Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a basic pattern brush, part of Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Mastery.
In this movie, I'll show you how to create a basic pattern brush that accomidates closed path outlines that include only smooth points. So, no end points and no corner points. I'll go ahead and switch over to my starter document here and I'll press shift pagedown in order to advance to the second art board. And you can see we've got this curving path outlined. We'll come back to it in just a moment. First we need to make our pattern brush. So I'll go ahead and zoom in by pressing Ctrl + Plus several times. And then I'll grab my line tool and I'll click somewhere inside my Art Board to bring up the dialog box.
And I'll go ahead and enter these values here. A link of 40 points and an angle of zero degrees that is horizontal. And the reason I'm creating this line by the numbers, is that'll give me more control as we get deeper into this project. Now I'll go ahead and click OK to create that new line. All right, I'll go ahead and move it more or less into the center of the screen here, and then I'll change the line weight to 2 points, and I'll click on the second swatch up here in the control panel, and change the stroke to this green. Which is R32, G64 and B0. And incidentally, I am working inside of an RBG document. All right, I'll go ahead and press the Esc key in order to hide that panel. Now, let's turn this into a double loop by assigning a couple of dynamic effects. First, I'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort and Transform, and choose Zig Zag.
And I'll go ahead and turn on the preview checkbox, so we can see that we get these spikes here. I don't want to gently curving effect, so I'll go ahead and set the points to smooth. And then I'll take the size value down to four, and I'll change the number of ridges per segment to one, and that way the line will dip down and rise back up to meet itself. Now I'll click OK, in order to accept that effect. Now, we need to flip this line, as well as create a copy of it, and that means going to the effect menu, choosing Distort and transform, and choosing Transform.
Or if you load a D keys, you just press Ctrl + E, or Cmd + E on a Mac. Turn on the reflect y check box, turn on the preview checkbox to watch things flip. And then click inside the copy's value, and press the Up Arrow key to change the value to one, and then click OK. All right,, now, to crit a pattern brush, you first have to find a repeating tile pattern. And to do that you go to the object menu choose pattern and choose make or again if you loaded D keys you can press Ctrl + M or Cmd + M on the Mac. If you get this alert message telling you that a pattern has been added to the swatches menu which frankly couldn't be more obvious go ahead and click on the don't show again check box and click OK. And I'll call this guy, first attempt, because frankly I'm not sure if it's going to work out or not.
Pattern brushes can be pretty persnickety at times. All right now, I'm pretty confident that I don't want these leaping lines packed together like this, so I'll make sure the Size Tile to Art check box is turned off. You also want to turn off the link, so that you're not maintaining any kind of proprtion. And then, click inside the height value, and press Shift + Up Arrow to raise it to 20 points. We want the width to be 40 points, because if you recall, that was the length of our original line. All right, so that takes care of it. I'll go ahead and press the Esc key a couple of times in order to exit the pattern editing mode.
And I've got a new pattern, right here in the Swatches panel. To turn that pattern into a pattern brush, go up to the Window menu and choose Brushes or press the F5 key, and that'll bring up the Brushes panel that we first saw in chapter 27 of the advance course. and next, you want to click on the little Page icon at the bottom of the Brushes panel. And select pattern brush from the bottom of the list here inside the dialog box. Then click okay, and that'll bring up this whopping big dialog box, with all kinds of brush options, 90% of which, you can ignore.
We need to give our brush a name, so I'll call it for smooth pass only, let's say. And then, notice these icons down here. They represent the various patterns that you're going to string together. You need to at least define a side tile, so make sure this first guy is selected here and then set it to First Attempt. And now, you can click OK in order to create that brush. All right now at this point, I'll go ahead and hide the brushes panel, so I have some more room to work. And I'll press Ctrl + 0, or Cmd + 0 on a Mac, and Zoom Out so I can see the big curving shape.
If I marquee it, you can see that it's actually a circle. And if I switch over to the Appearance panel, it has Zig Zag assigned to it. So I can achieve a similar effect to this final thing that I'm going for. If I were to increase the density of the zigzag effect, and then, for example, press control e, or command e on the Mac, to bring up the transform dialog box. Assuming, of course that you loaded D keys. And then you'll notice that we have 1, 2, 3 humps every 90 degrees, which means they're 30 degrees apart. So, if I want to stagger them, I change the angle device to 15 degrees, turn on the preview check box.
And then raise the copies value to one. So you know, you could get something similar if you messed around with the effects enough. However, you're going to have more control with a pattern brush. So I'll go ahead and cancel out of here. And what I want to do, is switch back to the Layers panel, and render this guy out as a real static path outline, with a bunch of smooth points. So I'll press Ctrl + C or Cmd + C on the Mac to copy this path outline, then I'll twirl open the big shapes layer, turn off the original path, so it's protected. And Ctrl + F or Cmd + F on a Mac in order to paste a copy. Then I'll go up to the object menu and choose expand appearance, in order to render it out as a static path outline, as you see on the screen. All right, now let's apply our new pattern brush and you can do that from the Control panel by going up to this brush definition option. Click on it, and then select for Smooth Paths Only, and we end up getting this effect here, ha.
What in the world happened? Well, you can get a sense for what's gone wrong by taking a look at this thumbnail. Notice, that for whatever reason, our little wave pattern is getting repeated three times. So, we have not only this inset effect, which is exactly what I'm looking for, but then we also have this sort of stretched effect on the outside and this weird sort of flowery effect on the inside, which may turn out to be exactly what you want. But assuming that it's not I'll show you how to solve this problem, so that we have just one set of loops in the very next movie.
- Setting up angular construction guides
- Kerning and clipping hand-drawn type
- Creating and naming symbols
- Using symbols to simulate master pages
- Creating a gradient mesh
- Using gradients to cast shadows
- Fading artwork with a gradient opacity mask
- Warping and distorting artwork with Liquify and Envelope
- Assembling a seamless pattern brush
- Creating charts and pictographs
- Working in 3D space
Skill Level Advanced
Q: In the "Assigning colors to mesh points" lesson, I cannot pick up the color of the visible tracing/photograph layer with the Eyedropper tool. What am I missing?
A: Make sure the template file is embedded in your file, not just linked, and try to sample the color again.