Join Adam Crespi for an in-depth discussion in this video Drawing a bond pattern: Flush and ragged edges, part of 3D Textures: Shingles & Siding.
- We use shingles on houses everywhere. In almost every climate. And we use them in almost infinite variation of color, size, and pattern. I'm going to draw out a bond pattern of shingles here in Adobe Illustrator. But before I do that I'll take a look at some shingle reference to get a good idea of the pattern and variation I need. In a quick search for asphalt shingles, we can see that's there's all manner of colors and styles available. We've got shingles that range from a simple brick bond, where each one overlaps half above the one and below it to squares and offsets varying wildly in color.
We can even see where the shingles sometimes are cut at an angle and they may have slightly ragged edges or different overlaps. The big thing to notice with shingles, in addition to their color variation and texture variation is that we see a lot of them. That on any given roof for viewing, we may see hundreds if not thousands of square feet of shingles. So we need to make sure when we craft this pattern we have enough shingles in there to apparently look random. We can also see, and this is important when we craft our bond pattern, that modern shingles, such as these brown ones here have three, four, even five colors going.
What we can see for example, is that this shingle, which we read as generally brown actually has colors ranging from espresso, through mocha, through cinnamon, even some honey tones and some slates. The one above it is blue. And it's actually got blue, and slate, and gold, and all kinds of different colors in there. So we need to make sure in our pattern that we have enough variety to look random and have that color spread throughout. We'll go back into Illustrator and start out with our bond pattern.
Working out how the shingles are laid out and then we'll get in color. Back here in Illustrator then, I'll start out with a new document. Choosing File and New. I've made my document 2K square. 2048 on the side running in CMYK for now. I'll click OK. And there's my new document. What I'm going to do is make a rectangle for one shingle. Pressing M for mectangle, the silent M in rectangle apparently. And clicking once in the document. Setting rectangle size at 64 square and clicking ok.
Now get a color on this. I'll pull up my color swatches and pick something else. This is a bond pattern. So the big deal is really that we can recognize the incidence of different shingles. Not necessarily if the color is rich and subtle like we'd expect in the final. Now take off the stroke. Clicking on any one of the strokes and clicking on none or hitting the forward slash. So now we have an orange square. What I'll do is press A for the direct selection. Grab a corner of it where it registers on an anchor and pull it up into the corner of my document.
And then zoom in. Much as I love the live corners in Illustrator, I find sometimes I end up grabbing the wrong thing. But I like them on, because they are useful for rounding over. So I switch a lot between V for selection and A for direct selection. This is going to be my starting shingle. So I'll snap it right into the top of the document. Now I'm going to clone it over. Holding Alt and dragging until it registers on the one next to it. I'll change the color of this one. Pressing X to pull up the fill and putting in green, that works.
Now what I'm going to do is put in a little variation. Selecting their top points where they meet with the direct selection tool, and nudging it over by one, two, three, presses of the right arrow key. What I'm going to do here is lay out a shingle bond pattern. Making sure that all the shingles meet perfectly. Essentially, performing an expansion on these shapes as I make it. Rather than cutting later and expanding. This will allow me to copy and paste them onto new layers without worrying about who's in front.
Now I'll take my orange shingle for example. Hold Alt, clone it over and if you notice, I was cloned over by 128 pixels. Then I'll take the green and repeat this. But I'm going to change them a little bit. Occasionally, we have to pull it over to clone, press A for the direct selection and snap it right back on. If you're having trouble with it here's another thing. If you notice my shingles are 64 square. So even though I nudged over a top corner, the repeat is still 64 pixels.
And that's important because it'll give me an even number of correctly sized shingles across the document. So I'll select my green and press enter to move. And move it over by 128, turning on preview and pressing copy. There's that perfect shingle. And now I'll select these uneven corners and nudge them back the other way. We can even take the top corner of this last green and nudge it over as well. So I get kind of a rhombus or something close. While I'm at it I'm going to change the color.
Again, setting up for different color shingles in that pattern. Now I'll take another one of my shingles, Alt clone it over and snap it on. Then I'll grab it's top point and match it up. Lastly, I'll change that color. So I'm establishing in my shingles that I've got four different colors running. Maybe I'll even take this one orange and change it over to something else. What we want to do then is establish our bond. Making our shingles at a perfect repeat of 64 square and creating a full line of them.
The trick then, is once you've got some established clone the line. But don't clone them all in the same way. I'll pick my shingles, excluding that first red one. Holding Alt or pressing enter to move and I'll clone over by 256 in this case. I'll make a copy and there's my shingles. Now I'll take the top corner of this green and nudge it over one, two, three, four, five, six, presses on the arrow key. And it's a perfect match.
Then I'll come in and randomize. Picking an orange, eye droppering a blue. Picking the yellow, grabbing the red. Picking a blue and eye droppering yellow. So even though we see the same shapes, they're not always the same color. I'll clone out this line to get the first row of shingles. And show what it looks like when I'm done. And then how to randomize through making the rows stagger. I've cloned out my first row of shingles. Randomizing the colors a bit. Picking some and recoloring them, so there's not an obvious pattern going.
By the way, I'm using tab to make my menus come and go. I find it's easier sometimes to look at a design without the visual clutter of palettes and an interface. Now I'm ready to clone this row down. What I'll do is to select this whole line. And press enter to move. And I'm going to move it over horizontally by 32 and down vertically by 64 and I'll press copy. I've got a cloned row of shingles and now I'm ready to recolor. The trick is, as you're cloning, recolor. Don't wait until you have a whole bunch to recolor.
I'm setting up for an offset here, and I've made sure in this case that I'll have a repeat of whatever this end shingle is, over on the other side. So that this pattern is by definition tillable. Because I designed it into the bond. I'll randomize these colors and clone out a few more rows and show what it looks like when I'm done. I've cloned down a couple of rows and in doing so, instead of simply cloning down the whole row, I picked large chunks and moved them down a multiple of 64. For example, selecting a middle, pressing enter and moving on the horizontal by 512 and down by 128 and pressing copy.
And this way I'm reordering that pattern. Once you get enough of them, you can clone the whole mess and make up this whole sheet of shingles. The idea then, is we want a lot of these in here. Think it through in terms of the final size it'll be mapped on a 3D object. For example, if each of these shingles is four inches wide, we're dealing in close to 12 feet wide of shingles. If they're a six inch wide shingle, we've got almost 16. And if a shingle texture is repeating at 16 feet square across a roof, we're not gonna see too many repeats.
And it looks blended enough if you look at the patterning in here. That when this is in the final color, it'll look like, apparently, all random shingles. Randomizing how you copy them, make sure we don't see the same zig one way every so often in a pattern. That we end up randomizing how the sides are ragged and where they are in addition to color. So although it's a quasirandom pattern, because we are choosing it, we're ending up with our shingles looking very varied through all their different courses.
I'll finish out the document. Cloning, randomizing, moving things around, stitching together ends, and worrying about overlap. And then I'm ready to get color in. And this will be a versatile base for any color of these kind of asphalt shingles.