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Determining how a pattern repeats

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Determining how a pattern repeats

So as I was saying in the previous exercise, when I stumbled across this pattern online, it was black and white precisely like it is here. I mean I knew I really liked the design but I had no concept of how I was going to color it and repeat it because I don't know what the repeating objects actually are. So what you need to do at this point is to start assembling the puzzle. You know it goes together; you just don't know how it goes together. We're going to kind of go out on the limb and test things out and see what we come up with. So I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Six hooks & a star.ai and I know there is a certain symmetry to this illustration and I imagine it follows the same symmetry as the hooks.

Determining how a pattern repeats

So as I was saying in the previous exercise, when I stumbled across this pattern online, it was black and white precisely like it is here. I mean I knew I really liked the design but I had no concept of how I was going to color it and repeat it because I don't know what the repeating objects actually are. So what you need to do at this point is to start assembling the puzzle. You know it goes together; you just don't know how it goes together. We're going to kind of go out on the limb and test things out and see what we come up with. So I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Six hooks & a star.ai and I know there is a certain symmetry to this illustration and I imagine it follows the same symmetry as the hooks.

So the hooks have a symmetry of 120 degrees. That is to say you can go down into the right and follow this hook right there, or you can go down unto the left and follow this hook or you can go straight up and follow that hook. There may be more too it than that. You may be able to go up into the right or up into left or straight down. I'm not sure. I'm going to have to give it a try and see what happens. So first thing I'm noticing is that there's a shape like this right over here. There's an opening that I'm tracing with my cursor. That opening matches this contour right there going across into this hook. So it follows the star and this hook together. So I think maybe I could repeat these items down into the right. So let's go ahead and give it a try.

I am going to marquee these three objects like so using the Black Arrow tool. I don't think this is in front right there, this anchor point. I think if I click there, I'm going to end up grabbing this hook right there and I don't want that. So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+Right- Bracket or Command+Shift+Right-Bracket on the Mac just to make sure that these three objects are in front. Then I'm going to drag from this anchor point like so, and I'm going to drag it down to this location. Look, it fits in the place, awesome. Then I'm going to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key, and release in order to create a clone at that location.

So then we've got something going on down here and that looks like it falls the contours of this area. All I'm doing folks obviously I have done this before, so I sort of know what's coming. But I'm running through exactly what I did when I was trying to figure this out and trying to make sense of the whole thing. Sometimes by the way, I didn't get it right. Like for example, I'll go ahead and Shift-click to deselect this object right there, and I'll try that. I'll try putting this in this location, and I'm still missing something when I do that.

This does fit down here, but there's something else that goes down here with it because I have got a gap over there to the left. So anyway, I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release in order to create a clone down here. So the thing that's missing is something that shaped like this and where would I find such a thing that shaped like this I wonder. I was telling you, I have this already figured out. I have done it before. But I'm stymied, I'm like sitting there going, I don't know what goes there. This I think does, right? That is this hook right there, I think it is. So I'm going to click here and Shift-click on the star because I keep wanting to duplicate that star. I know it always know where the star fits. The star is not so easy to isolate as these hooks are because they have a lot more edges going on.

So I'll go ahead and drag this guy from this point over to this location. Sure enough the star fits, awesome, and I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac in order to create a duplicate at this location. Then I'm looking for something that will fit right there, would it be this right next door, does this guy go in there? Is the symmetry that close? In other words, that I can afford to go ahead and repeat just this guy right there if I can manage to select him of course, there he is. I'll go ahead and grab the star, what the heck. Let's press Ctrl+Shift+Right-Bracket or Command+ Shift+Right-Bracket on the Mac to bring that to front, so that I can grab it more easily, and I'll drag it up to this location, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and clone it into this new position. Ensure enough it does fit and the star does fit and all that jazz, so I can keep just building this out like at this location right here, I could just put the star.

Now this is dangerous what I just did by the way. Just dragging the star by itself is not something I recommend you do when you're trying to build out these patterns because if you just drag a single object, you can very easily get it wrong. You can put something like the star in any number of positions here, and they might not be the right position. So it's a really good idea to grab something along with that star. So let's go ahead and do that. I'll press Ctrl+Z a couple of times. Let's go ahead and grab this guy. So these two are selected and then I'll go ahead and Alt or Option+Drag this to a different location and then I'll just drag it in a place so that we get some snapping going on like so and that looks good. So it is fitting.

