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Designing the perfect side pattern

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Designing the perfect side pattern

In this exercise, I am going to show you the best approach to creating a tile pattern that will successfully serve as a side tile inside a pattern brush, and it hinges on the use of a few path operations, including one that I don't use very often because it's so darn static, which is a crop operation inside the Pathfinder panel. I've saved my progress as Big bad Zed.ai and we're going to ignore the fact that the Z over here on the right-hand side looks so appallingly bad, and I am going to have you scroll down to the bottom of the illustration and once again zoom in. And we are going to go ahead and take this object here, this group, and we're going isolate it by double-clicking anywhere on any of those selected path outlines.

Designing the perfect side pattern

In this exercise, I am going to show you the best approach to creating a tile pattern that will successfully serve as a side tile inside a pattern brush, and it hinges on the use of a few path operations, including one that I don't use very often because it's so darn static, which is a crop operation inside the Pathfinder panel. I've saved my progress as Big bad Zed.ai and we're going to ignore the fact that the Z over here on the right-hand side looks so appallingly bad, and I am going to have you scroll down to the bottom of the illustration and once again zoom in. And we are going to go ahead and take this object here, this group, and we're going isolate it by double-clicking anywhere on any of those selected path outlines.

Now what I'd like you to do is take this big rectangle right here and just get rid of it. Or if you like, you can just kind of move it aside for a moment and then grab the invisible rectangle, which will mean of course since it's invisible and hard to find that you might need to marquee, or you can go ahead and switch to the Outline mode to find it, what have you. And then once you've selected that invisible rectangle, go ahead and press the I key in order to get the eyedropper and click somewhere inside of that larger rectangle to lift its attribute. So we get this kind of washed-out purple color here, and then I'm going to press the V key to switch back to my Black Arrow tool.

I click on the outline to that big rectangle, and I will get rid of it because we don't want it anymore. All right, now we're going to crop everything for real, by the way; we can't mask it or any of that jazz. We need to do a real hard crop. In order to do that, apply a static pathfinder operation, we need to take these strokes and we need to convert on the path outlines. So all the objects that are stroked are stroked with the exact same color. That's the good news. So go ahead and select any one of them, like this circle right here. Then go up to this Similar icon in the control panel, click the down-pointing arrowhead, and choose Stroke Color in order to select all those objects that share that stroke color. Then go up to the Object menu and choose Path and choose Outline Stroke. Or if you've loaded DekeKeys, you can take advantage of that insanely, in my opinion, useful keyboard shortcut, if you can remember it: Ctrl+Backslash, or Command+Backslash on the Mac. And that goes ahead and converts all of those strokes to filled path outlines.

Now, what I want to do now, just to avoid some of the complexity here, is I want to join all of these new path outlines together. But they are not all the same color. If you try adding him by going over to the pathfinder panel, bringing it up--you can also choose Pathfinder from the Window menu--and click on that first icon, Unite, then you'll end up getting this effect right there, which is terrible. It looks kind of like an owl, but it's not something I want. So I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo. Instead what we want is to just select the similarly filled objects, because right now notice we've got these dark, sort of violet interiors on some of these shapes selected.

So we need to get rid of them. I am going to click off the objects to deselect them, then click on any one of these sort of pinkish objects, and then I'll go up to this Similar icon, click the down-pointing arrowhead and choose Fill Color this time. And now I'll go ahead and unite them. This should work out beautifully, and it does. All right, here is the wacky part. Now we need to crop everybody, and in order to crop them, you need to move the thing that's going to serve as the crop to the front. But what I'd like you to do is just go ahead and take this rectangle here and press Ctrl+X, or Command+X on the Mac, to cut it.

That way we've got a copy of it in the clipboard. Now press Ctrl+F, or Command+F on the Mac, to paste it in front. Now if that's all we wanted to do, there's other ways to achieve that, if I just wanted to move that rectangle to front. But we need to copy in the Clipboard as well. Now that we have this object in front, I am going to go ahead and select all of these objects inside the group. And because we're in the Group Isolation mode, I could just press Ctrl+A, or Command+A on the Mac, and then with the Pathfinder panel still visible, I am going to drop down to the Crop icon and click on it, and that goes ahead and performs a perfect crop.

But you need to convert those strokes to filled path outlines before it's going to work. So that's why we had to outline the strokes first. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+B, or Command+B on the Mac, in order to paste that item to the back of the stack, that initial rectangle that we copied a moment ago. Notice, by the way, that we ended up with a group, because Illustrator loves to create its groups, don't you know, and so as soon as we apply the crop operation we got a group. I don't want that group because we've got a group inside of a group; we don't need it. So I'll go ahead and meatball the group to make it active, and I'll go up to the Object menu and choose Ungroup, or press Ctrl+Shift+G, Command+Shift+G on the Mac.

Now click off the path outlines in order to deselect them, and here's the cleanup part. I am going to click on this thing here; what is this thing? Well, it's just a leftover of the crop operation, and it's totally invisible. It's a path that's serving no purpose. Hey, I bet if there is one path that's serving no purpose, there is a bunch of other ones. Let's go up to this Select Similar Options icon, click the down-pointing arrowhead, choose Fill Color once again. Look, there is a couple more. Big surprise. All right, so let's go ahead and press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of them. Now we are done. Press the Escape key in order to leave the Group Isolation mode.

Now I am going to go ahead and zoom out so that I can see more of my illustration at a time. I'm going to go ahead and grab this group. It's still a grouped object, or at least it ought to be. Let's go ahead and check out what's up here inside of the violet brush layer. Apparently this got ungrouped somehow. All right, well gosh! That's mysterious. We were working inside of a group. Why did that happen? Anyway, it did, alas. That's okay because these objects are easy to marquee, as I just did, and then I'll go up to the Object menu and group them. This is not an essential step to creating a tile pattern; they don't have to be in a group.

So I'll press Ctrl+G, Command+G on the Mac, in order to group them together, what have you. And then I'm going to go ahead and grab these guys, drag them and drop them into the Swatches panel, there it is. I want to rename this swatch. For me it's called New Pattern Swatch 28. Obviously I've been working in a background. But before I do so, I need to deselect the objects so I don't end up messing them up, and then I'll double-click on that new swatch and I'll call it violet side, because that's the purpose it's going to serve. Click OK and now let's bring up the Brushes panel once again. And actually for this--drumroll please here--we want to be able to see our big bad zed, because I am going to modify its test pattern brush.

I'll go ahead and double-click on that brush, inside the Brushes panel. The Z does not have to be selected. Let's go ahead and name this guy this time "Violet wedges brush" because I'm feeling so confident it's going to work, and I'll make sure that that Side Tile is selected. And I am going to switch it our for Violet side this time around, and then I'll click OK. Notice Preview is turned on. We get no preview, so that's not very helpful. Click OK, and then you'll get this alert that says, hey, do you want to leave the strokes alone? That would be absurd, of course, in this case. We want to apply our changes to the strokes.

So I'll click that button and yay, it works out perfectly. So we have this wonderful, seamlessly repeating tile pattern, and notice that it distorts to fit the path outline, and that is the big advantage to pattern brushes inside of Illustrator. In the next exercise, we'll add the missing tiles, which include the start, end, and the corners.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

134 video lessons · 28314 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
      58s
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
      33s
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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