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Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.
Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to repeating tile patterns inside of Illustrator, and just like blends and masks from the previous chapter, tile patterns have been with us since Illustrator '88. So essentially Illustrator 2.0. Ancient feature. So ancient that I have kind of overlooked them over the years. In my entire history as a video trainer, 10 years of doing video, I have never done any training on tile patterns inside of Illustrator. And I'm sitting here scratching my head wondering why, because I have been having a blast preparing these exercises for you.
Tile patterns are so amazing. And you are about to see why now. So I have got opened this document called Tile pattern library.ai. What I would like you to do is go ahead and click on this white square, so that we can assign tile patterns to it. And I'm going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide the selection elements. So we can just see the tile patterns. If you are working along with me, and you want to try out some patterns of your own, [00:001:00.04] make sure that you are viewing the document at least 100%. You might want to even zoom in further want to even zoom in further than that if you have a larger screen, which I assume you do. Then switch over to the Swatches palette, and notice that I have gone ahead and populated the Swatches palette inside of this document with tons of tile patterns, most of which ship along with Illustrator CS4 and to get to these and still more tile patterns, because these are not all of them, you go up to the Swatches palette fly- out menu right there. You choose Open Swatch Library. You go over here to Patterns and then you have got three categories of patterns at your disposal. Decorative has the most libraries inside of it and then you would choose one of these libraries to load it up in an independent palette.
Anyway, I'm going up back up here and I'm going to switch to Large Thumbnail View, so that we can see these patterns up close and personal. So I just loaded into this document what I thought were the coolest, about half of the patterns actually. So you don't have to go digging around too much. Anyway, let's try applying a few of them. Here is one of my least favorites, actually, Fish Pattern, and the reason I'm showing it to you is because for whatever reason Adobe has chosen this pattern to be it's tile pattern representative. So if you create a new print document inside Illustrator CS4, you will get this one tile pattern. This is the one tile pattern that will be included along with the document. Anyway, other ones are so much cooler like Links Japanese Color, Check that out. Is that not amazing? Now every once in a while by the way, if you are closely scrutinizing what's going on, you may see seams and of course, there are seams ultimately in the tile patterns, because what we were seeing are repeating rectangles. So they are just repeating over and over again, and I'll show you how to construct these things. But these seams do not actually really appear. They are just phenomenons of the screen redraw.
When you zoom in, they will come and go. When you'll print the document, you will not see them is the idea and if you are curious, by all means try printing the document just to make sure. Anyway, here is Diamond Overlap Color. Amazing! So cool. Here's another one, Grid On Grid Color, which is great, and then we have got Weave Color. These all come from totally different libraries by the web. I've just mushed the ones I like the most together. Like Laguna Color and Mexico City Color don't really go along with each other. But still they do here. Arrow is Arabian Color, check that out, so awesome. Here's Leaves Tropical Color.
I am going to stop saying the word color. That's just telling you that there is also a black and white variant that you can get to. Water Lilies right here, so nifty. This is Deco Diamonds. This one right here, I just love. Flower Power. It's so awesome. And then Optical Checkerboard, they just keep getting better. Look at this one right here. And this one Wild Flowers. This is so wild. I love this pattern. This is the one that should come up in every single print document in CS4. In my opinion it's just lovely, and wouldn't you just like to do the kids' wall in that or something? Here's Stars 3D, then we have got Triangles horizontal color. I don't really have to walk you through every single one of these, but there are a couple more I want to show you. Here is Peacock. Check out Peacock. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on Peacock so you can see that these are not photographs that have been imported into Illustrator and then somehow modified so that they become seamlessly repeating tile patterns.
These are hand drawn vector illustrations. And here is Alligator right there. So cool, so amazing. And if you scroll down, there is tons and tons more of course. And then definitely encourage you to explore them to your heart's content. Starting here after a different bunch of fish, actually it's a same fish just colored differently there. We have got Undulating Coarse Dots. That's cool. That could be useful. This is a 0 to 100% Dot Gradation right there, my goodness, and these things are scalable by the way, and you can rotate them, and you can transform them in all kinds of different ways, as we'll see later.
We have got stuff for architects over here like USGS 20 scrub, or actually even more obvious is USGS 2 Marsh. This guy right there. If you zoom in you can see we have just got these little marshy plants going on and so you might find that terribly useful. Not sure. All right, so here is what we were going to do. Over the course of next few exercises, this is going to be our project. We are going to create this design right here. So I'm switching layers, as you can see. Here is this design at bottom and this is a traditional Arabian geometric design right there.
And we are going to assemble at my handle. I'll show you how to make it. In the course of making it, you'll get a sense of how to think your way through making or repeating tile pattern. And then we'll actually build the tiles just to make sure that everything fits together the way it's supposed to, and then we'll break them off into individual tile patterns. Notice I made them smaller as well. And I was telling you, tile patterns are rectangular. They have to be rectangular inside of Illustrator. So it may surprise you that these are rectangular tile patterns. I know they are not the kinds of rectangles you are familiar with, but they actually are repeating rectangles, I assure you.
And then I went ahead and saved them off, as these guys right there, Arabian geometric, Arabian garish and Arabian bronze. And let's check them out. I'll show you what they look like when repeated here on the test shape. I'll go ahead and click on it just to make sure it's selected once again. And here is Arabian geometric, repeats beautifully. Here is Arabian garish and then finally, here is Arabian bronze, which supports a bunch of different shapes that are all filled with radial gradients. Isn't that awesome? And if you are interested in building this very tile pattern, well then, by all means, join me in the next exercise.
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