling it with this thistle pattern. Now, it used to be previous to CS6, that when you filled a shape with a pattern, you'd get something like this,but you couldn't apply a pattern to a stroke, but that's changed now with CS6,so if we look at this, this is a massive stroke.
We're talking a 68 point stroke, but with that selected make sure you're on the stroke within your color palette here. You can apply a pattern to a stroke now,so in this case, we could make a pretty kind of Funkodelic frame if you wanted to, using a pattern and it's still in all practicality just a stroke, a fat stroke that is, with the fill applied to it. So once you have your patterns established and you want to save out a pattern swatch library, it's fairly simple,you just select all four of your patterns in your swatches palette,go to the option menu on the swatches palette,click, and you'll want to pull down to, you have two options,save swatch library as an ASE file and save swatch library as a source AI file.
I prefer the source file,it is more universal. ASE is more specific to Adobe software, so just to make it easy we're going to stick with the AI file format. We're going to click it, that'll open up a window in this case, you can save these actually anywhere you want. In this case just for simple demonstration, we're going to go ahead and select the desktop and we're going to name our patterns. We'll be creative. We'll go Creative patterns. Be really creative and we'll save this to the desktop and once again, we're saving it as a simple AI source file and we'll hit save.
Once those patterns are saved out as a swatch library you can go to any file and in this case, we're in a file where right now it's still in the Swatch Pattern mode and this file has none,so it's not showing anything. So, we're going to go to Show All and we want to bring our patterns into this file. Well, the way you do that is you go to your Option menu and you can go to open swatch library, and we're going to go in this case, go over here.
We're going to go to other library,gonna go to the desktop, and we're going to click on creative patterns, and open and that'll bring up this pop-up window that you can see here. Now, if you look at the swatches palette and I'll drag this down, so you can make a comparison easier. There's no pattern swatches in here,it doesn't automatically populate. It gives you the ability just to select only the patterns you want,so, you might keep all your pattern swatches in one library folder,so when you add them to a folder, it's doesn't add, lets say you have a 100, doesn't add all 100.
It only adds the ones you want,so as you select them, this case, we'll select Thorn, it populates it to your file ,select Funkadelic, populates that to the file, Portals and Thistle and that's how it works, it also copies over all the color swatches that are used within those pattern swatches and if we go back to the show pattern swatches only you can see how those are now showing only in this file we can go ahead and close this window.
So once they're in here you know, it's easy enough to fill any shape using those pattern swatches. So that's how you can start building an archive in a library of your own. Once you've created a few pattern swatches you're going to be addicted ,so take the time to organize your own library of pattern swatches and continue to add to it new designs you create. It's a great way to build a nice archive of artwork you can use as a creative resource your entire career.
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