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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now that we know how to apply patterns through our artworks inside of Illustrator, let's explore how to define our own Pattern designs. Now in reality, defining Patterns can get pretty complex. So what we are going to do is focus on just creating very simple patterns here. Afterwards, you can start to experiment with more and more complex designs and I'll give few pointers for how to do that. So in this file here called defining_ patterns, which you will find in chapter10 of the exercise files. I have a simple shape here for a surfboard and I want it to be able to fill with a pattern of maybe these flip-flops or even this G, which is the part of the logo for the company called Groundswell.
So let's start with a simple one here, which is just the G itself. Now obviously I could take my artwork here and just simply repeat it over and over again just by using copy. I'll hold down the Option key as I just drag over copies here. But that doesn't create a Pattern Fill, which I can easily adjust. It's actually very simple to define a Pattern although it's little bit more complex when you want to get it just the way that you want. So let's first see how easy it is to create a pattern swatch then we will go to the next step. All you need to do is take the artwork that exists on your artboard right here and drag that artwork into the Swatches panel. It's important to note that when I do this, it turns it into a Pattern automatically. This swatch that I created now is called the Pattern swatch.
Remember if I want to create new solid color fills, I would come here and choose New Swatch. But if you want to create a new pattern, the easiest way to do is take any artwork from your artboard, drag it right into my Swatches panel. In fact, if I now go ahead and click on the surfboard and I click on the swatch right here, my surfboard gets filled with those G's. However, you will notice that the actual pattern swatch repeats itself and each G touches each other. Let's say I wanted to actually create some space in between each of the icons. So here is basically the important concept of about how patterns are defined. When you drag artwork into the Swatches panel, it takes the overall bounds of the artwork itself and it uses that bound as the repeat area. However, you could change that.
So for example, I'm just go over to this G that I have over here and I'm going to take a regular rectangle and I'll draw a rectangle around the G, something like say like that and I'll fill this particular G right now with none. I'll change the Stroke also to none and what I'll do is I'll take the actual shape itself and I'll choose Object, Arrange, Send to Back. So what I now have is a no fill and no stroke rectangle on the back over here and then I have this G as well. If I select both of these objects and I now drag that into my Swatches panel, I have defined the Pattern but my Pattern is defined by the bounding box of this no fill and no stroke rectangle, not the G itself, which means that the repeat area of this Pattern is this area what I already built in the space around the G. So if you think about it right now, if I click on the surfboard and apply this particular pattern right now, I get to see this.
Using the technique we have covered in the previous movie, I can use my Scale tool to actually scale this maybe 25% and adjust only the Patterns and not the Object and you can easily see now that I have this G that repeats itself over and over again throughout the surfboard. Again, I was the one who defined the spacing between these by specifying a bounding area around to this particular icon, right here. Let's do something similar with the flip-flops. If I take my regular Rectangle tool and I click and I drag to create an area. Let's say I want there to be a lot of space on top and bottom but too much space side by side of these flip-flops. I can create a rectangle that looks something like this, for example.
Again apply a no fill and no stroke to this particular object right here, send that particular object to the back, select both elements and drag them right to my Swatches panel. Now when I click on that surfboard, I can now fill that with the pattern that I created. If I'm constantly editing my pattern, there is a way to update or replace the pattern. For example, let's say I decide I want to change the bounding area somewhat. So I'll select this rectangle here and I'll change its dimensions. Let's say I want to create a pattern that looks something like this but has a lot more space on either side of the flip-flops in that particular area. So rather than I have to create a new pattern in swatch, I can now select the this artwork, hold down my Option key -- I'm on a Mac, if you are on a PC, hold down the Alt key and drag that artwork on top of the existing swatch, see how now I see a black line that appears around that box. Now when I release the button, that actually updates the Pattern, you can see now in my shape the pattern is now updated itself.
So to replace a pattern swatch, simply Option or Alt drag the artwork on top of the existing swatch. Again it's always a good idea to name your patterns, that way it's easier to identify or find them later on. So finally let's talk about some other more complex patterns that may ship with Illustrator. How do they create those? Let's load up some of those. I'm going to go over here and choose Patterns, let me choose Nature, for example and let's do Nature_Animal_ Skins. There are some pretty wild ones in here, for example, if I click on this artwork here and apply this one, I may wonder how that pattern was created. Let's zoom in on that, I'll use the Zoom tool just to zoom in on this area and I may decide, "Hey, I like to make a pattern like that. How do they do that?" The easiest way to learn that is to reverse engineer how this particular pattern swatch was created. So what will I do is I'll come over here my Swatches panel and I'll take that Zebra pattern swatch right here and click and drag it right at on to the artboard and not on to any piece of art work, just right on to the artboard itself. When I release the mouse, Illustrator actually draws the graphics that were used to define that particular pattern. So here is the repeat area, it's important to realize, by the way, that if you go into Outline mode here, you can see that I have a no fill, no stroke rectangle that's sitting right here in the background.
Let me use my Direct Selection tool to actually select that. This is the area that defines the actual background to that particular shape. In fact, you don't need the entire artwork to be contained inside of that repeat area as long as the backmost object inside of your selection is a rectangle then that rectangle becomes the final repeat area for your artwork. So definitely take a look at some of the other ones that you have here inside of Illustrator. Again, the Patterns that come with Illustrator are not necessarily there for you to always use because after all, we can create our own patterns. They are there for you to learn how to use the Patterns tool. So feel to reverse engineer those, learn how they were created and then you can create your own patterns as needed.
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