You know what? It looks like you could go right there as well. So let's go ahead and try to drag it from this position. That didn't work, because somebody else is on top there. I'll press Ctrl+ Shift+Right-Bracket again after selecting these guys, Command+Shift+Right- Bracket on the Mac, drag this over to this location, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release in order to drop it into place. Then let's go ahead and grab these two guys, press Ctrl+Shift+Right-Bracket, Command+Shift+Right-Bracket on the Mac, drag them up into this location. So I'm sort of thinking ahead as I'm seeing different patterns form here. And press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release and so on.

So I'm going to zoom out here for a second and just kind of take a look at this mangled mess of junk that I've got here. Notice if I grab these three guys right there, they seem to represent everybody. If you look at these paths, you'll notice that there's a star, and of course the star is getting repeated here and here and here and here and so on. But then there's this one sort of hook that's over on its side like this and that matches this hook and it matches this hook, and I presume it would match this hook up there.

Then you've got this guy who matches this hook and this hook and so on, and he matches this hook down there, and this hook. So there's only two different ways that the hooks are aligned that they are oriented inside of this graphic. That's the pattern that is emerging to me as I'm working on this. Just to test it out I'll drag this group of three here up into the left, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and drop it right there into place and it fits like a dream, and I bet I could do it again. I bet I could just go ahead and drag it like so and press Alt or Option and drop it into place and over and over and over.

That is locking quite successfully, and I imagine that I might be able to do the same thing in a different direction here. So I'll drag this one to this location. That is, I'll drag this point to this location, and press Alt or Option, and drop it into place. Then I'll drag up this direction and press and hold Alt or Option and drop it into place and then I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D to duplicate it out that direction, and that works out beautifully as well. Look, this hole can accommodate this guy, and then this hole can accommodate this guy. I can build this entire structure now just using these three shapes over and over again.

Once you figure something like that out, once it dawns on you, what in the world the pattern is, that's when you can decide how you want to color your objects. We only have three objects that are getting repeated over and over again inside of this illustration here, inside of this pattern. And just to really test it out because at this point you might be thinking well, maybe. I don't know. It could be, it could not be. You do seem to be doing some stuff up there, but you've got these weird holes that you're forming over there, Deke. So let's get rid of all this junk, everything except these three shapes right down there. Even though we spent all our time with doing the symmetry, doing the rotation all that jazz, we need to test out whether this is right or wrong.

So I've got these three shapes and that's it and now let's see if we can duplicate it. I might drag the wrong point. Let's go ahead and drop that into place. And then I'm going to do it again, Alt or Option+Drag, drop it into place, press Ctrl+D a few times in order to go ahead and duplicate that out. Then select all of these guys because they're all built on those core three shapes right there. Then let's go ahead and drag by this point, Alt or Option, drop it into place, press Ctrl+D a few times, Command+D on a Mac in order to fill out the shapes in that direction and then I'm just going to take all of these shapes and move them over and obviously I can do anything I want with those three shapes.

As long as I continue to duplicate those three shapes over and over again, I'm going to create a pattern forever more, Ctrl+D or Command+D on a Mac in order to duplicate in that direction and so on and so on. So I can keep doing this. I told you this was just so much fun. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac in order to select everybody at this point. And let's see who looks like they're going to fit. Let's see if we can make these guys fit right there and sure enough, notice that's an entire hole right there into which this entire block fits like so.

I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac in order to perform that duplication, and then I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D a few times in order to just fill this entire huge world. Look! How far we're zoomed out. We're now zoomed out to 8.33% actually. Let me press Ctrl+A or Command+A on a Mac to make sure I've selected everything. Then I could do this number. I'm not sure I'm going to get much of a snap this far out because I'm so very far out from my graphic. Then I'll press the Alt or Option key on the Mac and then drop it into place in order to go ahead and fill out that area. Then I'll press Ctrl+D or Command+D in order to fill out that area and so on.

So I have proven, I think beyond a shadow of the doubt, complete overkill at this point now, that all we need in order to make this work is these three shapes repeated over and over forever more. Now, that we have that knowledge, what in the world do we do with it? And I'll show you in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21455 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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