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Traditionally, creating your own patterns inside of Illustrator has been somewhat of a tedious task. In this movie, I am going to show you how Illustrator CS6 has really changed the game when it comes to creating your own pattern swatches. I've got several pieces of artwork here on my artboard and I want to take some of those and create a repeatable pattern for use on web backgrounds and other projects. So let's go ahead and take a look at some of these pieces of artwork and how I can turn them into a pattern. The first one I am going to select is this one right here. I will grab this piece of artwork and I am just going to copy it to my clipboard by using Command+C or Ctrl+C. I'm then going to hit Command+N or Ctrl+N to create a new document.
You could go to File > New as well. Under Profile, I am going to select Web, because let's say I am making a web background and I'll choose 1024x768, and I will hit OK. Once I do that, I'll hit Command+V or Ctrl+V on my keyboard. Then I will just grab my Zoom tool, and I'll zoom in on this little piece of artwork. Once I have the artwork selected, if I want to change it into a pattern I simply go to Object > Pattern and select Make.
Immediately it jumps me into what's called Pattern Editing mode and as you can see, it has created a really nice repeatable pattern out my artwork. In other applications, this is really tough to do, but in Illustrator it handles it amazingly. Here is what I am going to do, I am going to name this pattern and I am just going to call this crazy pattern, this is kind of a crazy design. Next let's take a look at the Tile Type. I have Grid, which is what we are looking at here, Brick by Row, Brick by Column, which is actually my favorite, Hex by Column, which in my opinion clutters things up a little too much, and Hex by Row.
For this particular design, I think I am going to stick with Brick by Column. Once I have that selected, I can also select the Brick Offset. I can go with 2/3, 3/4, 1/5, any number of changes that I want to make, I can do so. And basically, it's based off of how much of this is being cut off and repeated around. That fraction of the pattern being shifted around changes how the pattern looks. If I wanted to go back, I can go back to the default of 1/2, which looks pretty good.
I can also change the Width and Height of this as well. If I'm changing the Width and Height, I probably want to constrain the proportions by clicking this little chain link right here. That way everything scales in proportion. You can see when I do this, it changes everything on the artboard including the artwork in the middle. I can also size the tile to the artwork, meaning that the tile that's repeated will size as I resize artwork. In this case, I am just going to leave it on the Width and Height that I've got here. I can also choose to move the tile with the art.
So if I come out here and I grab the artwork and move it, the tile moves with it. If I choose not to do that, I can move this, and the tile remains right here. It's an interesting way to change how the pattern is laid out and how it works. In this case though, I am going to choose Move Tile with Art, and you notice when I do it, it moves it again. If I want to re-center this inside the tile, I have to uncheck the box, move it back in, and go from there, then I will check that box again.
I can also change the overlap down here at the bottom. You have the ability to choose between Left in Front or Right in Front. That means objects on the left are in front of objects on the right, or objects on right are in front of objects on the left, and you can also choose whether or not the top is in front of the bottom. This is for when you expand this out where the objects are going to lie in the stacking order. Finally, you have the ability to change the copies. In this case, it's 5x5, but I can go as high as 9x9. You can also choose to dim the other copies that are being shown on screen.
This is a great way to see exactly where your original artwork is lying within the pattern, so you can make changes at any time. You can also Show the Tile Edge if you want to. If If you don't want to, turn it off. And then finally, you can choose to show the Swatch Bounds. Showing the Swatch Bounds shows you exactly what's encompassed by the pattern. So in this case it goes all the way out and grabs these pieces of the pattern, which is what makes it easily repeatable all the way around the outside. Once you do that, you're pretty much ready to go.
But in this case, I think I want to add some different pieces to this as well and I can do that really easily. Let's jump back over into my patterns document for a second and let's grab some more artwork. I'll go ahead and grab this little pinwheel like flower and I'll copy it, then I will bring it back over. If I paste it in, you're going to notice that it becomes part of the pattern. I can shrink it down, then I'll move it somewhere like this. You can see that it becomes a part of the pattern. Let's copy that and I'll paste it, and then I will move another one right here, let's copy that one, paste it, place it right there, let's copy that one. As you can see, I am just adding these little flowers all throughout my design.
If I wanted to add anything else, I could certainly do so. Anytime I move these they automatically move in the design as well. Once I am finished with this swatch, I can go ahead and hit Done. Hitting Done commits to the change, and I am taken right back out to my original artwork. But the small flowers are gone. Why? Because, I pasted them into the pattern swatch itself. I didn't paste them into this document. So now I can actually come over and delete this piece of artwork, and then I can grab something like the Star tool and draw out a star.
With my star on my artboard, I can come over to my pattern Swatches and find crazy pattern. Once I hit crazy pattern, it's applied inside the star. Then I could throw in a stroke or whatever else I needed to finish off the design. So as you can see, you can create some really amazing patterns here inside of Illustrator by editing them yourself and adding your own artwork. This is going to be great for fashion designers that want to do patterns for clothes, or even people that want to create textures for web backgrounds and banners. There's no limit to the possibilities of what you can do with this and if you get creative enough you can create some really stunning artwork.
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